I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of clamato substitutes to find the best one for every cooking or baking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry swap, or want a substitute that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.
The best substitute for Clamato is making it from scratch. You need clam juice and tomato sauce to start, then some veggies and seasonings like lime. Only have tomato juice? Season it with Worcestershire sauce or anchovy paste to achieve Clamato’s signature briny kick.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I had friends over and made different batches of Caesar cocktails to try out several clamato substitutes.
Clamato is a tomato-based drink flavored with clam juice. It has a slightly tangy, salty flavor.
This drink is commonly seen in Canada and Mexico as a base for cocktails like Caesar and Micheladas. But you can also mix it with other alcoholic beverages like beer.
I was looking for a substitute that could deliver the same flavor and color to my cocktails.
Here are the substitutes I tested and the verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Homemade clamato||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Tomato juice||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Bloody mary mix||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
There’s nothing quite like making homemade Clamato. The process is so simple – no cooking needed.
First you need to gather all ingredients (hopefully you’ll already have some in your kitchen). The main ones are tomato sauce and clam juice, then you need some veggies like celery and carrots and seasonings like lime and garlic.
Once you have everything, chuck them in your trusty blender and blitz away!
The great thing about homemade Clamato is knowing exactly what goes in it. No more mystery additives or preservatives. And it’s easier to control the sodium content, a great benefit if you’re watching your salt intake.
Psst… the recipe in the youtube video make six cups. You can freeze the extras.
How to substitute: replace commercial Clamato in a 1:1 ratio with your homemade Clamato.
If you’ve got a carton of tomato juice in your pantry, you’re already halfway to making your own quick version of Clamato.
The key here is to supplement the tomato juice with ingredients that provide the unique, briny kick Clamato is known for. A dash of Worcestershire sauce or anchovy paste can do the trick.
I used about ¼ tbsp of Worcestershire sauce for a cup of tomato juice, and this worked perfectly with my Caesar cocktail.
Or, if you’re aiming for a vegan option, take a page out of CBC’s book and use vegan Worcestershire sauce and roasted seaweed sheets for that salty, oceanic flavor.
You could also experiment with a teaspoon of kelp powder or a drizzle of caper juice for more vegan options.
Another option you can try is mixing 3/4 cup of tomato juice with 1/4 of mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth for an umami kick sans the ocean flavor.
The possibilities are endless!
How to substitute: replace Clamato in a 1:1 ratio with your tomato juice concoction.
Bloody mary mix
Here’s a ready-to-use alternative for when you’re short on time or don’t feel like playing mixologist: the Bloody Mary Mix.
This cocktail mix is already seasoned and has a base of tomato juice, giving it a similar profile to Clamato.
And don’t be afraid to make it your own by adding a more seasoning or tweaking it to your preference. I found it wasn’t as briney as Clamato, so I added a teaspoon of fish sauce. YUM!
The convenience of a Bloody Mary Mix is hard to beat, especially when you’re entertaining.
How to substitute: replace Clamato in a 1:1 ratio with Bloody Mary Mix.
Beefamato – substitute to avoid
I came across this substitute during my research and was excited to try it. But turns out Motts’ has discontinued making Beefamato.
As the name suggests, it was a combination of beef broth and tomato juice. I did a quick DIY version, which tasted meatier and more savory than clamato juice.
Good if that’s what you’re looking for, but it was too hearty for my tastes.
Best Clamato Substitutes + 1 To Avoid
- 1 cup plain tomato sauce
- ½ cup clam juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 stick celery, cut into chunks
- ½ small onion, cut into chunks
- 1 small carrot, cut into chuinks
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and veins removed
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp hot Mexican salsa, optional
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- Place all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until you have a smooth sauce. This should take about 3 minutes.
- Pour the mixture in fine mesh sieve over a bowl to strain the pulp from the vegetables.
- Use immediately or transfer into a jug and keep in the fridge for up to seven days.