Steamed Clams Recipe

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Steamed clams recipe in white wine with butter and garlic have a heavenly aroma and plenty of flavor. Make this recipe tonight in under 30 minutes!

While this may be the first clams recipe I have ever posted here, I’m no stranger to seafood in general! I also have an easy clam chowder recipe that you will love.

If you wanted, you could include this popular shellfish in my low country boil. Otherwise, check out this Cajun Jambalaya Pasta or my creamy lobster mac and cheese.

titled collage for steamed clams recipe


Steamed Clams In White Wine – Ingredient Notes

  • Shellfish – Always be sure the clams are still alive when you purchase them, since those that have already perished are prone to bacteria.

    The aroma should be clean like ocean air and not at all fishy.

    Keep them in a bag or open container with plenty of air circulation, and use them within 24 hours for best results.

    You can find more helpful tips on buying and cleaning here.

  • Wine – I always say to cook with something you would love to drink by itself, and this dish is no exception! With so few ingredients, the flavor really comes through.

    You don’t need to splurge on something expensive, just whatever is in your budget and tastes good to you. Chardonnay is my personal favorite, but Pinot Grigo or Sauvignon Blanc would work as well.

  • Parsley – This is not a recipe where you can substitute dried herbs for fresh. The flavor of dried will be too concentrated, and the texture won’t be pleasant with the rest of the dish.

    Be sure to use flat leaf parsley and not the dense, curly variety which is only good as garnish on a plate.

littleneck clams with lemon and garlic on counter

Serving Suggestions

All you really need with this steamed clams recipe is a hunk of crusty bread to soak up the delicious broth!

You could also add some grilled asparagus or a simple green salad to round out the meal.

I particularly like to pair clams in white wine with tender pasta, since the liquid from the pan can double as a light sauce. Linguine, angel hair, or even bowtie noodles would be an excellent choice.

sauteed onion and garlic in a skillet

How To Clean Clams Before Steaming

Once you get home from the store, put them on ice and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to get started.

About 30 minutes before starting the recipe, soak the shellfish in a big bowl of cold water. This should help to work out any sand that may still be inside.

Then, give the outside a quick scrub with a stiff bristle brush before draining and rinsing in more cold water.

garlic and clams in skillet

Can you eat steamed clams that don’t open?

If, for some reason, you end up with a few shells that are still closed once cooked I recommend tossing them instead of trying to force them open.

A number of things can cause this to happen, but most likely the muscle is either dead inside, or it won’t loosen from the shell. Either way, you won’t want to eat it!


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steamed clams, close up

Steamed Clams Recipe

Donna Elick
Steamed clams in white wine with butter and garlic have a heavenly aroma and plenty of flavor. Make this recipe tonight in under 30 minutes!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 30 Small Clams


  • 30 small clams
  • 2 lemons
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • dash of cracked black pepper
  • Preferred bread for serving


  • Prior to cooking, be sure to rinse the clams. Place them in a large bowl with water and let them sit for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse to get rid of any sand.
  • In a deep skillet (or pot), begin to melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add minced garlic and white onion. Saute until onions are tender and fragrant.
  • Add white wine, remaining butter and clams. Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes (or until the clams have opened).
  • Remove from heat and top with the juice of 1 lemon, fresh parsley and pepper.
  • Serve with bread and additional lemon wedges.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 28cal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 17mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for littleneck clams recipe

Originally published May 2021

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  1. I also add a 6oz can of diced clams with their juice and this just isn't the same without a little linguini mixed in.

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