35 Clam Recipes to Master

Rhode Island Style Clam Stuffies
Photo: Victor Protasio

Spaghetti with clams! Clam chowder! Rhode Island–style clam stuffies! If you've got clams, we've got plenty of recipes for you to use them in, whether you're looking for a soup or an appetizer. And if you're feeling fancy? Make fancy clam dip, of course! Read on for even more clam recipes that we love.

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Baked Clams with Bacon and Garlic

baked-clams-with-bacon-and-garlic-XL-RECIPE1017.jpg
Marcus Nilsson

In this ultimate version of baked clams, chef Daniel Humm includes chopped clams in the filling, doubling down on briny clam flavor. Bacon, parsley, lemon and a touch of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese add a savory, herby kick.

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Spaghetti with Clams and Braised Greens

Spaghetti with Clams and Braised Greens
© Greg DuPree

To give spaghetti with fresh clam sauce more flavor, chef Ashley Christensen purees sweet roasted bell peppers into the spicy, briny broth.

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Pop-Open Clams with Horseradish-Tabasco Sauce

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"You can't get lazier than this," says Marcia Kiesel, who simply puts clams on the hot grill and waits a minute or two for them to open and start sizzling. Then she takes them off the heat and tops them with a spicy sauce spiked with horseradish and Tabasco.

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Sake-Steamed Clams

Sake-Steamed Clams

This recipe comes from Nobuo Fukuda (an F&W Best New Chef 2003). He suggests using a cooking sake, or ryori. One brand he likes is Shochikubai.

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Clam Risotto with Bacon and Chives

Clam Risotto with Bacon and Chives
© David Malosh

If you buy just-shucked whole clams rather than already chopped clams in a container for this recipe, use their liquid instead of the bottled clam juice; just be sure to strain it first through a paper towel to remove any grit.

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Clams with Hot Pepper, Saffron & Tomato Confit

Clams with Hot Pepper, Saffron & Tomato Confit

The clams' natural juices, flavored with saffron, make a wonderful broth; a drizzle of basil-scented tomato oil enhances the flavor even more.

07 of 35

Cataplana Stew with Sausage and Clams

Cataplana Stew with Sausage and Clams

Portuguese cataplana is a long-simmered pork stew to which clams are added. For our quick take on the dish, we've replaced the usual pork shoulder with sausage.

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Spaghetti with Clams and Crispy Bread Crumbs

Spaghetti with Clams and Crispy Bread Crumbs

Top Chef finalist Sarah Grueneberg toasts bread crumbs in olive oil until crispy to sprinkle over pasta dishes, like this simple spaghetti and clams.

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Viognier-Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips

Viognier-Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips

Chef Dean Maupin thinks most things taste better with smoky bacon. These bacon-garnished briny clams, steamed in Virginia's fruity and floral Viognier, are such a big hit that he serves them regularly during the cooler spring and fall months.

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Crispy Potato, Bacon and Clam Flatbread

Crispy Potato, Bacon and Clam Flatbread

Littleneck clams star on this made-from scratch flatbread. Don't forget to have a little parsley on hand for the finishing touch.

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Clams the Sailor's Way

Clams the Sailor's Way
© Pernille Pedersen

It's not uncommon in Galicia to have a meal that consists of lots of different shellfish, bread and nothing else. Encarna Méndez prepares clams the fisherman's way: steamed in Albariño with onion and garlic.

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Ten-Minute Salt Cod with Corn and Littleneck Clams

Ten Minute Salt Cod with Corn and Littleneck Clams. Photo © Anna Williams
© Anna Williams

Instead of using salt cod, a classic Portuguese ingredient that takes days to soak, New York City chef George Mendes quick-cures fresh cod by standing it in kosher salt for only 10 minutes. He says cod is naturally soft and flaky ("as well as bland," he adds), so salting gives it a firmer texture and a more pronounced flavor.

13 of 35

Linguine with Clams, Bacon, and Tomato

Linguine with Clams, Bacon, and Tomato

Clams and bacon form a delectable union enhanced by wine-flavored tomato sauce. We recommend chopped clams, which are sold in refrigerated containers in many fish shops and at supermarkets, but you can also use good-quality canned clams.

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Clams Carbonara

Clams Carbonara
John Kernick

Boston chef Matt Jennings' pasta combines two beautiful things: salty, rich carbonara and spaghetti alle vongole, prepared with briny New England clams.

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Spicy Udon and Clam Soup

Spicy Udon and Clam Soup
© Maura McEvoy

This dish is based on the classic Korean noodle soup kal gooksu (or "knife noodles," so named because the handmade dough is cut with a knife). In the traditional version, any spicy seasoning would be served on the side, but Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee opts to mix hers right into the bracing soup, adding spinach for extra flavor.

16 of 35

Roasted Cod with Steamer Clams and Pistachio Sauce

Roasted Cod with Steamer Clams and Pistachio Sauce
© Richard Gerhard Jung

Chef Anita Lo combines steamer clams, fingerling potatoes, and cod fillets in this delicious seafood dish.

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Pan-Roasted Clams with Bacon, Bourbon and Jalapeño

Clams with Bacon and Bourbon
© CHRIS COURT

Linton Hopkins gives clams a true modern Southern spin, cooking them with smoky bacon, boozy bourbon and spicy jalapeños.

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Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic

Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic
© Simon Watson

Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli's exquisite, super-simple version of linguine con vongole is packed with garlic and a judicious amount of crushed red pepper. If you prefer, shell the clams before tossing them with their juices in the pasta.

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Garlicky Clams with Confited Potatoes

Garlicky Clams with Confited Potatoes
© Nicole Franzen

The potatoes in this recipe are braised in a good amount of oil; chef Chris Kiyuna reserves the cooking oil for the clams and for shallow frying other ingredients.

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Manila Clams with Lentils and Kale

Manila Clams with Lentils and Kale
© Fredrika Stjärne

The clam juices, white wine and crème fraîche combine in this recipe to create a magnificent broth that's delicious with grilled bread for dunking.

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Clams Broiled with Lemon, Thyme and Parmesan

Clams Broiled with Lemon, Thyme and Parmesan
© Christina Holmes

Chilean chef Gerardo Valenzuela highlights local clams by cooking them in a little bit of water just long enough for them to open, then dresses them delicately with a bit of lemon and white wine and a sprinkling of thyme and Parmesan just before broiling.

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Rigatoni with Clams, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Rigatoni with Clams, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe by Tyler Florence
© Fredrika Stjärne

Chef Tyler Florence of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco combines two distinct Italian favorites into a single genius dish: pasta with clams and sausage with broccoli rabe. Instead of just sautéing the rabe with the sausage, he purees it to create a quick, pleasantly bitter pasta sauce.

23 of 35

Garlicky Littleneck Clams with Fregola

Garlicky Littleneck Clams with Fregola
© Constantine Poulos

A sweet, super-versatile garlic puree is the star of this satisfying dish. In addition to swirling it into the silky broth, chef Michael Psilakis spreads the leftovers on toast in place of butter or folds it into Greek yogurt for a quick dip. Once the garlic puree is made, this dish comes together in minutes.

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Clam-and-Oyster Pan Roast

Clam-and-Oyster Pan Roast
© Christina Holmes

This brothy, aromatic seafood dish from chef Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina, weaves steamed clams with traditional New Orleans creamed oysters. It's hearty but not heavy, and the winter greens make it a full meal. Crusty bread is a must for sopping up the coveted broth.

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Buttered Pasta with Clams and Green Chiles

Buttered Pasta with Clams and Green Chiles
Justin Chapple / Food & Wine

Chef Andrew Brochu puts a delicious spin on classic pasta with clam sauce, adding a spicy green chile ragout, fresh herbs, crème fraîche and lime juice.

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Vietnamese Grilled Clams with Oyster Sauce and Peanuts

Vietnamese Grilled Clams with Oyster Sauce and Peanuts
Justin Walker

In Vietnam, huge pen shell clams feature in this dish. Pen shells are not widely available in the U.S., but the effect is just as good with cherrystone clams, in-shell scallops, or mussels. Finely chopped and combined with a pungent mix of herbs, crispy fried shallots, and oyster sauce, then returned to their shells and grilled until bubbling, they're a delicious appetizer—especially when paired with a cold lager.

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Rhode Island–Style Clam Stuffies

Rhode Island Style Clam Stuffies
Victor Protasio

Quahogs, also known as chowder clams, are the Godzilla of the bivalve kingdom. As big as a fist, their meat is full of briny flavor but can be a bit tough when cooked. The solution? Steam and chop the clam meat before folding it into a stuffing with good company: Portuguese linguiça, red bell pepper, garlic, and fresh herbs. Packed back into their shells and roasted, "stuffies" are a hearty way to enjoy quahogs and a staple of summer meals in Rhode Island.

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Steamed Clams with Tomatoes and Basil

Steamed Clams with Tomatoes and Basil
Jen Causey

"This recipe starts by cooking down some cherry or grape tomatoes in garlic oil in a Dutch oven until they take on a jammy consistency, which intensifies their sweetness," Colu Henry writes. "The clams go into the pot with some white wine (use a good one, and drink the rest), where they are slowly coaxed open until their briny, sweet juices run free and mingle with the tomatoes. Finish the dish with a fistful of perfume-y basil, or whatever tender-leafed herb you have on hand. There will be plenty of brothiness to soak up, which I recommend doing with bread that has been grilled with olive oil and rubbed with garlic just as it comes off the heat."

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Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams (Porco à Alentejana)

Portugese Braised Pork and Clams
Greg DuPree

This simple braise is a mainstay along the coast of Portugal. With clams from the sea and pork from the nearby mountains, it speaks to the landscape, and diet, of Portugal itself. Its garlicky broth pairs well with crusty bread and dry Portuguese wine.

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Littleneck Clams In the Style of Escargot

Littleneck Clams in the Style of Escargot Recipe
Victor Protasio

Easy-to-find little neck clams stand in for snails in this riff on the French classic. The quick wine-brightened garlic butter melts into the clam liquor to create an irresistible broth; have plenty of bread on hand for non-stop sopping.

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Spring Green Paella with Chickpeas and Clams

Spring Green Paella with Chickpeas and Clams
Antonis Achilleos

"Serve this spring greens paella with albariño, a wine from Spain's Rías Baixas region," Andrea Slonecker writes. "Ask for one that's weighty on the palate, which will match bite-for-sip with the almost excessive amount of olive oil in great paella. Its salinity mimics that briny liquor that absorbs into the rice as the clams open, with a hit of tart lemon bringing it all into check."

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Fancy Clam Dip

Fancy Clam Dip Recipe
Justin Walker

This classic white clam dip, filled with cream cheese; crème fraîche; and, of course, canned clams, is salty, cheesy, and craveable. Some generous splashes of hot sauce and plenty of fresh dill add brightness and cut through the rich, indulgent dip.

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Seafood Boil with Cajun Seasoning

Seafood Boil
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

The secret to a seafood boil packed with perfectly cooked shrimp, king crab legs, and clams? Taking it one step at a time. First, simmer a flavor-packed mixture of lemons, Cajun seasoning, onions, garlic, and chiles with small new potatoes to give them a head start. Then add your clams and gently spicy andouille sausage and simmer a few minutes more. Finally, toss in the faster-cooking shrimp and king crab legs, along with frozen corn on the cob, which cools down the boil without diluting it like ice would. A warm bowl of butter sauce spiked with more Cajun seasoning makes the perfect dipping partner for every delicious bite.

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PEI-Style Smoky Clam Chowder

PEI Style Smoky Clam Chowder Recipe
Graydon Herriott

Finnan haddie, or cold-smoked cured haddock, gives this brothy chowder a deep, clean, smoky foundation that highlights sweet clams without overwhelming them. Using a mixture of lightly mashed potatoes and half-and-half to thicken and enrich the soup gives it a silky, but not heavy, texture.

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Clam and Mussel Conserva

Clam and Mussel Conserva
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Clams and mussels—steamed with white wine and butter and then shucked and smothered in a lemony dressing—make for a luxurious first course of a leisurely lunch. The result is fresh-tasting shellfish in a briny, bright sauce, perfect for scooping up with lettuce or spooning over toast.

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