30 Clam Recipes to Master

Rhode Island Style Clam Stuffies
Photo: Victor Protasio

If you have access to clams, we've got plenty of seafood recipes for you to use them in, whether you're looking for a briny soup or a steamed appetizer. Make spaghetti with clams, clam chowder, Rhode Island–style clam stuffies, or fancy clam dip with these clam recipes from chefs Daniel Humm, Ashley Christensen, George Mendes and more pros.

01 of 30

Baked Clams with Bacon and Garlic

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.

02 of 30

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. In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best.

03 of 30

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.

04 of 30

Clams with Hot Pepper, Saffron, and Tomato Confit

Clams with Hot Pepper, Saffron & Tomato Confit
© Christina Holmes

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

05 of 30

Linguine with Clams, Bacon, and Tomato

Linguine with Clams, Bacon, and Tomato
© David Malosh

Clams and bacon form a delectable union enhanced by wine-tinged 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.

06 of 30

Cataplana Stew with Sausage and Clams

Cataplana Stew with Sausage and Clams
© Gareth Morgans

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.

07 of 30

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. Winemaker Encarna Méndez prepares clams the fisherman's way: steamed in Albariño with onion and garlic.

08 of 30

Stuffed Clams with Linguiça and Arugula

Stuffed Clams with Linguica and Arugula
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Littleneck clams are blended with breadcrumbs, jalapeño, celery, arugula, and linguiça­ — a Portuguese smoke-cured pork sausage — before they are stuffed back into their shells and baked until piping hot and lightly browned. Portuguese rolls are light and airy with a crisp crust, making them ideal for this stuffing: The crumb readily absorbs flavor.

09 of 30

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.

10 of 30

Clams Carbonara

Clams Carbonara
John Kernick

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

11 of 30

Clams in Garlic Sorrel Cream

Eric Adjepong's clams in garlic sorrel cream
Emily Kordovich

Chef Eric Adjepong's steamed clams get a burst of bright flavor from green, tangy sorrel. If you can't find sorrel, or it's out of season, Adjepong recommends using fresh basil and adding a little extra lemon juice to mimic its tart, lemony flavor. Don't skip the warm crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

12 of 30

Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic

Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic
© Simon Watson

This exquisite, super-simple version of spaghetti con vongole from the chef-owners of Brooklyn's Frankies 457 Spuntino, Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, 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.

13 of 30

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 cookbook author Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee opts to mix hers right into the bracing soup, adding spinach for extra flavor.

14 of 30

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.

15 of 30

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.

16 of 30

Vietnamese Grilled Clams with Oyster Sauce and Peanuts

Vietnamese Grilled Clams with Oyster Sauce and Peanuts
Justin Walker

In Vietnam, huge pen shell clams are featured 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.

17 of 30

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. Its garlicky broth pairs well with crusty bread and dry Portuguese wine.

18 of 30

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 crave-able. Some generous splashes of hot sauce and plenty of fresh dill add brightness and cut through the rich, indulgent dip.

19 of 30

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," cookbook author 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."

20 of 30

Littleneck Clams in the Style of Escargot

Littleneck Clams in the Style of Escargot Recipe
Victor Protasio

Easy-to-find littleneck 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.

21 of 30

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 crab legs, along with frozen corn on the cob, which cools down the boil without diluting it like ice would.

22 of 30

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.

23 of 30

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.

24 of 30

Fregula cun Cocciula (Sardinian Fregola with Clams)

Fregula cun Cocciula (Sardinian Fregola with Clams)
Photo by Cedric Angeles / Prop Styling by Stephanie Bohn

This dish spotlights perfectly steamed clams and chewy fregola, a small round pasta from Sardinia, in a golden, spicy, briny broth. Place the clams in a colander and scrub them well under cold running water to remove any grit before steaming. The recipe is especially delicious when matched with a Sardinian Vermentino.

25 of 30

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.

26 of 30

Manila Clams with Shiro Dashi and Basil

Manila Clams with Shiro Dashi and Basil Recipe
Gary He

Clams are often covered and gently steamed until they open. Here, chef Trigg Brown cooks them uncovered over high heat to coax steam from the cooking liquid and concentrate its flavor at the same time. The result: tender, juicy clams with a rich, reduced broth in only 15 minutes.

27 of 30

Spaghetti with Clams and Crispy Breadcrumbs

Spaghetti with Clams and Crispy Bread Crumbs
© Christina Holmes

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

28 of 30

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

This recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder — known for being tomato-forward with a broth base — has layers of flavor, from the clam broth spiked with white wine to the tender vegetables that are cooked in bacon fat. Half of the clams are roughly chopped, while the other half are left whole in their shells for contrast.

29 of 30

Saucy Clams and Shrimp with Wild Mushrooms

Saucy Clams and Shrimp with Wild Mushrooms
© Quentin Bacon

This wonderful, saucy clam dish is cooked in Marqués de Villalúa. If you can't find it, substitute any dry, fruity white. Serve the clams in deep bowls with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

30 of 30

Dick's Amazing Stuffed Clams

Dick's Amazing Stuffed Clams
© Keller + Keller

This rich clam-and-sausage-packed recipe came from Dick Ames, a friend of the late fisher and cookbook author Martha Greenlaw who adored cooking. "He was a big man," Martha said. "You know he loved his food." Dick preferred using large, tough quahogs, though you can substitute any chowder clam.

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