A quick and EASY Red Clam Sauce with a “cooked all day” richness that will be a favorite for any pasta lover! Made with tomatoes, clams, salty pancetta and spices, this is just another perfect weeknight dinner to add to your rotation. Even better the next day for lunch!

Linguine with clam sauce in a white bowl with a striped napkin.

Red Clam Sauce

If you’ve been following The Suburban Soapbox for awhile now, you know I’m not a big fan of red sauce….unless it’s a rich and meat Bolognese that you could lap up with a spoon sans pasta. But this easy Red Clam Sauce is a close second and now I’m thinking that maybe I DO like red sauce on my pasta.

I know most people love a White Clam Sauce but when I’m going for that true seafood flavor I’m ordering a big bowl of Linguine with Red Clam Sauce. It’s tangy and briney and perfect in every way. There’s something magical about the tomato flavor with the clams that makes it taste like you’re dining in Il San Pietro….or another Italian coastal town that I’ve never been to. 🙂

What’s even better about this Linguine with Red Clam Sauce recipe is that it’s super easy to make and you could even double or triple the batch to freeze for easy meals later. It has that “cooked all day” flavor but doesn’t actually have to cook all day.

Pancetta in a pot for clam sauce.

What is Clam Sauce

Clam sauce is a topping for pasta that is made with clams. There are two varieties, white and red. White clam sauce is made with clams, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and, sometimes, white wine. 

Red Clam Sauce is a tomato based sauce with minced clams mixed in. This is a Red Clam Sauce recipe….in case you got lost along the way.

Ingredients for clam sauce in a white pot.

What Does It Taste Like

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce tastes like a tangy, sweet tomato sauce with a hint of brininess from the sea. It doesn’t taste fishy, as some may think. The clam flavor is surprisingly subtle.

Linguine with red clam sauce in a white pot.

How Long Does It Last

Your Red Clam Sauce will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

You can also freeze your clam sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw your red clam sauce in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in a saucepan over low heat until warmed through, or in the microwave until heated.

Red Clam sauce in a white bowl with a gold fork.

What To Serve With It

Because Linguine with Red Clams Sauce is a pretty hearty dinner we like to serve it alongside a classic wedge salad or a bright fresh Mediterranean Salad. If you’re looking to serve a full on Italian Feast, this is a fantastic side dish for Chicken Parmesan or this easy Chicken Cacciatore.

If you’re looking for more Italian favorite sauces, we love this quick and easy Vodka Sauce. It’s creamy but light and goes great on everything. And this hearty Italian Meat Sauce comes together in just 30 minutes.

Or, if you’re an Instant Pot fan, you have to try this Instant Pot Bolognese…..it’s simple and amazing.

Bolognese Sauce over linguine.

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Red Clam sauce in a white bowl with a gold fork.

Get the Recipe: Easy Red Clam Sauce

Quick and easy Red Clam Sauce recipe is great for topping your Linguine and serving with some crusty bread.
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  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 28- ounce can Fire Roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28- ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 pound chopped fresh clams and juice OR canned clams and juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  • saucepan


  • In a large dutch oven, brown the pancetta over medium-high heat until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add the onions and celery to the drippings and cook over medium-high heat until softened.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and tomato puree stirring to combine.
  • Stir in the oregano and brown sugar and bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes and then stir in the clams.  Continue to simmer for 5 minutes or until the clams are cooked.
  • Serve immediately over pasta or with crusty bread.


Nutrition facts do not include pasta.
Red Clam Sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Calories: 176kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 320mg, Potassium: 851mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 826IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 83mg, Iron: 4mg