This recipe for Steamed Clams with Garlic Butter Sauce is an easy to make summertime meal that always impresses! Don’t go spending a fortune at your local seafood joint when you can make truly delicious clams at home with these hassle free steps.

A bowl of steamed clams is placed next to an open pot with more clams.

Steamed Clams with Garlic Butter Sauce

When I think of summer, I think of seafood. The two are totally synonymous in my mind! Maybe it’s because I’m craving a beach vacation, or maybe it’s because I’m watching so many videos online of seafood recipes… Whatever it is, I can’t get seafood off the brain! Luckily, I have recipes like this one in my back pocket to keep my cravings fulfilled all summer long. Steamed Clams with Garlic Butter Sauce is a seafood lover’s dream come true!

What makes these Steamed Clams so delicious isn’t just the mouthwatering Garlic Butter Sauce they’re served with, but also the way that they’re actually steamed. Instead of using water to steam the shellfish, we’re using white wine. This adds a deliciously subtle and aromatic quality to the clams that you just can’t really achieve with any other type of liquid. For the best results, be sure to use a sweet white wine like Pinot Grigio, or even a rosé wine.

With that being said, the Garlic Butter Sauce is still definitely something worth bragging about! Melted butter is dressed up with garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a heavy sprinkling of fresh herbs. All of the flavors combined in the butter creates a sauce that’s flavorful, but still neutral enough to compliment the natural flavors of the clams that has been enhanced by the white wine. All of these ingredients work in tandem together to create a simple, classic seafood dish that never disappoints.

Clams are soaking in a pot filled with water.

How to Make It

Soak the clams. Place the clams in a colander and arrange the colander in a larger bowl. Discard any broken clams. Fill the bowl with cold water, covering the clams, and let the clams sit for 30 minutes. Carefully, move the clams around a few times while soaking to remove the sand.

Steam the clams. Lift the colander out of the bowl and transfer the clams to a deep pot or dutch oven. Add the wine and cover. Bring the wine to a boil and steam for 10-12 minutes or until all the clams have opened. Any clams that do not open after 12 minutes must be discarded.

Make the sauce. While the clams steam, make the garlic butter sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and stir in the garlic. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until the garlic begins to smell fragrant. Add the lemon juice and herbs to the butter.

Assemble and serve. Remove from the heat and pour over the steamed clams, stirring into the wine mixture left in the bottom of the pan. Serve the clams with the sauce and crusty bread for dipping.

A white pot is filled with cooked clams, herbs, and lemon slices.

Why do I need to discard of clams that haven’t opened while cooking?

Rule of thumb here – if after about 12 minutes of cooking your clams haven’t opened, throw them away! They’re either dead or full of caked up sand/mud, so they’re not suitable for eating. Don’t torture yourself by trying to pry one open just to be disappointed.

Why do I need to let the clams soak for 30 minutes?

Do NOT skip this step! Soaking your clams for about half an hour gets rid of both sand and whatever may be in the clams digestive systems. If you skip the soaking step, you’re likely going to end up with some sandy, undesirable clams.

How do I know when clams are done cooking?

It’s simple! As soon as the shells pop all the way open as they’re pictured above, the clams are fully cooked and ready to eat. Again – if you have some clams that aren’t opening with the rest of of the pot, discard them.

Slices of bread are placed next to a bowl of steamed clams.

If you love shellfish, be sure to check out more of my favorite clam recipes!

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A white pot is filled with cooked clams, herbs, and lemon slices.

Get the Recipe: Steamed Clams with Garlic Butter Sauce

Easy Steamed Clams are slightly sweet from a bath in wine and then drenched savory Garlic Butter Sauce.
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients

  • 50 cherrystone clams
  • 2 cups rose wine or other sweet white wine
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Equipment

  • dutch oven

Instructions 

  • Place the clams in a colander and arrange the colander in a larger bowl. Discard any broken clams.
  • Fill the bowl with cold water covering the clams and let the clams sit for 30 minutes.
  • Carefully, move the clams around a few times while soaking to remove the sand.
  • Lift the colander out of the bowl and transfer the clams to a deep pot or dutch oven.
  • Add the wine and cover.
  • Bring the wine to a boil and steam for 10-12 minutes or until all the clams have opened. Any clams that do not open after 12 minutes must be discarded.
  • While the clams steam, make the garlic butter sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Turn the heat to low and stir in the garlic. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until the garlic begins to smell fragrant.
  • Add the lemon juice and herbs to the butter.
  • Remove from the heat and pour over the steamed clams stirring into the wine mixture left in the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve the clams with the sauce and crusty bread for dipping.

Notes

Serve the clams with bowls of the wine sauce for dipping and crusty bread!
Calories: 87kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 0.3g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 24mg, Potassium: 141mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 196IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 1mg