steamed manila clams

A dutch oven filled with steamed Manila clams garnished with lemon wedges and minced parsley sitting on a striped towel.

A gift from the sea: sweet little clams inside beautifully patterned shells. They don’t require much fuss—just a little garlic, lemon, and butter will make them all that much better. When we dig clams, we collect them in a fine net bag. At the boat, we hang the bag off the transom to allow them to continue siphoning the salt water for several hours until we’re ready to cook them. Doing this means the clams will be grit-free for eating. Steam these little gems for happy hour, and toast some crusty bread to sop up the broth. 

steamed manila clams

Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes


  • 4 pounds manila or native littleneck clams
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • Fresh lemon juice, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley,
  • for garnish



Shortly before steaming, scrub the clams with a stiff brush under cold running water to remove any grit on the shells. If any shells are broken, discard them.


In a Dutch oven or stockpot, combine wine, garlic, salt, and pepper and bring to a rolling boil.


Once boiling, add the clams and cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium high, and steam for 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove all opened clams to a large serving bowl.


Stir the pot and cook any remaining clams for an additional 3 minutes until they open. Discard any clams that don’t open. With a slotted spoon, divide clams into individual bowls.


Add the butter to the remaining clam broth, and stir until it melts. Ladle the clam broth over the bowls of clams.


Garnish with a splash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of parsley.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Karen Johnson
    February 12, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Once again, I love your descriptions as much as your recipes! You draw me in… imagining I am there with you digging clams.
    I can almost taste it. I love both the thought you put into every recipe, and the simplicity you give to them.

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