How to Make a Clam Boil


Impress guests at your next summer party with a classic clam boil. In addition to clams, clam boils typically include small potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and smoked sausage cooked together in a boiling pot of water or broth. In New England, lobster is included in traditional clam bakes. In northeast Ohio, another region known for clam bakes, shrimp is included. Feel free to add whatever you prefer. Cooking the ingredients at staggered times is the key to getting everything cooked properly. Serve your clam boil in a big pile on the table for everyone to enjoy, family-style.

Things You'll Need

  • Large stockpot
  • Steamer basket
  • Water and/or broth
  • Additional seasonings, optional
  • New or red small potatoes
  • Corn cobs
  • Smoked sausage
  • Littleneck or steamer clams
  • Slotted spoon
  • Mesh strainer
  • Fill a large stockpot with a steamer basket insert about halfway with water and bring to a boil. You can replace some or all of the water with chicken broth, clam juice, beer or wine. You can also add seasonings and aromatics to the liquid such as crab boil seasoning, salt, pepper, lemons, fresh herbs, garlic and onions.

  • Add the small potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes to 15 minutes until they are fork tender.

  • Add corn-on-the-cob, cut into halves or quarters, as well as your smoked sausage, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces, to the pot. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

  • Add the littleneck or steamer clams, cleaned and scrubbed, to the pot and cook for about five to seven minutes, just until they open. Use a slotted spoon to mix everything together. Remove from heat.

  • Remove the clam boil ingredients from the pot using a large slotted spoon and spread onto a large platter or surface lined with newspapers to serve. Strain the broth through a mesh sieve, then ladle into dipping bowls to serve with the clam boil.

Tips & Warnings

  • To add lobsters, boil them briefly by themselves, just until they turn bright red, about eight minutes, then set aside. After adding all your other ingredients, add the lobsters to finish cooking for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  • To add shrimp to your clam bake, add them on top of the clams in the last three to five minutes of cooking. Use unpeeled shrimp, which will keep the stockpot liquid inside, giving them more flavor.

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