How to Steam Littleneck Clams


Littleneck clams are small, hard-shelled clams with a shell diameter of less than 2 inches. They are harvested on both the East and West coasts of the United States. These clams have a slightly chewy texture and a flavor that runs from sweet to salty. There are many ways to cook littleneck clams. Most often, they are served raw on the half-shell or in pasta dishes. They can also be steamed and served alone.

How to Steam Littleneck Clams
How to Steam Littleneck Clams (Photo: Richard Ellgen/Demand Media)
How to Steam Littleneck Clams (Richard Ellgen/Demand Media)
Things You'll Need
  • Live littleneck clams
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Water
  • Pot, pan or kettle with tight-fitting lid
  • Clam broth, melted butter or lemon (optional)

Step 1:Check the clams to see whether they are tightly closed. Discard any clams that do not close when touched.

(Photo: Richard Ellgen/Demand Media)

Step 2:Wash the clams under cold water. Scrub the shells with a brush if necessary.

(Photo: Richard Ellgen/Demand Media)

Step 3:Add 1/4 to 1 inch of water to a pot, kettle or pan. Bring it to a boil.

(Photo: Richard Ellgen/Demand Media)

Step 4:Place the clams directly into boiling water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.

(Photo: Richard Ellgen/Demand Media)

Step 5:Steam 5 to 10 minutes or until the clams have opened. Throw away any unopened clams.

(Photo: Richard Ellgen/Demand Media)

Step 6:Serve with clam broth, melted butter or lemon, if desired.

(Photo: Richard Ellgen/Demand Media)

Tips & Warnings

  • Store live clams in a container with a slightly open lid in the refrigerator if you don't plan on steaming them immediately.
  • Before steaming, throw away clams with cracked shells and clams that do not close when touched. Those indicate dead clams, which are not fit for consumption.


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