Steamed Clams

There are three varieties of clams: soft shelled, hard shelled, and razor clams from the Pacific. Soft-shelled clams are oval; hard-shelled clams are round and are known as littlenecks, medium cherrystones, or large chowder clams. Small clams are eaten raw or steamed on the half shell. When buying clams, be sure the shells are clamped tightly together, as this indicates the clam is alive. Discard broken or cracked shells. Scrub each under running water and soak in salt brine for about 1/2 hour. This recipe is easily scalable to desired number of servings.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 10 minutesTotal: 25 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 4


  • 1 quart clams
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice


  • Scrub shells well with a brush until no sand is visible. Put clams in a large saucepan with 2 tablespoons water. Cover tightly and cook over low heat until the clams open, about 15 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove the clams with a slotted spoon to soup bowls.
  • Strain the broth and serve in a small bowl on the side. Also serve with melted butter to which a little lemon juice has been added. Add a small amount of boiling water so the butter will float to the top and stay hot. To eat, lift the clam from the shell by the neck and dip in clam broth, then butter.