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Beer Steamed Clams

Beer Steamed Clams

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  • Prep 5min
  • Total45min
  • Servings4

These delicious clams have a wonderful flavor, thanks to being steamed in beer.MORE+LESS-


Updated August 4, 2016



dozen little neck clams


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  • 1

    Preheat your pan over a grill, brassiere or stove over medium heat. If you are using a grill or brassiere, be sure to use cast iron.

  • 2

    Pour in beer (all of it) and add clams in a single layer. (It will likely take several batches to do all the clams - usually three batches for me.) Cover and cook, checking regularly, until the shells open wide.

  • 3

    Once the clams are all cook, in a small pan, melt butter and add two spoonful of the broth from the clam pan. Whisk together and then pour over the clams just before serving.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

Steamed Clams With Bacon and Beer Recipe

This recipe for Steamed Clams is from "Off The Hook: Reflections & Recipes from an Old Salt" by Roger Fitzgerald. Recipes by Susan Volland (Ten Speed Press). bacon, onion, garlic, and beer flavor the steamed-clams sauce. Water or chicken stock may be substituted for the beer, but do use the beer if at all possible. It lends incredible flavor. The beauty of this dish is that it comes together in about 30 minutes.

Manila clams are called for in this recipe. Originally from the shores of China, they now grow in the wild in the Pacific Northwest (where they're sometimes called Seattle clams), and also are farmed along with other bivalves like mussels and oysters. They are considered to be among the sweetest and smallest hard-shell clams, usually less than 3 inches across. Manila clams need only about 3 to 5 minutes to steam open, while other varieties, like the Pacific Littleneck clam, which is a good substitute for the Manila, requires longer cooking.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Off The Hook: Reflections & Recipes from an Old Salt by Roger Fitzgerald (Ten Speed Press).

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  • 2 cups wood chips
  • 2 pounds soft-shell clams
  • ⅓ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces room temperature medium-bodied beer, such as pale ale
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Butter Sauce

Soak wood chips in water for 1 hour drain.

Place clams in sink, and cover with cool water. Rinse clams well, rubbing together to dislodge grit, and drain. Repeat until water is clear. Drain clams. Place in a large bowl, and cover clams with cold water. Stir in cornmeal and salt. Refrigerate and soak for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Remove grill rack set aside. Pierce the bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife. Place pan directly on heat element on bottom of grill add wood chips to pan. Place grill rack on grill. Arrange clams in a grill-safe roasting pan, large shallow baking pan, or sturdy disposable foil pan. Pour beer and 1 cup warm water over clams arrange garlic and lemon over clams. Place pan on grill cover grill, and cook 15 minutes. Stir clams. Cover grill, and cook 5 minutes or until clams open. Discard any unopened shells.

Best Way To Steam Clams

The Clam Can is on it’s way and this time of everyone is having clam bakes or clam boils. We figured it would be best to educate everyone the best way to steam clams. This is just your basic, simple steamer recipe and you may or may not know some of these helpful tips. But we actually went quahogging the other day off the beach in Marion, MA. So the above photo is the result from steaming those littlenecks using this recipe. Taste and enjoy!

3 to 4 pounds live small hard-shelled clams – Here in New England they’re called littlenecks or cherrystones. In the Pacific Northwest they are known as steamers.
NOTE: If the shells of the live clams are open, tap on shell. If it does not close, throw away the clam.

3 tablespoons butter
1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
1 tblsp parsley
3 cloves garlic, lightly chopped
2 16oz cans Narragansett lager beer
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Melted unsalted butter*
Portuguese rolls from your favorite bakery

NOTE: The use of unsalted butter is imperative for this recipe, otherwise your clams will be too salty!

NOTE: FDA’s recommendations are to soak steamer clams for several hours in seawater (or 1/3 cup coarse kosher salt and 1 gallon water) to which you have added 1 cup cornmeal. Use kosher or sea salt as the iodine in regular salt will kill the clams before they hit the boiling water. My mother always used a little black and red pepper. She said it helps the clams spit out extra sand. No facts back this up, but it’s always best to stick with tradition and do what your mother tells you.

One hour before serving, scrub clams with vegetable brush in cold water rinse with water until free of sand (adding a little coarse salt to the water will help to remove the sand from the clams).

In a steamer pot or a large kettle, melt butter saute onion and garlic until soft. Add Gansett and pepper flakes and bring to a slow boil. Add clams and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and steam over low heat just until clams open, about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not over cook, as clams will become tough and rubbery (discard any clams that do not open).

Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the clams to large individual soup bowls with individual cups of melted butter for dipping. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Pour broth through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to remove any sand. The broth can either be used as a dunking liquid for the portuguese bread, broth to start a chowder or even a clam sauce for pasta.

How to Steam Clams

When it comes to steamers or mussels, it’s a “done in 10 minutes” dinner or appetizer. It’s as simple as steaming the clams in a lidded saucepan in whatever sauce you choose—simple or complex. From a creamy ale sauce, arrabbiata sauce, or water, just cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the shells open.

I used to steam clams in a creamy wine sauce until I went to my favorite local craft brewery in Portsmouth, NH. Their ale house mussels consisted of cream, spices, fresh herbs, and a pale ale. So obviously I ditched the wine from that day forward because beer is so much better than wine.

Besides the beer, the best part about these steamers is the cayenne pepper. It adds a phenomenal subtle spicy kick. The ale sauce just needs a hint of spice to pull it all together.

Lastly, the toast…yes THE TOAST, don’t underestimate or skip the toast. At restaurants, steamed clams or mussels are always served with toasted french bread on the side for dipping. A delicious step that must not be forfeited. The crunchy bread will soak up the creamy ale sauce and rock your world. It’s great for sharing or not sharing at all!


15 Ways to Cook With Clams

Clams are in the spotlight with our best clam recipes collection. We've got fantastic ideas here for delicious ways to prepare and enjoy this popular shellfish. With recipes like buttery baked clam appetizers and clam dips to clams steamed in beer, Italian-style linguine with clams, stir-fried clams in black bean sauce, and of course, classic clam chowders, you'll find recipes here for cooking fresh, live clams, plus several that use canned clams.

When using fresh, live clams, it's best to cook with them the day that you buy them. At the fishmonger's, look for live clams that smell sweet, without any fishy odor. They should have a pleasant sea aroma.

Clean them before cooking by thoroughly scrubbing the outsides of shells with a stiff brush. Then place in the fridge, covered in fresh, cold water. Clams will self-clean by filtering the water through their shells, pushing out much of the salt and sand they may have collected.

Always shuck (open) clams over a bowl, to catch all the wonderful clam liquor, which can be used in sauces. Clams cook quickly, so this seafood is best cooked gently over low heat, just until the shells open, when the meat will be tenderest (overcooked clams can become tough). Discard any clams with unopened shells after cooking.

Steamed Clams with Shallot Butter

Recipe adapted from Taylor Shellfish Farms, Seattle, WA

Yield: 1 serving

Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time


3 to 4 large shallots, sliced

Vegetable or grape seed oil, for frying

1½ tablespoons minced garlic

1½ teaspoons minced parsley

Zest of ½ lemon, finely grated

13 ounces fresh steamer clams or mussels

2 tablespoons shallot butter

Small handful snap peas, sliced into thirds


1. Make the shallot butter: In a small saucepan, cover the shallots in the oil and place over medium heat. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and let cool before finely mincing. Reserve the oil for another use.

2. Combine ⅓ cup of the minced fried shallots with the remaining shallot butter ingredients.

3. Make the clams: Sort through the clams, discarding any shells that are already open. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foaming. Add the clams and white wine, and tightly cover. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the shells are open.

4. Add the snap peas and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until they're bright green. Discard any clam shells that have not opened. Arrange the shellfish in a bowl, pour the broth over top and serve

Recipe: Steamed Clams

It is absurdly simple to steam clams. And it doesn’t take much to elevate this dish. Some staples: butter, garlic, lemon , and cheap beer. Then get fancy with some garnishes, maybe some sort of pickled pepper. or not! T he possibilities are endless .

  • Middleneck clams, purged (you’re gonna love ‘ em - so the amount will depend on how many folks you’re feeding and how hungry they are)
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon, sliced (and if you want to be fancy, an extra lemon to grill and garnish with as pictured )
  • Cheap beer (we prefer miller lite, but really it tastes like water so whatever comparable light beer will do )
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Pickled (or fresh, it doesn’t really matter ) peppers . P ick your spice! Serranos, jalapenos, poblanos, oh my!
  • Melt butter over medium heat in your steaming pot.
  • Sauté garlic (we know some of you will be annoyed that we don’t tell you exactly how much, but seriously let the Spirit move you)
  • Pour that can of beer in.
  • Put in those purged middleneck clams. Intermittently, squeeze your sliced lemons leaving the spent rinds in the pot and dispersing peppers intermittently.
  • Cover and steam until all your clams are open.
  • Spoon those delectable bivalves into a bowl, garnish with parsley . Extra points if you can get to some of the juice in the bottom of the pan (just be careful: there will likely be a little bit of grit settled out in the very bottom).
  • R evel in the accolades you receive for making such a delicious supper.

A note regarding our recipes: the person who writes the m (our Director of Marketing, Caitlin) is terrible at following directions when she’s in the kitchen . She usually reads several different recipes for the same dish, gets a general u nderstand/feeling for what it should include, triples the amount of garlic, and adds wine. So take some creative liberties with these. Have fun. And enjoy this inspiration for what you can create with our delectable products!

Beer Steamed Clams

Because the last post was such a hit, we're keeping in the theme of cancelled TV shows that have been brought back. This week's inspiration is Firefly. Just kidding, Internet, you're never going to get that show back on the air.

Summer is creepily hiding around the corner wearing cut-offs and espadrilles while holding a super-soaker. All personifications aside, Summer in my mind means fresh seafood. Sure you can get seafood literally anytime of the year, but every summer seaside trip has cemented the idea center in my mind that seafood is Summer fare.

Beer Steamed clams

  • 1 lbs Clams
  • 1 bottle of Beer (I suggest a blonde ale)
  • 1/4 cups chopped Onion
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • juice and zest from half a lemon
  1. Pour the olive oil in a sauce pan, be sure it has a lid. Heat the oil over medium, add the onions and garlic cook until slightly caramelized.
  2. Pour in the beer and turn the heat up to high and cook until boiling. Once the beer reaches a boil add the lemon juice and zest. Oh and the clams.
  3. Cover with lid. Once the clams have opened their shells then they're cooked.
  4. Scoop out the clams with a slotted spoon and place in the bowls you're serving them in. Add the butter to the liquid that's in the pot and stir until the butter is melted. Once melted pour the briny mixture over the clams in each bowl. Serve and garnish with, uh lets say parsley.

Whiskey Cooked Kale

  • 1 bunch of Purple kale chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced Onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced Garlic
  • 1 shot of Whiskey
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • a pinch Salt
  • a pinch of Pepper
  • juice from 1/2 Lemon
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat and add the onions and garlic cook until slightly caramelized.
  2. Add the kale to the pan, stir a few times to coat the kale with the oil, then add the lemon and whiskey.
  3. Cook until the leaves are wilted.

Garlic Parmesan Bread

  • 1 loaf sliced French bread
  • 6 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley (About 2 sprigs)
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese grated
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Mix the butter, olive oil, parsley, garlic, and the spices in a bowl. Use pastry brush to apply the garlic butter to the bread. Top with parmesan cheese.
  2. Place in oven until cheese is melted.

All three elements of this meal work well together. Both the texture and taste vary between each piece, but support one another as if they were a part of a three-piece band. If you're looking for a simple-to-make dish for a quiet summer evening to eat out on the porch then I would recommend making every component of this meal and letting it meld together in your stomach. Enjoy!

As always this blog wouldn't be half of what it is without the fantastic Katy Weaver and her ability to take amazingly beautiful photos.

How to Make the Best Steamed Clams

Small, sweet clams are cooked in a butter, garlic, white wine and cream to create the best sauce for sourdough bread dipping.

I was a waitress for years. My first waitressing job was when I was 15 years old at my best friend’s family restaurant, Sandy’s Fine Foods in Ogden, UT. They made the most amazing homemade pies. I learned a lot from that job, and it was my first foray into realizing I could make more than just a standard hourly wage.

Making tips on top of an hourly wage got me hooked on waiting tables.

Waitressing was also my side job through college. My mad money. I was lucky that my parents had planned ahead and saved for my college fund so I didn’t have to.

After college graduation, I worked two waitressing jobs to save money to go to Europe with my best friend. That was the summer my eu de parfum was the scent of grease and fried fish with the subtle scent of maple syrup while working at Salt Lake City’s premier seafood restaurant of it’s time, the Market Street Grill for breakfast and lunch, and then heading up Emigration Canyon to the historic Ruth’s Diner to work the dinner shift.

It was hard work. With long days and late nights and then right back up at the crack of dawn to choose which men’s tie I’d wear with my blue button down oxford that still smelled like last night’s halibut feast.

Working two jobs, all day every day for some people is the norm. I know not everyone has the opportunity to work just to save for a trip. Or for a shoe shopping habit or their ski pass. Or even to put themselves through college. Instead they’re working two and three jobs to pay for simply living their life.

I didn’t end up going to Europe that summer. I kept waitressing for another year or so before I moved into my you-better-use-that-college-degree-for-something career.

Sure, college set me up for that career, but waitressing and the relationships I formed while I was ladling clam chowder and keeping orders straight in my head taught me just as much as the school of life, if not more.

Waiting on tables made me appreciate people, those we serve and those that serve us. It gave me the fortitude to do the hard work that goes into reaching goals and making achievements. It made me who I am today. And for that, I will always be grateful.

Two byproducts of my time at Market Street Grill are: 1) I met my husband, and 2) We adopted several of their recipes that have now become our own. Our renditions of their famous clam chowder and their stuffed pasilla peppers will always be faves at our house.

But these Steamed Clams…oh, these clams.

About the recipe

At the restaurant this dish was made with cockles, a smaller, soft shelled clam that tastes a bit sweeter than traditional clams. When we lived in Venice Beach, CA, coming across cockles was a lot easier than it is here in Utah. So when we do discover them, we snatch them up as fast as we can and that is what is for dinner tonight.

An important part of making clams or cockles is to be sure to pick through for any half open clams before cooking, and to rinse them thoroughly. Clams are bottom dwellers, living rooted in sand and they get their nourishment from sucking in itty bitties of water and sand along with it. Thus, they have a tendency to be sandy or gritty if not rinsed well. To rinse, place your clams in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes. During that time, the clams will siphon in the fresh water and spit out the sand.

If you can’t find true cockles, look for the smallest clams you can find for the most tender bite, such as littlenecks.

The broth for these clams is my absolute, don’t you dare get in my dipping space, favorite part. And everyone else’s too. Crusty slices of real sourdough bread are as essential to this dish as the clams themselves, because the broth is truly that good.

To start, garlic and green onion are sautéed in butter and then the clams are added in to release their juices as they cook. But it’s the addition of wine and chicken broth (or water and bouillon) that creates the perfect base for this broth.

The final step is to remove the clams and broth from the heat and gently fold in a final pat of butter, plus half and half or cream. Adding the cream OFF the heat ensures the cream will not break or separate.

If you’re looking for more of a dinner idea, adding fettuccine or linguine with a shaving of Parmesan cheese would be a delicious idea.

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.