Best Steamed Clam Recipe

So simple and just so darn good! Our Best Steamed Clam Recipe is such a wonderful non-traditional meal this time of year! Spice up your holiday gathering with JUST 3 ingredients! Who knew making clams was a ‘throw-and-go’ type of dish?? Make a quick butter mixture for dipping and let the family have at it! That’s 5 ingredients total!

Best Steamed Clams Recipe on newspaper with drawn butter

Every year, my family has the tradition of spending one week in Ocean City, New Jersey. 30-something of us descend upon this incredibly picturesque town and spend seven days straight communing over dinners, at the boardwalk, on the beach, and going on bike rides. Each year, we schedule Tuesday night as Clam-Night… every single year! My dad gets these amazing little-neck clams in the morning, we keep them on ice, and everyone comes over for what turns into one of the best nights of the trip. We always use the Best Steamed Clam Recipe.

How open do clams need to be?

First of all, you do not want clams open when you buy them. Clams, unlike mussels, only open when they are cooked all of the way through. After cooking, if some of the clams have not opened, they were either not cooked long enough or they are bad and need to be discarded.

How do you wash clams before cooking?

After buying clams, you will need to soak your clams for 20 minutes in fresh water just before cooking. We always plug the sink and put them in there and fill her up. As the clams breathe, they will filter the fresh water. When this happens, the clam pushes salt water and sand out of their shells. After 20 minutes, the clams will have cleaned themselves of much of the salt and sand they have collected. Drain the water and they are ready to be cooked!

Person holding clams washed and in disposable container

Ingredients for our Best Steamed Clam Recipe:

  • 250 Little Neck Clams
  • 1 Bottle of Shiner Bock Beer
  • Water

Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 Sticks of Butter
  • 1 TBS Minced Garlic
Close up of Best Steamed Clams before steaming

How to make our Best Steamed Clam Recipes:

First, we try to go with as fresh as possible. Pick out at least 250 little-neck clams the morning/afternoon they will be used. Then, keep them stored on ice, in coolers.

Next, when you are ready to make them, rinse them down with cold tap water in the sink. Let them soak about 20 minutes, if time allows.

Best steamed clams in a sink to be washed

When rinsing the clams in the sink, make sure there are no ‘mudders’ – ones that are dead on arrival. You will be able to spot these because good ones will be slightly open, and when you tap on them, they close really fast.

Following that, we place them in a aluminum pan that spans two burners for quicker and even cooking. Put in 1 inch of water per 250 clams, approximately.

Best Steamed Clams sitting on stovetop over 2 burners.

Next, add one full bottle or can of Shiner Bock beer to each pan. We love this beer in general, but it’s also perfect for this recipe because it isn’t too overwhelming of a beer. It accentuates the flavors instead of taking over.

Pouring Shiner Bock beer into Best Steamed Clams

Last, cover the clam dish with a lid. Turn the burners on high. They will need to steam for about 30-40 minutes. You can periodically check them after 25 minutes. What you are waiting for is the clams to open up.

Making the butter mixture:

While the clams are steaming, we make the butter mixture. All that needs to be done is add the two sticks of butter to a sauce pan, mix in the garlic, and stir on low heat for it to melt and become fragrant. No need to bring to a boil – just keep it on low and stir occasionally.

Once steaming is done, we transfer the aluminum pan to a table with pot-holders and the family digs in!

Melted butter on a stovetop with minced garlic

Last step to remember is to actually get some! You would think that it would take a while for 250 clams to be eaten, but you would be mistaken! These things fly when placed in front of everyone. As you can see in the picture below, even my 7-year-old goes after them! If you are in a location to get your hands on some clams, this dish will go a long way over the holidays and a nice change-up from the typical holiday fare. It’ll take some pressure off of you because the best part of the recipe is that it’s just simple! S-I-M-P-L-E.

Young child picking up Best Steamed Clams out of disposable tray
Best Steamed Clam Recipe
Yield: 250 clams

Best Steamed Clam Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 250 Fresh Little-Neck Clams
  • 1 Bottle/Can of Shiner Bock
  • Water
  • 2 Sticks of Butter
  • 1TBS Minced Garlic


  1. Rinse clams in fresh water. If time allows, let them soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Place clams in aluminum tin.
  3. Add 1 inch of water to tin.
  4. Pour beer over clams and then cover.
  5. Turn burners to high and steam for 30-40 minutes, checking after 25 minutes for clams opening.
  6. While clams steam, melt butter in a sauce pan and mix garlic in. Keep on low.
  7. Once all clams are open, serve with the butter.
  8. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 191Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

(Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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