Clams: Main Image

Preparation, Uses, & Tips

Scrub clams under running water with a stiff brush.

To shuck clams, first put them in the freezer for five minutes to loosen their hold. Work over an empty bowl to collect any clam juice. Hold the clam in your hand with the shell hinge toward your palm, and insert a thin, dull knife (never a sharp kitchen knife) between the shell. Work the knife around so you can cut through the hinge. Open the shell and slide the knife between the clam and the top shell. Then detach the clam by sliding the knife between it and the bottom shell.


Place 1/4-inch (0.6cm) water (wine and seasoning optional; lemon makes an excellent seasoning) in the bottom of a large pan. Add clams in the shell. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until shells open (four to five minutes). Throw away any clams that don’t open, or cook them until they do. Serve clams in bowls along with the cooking broth.


Place cleaned and scrubbed clams in the shell directly on the grill, about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15cm) above prepared coals or fire. Turn after two minutes. Cook until shells open slightly, about four minutes.

Pan frying

Heat the frying pan, then add butter or oil. Add clam meat and sauté until brown, two to three minutes.

Deep frying

Pour oil into a wok or deep fryer; it should be at least 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) deep, and the cooker should be less than half full of oil. Heat oil to 375°F (190°C), using a thermometer to monitor temperature. If using geoducks, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces. Dip clam meat in batter, drain, and then slip pieces into hot oil. Cook until brown, about two to three minutes.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.