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How to Cook Clams in the Shell

author image Kimberlee Leonard
With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.
How to Cook Clams in the Shell
A bowl of cooked clams. Photo Credit: gontabunta/iStock/Getty Images

Fresh clams are eaten as appetizers on their own or as part of other seafood dishes. Getting the clams cooked and out of the shell can intimidate those unfamiliar with cooking this shellfish. Steam or grill clams in the shell to ensure the muscle is cooked safely. When the clam is completely cooked, the shell should open, exposing the tender meat inside. In some cases the shell won’t open. You can discard these clams or shuck them open with a butter knife.

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Step 1

Pour 1 inch of water into a large pot.

Step 2

Place the pot on the stove top on high heat, and bring the water to a boil.

Step 3

Set the clams in a steaming basket, and position the basket in the pot above the water.

Step 4

Cover the pot with a lid, and allow the clams to steam for 12 to 18 minutes.

Step 5

Remove the clams from the basket, and serve them with garlic butter or use them in favorite chowder recipe.


Step 1

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Step 2

Lay the clams on the gril grate.

Step 3

Turn the clams with tongs after two minutes.

Step 4

Grill another two minutes or until the clamshells open.

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