How to Steam Littleneck Clams

By Antonia James

Littleneck clams are small, hard-shelled clams with a shell diameter of less than 2 inches. They are harvested on both the East and West coasts of the United States. These clams have a slightly chewy texture and a flavor that runs from sweet to salty. There are many ways to cook littleneck clams. Most often, they are served raw on the half-shell or in pasta dishes. They can also be steamed and served alone.


Step 1

Check the clams to see whether they are tightly closed. Discard any clams that do not close when touched.

Step 2

Wash the clams under cold water. Scrub the shells with a brush if necessary.

Step 3

Add 1/4 to 1 inch of water to a pot, kettle or pan. Bring it to a boil.

Step 4

Place the clams directly into boiling water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.

Step 5

Steam 5 to 10 minutes or until the clams have opened. Throw away any unopened clams.

Step 6

Serve with clam broth, melted butter or lemon, if desired.