Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth

Steamed Little Neck Clams in a Wine and Garlic Broth is ready in just a few minutes. If you love seafood, then you’ll love this recipe for little neck clams steamed in a delicious broth!


Linguine or Spaghetti with Clams

Tender little neck clams cooked in a flavorful wine and garlic broth can be served alone or with your favorite linguine or spaghetti.

We love preparing little neck clams in a broth of wine and garlic, especially during Lent, the warmer months, and of course, on Christmas Eve when we prepare our Feast of Seven Fishes- a tradition of seven different seafood dishes.

But for the holidays, we always serve our seafood salad, and perfect mussels provencale as the appetizer, followed by the first course, little neck clams with linguine or spaghetti.

A white dish with spaghetti and Little Neck Clams on top.

Ingredients Needed

  • Little Neck Clams
  • olive oil
  • garlic cloves
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • white wine
  • freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • optional: clam juice, or more (I used Bumble Bee all-natural)
  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti pasta

Let’s Discuss the Recipe for Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth…

  • Time: It only takes 10 minutes to cook.
  • Ingredients: There are 6 main ingredients needed for this recipe, littleneck clams, olive oil, garlic, white wine, crushed red pepper, and fresh parsley.
  • Steaming: While the clams are simmering in the garlic and wine broth, they will begin to open, releasing their natural juices.
  • Flavor: The broth from this recipe is SO flavorful, you may even want to place a spoon next to each plate and some bread to soak up that amazing broth!
  • Tradition: In our house, this dish is called “Spaghetti Alle Vongole,” dating back to when our mother hosted our family’s Christmas Eve celebration for years.  Now the tradition continues at our home, and we continue to serve them all year round.
A white dish loaded with spaghetti and clams on top with fresh parsley scattered over it.

How to clean the clams?

Transfer your “live” clams into a large pot and set the pot in your sink. Run cold water over them and gently rub the clams together. This will help eliminate most of the sand that might be on the outside of the shells. Drain, and repeat the steps, until you no longer see sand on the bottom of the pot. Now your clams are ready to cook.

The cost of clams

Little Neck clams are not expensive to buy these days. The cost is usually around $6.00 to $8.00 per dozen (or per pound) during the summer months, and usually higher during the holiday season. You can find these clams at our local seafood market, Whole Foods, or Costco.

IMPORTANT TIP: They will need to stay on the ice and in an open bag to allow them to breathe; until you are ready to cook them.

Fresh raw clams sitting on ice in a bag

Make them at home

It’s less expensive to make this seafood dish at home rather than ordering at the restaurant. Spaghetti with clams in a restaurant normally charges anywhere from $28.00 to 38.00 dollars per dish.  

But when you make it at home? The cost is usually about $21.00 and will serve 4 to 5 people.

Clams are steaming and cooking inside a pot with broth and fresh parsley scattered on top.

Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth are gently steamed in a delicious broth. It is made with garlic, white wine, crushed red pepper, and fresh parsley.

Altogether, the flavors of wine, garlic, and natural clam juices make this dish so sensational!  Don’t forget the crushed red pepper.  The smallest ingredient will always give any dish a pop!

IMPORTANT NOTE: While cooking and steaming the clams, if you encounter any ones that DO NOT OPEN, those are the ones you fish out and discard them.

A bowl of spaghetti with cooked, opened clams on top.

Questions, & Answers

  1. What to do when you bring the clams home? As soon as you get home, you must open the bag of clams and allow them to “breathe” … or they will quickly die. Clams need to breathe! It’s best to keep them on ice, and chilled in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.
  2. What to do if the clams start to open? Immediately run them under “Cold Water” and they will close up. If you encounter any clams that do not close their shell, discard them.
  3. How many clams do we need to buy for a larger crowd? If you are planning to make these clams for a large crowd, you will need to buy more. Plus, it’s a good idea to add some clam juice ( about 4 to 8-ounce bottle). This will help make additional broth, especially for a medium-sized or large-sized clams.
  4. How many clams should we purchase per person? We like to buy at least 1 dozen of clams per person, which is about 1 pound for 12 clams. If they are the smaller ones, known as New Zealand Clams, then you can get 2 dozen per person.
  5. Where can we purchase a bottle of clam juice? You can buy them at your local seafood market, where you get the clams.
  6. What brand of clams juice should we look for? Any brand of clam juice is fine. I used Bumble Bee Clam Juice or sometimes Cento. You can add in about 1/2 cup or the entire bottle of 8 ounces.

Also remember, for those who prefer no spaghetti? Serve these steamed clams with a leafy green salad on the side, and some crusty bread to dip into the broth. The Italian way!

This recipe for Steamed Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth is truly an all-star seafood dish for dinner. You’ll have to try it!

Buon Appetite!

Watch Video! How to Make Little Neck Clams?

Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth , by

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Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth

Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth

Steamed Little Neck Clams in wine and garlic broth is SO easy to make. It only takes 10 minutes to cook and only 6 ingredients are needed for this recipe for a quick meal that makes a big impression!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves- diced
  • 3 dozen littleneck clams
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup of white wine
  • optional: 1/4 cup of clam juice, or more (I used Bumble Bee all natural)
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, rinse the clams under cold running water and gently rub them together with your hands to allow any sand to rinse off their shells. Rinse and drain a few times, until no sand at the bottom of the bowl is visible. Leave them in cold water until ready to cook them.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over low heat and add the garlic. Sauté the garlic for only 1 minute to be fragrant (no need to brown the garlic). Toss in about 1/2 of the chopped parsley, and reserve the other half for later.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the clams into a colander and quickly transfer them directly to the pot with garlic and olive oil. Add in the crushed red pepper and salt. Cover. Stir the clams after a minute.
  4. Allow the clams to steam and simmer with the garlic for about 2 minutes. Pour in white wine and clam juice and cover again, continue to steam the clams, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Their shells will open gradually. Once all clams are fully opened, turn off the heat. No need to overcook them.
  5. Toss in the remaining chopped parsley. If serving alone, transfer clams along with broth to a large serving bowl and serve.
  6. Also, if you are planning to serve clams with spaghetti or linguine, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt (about 1 tsp.) and toss in the pasta. Cook the pasta to al-dente. Using a ladle spoon, grab some of the salted water (about 1/4 cup) from the pasta, and add it to the clams.
  7. Drain pasta, and transfer pasta to the pot with all the clams and broth.
  8. Stir and serve into individual serving bowls. Garnish on top with more clams in shells and sprinkle on top with freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
  9. Serves 4 to 5


Cooks Notes: If you are planning to make these littleneck clams for a large crowd, you will need to buy more clams, and may want to add in some clam juice (about 4 to 8-ounce bottle) to make more broth, especially for medium-size or large size clams. While cooking, if you encounter any clams not opening, fish them out and discard them.

Nutrition Information:


4 to 5 servings

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305Total Fat: 3.1gProtein: 28g

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I made this last night for myself, my husband, and my son with a big loaf of crusty bread, extra butter and of course the broth. I even used your Chardonnay suggestions! Everyone loved it! Absolutely delicious! We moved to Florida from RI almost 3 years ago and there are just some things I really miss. Thank you for making our whole night! I’ll be making these again and again!

    1. Thank you so much! So happy to hear you enjoyed our mom’s recipe. Have a great week! 🙂

  2. I am soooo impressed! I made this tonight as a surprise for my husband as we both miss seafood in Sarasota. It really rivalled a linguine clam dish I get from a fancy restaurant from over there. This was quarter of that price.

    It was so so easy and it looked so romantic, and tasted so so delicious.

    Thank you so so much for this recipe! It’s now on his top 3 foods I’ve made ever! 🙂

    1. I’m so happy you had a great outcome and enjoyed our recipe Aziza! And welcome to our recipe blog, it’s so nice to meet you! Thank you so much! We hope you will keep trying our recipes, especially seafood, and come back to leave us a comment. Have a great night. 🙂

    1. Hi Louise, I have never tried it with canned clams. But do you have a Whole Foods market in your area? because that is where I get them, at Whole Foods fish market.
      If you don’t have WF market, then you can try it – and let me know if the canned clams work with this recipe. If they do, please come back to leave another comment, it helps those who may have the same question. I hope this helps.
      Thanks so much! 🙂

    2. I’m in Amarillo as well and the United Supermarket on Soncy has little neck clams in the display case 🤍

      1. That sounds good Crystal! Hope you enjoy this recipe, as much as we do. Have a great weekend, and happy cooking! 🙂

  3. Lol thank you for your sweet comment Karen! My husbands favorite as well and I make it often. Have a great weekend! xo

  4. Linguine alle Vongole is one of my husband’s favorite Italian dishes. When I suggest making it, he gets a big smile on his face. Your photos make me wish I could stick my fork into that dish and have a bite.

  5. I made this a few weeks ago and my husband and I loved it so much I’m making it again tonight and probably twice a month from now on lol! Thank you for a great recipe, I wouldn’t change one thing 🙂

  6. Beautiful! My kids love clams, but I never think of preparing them at home. It is always something we order when vacationing near an ocean. We will have to give this a try at our house. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. You’re welcome Cali! We make them all summer long and once you make them for the first time, you’ll always enjoy them at home! Have a great weekend and thanks for taking the time out to leave a comment!

  7. This is the kind of recipe I really want to make! I love the wine and garlic pasta combination and the clams look great! Something special for a special time of year!

  8. It's funny Sandra, I wasn't fond of clams years ago either, especially the large ones- couldn't eat them.
    But I love the little ones, they are so tender – not chewy at all.
    And the flavor of them in this recipe is so amazing – it's difficult to pass up a dish of these little clams. I hope you' ll try them. Have a great day!

  9. I'm not a clam fan, but your presentation is so pretty! I just came in to say hello and to peek at a few recipes which is always so inspiring!