Steamed Mussels and Clams Recipe (with Wine and Garlic)

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Steamed Mussels and Clams Recipe (with Wine and Garlic). These mussels and clams are steamed in a flavorful broth of shallots, parsley, garlic, and white wine. It all comes together in 30 minutes and in one pot. You’ll want a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices.

pot with mussels and clams, bowl with  mussels and clams and toasted bread.
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One of my all-time favorite ways to serve mussels and clams is in a garlic and white wine sauce. It is one of those classic Italian recipes I grew up eating with the abundant supply of fresh shellfish and seafood in Sardegna, Italy.

If you love clams, you might enjoy this Italian baked clams recipe!

Steamed Mussels and Clams

This simple recipe with a savory and fragrant broth is the perfect way to enjoy mussels and clams. Ever since I was little I ordered this meal every chance I got when we went to an Italian restaurant- read more about it here: Story Cozze of My Heart. The flavor blend of white wine, garlic, and parsley is perfect for fresh shellfish.

If you love seafood, try this seafood pasta recipe in a simmering tomato broth or this spaghetti with clams recipe.

Simple Ingredients

Using fresh ingredients is a simple key to success that goes a long way in this easy steamed mussels and clams recipe.

ingredient shot for recipe

Optional Aromatics 

  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 small sprig of fresh oregano
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • Lemon wedges, for serving, if desired

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Steamed Mussels and Clams Step-by-Step Photos

This is my favorite method for steamed mussels and clams. It’s simple — just mussels steamed with a garlicky broth and white wine. So simple and delicious.

process of making recipe: wash mussels and clams

Scrub mussels and clams in cool water. Remove beards from mussels, and discard all broken or unopened shells. Use a damp cloth to make sure they are fully cleaned. Remove from water and store in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

process of making recipe: cooking shallots and garlic in olive oil.

Place a large stockpot (or dutch oven) on the stove over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add shallots (if adding fresh herbs add now). Saute shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes.

process of making recipe: add the mussels and clams and parsley to pot.

Add mussels, clams, white wine, garlic, and parsley and cover the pot with a lid; cook shells until they open, about 5 minutes. Shake the pan once or twice during cooking, with the lid still on, to distribute the mussels and clams.

Steamed Mussels and Clams Recipe (with Wine and Garlic) in pot. Finished cooking.

Open the lid after 5-7 minutes and see if the shells are open. If not, cover and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened after this time.

close up of steamed mussels and clams

Serve hot! Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve in a bowl with the crusty bread. Optional: serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

close up of bowl with mussels and clams and broth with toasted bread on the side.

Where to buy Mussels and Clams

The most important ingredients here are the mussels and clams. Try to buy the freshest seafood you can find. Not all grocery stores have super-fresh seafood options where you can buy fresh clams and mussels, so a local fishmonger is best.

If you can’t find a local seafood store near you ask the fish counter of your local grocery store for advice on getting the freshest mussels and clams.

Storing Mussels and Clams Until Cooking

Mussels and clams are living creatures. Unless they are bought frozen, they’re still alive when you buy them at the store. If you can cook them close to when you buy them, that is best. If you need to store them until cooking they’ll be fine for a few days in the fridge.

To store them in the refrigerator, place the mussels and clams inside a large bowl (you can use one bowl for each). Cover the bowl(s) with a damp dish towel or damp paper towel to keep the mussels protected and moist until ready to use.

Steamed Mussels and Clams Recipe (with Wine and Garlic) in a bowl with spoon and toasted bread.

Substitutions

What can I use instead of white wine?

Instead of white wine, you can use all chicken stock, or broth, and even vegetable broth. The flavor of the sauce will change since the white wine gives it adds complex flavor to the finished dish. Bringing the wine to a boil helps cook off some of its alcohol and concentrates its fruitiness.

Can I use all mussels or all clams?

Yes, you can absolutely use all mussels or all clams and follow this recipe exactly. I like the combination of both, but also make it with just one.

Variations

  • Spicy – add red pepper flakes to add some heat to the delicious sauce.
  • Lemony – add a little fresh lemon juice and lemon zest as last-minute stir-ins to add a tasty lemon flavor.
  • Aromatics– add these fresh herbs, if desired fresh thyme, oregano, and dried bay leaf. Change the Italian flavors and add Thai basil leaves and lime juice for a favorite Thai recipe variation.
  • Creamy– serve with a splash of heavy cream and make the tasty broth a little richer.
  • Pastaperfectly cooked al dente pasta is a great addition to this steamed mussels and clams recipe.
close up of bowl with mussels and clams and broth with toasted bread on the side.

Equipment

For best results, use a heavy large pot, large stock pot, or dutch oven pot.

What to Serve with Steamed Mussels and Clams Recipe (with Wine and Garlic)

Steamed mussels and clams make the perfect main meal. If you want to add an easy appetizer, try: Best Italian Zucchini Fritters (easy recipe), or Easy Bruschetta Recipe with Mozzarella and Tomato Basil.

Try a delicious Italian homemade bread: CiabattaEasy Focaccia, or Soft No-Knead.

Top tips

  • DO NOT overcook mussels and clams or they will get tough in texture. The cooking time is quick to keep an eye on them.

FAQs

How to store mussels and clams before cooking

To store them in the refrigerator, place the mussels and clams inside a large bowl (you can use one bowl for each). Cover the bowl(s) with a damp dish towel or damp paper towel to keep the mussels protected and moist until ready to use.

How do I know if a mussel or clam is bad?

When examining your mussels and clams before cooking discard anything with broken or damaged shells. Clams and mussels shells should be slightly open and will close quickly when you tap on them on the counter. If they’re closed, don’t shut, or float in water, you can also discard those.

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Steamed Mussels and Clams Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

These mussels and clams are steamed in a flavorful broth of shallots, parsley, garlic, and white wine. It all comes together in 30 minutes and in one pot. You’ll want a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices.

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pound mussels
  • 2 pounds littleneck clams
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic, cut in quarters
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley, more for serving
  • 1 1/2 chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional Aromatics 

  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 small sprig of fresh oregano
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Scrub mussels and clams in a large bowl of cold water. Remove beards from mussels, and discard all broken or unopened shells. Use a damp cloth to make sure they are fully cleaned. Remove from water and store in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
  2. Place a large stockpot (or dutch oven) on the stove over medium heat. Add olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add shallots and fresh herbs, if using. Saute shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add broth, white wine, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste; bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Add mussels, clams, and parsley and cover the pot with a lid; cook shells until they open, about 5 minutes. Shake the pan once or twice during cooking, with the lid still on, to distribute the mussels and clams.
  4. Open the lid after 5-7 minutes and see if the shells are open. If not, cover and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened after this time.
  5.  Serve hot! Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve in a bowl with the crusty bread. 

Notes

Top Tip: DO NOT overcook mussels and clams or they will get tough in texture. The cooking time is quick to keep an eye on them.

 

For best results, use a heavy large pot, large stock pot, or dutch oven pot.

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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7 Comments

  1. I made this for my grandson who was visiting. He loved it! I always did these separately but SO MUCH BETTER done together with the wine. Elena’s recipes are so good, I think I keep everyone. keep them coming. Yay! Thank you.






    1. Happy you and your grandson loved the recipe. We love them prepared this way! Here’s to many more recipes.

  2. Love it !!! The optional aromatic’s were very well liked, I had two groups one with and one with out, but of course I as the host tried one of each






  3. Super easy and delicious. Don’t forget to add the chicken stock in step 2. Highly recommend making this one – the flavors come together perfect and the leftover broth is alone worth it.