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How Long to Cook Steamers

Most people tend to believe that cooking any type of seafood is a difficult process, or that it is simple to mess up, but this is not the case. Cooking steamer clams is a lot easier than you may think, and as soon as you’ve mastered cooking them following the right instructions, steamer clams will be your go-to seafood recipe.

In this article, we’ve compiled cooking instructions for steamer clam recipes, so that cooking them will always result in delicious results. Make sure not to overcook your steamers, however, and you can ensure this by adhering to our timing guidelines. Watch yourself become a pro with cooking steamer clams with all our helpful tips and cooking guidelines.

How Long To Cook Steamers (3)

Tips for Cooking Steamers

It is important to pay attention to the following helpful tips and suggestions when cooking steamers in your kitchen:

Soak and clean your steamers properly – If you have the time, it’s a good idea to place the steamers in a bucket with quite an amount of salty water or seawater (you can simply dissolve one tablespoon of sea salt per quart of water you’re using to soak the steamers). Let the steamers sit for several hours, ideally overnight, in a cool spot (avoid keeping them in direct sunlight).

If there’s no time to soak the clams for hours, simply place several of them in a big mixing basin, cover them with saltwater, then swirl the water gently with your fingers for thirty seconds. If you notice that the steamer clams are leaking out sand or grit, drain the water and rinse them until there’s no more sand being released.

It’s normal if they still release some grit and sand during cooking. If this happens, don’t worry since you’ll still dip the steamers in the broth you cooked them with before coating them in butter to help rinse away any grit.

Ideal cooking time – When steamer clams are overcooked, they’re no fun to eat, but it’s impossible to specify a precise cooking time. The ideal cooking time typically depends on factors like quantity, mollusk size, and even the cookware being used for the cooking process. The easiest way to tell when steamer clams are done is when the shells explode open wide.

Possible recipe variationsWhite wine, beer, water, and even fresh lemon juice with butter can be used to cook steamer clams. Simply add the shellfish after the liquid (regardless of the one you choose to use) begins to boil.

If you end up with overcooked steamer clams – Place the steamer clams in a bowl of water, beer, wine, or any other liquid of your choice if the meat is chewy as a result of overcooking. With the use of a fork, open the clams and immerse them in water. The rubbery texture of the overcooked steamer clams may be reduced slightly after this soak in water or other cooking liquid.

Cooking Time for Steamers

The ideal cooking time for steamers has been described in the table below:

Cooking procedure Cooking time
Cooking steamer clams (3 to 4 pounds) on the stovetop 15 minutes


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Stovetop-cooked Steamers

  • Author: Bobby


  • 3 to 4 pounds of Soft Shell steamer clams
  • ½ cup of melted butter
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt


  1. To prepare the steamer clams for cooking, they must be well cleaned.
  2. If seawater isn’t available, immerse the steamers in a big basin of saltwater instead. For the most ideal results, soak the steamers overnight.
  3. When the clams are clean, you should see dirt and sand particles in the water.  It’s time to cook the clams now that they’re ready.
  4. Pour two cups of water into a pot on the stove, then add the clams and let the water reach a boil. This should take about 15 minutes
  5. To serve, divide the steamer’s boiling water among the bowls.
  6. Fill the bowls with the cooked clams.
  7. Place a dab of butter in the mixing bowl and set it aside to melt into the clams.
  8. Serve the clams immediately while they’re still hot. To enhance the flavor of your clams, serve them over roasted or baked potatoes.

If you’d like to see more recipe ideas for steamer clams, then you may want to check out this video recipe.


  1. Fill the clams halfway with water and cover them using cold water to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.
  2. It’s a good idea to clean the clams from the inside of their shells; to do this, sprinkle 1 cup of salt over them.
  3. When the clams are immersed in salt water, all loose debris and grit will be more easily removed. The clams must be soaked in water for a minimum of one hour. It works best if the clams are left in the saltwater overnight.
  4. Keep an eye out for broken shells and cracks when selecting the right clams to cook.  If there are any cracks, avoid using them. It’s an indication that the clams aren’t fresh enough.
  5. Cooking your recipe with already-dead clams may result in an unpleasant taste, so make sure to avoid this.
  6. Make sure the clams aren’t overcooked. It degrades the clams’ texture and flavor.
  7. If any shells are open, lightly tap them; they will quickly close. You’ll know that the  clams are dead if their shells do not close. This kind of clams should definitely not be used.
  8. If the shell breaks with a light tap, do not use the clams since they are likely to be spoiled.
  9. It’s best to cook your steamers as soon as you get them home from the store, this will help you get better-tasting and fresher results.
  10. If your clams don’t open up after you’ve cooked them, then they are either still raw or rotten. Throw them out right away and don’t cook with them.

Steamers are really simple to make, and provided you follow the right instructions, you can be sure to get the right results. Also make sure to avoid overcooking your clams; on the stovetop, 3 to 4 pounds of steamer clams only need to be cooked for 15 minutes.