Learn how to make the BEST clam juice recipe from fresh clams instead of using the salty bottled stuff from the grocery store. We give you a clam broth recipe and tips and tricks for easily making your own clam nectar at home in less than 20 minutes. It's a WHOLE LOTTA YUM!
Use homemade clam juice to make dairy-free clam chowder or use it in any recipe that calls for clam broth or clam juice. Clam juice from scratch truly makes the BEST clam juice recipe!
What is Clam Juice?
Clams juice is a type of seafood stock made from fresh clams and clam shells. It's used as a base for soups, sauces, and stews, or can be drunk straight from the glass or used in cocktails. Clam juice is high in protein and other nutrients and lasts for about a week in the fridge.
We feel blessed to live in the PNW and have easy access to fresh clams. If you haven't ever tried to dig for your own clams, it's quite the experience!! We enjoyed that as a family when I was growing up but now it's easier just to drive to the grocery store since we're no longer in a clam digging area.
If you're wanting to make the BEST possible recipes using fresh clams, making your own clam juice (or sometimes called clam broth or clam nectar) is the way to go! It's easy to boil the clams on the stovetop, serve them with lots of butter for dinner, and then process the liquid the clams were cooked in to make your own homemade clam juice recipe.
Why You'll Love This!
- Store-bought clam nectar is often sodium heavy, you can control the amount of sodium by making your own clam broth.
- Homemade clam juice tastes much fresher and adds better flavor to your recipes than store-bought.
- If you're already cooking clams for dinner, why not make yourself a batch of free "juice" to freeze the next time you need it in a recipe?
- You can prepare your own at home in under 20 minutes!
- It's a one-ingredient recipe, you just need fresh clams!
Clam Broth Ingredient Notes
You just have to love a one ingredient recipe, you just need a batch of fresh clams, whether they're from the grocery store or freshly caught. Now that you know how little there is to the clams juice ingredients, we bet you'll start making the homemade fresh version over bottled.
- clams, live
- optional add-ins- white wine, garlic, fresh herbs
** Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the exact quantities **
- coffee filter
- slotted spoon
How to Make Clam Juice
Learning how to make clam juice at home is super simple! Rinse your clams, steam them in water or flavorful add-ons like wine or garlic, and then strain the pot liquid to capture the pure clam nectar without all of the sandy grit to be used in many types of recipes.
Rinse the clams to remove any remaining sand or dirt before you start cooking.
- Add the live clams and the cold water to a medium-size stockpot. Place the lid on the pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the water to a bowl. As soon as the water starts bubbling, turn the pot down to medium to simmer.
- Cook until the clams open, which will take about 3-5 minutes. We used manilla clams, littleneck clams will take longer to cook (about 10 minutes).
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked clams from the "juice." Toss any clams that did not open up, which means that they were dead before cooking and aren't safe to eat.
- To strain the sand and dirt from the clam juice, take a fine mesh strainer and line it with a coffee filter. Pour the clam broth liquid from the pot through the strainer and into a bowl or a quart-size measuring cup.
- The clam juice recipe should make about 4 cups of broth, if it doesn't add a little water to bring it up to the 4 cups mark.
- The remaining strained clam juice is now ready to use for any recipes like clam chowder or other seafood dishes. Enjoy!
Clam Stock Recipe Tips
- The recipe makes a simple clam broth aka juice version that doesn't have added flavors like white wine, garlic, salt, or other seasonings. We prefer to keep the clam juice simple and add the seasoning to the recipe we're making instead.
- The recipe used manilla clams which are common in the Pacific Northwest, they are very small and only take about 5 minutes to cook. Another popular grocery store variety is the Littleneck clam, they are larger than manilla clams and could take 10-11 minutes to cook.
- Storebought clam stock (or nectar or juice) adds salt, we didn't add salt since clams naturally have a brined flavor since they came from the sea. Feel free to add extra salt to your recipe if it's needed.
Clam stock is popular in clam chowder, seafood stews, a Bloody Ceasar cocktail, or any recipes asking for fish stock.
Yes, clam stock can be frozen. it's suggested to freeze it in small batches so you can easily use it in other recipes, a little goes a long way. It will stay good for up to six months.
Some people say clam juice tastes fishy, while others find the slightly fishy taste delicious. Most recipes just use a small portion of clam stock or clam nectar to add a seafood flavor and it is not overpowering whatsoever.
More Seafood Recipes
- dairy-free clam chowder
- boiled clams
- Dungeness crab cakes
- air fryer salmon fillets (skin on)
- tuna stuffed peppers