* If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

The Best Way To Reheat Steamed Clams [I Test 4 Methods]

Steamed clams are my go-to seafood dish.

They’re juicy, delicate, and salty little things, so it’s no wonder that they’re not the easiest thing to reheat.

I decided to conduct an experiment to find out what reheating method produces the freshest, least tough clams.

In this article, I cover:

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

A note on my experiment 

I made a delicious bowl of steamed clams in a lemon-garlic-white wine broth. Then I left it to cool down and put the clams in the fridge overnight.

The next day, I tested four different ways of reheating the clams.

These include:

  • Reheating the clams in a broth (similar method to reheating in pasta or rice).
  • Steaming the clams.
  • Reheating the clams in the microwave with some broth.
  • Reheating the clams in the microwave covered by a damp paper towel.

Gently does it with clams because if you overcook them, they become tough and rubbery.

You also need a way of re-introducing moisture into the clams, so they don’t turn out dry.

Reheating the clams in a broth was the best method. It was most gentle and produced moist, flavorsome clams. Steaming also worked well.

The microwave was okay, but the clams were noticeably chewier, especially when using just a damp paper towel.

Reheating clams in broth (the best way)

The best way to reheat clams is to heat the dish you’re serving them with first. Be it broth, pasta, rice, or soup. While you’re heating the dish, de-shell the clams. As soon as your dish is hot enough take it off the heat and add the clams. Stir well to incorporate the clams.

The residual heat will reheat your clams.

This is by far the best way to reheat clams since you’re not cooking them, just gently heating them. Clams are small and delicate, so they don’t need a lot of heat to warm through.

By not re-cooking the clams, you minimize the risk of overcooking them and turning them tough and chewy.

How to reheat clams:

  1. Heat your broth, soup, pasta sauce, rice, or whatever dish you’re planning to add the clams into.
  2. When the dish is hot enough (i.e. the broth is boiling or the pasta sauce is simmering), take it off the heat.
  3. As soon as you take the dish off the heat, stir in your leftover clams and incorporate them into the dish.

The residual heat from your dish will be enough to heat the clams, but it won’t cook them any further so the texture won’t be affected. 

Wait until the very last minute to put your clams in your heated dish. Putting the clams in too early will either mean they overcook, or they might absorb too much liquid and become mushy.

Don’t add the dish back onto the heat once you add the clams because this will start to cook them, which you want to avoid.

It’s best to use de-shelled clams in this method because the heat transfers through touch. If the clams are in their shells, the heat won’t transfer anywhere near as effectively.

My verdict

This was my favorite method. The clams were juicy and soft, and they were packed full of flavor. 

I used some leftover broth, but I can see it working with any dish.

Reheating clams by steaming them

To reheat clams by steaming them, set up your steamer and heat the water until it’s boiling. Put the clams in the steamer basket and cover them with a lid. Heat the clams for 30-60 seconds in the steamer. For some extra flavor, squeeze some lemon juice into the water.

Steaming is quite a gentle reheating method because you’re using second-hand heat. But you still need to be careful not to reheat the clams for too long.

How to reheat clams in the steamer:

  1. Set your steamer up and boil the water.
  2. Deshell the clams.*
  3. Arrange your clams in the steaming basket and steam them for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Serve immediately.

*You can use shelled or de-shelled clams for this method.  I tend to use de-shelled because they heat more evenly, and it’s easier to feel if the clams are done or not.

30 seconds may not seem like long, but most clams are very small and don’t need long to heat through. The longer you leave the clams, the more chance there is of overcooking them.

If you don’t have a steamer, you can make your own with a saucepan, a sieve or colander, and a lid. Put 2-3 inches of water in your saucepan and bring it to a boil.

The sieve acts as the steamer basket, so rest it on top of the saucepan and then put a lid on the sieve.

My verdict 

If you don’t have any leftover broth or don’t plan on using the clams in a dish, steaming is an excellent reheating method.

The clams stay nice and moist, and the steam is gentle enough to heat them through without overcooking them.

Reheating clams in the microwave

To reheat clams in the microwave, put them in a microwave-safe bowl and add any h leftover broth (or water). Cover the bowl with pierced plastic wrap and heat the clams in 10-second increments until they’re heated through.

The microwave isn’t the best choice for reheating clams because it’s a harsh heating method and you can easily overcook the clams or dry them out.

But if you are careful and check on the clams often, you can get okay results. And it’s very quick!

How to reheat clams in the microwave:

  1. Put your clams in a microwave-safe bowl and cover them with leftover broth or water.
  2. Deshell the clams.*
  3. Heat the clams in 10 seconds intervals until they’re heated through.
  4. Serve immediately.

*I advise using de-shelled clams for this method because they’ll heat more evenly, but you could also use shelled clams.

An alternative method is to sprinkle a few tablespoons of water over your clams and then cover them with a damp paper towel.

I tested this method but found the clams to be a bit tough and chewy. 

The microwave dried them out.

Check the temperature of the clams after every 10 seconds to see if they’re done or not.

You don’t want to leave the clams in the microwave for longer than you need to because they will quickly overcook.

My verdict

The microwave was my least favorite method because the clams came out overcooked and slightly dry.

I’d only recommend this method if it’s your only option.

How to use leftover clams

Reheated clams don’t always make the best meal by themselves. To get the best out of them, I would use the clams in a new dish. 

How can you use up leftover clams?

  • Spaghetti vongole (i.e spaghetti and clams) or any other pasta dish! Spaghetti and clams is easy to make but tastes like it’s complicated! It’s a great dish for a dinner party.
  • Clam chowder is a popular dish all over America, with different states having different versions. But whatever version you choose to use, I can guarantee it will be delicious.
  • Soup with clams. Clams are a popular addition to miso soup in Japan, but you can add them to any soup.
  • Breaded and fried clams. Take your clams, dip them in some beaten egg and then breadcrumb them and shallow fry them. Dip them in some alioli or whatever your favorite sauce is. This works best with bigger clams.
  • Clams on toast. This is one of my go-to breakfasts if I have leftover clams. Steam the clams to heat them, then chop them up and mix them with parsley and lemon juice. Perfection.

How to store cooked clams

To store cooked clams, separate them from their sauce or broth, de-shell them, and put them in an airtight container or a sealed bag. You can keep leftover clams in the fridge for 4-5 days. Don’t store them in any liquid because this can cause them to become soggy. 

If you have any broth or sauce you want to save, you can store this in a separate airtight container. 

Leave your clams to cool to room temperature before you store them, but make sure they aren’t sitting out for more than 2 hours. After 2 hours they will enter the danger zone for bad bacteria.

Can you freeze cooked clams?

Freezing cooked clams isn’t recommended because it can dehydrate them and leave them with a tough and rubbery texture. However, if you need to freeze them, I would de-shell them and put them in an airtight container. Cover the clams with their cooking juices/broth and freeze for up to 3 months. 

The liquid will help to keep the clams moist and protects them from freezer burn.

What if I don’t have any liquid to store the clams in? 

If you don’t have any leftover liquid, flash freeze the clams by spreading them out on a baking tray and freezing them for 30 minutes. Then transfer the frozen clams to a heavy-duty freezer bag and squeeze as much air out as you can.

If your choice is freezing your clams or throwing them away, you should freeze them! 

They won’t be great to reheat and eat on their own, but they can be okay in a soup or other liquid dish where the texture doesn’t matter as much.

To thaw the clams, leave them in the fridge overnight. 

If you aren’t planning on using the clams straight away once they thaw, separate the clams from any liquid as soon as possible. Storing clams in the fridge in liquid can render them soggy.

Can you reheat baked/grilled clams?

Casino clams or clams baked with a crumb are hard to reheat without overcooking them. You can’t use liquid because this will leave you with a soggy crumb. And reheating them under the grill or oven will leave you with dried-out, tough clams. The same goes for grilled clams.

I would suggest removing the clams from their shell and discarding any breading, then using the clam meat in a soup or pasta dish. Simply add the cold clams to your hot dish and stir. The residual heat will warm the clams.

The BEST Way To Reheat Steamed Clams

Steamed clams are my go-to seafood dish.
They’re juicy, delicate, and salty little things, so it’s no wonder that they’re not the easiest thing to reheat.
I decided to conduct an experiment to find out what reheating method produces the freshest, least tough clams.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine All
Servings 1 person
Calories 148 kcal

Equipment

Steamer

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion steamed clams
  • 1 portion broth or other dish

Instructions
 

  • Reheat your broth, soup, pasta sauce, rice, or whatever dish you’re planning to add the clams into.
  • When the dish is hot enough (i.e. the broth is boiling or the pasta sauce is simmering), take it off the heat.
  • As soon as you take the dish off the heat, stir in your leftover clams and incorporate them into the dish.
  • The residual heat from your dish will be enough to heat the clams, but it won’t cook them any further so the texture won’t be affected.
  • Wait until the very last minute to put your clams in your heated dish. Putting the clams in too early will either mean they overcook, or they might absorb too much liquid and become mushy.
    Don’t add the dish back onto the heat once you add the clams because this will start to cook them, which you want to avoid.
    It’s best to use de-shelled clams in this method because the heat transfers through touch. If the clams are in their shells, the heat won’t transfer anywhere near as effectively.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 148kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




Related Posts