White Clam Sauce over Linguine

Monday, April 3, 2023
This white clam sauce is heavenly it's loaded with garlic, olive oil, white wine, and clams tossed with al dente linguine for a delicious classic-style Italian dinner!

If you are a fan of clams this recipe is so addictive, plus it's a quick fix for a weeknight dinner, but elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.

The beauty of these simple pantry ingredients is the bold flavors that meld together in no time.

Serve this with a side of your favorite pasta, (we choose angel linguine)but rice can also be an alternative.

Of course, you can make it all year round but we typically serve this dish in White or Red Clam Sauce on Christmas Eve as part of the 7 fishes Italian tradition.

I’ve been making linguine alle vongole (“linguine with clams”) for years, and this recipe is best using fresh and whole steamed clams for the perfect combination.

You may also like to try our Haddock with Scallops another family favorite.

The garlic butter white sauce is superb in flavor and tastes like it came from a 5-star restaurant.

This dish can even be served with a favorite style of rice, you may like to try our Almondine Rice Marsala or just plain white rice is fine to substitute the pasta.

Scroll down to get this easily printable recipe with step-by-step instructions.

clams on top of linguine in a white wine sauce

whole little neck clams on pasta

Basic White Wine Clam Sauce Recipe

This sauce is versatile for those who are allergic to seafood, just substitute boneless chicken for a non-seafood scampi-style sauce and add all chicken broth, no clam juice for a perfect white sauce.

This sauce is so delicious you may want to try our homemade bread to sop up that fabulous juice this makes with our crusty bread.

Below you will find even more substitutions for our non-clam lovers to another kind of fish, however, remember your cooking times will vary, always make sure the meat you choose is cooked thoroughly.

Add more or less red pepper flakes for heat or you can just leave it out and adapt the recipe to your own style.

linguine with clam sauce and whole clams on top

Other Fish Substations 

  • smoked salmon
  • mahi-mahi
  • haddock
  • crab meat or lobster
  • scallops
  • snook
  • redfish
  • Chilean sea bass
  • shrimp

white clam sauce collage


  • use any kind of white wine or chicken broth for non-alcohol
  • wash clams to get sand out
  • do not overcook seafood remove until the sauce is completed cooking after sauteed
  • don't brown garlic, it should be light in color
  • cook any kind of pasta you like or rice for a side dish
  • if clams are already opened when purchasing do not use them

More Recipes We Love

Italian Christmas Eve Seafood Recipes

Best Fried Fish Recipe Coatings

Stuffed Flounder with Shrimp and Crab

Pasta and Broccoli with Garlic and Oil

white clam sauce collage

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pine for later white clam sauce recipe

Easy Italian Meals

This light seafood dish with pasta is bold with flavors.

It's super easy to make and if you're in a hurry you can use any seafood you prefer canned or fresh over rice or pasta!

Let us know how you like our version of this recipe I have been making for over 35 years and my mother's recipe from the 1950s!

White Clam Sauce

White Clam Sauce

Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 35 Min
Here is a recipe we have made for years. Using minced and fresh clams in a white sauce with wine, over pasta with toasted bread crumbs.


  • 24 littleneck clams rinsed in cold water and steamed
  • 1 can of whole clams (these are more tender but you can use minced if you prefer)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 cloves fresh finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1- 6-inch tube of anchovy paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine we use Pinot Grigio
  • 1 -12 ounce can of chicken broth
  • a pinch or more of red pepper flakes
  • 1 - 1/2 cups clam juice (include reserved liquid)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley,
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 lb linguine cooked to package instructions al dente


  1. Rinse whole fresh clams in cold water.
  2. In a large pot, steam the clams until all of them are open for around 10 minutes and set aside to keep warm.
  3. Melt butter in a pan with olive oil and saute the garlic for around 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Add the paste.
  5. Stir in the wine, chicken broth, clam juice, and herbs.
  6. Cook on low for 25 minutes.
  7. Add canned clams, and heat thoroughly.
  8. Cook pasta or choice to al dente on the package instruction, drain set aside tossed in 2 tablespoon olive oil and some sauteed garlic (this is optional).
  9. Arrange the plate:
  10. Add sauce on top of linguine arrange fresh whole steamed clams adding more sauce.
  11. Sprinkle the top with grated cheese on top and buttered toasted bread crumbs.
  12. Toasted Bread Crumbs:
  13. 1/2 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
  14. 1 tablespoon butter
  15. In a separate frying pan toast the bread crumbs in 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil until golden around 2 minutes. Sprinkle on top of the pasta. Serve immediately garnished with shaved or grated cheese.


Clam Prep and Tips

Never purchase clams that are already open, they should be closed. If they are open they are dead and will make you sick. Most supermarkets will know this and steam them for you if you ask, especially if you're not using them right away. ( I always bring mine home steamed)

Most clams available commercially have been cleaned, but if you dig your own, you must remove the sand and grit from inside the shell. Either use salt water or make enough saltwater brine (1 cup of salt per 3 quarts of water) to cover the clams. Soak clams in saltwater in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. This is particularly important for clams with protruding siphons. For tightly closed hard-shell clams, it may be enough to simply scrub the shells to remove grit.

To shuck clams, first put them in the freezer for five minutes to loosen their hold. Work over an empty bowl to collect any clam juice. Hold the clam in your hand with the shell hinge toward your palm, and insert a thin, dull knife (never a sharp kitchen knife) between the shell. Work the knife around so you can cut through the hinge. Open the shell and slide the knife between the clam and the top shell. Then detach the clam by sliding the knife between it and the bottom shell.

Cooking Methods:


Place 1/4-inch water (wine and seasoning optional; lemon makes an excellent seasoning) in the bottom of a large pan. Add clams in the shell. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until shells open (four to five minutes). Throw away any clams that don’t open, or cook them until they do. Serve clams in bowls along with the cooking broth.


Place cleaned and scrubbed clams in the shell directly onto the grill. Turn after two minutes. Cook until shells open slightly, about four minutes.


Heat the frying pan, then add butter or oil. Add clam meat and saute until brown, two to three minutes.

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pasta recipes, seafood recipes, fresh clams recipes, little neck clams recipe
Italian, French, American

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Other Favorite Seafood Recipes

Red Clam Sauce

Pan-Seared Sea Bass Medley

Seafood Medley

Stuffed Shrimp and Crab Flounder

clams on top of linguine in a white wine sauce

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2010. It was edited and re-published in 2023.


  1. Now this one is for me! White clam sauce is my favorite. You display this dish perfectly, yum!

  2. I think I need to taste both of your sauces before making a decision, I'll be right over - great tip on preparing the claims

  3. I don't know if I prefer red or white version! I love both very much, the best for me ^_^
    Excellent recipe dear, bye

  4. Yum! This is a great one! Hard decision, red or white.... Looks delicious and I'd like to try it!

  5. Hmmm.. I may just like this white sauce a little bit more than the red, but I do love them both :)

  6. Another great recipe here Claudia! Thanks for sharing. Clams and linquine are another one of those perfect "marriage" flavor combination's.

  7. My husband would go crazy over this dish. I'm not a huge fan of clams so I never make it for him. If he saw this recipe, he would convince me to make it for him though.

  8. Cant decide they both look great but you got me there because I love clams and now I have the excuse to eat them twice. For research purposes only of course. going to see if I can try this weekend to make both and will tell which one I prefer! A must!!!! Hmmm Clams!

  9. This is a gorgeous dish! I love both - can't decide between the two!

  10. I am actually split between white and red...my husband likes red better so i usually make that. Looks so good, but how can pasta not?

  11. I am split between red and white sauce, but my husband likes red better so I usually make that. looks great! but how can pasta not??

  12. My family has always been a white clam sauce clan and since fresh clams were hard to get all year we used canned chopped clams when I was growing up. Now that I'm an adult I almost always make a version almost exactly like yours with fresh clams but I still get a craving for that canned clam sauce that my mother made.

  13. Gorgeous, Claudia. I will be trying your recipe this spring. I love this dish and I am ready for a serving...

  14. I am a white sauce fan---the more garlic the better for me!
    Looks fantastic Claudia!

  15. Those clams look beautiful on that pasta! One of my favorite pasta dishes!!

  16. Yum! The photos look fantastic! I love that you used clams in the shell :D

  17. Fantastic! Great photos. My husband would be in heaven if I made this for him.

  18. I think I would want to split my dish half and half. Love both, though I will say I always think of clam sauce as white! But sometimes, when I want it spicier and less creamy. Boy, I'm indecisive this morning!

  19. decisions decisions. i think i'd prefer the red most days as a slightly lighter dish, but would happily indulge in the white on occassion too. daniel would be all about the white sauce no doubt. both of these look wonderful!

  20. Your presentation looks wonderful with all those gorgeous clams places around. I think I would go for the white one, then slowly make my way to the red. How do you choose? Yhey both sound wonderful.

  21. Classic dish done very well.

    I wish I had some clams here right now.

  22. I'm heading to Cape Cod this Fall where we go claming. This is going to be on my list of dishes to make for my family. Really nice presentation.


  23. This dish looks like it came from an elegant restaurant. How I'd love to have this for dinner!!

  24. Oh my! These look so delicious. I love white clams. Will try it out soon.

  25. This is one of my favorite dishes! My family used to serve this around the holidays. This takes me back! Love it!

  26. Clams are my summer favorite dish. I will give your recipe a try for sure.

  27. This is seriously amazing! Really a must-make!

  28. I love white pasta and I will definitely add this on my list! Thank you very much for sharing! This is amazing!

  29. This is my favorite Italian dish hands down! White over red sauce with clams any day! Thanks for making it easy to make it at home now too.

  30. I definitely prefer a white clam sauce. I've never tried to make it at home. Thanks for the great recipe so that I can try!

  31. Truly delicious! I added some chilli flakes too, as you suggested, and it was soo delicious that I had to go for seconds. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. I love that this recipe is so easy to follow! Another great one! Thanks for sharing!

  33. White clam sauce for me! Can't wait to give this a try.

  34. That white wine clam sauce sounds and looks so good!

  35. This dish if often what I order at Italian restaurants but I don't recall if I've ever made it - I've made the red. So I must try this recipe and wish I could get a bag of the small clams from the growers at Cedar Key. What size can of clams do you use?


Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia