Japanese Steamed Clams

Introducing my Japanese Steamed Clams recipe, a dish that embodies simplicity and the natural flavors of clams! This traditional Japanese dish combines just four key ingredients: fresh clams, sake, ginger, and green onions. In a mere 5 minutes, you’ll savor the brininess of the ocean in every bite!

Japanese style steamed clams in a Japanese ginger sake broth served in a black bowl with chopped green onions, top down.

Why I Love This Recipe

What makes my steamed clam recipe so special is that it captures the essence of simplicity in traditional Japanese cuisine! We’re talking about steamed clams, prepared using the time-honored Japanese method! It’s an uncomplicated process – just steaming fresh clams in Japanese sake with a touch of sliced ginger and garnishing them with vibrant green onions! It really can’t get any more straight forward then that!

This delightful dish stands as a seafood main course, allowing the clams’ innate brininess to take center stage! In contrast to my White Wine Steamed Manila Clams, this recipe highlights the genuine flavors of the clams themselves. If you’re seeking an effortless yet deeply satisfying way to enjoy the pure taste of the sea, this one’s for you!



  • Manila Clams – live clams found in Asian, Japanese or seafood markets.
  • Ginger – fresh cut into matchbox sticks.
  • Green Onion – finely chopped green onion scallions.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets. 

🦪 Clam Ingredient Note

Manila clams are the top choice for steaming due to their natural umami flavor. Littleneck Clams are a suitable alternative. For convenience, use clams that have already been purged of sand from the store.

Japanese style steamed clams in a Japanese ginger sake broth served in a black bowl with chopped green onions.


Step 1 Combine Japanese sake and sliced ginger in a pot, bring to a boil.

Clams in a pot.

🌶️ Flavoring Pro Tip

Consider adding Minced Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes for a hint of extra flavor and a touch of heat.

Step 2 Add clams, cover, and cook for 2-4 minutes until they open. Transfer clams to a plate, garnish with green onions, and discard the liquid.

Japanese style steamed clams in a pot.

🍽️ Serving Note

After cooking, Discard Any Clams That Remain Closed, ensuring a safe dining experience.

Pairing Recommendations

For a well-rounded seafood Japanese meal, pair this steamed clam dish with Seafood Gratin Bake or Tarako Spaghetti. The seafood gratin is rich and creamy, while tarako spaghetti offers a Japaneses style seafood pasta experience. Complete your meal with Clam Miso Soup for a delightful Japanese-inspired seafood feast.

Japanese style steamed clams in a Japanese ginger sake broth served in a black bowl with chopped green onions being picked up with a pair of chopsticks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to purge the clams before cooking them?

Yes, but most store-bought live clams will already have been purged at the market. If you are using wild-caught clams, you will have to purge them following proper purging methods.

How do I know if the clams are cooked perfectly?

Clams are done when they open. Cook them for 2-4 minutes until they open, and discard any that remain closed.

Are there any alternative garnishes besides green onions?

Certainly! You can also garnish your steamed clams with chopped parsley or a squeeze of lemon for added freshness.

Storage Tips

To store any leftover steamed clams, place them in an airtight container and store in the fridge. They’ll maintain their quality for about 2 to 3 days.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese style steamed clams in a Japanese ginger sake broth served in a black bowl with chopped green onions being picked up with a pair of chopsticks.

Japanese Steamed Clams

Discover the simplicity of my traditional Japanese Steamed Clams recipe, where fresh clams meet sake and ginger in a delightful seafood dish.
5 from 7 votes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: sake steamed clams, steamed clam recipe
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 bowl
Print Recipe
Calories: 94kcal



  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for Japanese steamed clams.
  • Thinly slice ginger into match box size sticks and set aside.
    Sliced ginger.
  • Finely chop green onions and set aside.
    Chopped green onions.
  • In a stove top pot, add Japanese sake and sliced ginger. Bring to boil.
    Ginger in a pot.
  • Once boiling, remove clams from bowl of water and add into stove top pot. Cover and cook until all the shells open up, about 2-4 minutes.
    Clams in a pot.
  • Sprinkle in chopped green onions and transfer clams to serving bowl. Discard remaining liquid. Note - if some clams do not open during the cooking process, discard and DO NOT consume.
    Japanese style steamed clams in a pot.


Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 412mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 324IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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