Grilled Clams with Crispy Garlic


Grilled clams. Have you done this yet? At first, I was a bit reticent to prepare clams different from what I’ve always understood is the “best” way: in a broth of white wine and butter. However, grilling piqued my curiosity.

My first concern was that they would be dry… then I wondered if they’d get chewy. As it turned out, the result was quite the opposite. Grilled clams cook fast over direct heat and while the excess water cooks out quickly, the moisture within the clam itself is retained. So long as the clam is not overcooked, the mouthfeel is tender.

Clams on the Grill | (c) 2021

But without the broth, what do you serve clams with?

The answer is why I think you’ll really like this recipe.

I use one of my favorite methods for creating big flavor fast: thinly sliced garlic cloves fried crisp in butter. Throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat and finish with freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley for brightness, and you’ve got a winning flavor combination that is incredibly versatile. (You can find a similar preparation on one of my roasted spaghetti squash recipes.)

How’d it go?

Can’t wait to hear how this turned out for you, especially for those who haven’t grilled clams before! Did you serve it as an appetizer or perhaps over pasta? If you’re looking to build out a meal, you might try my Rainbow Chard with Hazelnuts and Roasted Potatoes with Lemon Pepper Pesto as side dishes. Or if you’re working on an appetizer spread, the clams are delicious with my Crab-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Prawns. Have you prepared clams using another less common method? Let’s hear about it in the comments below.

Grilled Clams with Crispy Garlic | The Colacino Kitchen (c) 2021

Grilled Clams with Crispy Garlic

crisp, sweet garlic slices in melted butter with crushed red peppers and fresh parsley
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Vegetarian
Keyword: Clams
Skill Level: Easy to Make
Recipe Type: Grill & Smoker, Main Dish, Snacks & Appetizers
Specialty Diet: Gluten Free, Keto-Friendly, Paleo, Pescatarian, Vegetarian
Servings: 2 Adults
Calories: 56kcal


  • 1 pound steamer clams
  • ¼ cup butter can substitute ghee
  • 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • sea salt, to taste


Grill Clams

  • Place the clams in a colander and scrub under running water to remove any grit or sand.
  • Grill the clams over direct heat in a single layer. As the clams open, remove from the grill and set aside. Depending on the size of the clam, it could take as little as 3 minutes or as long as 10 minutes for it to open. However, if after about 5 minutes the clam hasn't started to move, try shifting it to a hotter spot on the grill. If still nothing, it means the clam is bad and needs to be thrown away.
  • Once the clams have all opened and been set aside, cover the dish with foil or plastic wrap (whatever you prefer), and begin preparing the fried garlic and butter sauce.

Prepare Butter + Garlic Sauce

  • Add butter (or ghee) to a small saucepan and melt over medium-high heat.
  • Once the butter is hot, maybe even popping a bit but not yet brown, add the garlic slices and crushed red pepper. Start stirring right away.
  • Continue stirring while the garlic slices fry. Somewhere between 2 and 3 minutes of cook time, the garlic slices will reach their optimum golden color and sweet flavor. Careful though, garlic can overcook in a moment's notice and become quite bitter.
  • Once the garlic slices have a deep yellow tint, remove the saucepan from the hot burner, turn it off.

Finish the Dish + Serve

  • While carryover cooking finishes the garlic slices, remove the covering from the clams.
  • Spoon the garlic butter sauce evenly over the arranged clams on a serving platter.
  • Sprinkle with a pinch of quality sea salt and freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.
  • Enjoy immediately!


Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 240mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 358IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg
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