Chipolte Lime Clams with Garlic Buttery Bread

Dinner, Summer

For years I’ve always complained about summer. It’s usually just not my vibe. I like cozy things: food, sweaters, fall leaves, etc. All of that. But this year—maybe it’s because I have central air-conditioning now—is different. It’s fun! Summer foods and flavors have all of a sudden become my absolute favorite. I’m eating all of the corn, tomatoes and seafood. I also have that dang grill that I love and that has really made summer cooking my absolute favorite.

These have been on rotation because clams and chipotle and lime are all flavors that go so well together. I used little neck clams but other clams ((like Manila clams) or even mussels would also work. The big key with clams is scrubbing the outside so they’re nice and clean. The ones I got had a pretty good amount of sand on them and that would be in your dish; you definitely don’t want that!

This dish goes pretty quickly. The onion and aggressive amount of garlic cloves are cooked until soft. White wine deglazes the pan and then tomato paste and cherry tomatoes are added. The butter is added and then the chipotles in adobo. The sauce thickens and gets all delicious. And then we throw in the corn and clams. Once they open up, we squeeze in some lime and that’s it! Eat it with buttery garlic bread and enjoy your life!

Chipotle Lime Clams

5 from 2 votes
Delicious spicy chipotle broth braised clams paired with garlic buttery bread. 
CuisineAmerican, Mexican
Keywordbraised clams, chipotle, clams, corn, summer
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Calories: 240kcal


Chipotle-Lime Clams:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, minced
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 pound 1 pound little neck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro


To Make the Chipotle-Lime Clams:

  • To a medium pot or braising pan, set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is warm, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Next add the garlic cloves and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn the heat to high and then pour in the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Mix in the tomato paste, chipotles in adobo and butter. 
  • Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, just until the flavors are married together; give it a taste and adjust the salt to your liking. I added about 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the corn and arrange the little neck clams in one even layer. If some overlap that’s ok. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover the pan; cook the clams for about 5 to 7 minutes. This will depend on the size of the clams. 
  • Some of the clams I had were stubborn that refused to open. I knew they weren’t bad so I removed the clams that were totally open (so they wouldn’t overcook) and covered the pot until all of them opened. The clams I had were sort of large so I think this was the problem.
  • Discard any clams that refuse to open (one of the clams in my batch were discarded). Squeeze the lime juice over the clams and serve immediately; serve alongside the buttery garlic bread. 

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  • Reply tina/mormormedstiletter July 19, 2019 at 2:54 am

    OMG! My all time favorite dish:-)
    Every time we are i our house in Malaga, I am having clams 3-4 time a week:-)

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  • Reply Jeff Winett July 24, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    There are not enough raves to express how well received this dish was. I prepped all earlier in the day, and slipped in the Clams when ready to prepare our dinner. Certainly an easy dish to prepare, but the chipotle/lime flavors screamed of something so refined and balanced. While corn is sweet as it is during the summer, this dish will be made often. Thank you Adrianna, for sharing this “makeagainable” recipe.

  • Reply Enelye July 25, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Not much of a summer person either (and currently suffering under 102°F!!) but I do love the produce we find during these months. Thanks for this simple but subtle recipe, we eat alot of clams and mussels in France and I love this new chipotle/lime twist! Merci Adrianna!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme July 25, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Ooof yes France is going to be 108F today! I cannot imagine what it must feel like. I was in Paris last month and it was 90F and it was very intense! 🙂 Thank you!

  • Reply Melissa July 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    I love the sound of this recipe but I don’t trust myself to clean clams/mussels well. Do you think this sauce would work with shrimp, so that I don’t serve anyone sand? 🙂

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme July 30, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      yes absolutely. i would just cook the shrimp first so they get nice color and them remove them and make the sauce. and then add them back at the very end (no need to cook them again). just so the shrimp aren’t boiled in the sauce. 🙂

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