Linguine and Canned Clams in White Wine Sauce

This recipe uses canned clams to make an easy weeknight linguine and clams in white wine sauce. Flavorful and delicious this clams pasta recipe is approachable and easy.

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clams and luingine in white wine sauce

Why You’ll Love This Canned Clam Linguine Recipe

Years ago, when I was single and living in the smallest apartment in South Philly, I made linguine and clams in white wine sauce for myself at least once a week.

My linguine clams recipe uses canned clams to make the most delicious and easy white wine sauce. This recipe works without fresh clams.

If you want to elevate this dish, I do suggest adding fresh manilla clams to this white wine sauce for restaurant worthy pasta you can make at home.

What You Need to Make This Linguine and Clams Recipe

  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • littleneck clams fresh (optional)
  • canned chopped clams or clam juice
  • white wine
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • pasta
  • parsley
  • lemon

How to Make Clams and Pasta in White Wine Sauce

I love the simplicity of this dish. To make this a standout weeknight meal we start by chopping the garlic and adding it to a pan of warmed olive oil. Once the garlic is fragrant we add the clam juice or the canned clams, white wine and a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes and fresh lemon juice.

If you do not have canned clams and are using fresh clams, add a little salt and more white wine to the pan before adding your clams.

Once the white sauce is simmering, we add the clams. Cover your pan and allow the clams to cook thoroughly in the white wine.

After about 8 minutes, open the lid. All clams should have opened under the pressure of heat. If they did not, toss them aside.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to instructions, retaining a 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining.

I like to take the shelled clams out of the pasta, toss the linguine gently in the white wine sauce, add the pasta water and then serve. Adding the shells on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon.

clams and luingine in white wine sauce

Linguine and Canned Clams in White Wine Sauce

This classic Italian recipe gets a weeknight spin with canned clams for an easy and flavorful linguine and clams recipe you'll love.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 lbs littleneck clams, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 16 oz pasta (linguine or spaghetti)
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 can chopped clams or 1/2 cup of clam juice
  • 1 lemon


  • Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, drop the linguine and cook until the pasta is "al dente" maybe a minute or so less than the box directs. Reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Once the garlic is fragrant, add clam juice, or chopped clams and white wine.
  • If using fresh clams, add them to your pan. Close the lid on the pan and let the mixture simmer. It should take about 8 minutes for all clams to pop open. If some did not open, toss those aside.
  • Once all clams are open drizzle with half of the lemon, reserving the other half for serving.
  • Take out opened clams and set aside.
  • Add pasta to the white wine sauce. Toss gently adding the reserved pasta water.
  • Serve pasta in bowls with plenty of sauce. Add shells to the pasta and sprinkle with parsley.
  • Serve with a lemon wedge and enjoy!

Additional Notes & Tips for This Recipe

How to Buy and Prepare Fresh Clams for Consumption:

  1. Ask your seafood shop to make sure all of the clams are closed, when you buy.
  2. Then make sure to keep the clams refrigerated or cold until you are ready to use. It’s best if you purchase your seafood on the day you intend to use it.
  3. To prepare clams for cooking, add cold water to a large mixing bowl. Add generous amount of salt to the water. The salt works to exude sand and dirt from the clams. Soak clams in the cold water mixture for about 10-15 minutes before cooking.
  4. To clean, rinse the clams under cold water after their bath, and take a kitchen brush and scrub the outside shell diligently under cold water. If clams open during this process, toss them.
  5. An open clam or mussel is dead, and no longer safe for consumption.
  6. Once you’ve scrubbed your clams, keep them in a cold place or in ice, while you prepare other ingredients.

Can I Use Canned Clams for Pasta and Clams?

Yes! I love using canned clams for two reasons. First, between pasta and these canned clams I can always make this dish happen. They’re both pantry staples in my house so making this white wine pasta dish is easy with both of the main ingredients on hand.

The canned clams also make this dish more flavorful rather than fresh shelled clams. The juice of the canned clams is an important part of the white wine sauce and it adds additional meat to the simple pasta recipe.

What Wine Should I Use for This Pasta and Clams Recipe?

Crisp White Wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are my favorite to use for this pasta and clams recipe, and also to serve with this dish. 

Which Pasta is Best for Pasta and Clams Recipe?

Spaghetti or Linguine is the best pasta to use when making clams in a white wine sauce. Or at least that is my preference.

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