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This Linguine with Clam Sauce is a quick, easy dinner recipe that’s perfect for busy evenings — and it’s ready in just 20 minutes! With simple ingredients liked chopped canned clams, white wine, olive oil, butter, garlic, and parsley, it’s a flavorful and affordable, restaurant-quality dish. Serve each bowl of pasta with a loaf of crusty bread and a green salad for the ultimate weeknight meal!

Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of linguine with white clam sauce.

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

As opposed to a tomato-based red clam sauce, this linguine with clam sauce recipe features a white sauce made from white wine, butter, olive oil, clam juice, and plenty of garlic (no tomatoes in the mix!). It’s an easy meal that takes advantage of convenient canned clams, so there’s hardly any prep work necessary. You don’t have to fuss with the shells, and you can keep the ingredients stashed in your pantry. It’s such a great way to get a delicious dinner on the table quickly — even on your busiest nights!

This pasta dish is also a nice way to introduce children to shellfish and seafood. The chopped clams are very small and almost undetectable amidst the buttery garlic sauce. It’s even easy to serve the noodles without any of the clams on the plate, so your kids really just think they’re eating plain pasta in a flavorful sauce. It doesn’t have a fishy, overpowering clam taste, but instead tastes like grown-up buttered noodles. Top each bowl with some Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon wedges, or crushed red pepper flakes and everyone will love it!

Pouring clam juice and white wine in a cast iron skillet.

Ingredients

  • Linguine: a close relative of fettuccine, this pasta includes long, flat strands, but is thinner and narrower than fettuccine. Linguine, which means “little tongues” in Italian, originated in the Liguria region of Italy. Throughout this area, the air is fragrant with salty ocean breezes and the aroma of delicious food cooking. It’s a natural companion for clam sauce, but you can substitute with another pasta shape of your choice. Good options also include spaghetti, fettuccine, or angel hair.
  • Clams: use two cans of chopped clams for a quick and easy protein option. Make sure that you reserve the juice that the clams are packed in, since this is the flavorful foundation for your white clam sauce.
  • White wine: pick a dry white wine that’s a good quality for drinking, such as Sauvignon Blanc, pinot grigio, or Chardonnay. For an alcohol-free substitute, use chicken broth or extra clam juice instead.
  • Onion and garlic: for savory flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce: adds salty umami flavor.
  • Parsley: fresh is best for a bright touch of flavor and color.
Adding canned chopped clams to a cast iron skillet.

How to Make Linguine with Clam Sauce

It’s funny where recipe ideas come from. This particular dinner was inspired by my obstetrician, who suggested the dish as a great way to enjoy clams, which happen to be a rich source of iron. Who knew?! I have always liked clams (typically of the fried variety), but they don’t exactly make it onto my weekly grocery list. Until now! This dinner turned out to be a winner with the entire family – it’s fast, it requires only a few ingredients, and it’s delicious!

  1. Cook the linguine just until barely al dente, then drain.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil and butter until the onion starts to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the reserved canned clam juice, white wine, and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the flame and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cooked linguine, chopped clams, and parsley. Toss to combine.
  6. Season with kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
  7. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
  8. Serve the pasta and garnish with desired toppings.
Hands eating a bowl of linguine with clam sauce with a loaf of crusty bread.

What to Serve with Linguine with Clams in White Wine Sauce

Here are some easy sides that go well with linguine and white clam sauce:

Overhead image of a bowl of linguine with clams in white wine sauce with a side of bread and salad.

Storage

Leftover linguine with clam sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Reheat in a skillet over low heat, just until warmed through. You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave for about 1 minute.

I do not recommend freezing this dish. The pasta will have a mushy, gummy texture when thawed.

Overhead shot of a dinner table with linguine with clam sauce, salad, bread and wine.

Recipe Variations

  • Possible substitutions for the linguine include fettuccine, spaghetti, or angel hair pasta.
  • For an alcohol-free dish, use extra clam juice or chicken broth instead of the white wine.
  • Double all of the ingredients if you’re serving a larger family.
Overhead shot of the best linguine with clam sauce recipe served in a white pasta bowl with a side of bread and salad.

Tips for the Best Linguine with Clam Sauce Recipe

  • Don’t forget to reserve the clam juice from the canned clams — don’t pour it down the drain! This is a critical ingredient for the white clam sauce.
  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water. This is your opportunity to season the linguine itself.
  • Cook the pasta just until it’s barely al dente — tender, but with a firm bite. The linguine will continue to cook in the sauce for a few more minutes, so you don’t want it to be overdone, mushy, or gummy.
  • Use a dry white wine (not a sweet wine) that’s a good quality for drinking, such as sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or chardonnay.
  • With just a few simple ingredients, it’s important to use high-quality options. I prefer fresh parsley and fresh garlic cloves, rather than dried parsley flakes or garlic powder.
  • Garnish each serving with grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley, fresh basil, fresh lemon wedges or lemon juice, or spicy red-pepper flakes for extra flavor.
Overhead shot of a white bowl full of linguine with clam sauce and Parmesan cheese, lemon and parsley garnish.

More Pasta Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of linguine with white clam sauce.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 2 – 4 servings
Calories 355 kcal
Linguine with clam sauce is an easy dinner that's full of flavor — and it's ready in just 20 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz dry linguine (or other pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans chopped clams, drained, juice reserved
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: grated Parmesan cheese; lemon wedges; crushed red pepper flakes; extra parsley

Instructions

  • Cook linguine just until barely al dente, according to package directions. Drain.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the onion and garlic. Sauté garlic and onions until starting to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add ¾ cup of the reserved clam juice, wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and gently simmer on low for about 10 minutes (so that the flavors come together and the sauce reduces slightly).
  • Add cooked linguine, clams, and parsley to the skillet. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Simmer for about 5 more minutes, until the sauce is mostly absorbed.
  • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, extra parsley, or fresh lemon wedges.

Notes

  • Don’t forget to reserve the clam juice from the canned clams — don’t pour it down the drain! This is a critical ingredient for the white clam sauce.
  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water. This is your opportunity to season the linguine itself.
  • Cook the pasta just until it’s barely al dente — tender, but with a firm bite. The linguine will continue to cook in the sauce for a few more minutes, so you don’t want it to be overdone and mushy or gummy.
  • Use a dry white wine (not a sweet wine) that’s a good quality for drinking, such as sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or chardonnay.
  • With just a few simple ingredients, it’s important to use high-quality options. I prefer fresh parsley and fresh garlic cloves, rather than dried parsley flakes or garlic powder.
  • Garnish each serving with grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley, fresh basil, fresh lemon wedges or lemon juice, or spicy red-pepper flakes for extra flavor.
  • Recipe slightly adapted from DisneyFamily.com.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 355kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 10gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 153mgPotassium: 181mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 218IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: clam sauce, linguine with clam sauce, linguine with clams, linguine with white clam sauce
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2013. The photos were updated in January, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. This looks amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten clams before – but I know my Dad loves them so I might have to try this out!

    1. Thanks, Kristy! This is definitely the way to try them, since they’re very subtle in this dish. They’re great! 🙂

  2. Wow, this meal looks realy tasty <3 Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe with us – I'm sure both me and my family will love it once I prepare it! And it's pretty quick to do as well.

    Cheers

  3. Wow, this meal looks realy tasty <3 Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe with us – I'm sure both me and my family will love it once I prepare it! And it's pretty quick to do as well.

    Cheers

    1. Yes! I would substitute with chicken, vegetable, or seafood stock — or even some extra clam juice. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Yum yum it was delicious! I goofed and added all the clam juice, about 1 cup, and it was so tasty… hubby and I cleaned our plate. Thanks for the recipe it’s a keeper!

    1. So glad that you enjoyed it. A little extra clam juice won’t hurt! 🙂 We just enjoyed this again a few days ago. Definitely a favorite in our house, too. Thanks, Deborah!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday. I used dry vermouth because I didn’t have any open white wine (saw that hint in some other recipe somewhere) and only used 1/3 pound of pasta for the two of us. I also added a pinch of dried thyme and some hot pepper flakes. It’s a keeper.

  6. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe for a quick hit from my kitchen! Easy to make, tastes delicious. Love, love, love this recipe! My family requested I make this for our Christmas Eve dinner (7 fishes) this year! Think this will be added to our other Italian Feast traditions as well!

    1. Yay! That’s such high praise, Dolores. Thank you! Hope you and your family have a happy holiday season — linguine included! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was delicious! This was one of the few recipes that I have ever seen that came in somewhere close to the preparation time listed. Even my picky eater liked it. His only suggestion was that a bit of lemon juice would have added a bit of brightness to the dish. I followed the recipe almost exactly except for using dried parsley and lately I have been using Maggi Amore instead of Worcestershire sauce. This made 3 nice sized servings. Very EZ to fix and I will be making this again. Thank you Blair!

  8. 5 stars
    What a great recipe! Made it last night and while it was fast and easy for a relatively novice “chef” like myself, above all it was delicious. It’s going into the dinner rotation!

  9. 5 stars
    ABSOLUTELY KILLER! LOVE this! I have to start eating clams to get my b12 up… so glad I started my first clam dinner I’ve ever made with this recipe!!

  10. 5 stars
    While searching for a clam sauce recipe without heavy cream, I found your recipe. Made it for dinner tonight and loved it! I did add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes to the onion & garlic. Sorry to say I didn’t have parsley, but didn’t miss it. Served steamed broccoli on the side. Thank you.