How to Shuck Clams

by Contributor

Items you will need

  • Stiff Brushes
  • Towels
  • Clams
  • Bowls
  • Clam Knives
  • Paring Knives
  • Stiff brushes

How to Shuck Clams. Soft-shell clams are the easiest to shuck, but once you get the hang of it, shucking any type becomes easy.

Step 1

Make sure hard-shell clams are alive by checking that they are tightly closed; check that soft-shell clams react to your touch. Discard dead clams.

Step 2

Scrub clams under running water using a stiff brush.

Step 3

Hold the clam in the palm of your hand using a towel so that you don't cut your hand, and work over a bowl to ensure that you catch the clam's juices.

Step 4

Make sure the clam's hinge is braced against the part of your palm nearest your thumb (the "meat" of your palm).

Step 5

Work a paring or clam knife into the part of the shell near your fingertips.

Step 6

Slide the knife around the clam's shell so that you cut the muscle at its hinge.

Step 7

Open shell.

Step 8

Scrape the muscle from the top shell into the bottom shell.

Step 9

Serve clams on the half shell, or remove meat from shells to prepare for other dishes.


  • Let clams cool in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before you start, and it will be easier to shuck them. Another way to shuck clams is by inserting the knife near the hinge then twisting the knife (moving the handle from horizontal to vertical) to open the shell.


  • Try to be sure that all shellfish is from a source that's free of pollution and other hazards.