What is Clam Juice and What is a Substitute for it

by Daisy Dao

Clam juice is broth from clams which is sold in small containers, and to make it, clams are shucked and steamed for a short time. Then it becomes a broth. However, most of the brands do not happen to add any artificial preservatives other than salt.

On the other hand, clam meat is bagged and sold individually. This juice has a sour flavor. You can mostly use it as a flavoring agent instead of using as a juice that you can have as a beverage. If mixed with bisque and clam chowder, it enhances the flavor.

There are some cocktails, namely, ‘Low Tide Martini’ and ‘Caesar’; they need clam juice in them as well.

What is Clam Juice and What is a Substitute for it
What is Clam Juice and What is a Substitute for it

Tips for Cooking

Sometimes, some brands double the amount of salt in their clam juice. In that case, you have to reduce the amount of salt you are using in your recipe. Before doing that, check the labels on your clam juice bottle.

Nevertheless, while using any brand, add salt in your dish at the very end. Thus, you can determine whether your meal really needs to have extra salt even after putting clam juice in it.

What to Do With Clam Juice?

Clam juice comes in handy while making the pastry. You can add this juice with your chowders and soups to make an appetizing dill sauce. For making a usual clam pan sauce, you can use clam juice to deglaze a pan.

Where to Buy Clam Juice

You can get clam juice in cans or bottles. You can find them in grocery stores. You can also order it online.

Different Usage of Clam Juice

  • You can use clam juice along with white wine in your marinade for a roasted fish that has got brimmed with seafood flavor.
  • Just like you use Asian fish sauce to make umami-rich bread magnet, you can also use clam juice in it, and it does the same job too.
  • If you are willing to taste scallops other than lemons in your homemade ceviche, instead of using citrus juice go for clam juice. 1/3 cup of clam juice is enough for that.
  • Clam juice can increase the existing flavor in a shrimp sauté without even nullifying the dish’s genuine flavor. For that, you can add clam juice in your seafood dishes and pasta sauces. In risotto, it keeps it from getting gummy and too rich.

For making extra brightness while heating the liquid for cooking risotto, keep some chicken broth with clam juice somewhere else.

  • Add a little clam juice in your brunch cocktail if you had a rough night. It will help you to get over your hangover fast before you get into your daily works.
  • To give a briny and bright twist, use a little amount of clam juice in your Bloody Mary. But you have to be into oysters for this to work for you as the taste gets pretty strong here.
  • Just like you use fish sauce in your stir-fry sauce, try clam juice in your next recipe. It adds an umami boost in noodles, vegetables, beef or chicken.
  • Clam juice is an excellent non-alcoholic substitute in terms of deglazing a pan while cooking. Additionally, it brings extra moisture and increases the depth of flavor in your dish.
  • You can also use it in recipes that got white wine in them to loosen up any brown bits.
  • Clam juice is a richer kind of sauce. Having a deeper flavor, you can use it to boost your marinara or Bolognese sauce where clam juice balances the acidity of the tomatoes added to the dish.

Substitute for Clam Juice

There are a lot of recipes for soups, sauces and seafood chowders that need clam juice as one of the ingredients. If you are allergic to clams or you cannot find it in the grocery store, there are several substitutes for clam juice that almost work as clam juices.

Fish Stock

You can use the fish stock as a substitute for clam juice in your recipe. You can get fish stock from grocery stores, and if you want to make it by yourself, you can also do it from fish bones, shrimp shells, fish scraps and fish heads as well.

To do that, at first, you have to simmer around 0.454kg of fish trimmings along with carrot, salt, onion, pepper, the stalk of celery and a small amount of lemon juice in 5 cups of water for 20-30 minutes.

Chicken Stock

Chicken broth works just fine as a substitute for clam juice. Use an equal amount of water and chicken broth. If your recipe takes 1 cup of clam juice, use 1.5 cup water and 1.5 cup chicken stock. This adds to the necessary saltiness that you could get from clam juice without even adding extra chicken flavor to your dish.

Vegetable Stock

As a substitute for clam juice, you can also use vegetable broth. This substitute is less accurate to some extent than that of fish stock or chicken stock. Most of the cooks refer to using half water and half vegetable broth and adding a little amount of tomato paste. This substitute goes well with seafood stews and tomato-based clam chowders as well.

Other Replacements

There are many substitutes for clam juice, for instance, a stock that is made of chicken broth and water along with shrimp shells.


Clam juice is pretty similar to fish sauce or dashi in terms of taste. Hence, you do not need to go to a restaurant to have seafood as you can get the flavor from clam juice.

However, these are not all the applications you can have with clam juice. You can explore all by yourself to know what it can do and what flavor it can add to your dishes and help you recreate something new.

About Daisy Dao

Daisy grew up on the beautiful Honolulu island where she often found herself spending most of her day enjoying the ocean scent in sea waves. As such, Daisy came to appreciate the art of cooking seafood. She has experimented with baking, roasting, broiling, poaching, grilling (and every other cooking technique you can think of); and with all kinds of spices too. Now she is ready to present her experience: the art of cooking healthy food without any pre-packaged ingredients; food product recommendations for people who need a bit more guidance on what goes into their bodies; how to maintain an active lifestyle without having to give up your favorite foods!

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