Spicy Coconut Milk Clams

These spicy coconut milk clams are packed full of Thai flavor and cook in less than 20 minutes. It’s full of spicy red chiles and sweet coconut milk to create the perfect sweet and spicy seafood combination.

These spicy coconut milk clams are packed full of Thai flavor and cook in less than 20 minutes. It's full of spicy red chiles and sweet coconut milk to create the perfect sweet and spicy seafood combination.

Are you a seafood lover? When I was a kid I was sure I didn’t like any and all seafood. Then slowly I started changing my mind. First it was shrimp, then came the loving of calamari and finally I gave in to most other shellfish. However, clams and mussels were totally off my radar. I was sure no matter what, I wouldn’t like them.

Then one day after a few beers I decided to give clams a try. I plucked the fat little clam out of its shell and dipped it in salty melted butter.

Sweet. Baby. J.

These spicy coconut milk clams are packed full of Thai flavor and cook in less than 20 minutes. It's full of spicy red chiles and sweet coconut milk to create the perfect sweet and spicy seafood combination.

I was taken back at how much the clams tasted nothing like I thought they would in my head. A little chewy (in a good way) with a big bold slap you in your face briny flavor. After that I ordered 2 dozen of my own steamers and ate them with a big smile on my face.

Now I’m always on the search for a new and delicious way to cook my clams. This time I went the spicy coconut milk route. The flavor of the broth reminds me of Tom Kha Gai soup but packed with clams and a little hit of spicy red chile flavor. It was hard for me to not just slurp up all that broth and not share one single bite with the hubs.

BUT because I’m not a monster I shared.

{Looking for more clam recipes? Try my beer steamed clams, New England clam chowder or my drunken clams and sausage.}

These spicy coconut milk clams are packed full of Thai flavor and cook in less than 20 minutes. It's full of spicy red chiles and sweet coconut milk to create the perfect sweet and spicy seafood combination.

The good thing about this recipe is that it’s made in NO time! But the biggest issue about cooking in my kitchen is the lack of space and quality appliances. We bought our home fresh off a remodel but of course all the appliances they put in the house were the lowest grade possible. Combine that with the fact that my kitchen is about the size of a lentil and you have sadness in kitchen form. When I say my appliances are bad I’m not joking. The handle to both my microwave AND oven have fallen off.

Fallen. Off.

If you asked my husband how many times I talk about my dream kitchen, he would probably respond “About a million. She never stops talking about it!” Sadly he is not wrong. I’m always pulling up ideas on the computer and showing up all my fancy vision boards and appliances I want. He usually responds with something like “you realize those appliances would not fit in our kitchen…right?”

Well now he is going to be psyched because Frigidaire just came out with a line of professional-grade appliances that are made to fit in a normal sized kitchen. Hooooooray! That means now he can listen to me talk about our trips to Lowe’s and what we will buy.

Dream kitchen Ideas

Pictured: Frigidaire Professional French door refrigerator and Frigidaire Professional 5 burner gas stove.

So what does my dream kitchen look like?

  • Bright, cheery and open
  • A mix of bold color and white
  • Dark wide plank hardwood
  • Pretty professional-grade appliances like the ones in my mood board
  • GIANT farmhouse sink

Not too complicated, right?

Just imagine I had all these appliances in my house while I made this. I would rock these clams on my 30 inch sturdy range that not only offered up 18,000 BTU’s of powerful cooking but it’s smudge free too. Which honestly is a huge plus to me. And because I’m a sucker and usually buy WAY too many clams I could keep them ice cold in my big French door refrigerator….swooooooon!

These spicy coconut milk clams are packed full of Thai flavor and cook in less than 20 minutes. It's full of spicy red chiles and sweet coconut milk to create the perfect sweet and spicy seafood combination.

Now I realize it’s too much to just go in and redo a whole kitchen in one weekend. But you know what you can do in just one weekend? Give yourself quality and professional-grade appliances! And possibly throw in a couple of other easy DIY updates.

So you know what that means? That means this weekend there are no excuses to not give your kitchen the facelift it needs!


Spicy Coconut Milk Clams

These spicy coconut milk clams are packed full of Thai flavor and cook in less than 20 minutes. It's full of spicy red chiles and sweet coconut milk to create the perfect sweet and spicy seafood combination.

Yield: 2 dozen clams

Prep Time: 10 minutesplus clam cleaning time

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 2 dozen little neck clams, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons red chile paste
  • 2 teaspoons gochujang paste
  • 2 teaspoons lemongrass paste
  • 8 ounces clam juice
  • 14 ounces coconut milk
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges for topping, optional


Wash your clams and leave them clean in a sink full of water. My post on beer steamed clams gives you a breakdown on how to clean clams if you have never done it before.

In a large skillet set over medium high heat, add butter.

Once melted, add garlic, ginger, red chile paste, gochujang and lemongrass. Sauté for 1 minutes until fragrant.

Pour in clam juice, coconut milk and lime juice. Stir to combine.

Add in clams, cover and bring to a slight boil. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until all the clam shells have popped open. If after 10 minutes you notice one has not opened discard. Never eat clams that have not opened after cooking.

Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro and an extra squeeze of lime if desired.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kitchen PLAY in partnership with Frigidaire and Lowe’s. All thoughts and comments are 100% my own.

32 Responses to “Spicy Coconut Milk Clams”

  1. #
    Sara — April 23, 2015 at 12:22 am

    I am still working on my plan for my dream kitchen – we’ll probably do ours in about 5 years when the kids are older and less destructive! The clams look amazing, I love all those flavors.

  2. #
    Abigail — April 23, 2015 at 6:22 am

    That is one delicious clam dish! Love to use coconut milk as well and I can almost taste the complexity of flavors here. Yum!

  3. #
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — April 23, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Ha! I am always talking about my dream kitchen.
    My current one is definitely FAR FAR away from it. Sad day.
    I think I’ll drown my sorrows in a bowl of these babies. Love that spicy coconut milk! Pinned!

  4. #
    pam — April 23, 2015 at 8:05 am

    My dream kitchen would be about twice the size of what mine is now!!

  5. #
    Christie — April 23, 2015 at 8:30 am

    You cook the way we love to eat. I always know when I come to your blog, I am going to want whatever recipe you have up. Forget going to a restaurant, I want to go to your house for dinner. As for my kitchen, I want a new sink so bad but the one I want cannot be installed because of the granite counters. Some day…

  6. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — April 23, 2015 at 8:54 am

    I want this in the worst way! We recently got all new appliances and it has made all the difference!

  7. #
    Colleen (Souffle Bombay) — April 23, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I have been holding out for my dream kitchen (had an awesome one in our 1st home), however I may be a granny before that happens…I better learn to compromise! I love fried clams and clams casino, but I am squirmish when it comes to eating them like this, lol! I make them for others…just doooon’t eat em! This is a gorgeous meal, I might just have to whip it up for my man!

  8. #
    Kacey @ The Cookie Writer — April 23, 2015 at 10:34 am

    This makes me think back to when I was a kid at my cousin’s wedding. The last course was a seafood salad for each table. My dad was offering us kids $20 each to eat one thing out of the salad. Not one of us bit it (my dad is not a seafood person either.) I have to admit though, these clams look soooo good! Thankfully my husband is a seafood eater so I can make these for him 🙂

  9. #
    Julia — April 23, 2015 at 10:42 am

    This is such a beautiful pot of clams! I love that they are spicy and they are mixed with coconut milk.

  10. #
    Heather / girlichef — April 23, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I lurve seafood beyond compare, just looking at this gorgeous dish makes me happy…though I’d be much happier if I could actually dive in!

  11. #
    Cookin Canuck — April 23, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I adore clams, mussels and all-things seafood from the bottom of my heart. These gorgeous, spicy clams are making me crave seafood in such a bad way.

  12. #
    Lauren Kelly Nutrition — April 23, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I need to make this for my husband! He would LOVE this!

  13. #
    Renee — April 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    YUMMY! Those look delicious!

  14. #
    Kate @ Framed Cooks — April 23, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    We are sisters in clam-loving – I look for any, and I mean any excuse. I HAVE MADE CLAM PIZZA. This recipe is definitely happening in my kitchen. And speaking of, you hang on to those kitchen dreams! The kitchen is our happy place!

  15. #
    CatK — April 23, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Those look divine!! It is a MUST PIN!!!

  16. #
    Ashley | The Recipe Rebel — April 23, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I feel you. Before we moved our kitchen was terrible! Now I have some more space and appliances with handles and everything. These clams look incredible!

  17. #
    Janel from NellieBellie — April 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Oh my goodness this looks amazing!! I have never tried making clams and am so excited to try this!

  18. #
    Carole from Carole's Chatter — April 23, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Oooh, I do hope you’ll come over to Food on Friday: Curries to bring this to the party! Cheers from Carole’s Chatter

  19. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — April 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I could eat clams all day long. Love that you used coconut milk and hello spicy? YES!

  20. #
    Carol at Wild Goose Mama — April 23, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    I love your kitchen ideas because they right in line with mine. Especially the bright colors and the big sink. My town is on the salt water. Clams abound and this a really an innovative way to fix them. I like it.

  21. #
    The Food Hunter — April 23, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    the spicy coconut sounds wonderful in this

  22. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — April 23, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    What I wouldn’t do for some of those appliances! I swear the Army uses the cheapest stuff they can find in our housing!

    These clams look delicious! I looooove clams so much but I’ve always been too scared to cook them. I’m definitely trying this when I get brave!

  23. #
    Susan@LunaCafe — April 23, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Ginger, chile, lemongrass, cilantro, chile paste, lime, coconut milk–plus clams. WOW! Perfect clams are easy to come by in Portland, so this is a must-try for me.

  24. #
    Bea — April 24, 2015 at 1:16 am

    My youngest daughter loves your recipe for clams & sausage; made again a few ago and let’s just say that 2 lbs. of clams were NOT enough. She will go crazy for these…thank you!

  25. #
    Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector) — April 24, 2015 at 6:56 am

    All those wonderful flavors in there…oh my goodness! These look so good!

  26. #
    Susan — April 24, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I love clams, been eating them since I was a kid! I could devour dozens of them in minutes. Unlike you, I don’t share. Get your own bowl! Now what I wouldn’t do for a nice kitchen too! The one thing I regret about selling our co-op was my nicely re-done kitchen. Now I deal with bad rental appliances. I feel you.

  27. #
    Martha @ A Family Feast — April 24, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    We’re doing some kitchen updates this summer and I can’t wait! I love that farmer’s sink you have your eye on…we’re looking for something similar but can’t agree on white, stainless or something even more unique. And those clams…Perfection!

  28. #
    Kirsten/ComfortablyDomestic — April 25, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Oh that SINK! I dream about big ol’ farmhouse sinks with tons of room for soaking pots and baking sheets. My sink is very, very sad. Pass me a loaf of bread, and I’ll happily sop up all of the briney butter sauce to get over it.

  29. #
    Thao @ In Good Flavor — April 25, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I love how shellfish makes any dish look elegant. This is gorgeous and great for company or date night.

  30. #
    Angie | Big Bear's Wife — April 27, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Just beautiful! I’ve never been a big clam person (but only because we don’t live near the coast and I think the n=best seafood comes when you live near the coast haha) but man oh man, your clam recipes and photos make me want to jump right into them! I only liked shrimp when I was younger and then I fell in love with lobster and moved my way up into the seafood loving world from there!

  31. #
    Andi @ The Weary Chef — April 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    That sink. THOSE CUPBOARDS. So perfect. Much like this recipe – yum!

  32. #
    Dee — May 27, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Made this the other night. I accidentally got Manila clams instead of little neck, so the portions were small. But we just used some toast to soak up all the delicious broth! Definitely will make again.

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