10 Best Clam Juice Substitutes

Clam juice is sold in tiny bottles that can be stored away until you are ready to use them. In these bottles, there is a broth that is made from steamed clams. This broth, known as clam juice, can be used for various purposes in foods and drinks alike.

10 Recommended Clam Juice Substitutes For Your Recipes

In place of clam juice, there are many other options that you can use instead. They may not perfectly replicate clam juice, but still do not feel outlandish in recipes. Some of the best clam juice substitutes include fish stock, chicken broth, vegetable stock, oyster liquor, dashi, dry white wine, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and shrimp shell stock.

What Is Clam Juice Used For?

There are many uses for clam juice. It can be added to cocktails, stirred into clam chowder, and added to sauces. Clam juice can also be used to deglaze pans and help get rid of stubborn stains. It’s even said to relieve hangovers quickly.

What Does Clam Juice Taste Like?

Many people are turned away from seafood because of the “fishy” taste. Clam juice is an exception to this and doesn’t really taste fishy. Rather, it is salty and fresh. Upon consuming clam juice, you can tell that it came from the ocean but its flavor is not overwhelming.

In heavier dishes, clam juice adds a sense of lightness. It balances the acidity in foods such as tomatoes and adds a colorful umami flavor.

What Can I Use in Place of Clam Juice?

Thankfully, if you don’t have any clam juice on hand or can’t find any, there are plenty of replacements that suffice. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular substitutes for clam juice.

1. Fish Stock

Fish stock has the same flavor element of clam juice where it is a seafood without the overpowering fishy taste. Fish stock gets very close to replicating the flavor of clam juice. Keep in mind that it is not suitable for those with fish allergies.

Store-bought fish stock or cubes that can dissolve into water is perfect. But you can also make fish stock from home. To do this, you’ll need a pound of fish scraps or heads and chopped onions, celery, carrots, and seasoning. 

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Add five cups of water to the mixture and let it boil for about thirty minutes. After removing from heat and straining it, your homemade fish stock will be the perfect addition to sauces and soups. Whether it’s homemade or store bought, use the same amount of fish stock that you would clam juice. 

2. Chicken Broth

Chicken stock is a great clam juice substitute for people who deal with seafood allergies. It does not have the same flavor that clam juice has, but still can work the same way. The only issue that might come about is your dish having a strong, unwanted chicken taste.

To avoid this, try diluting the chicken broth in water in your recipe. An example of this would be if your original recipe lists one cup of clam juice, you could use one half cup of water and one half cup of your chicken broth.

3. Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock is another great option for those who have dietary restrictions. It is safe for people with seafood allergies, and friendly for people who do not consume meat. Prepackaged vegetable stocks are widely available at grocery stores, but you can also try making your own.

To make your own vegetable stock at home, you’ll need chopped mushrooms, celery, seasoning, dry white wine, and about six cups of water. Let all of these ingredients simmer together for an hour, then strain. You will then have a perfect homemade vegetable stock.

The only downside to vegetable stock is that it doesn’t really work in every recipe that calls for clam juice. It may not be enjoyable in all seafood recipes, and is not recommended for cocktails. Of course, you can try it, it just may feel out of place.

4. Oyster Liquor

Oyster liquor is found in raw oysters and is a natural juice. It prolongs the amount of time that fresh oysters will stay alive when they are not in water. It works perfectly in savory foods in place of clam juice, and can pair nicely with your cocktails as well.

One thing to note about oyster liquor is that it may have unexpected levels of saltiness. To control this, try starting with smaller amounts and taste-testing. Use half the amount of oyster liquor that you would’ve with clam juice, and keep adding more and trying until it tastes right to you. 

5. Dashi

Dashi is a type of Japanese stock that adds a savory and bright flavor to whatever it is blended with. It forms the base of miso soup in Japanese cuisine and is commonly mixed with flour to marinate food before grilling it.

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Dashi can be made from home, but it is rather complicated. Your best bet to get dashi stock is at the grocery store. It is more likely to be easily found at an Asian supermarket than the one you’re accustomed to.

6. Dry White Wine

White wines are an easily accessible alternative to clam juice, and they all vary in price points. This one is perfect for any purpose you’d use clam juice for; pastas, soups, or cocktails. The best part about using white wine is that you can drink it straight if there are any leftovers.

Using dry white wine for your recipe also has the added bonus of a much lower sodium content. The alcohol content is surely something to be mindful of, but if you’re using it to cook with this won’t be much of a problem. You can also use dry sherry as a clam juice substitute. 

7. Oyster Sauce

If you love the fishy element of clam juice, oyster sauce is a close replacement. It has a very similar taste to clam juice with its saltiness. Oyster sauce is known most popularly as an Asian sauce, so you’ll have the best luck finding it at an Asian supermarket.

It almost perfectly replicates the taste of clam juice so it is a great substitute if you don’t want to change much about your recipe. Oyster sauce works in place of clam juice in any recipe that calls for it. In the end result, it will be hard to tell you used anything else.

8. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is another great clam juice replacement when you don’t want to get rid of the seafood flavor. Fish sauce tends to be easier to find than fish stock, but the two are very similar and can be used interchangeably.

It is made from krill or other fish that are seasoned in salt and fermented for as long as two years. You might think that the flavor comes from the simple fact that it’s made from fish, but the taste is actually achieved through the fermentation process.

9. Shrimp Shell Stock

Shrimp shell stock works as a clam juice substitute because it still has the distinct seafood flavor. The extracting process that is used to make shrimp shell stock is the same one that’s used to make clam juice. 

You can buy shrimp shell stock at a grocery store or make it yourself by draining the shells of shrimp.

10. Homemade Clam Juice

If you have the time and are up for a DIY, making clam juice at home tastes far more authentic than store-bought clam juice. From home, you can also ensure that there are no additives.

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How Do You Make Clam Juice?

To make your own clam juice, you will need about two pounds of clams. Grab a steamer and fill it with around a half inch of water, then add the clams to the water. Let it steam for seven minutes or so, stirring the pot continually so the clams can cook evenly.

Your result will be clam-tasting steaming water. You can now use this for any recipe that calls for clam juice. Most clam juices that are available at stores are salty, so if you like the element of saltiness, you will want to add in your own salt.

Can You Eat Too Many Clams?

Eating too much of anything is not a great idea. This applies to clams too, as consuming too many can result in indigestion or high cholesterol. Especially avoid eating too many raw or undercooked clams. The most common symptoms from doing so include nausea, fatigue, and stomach pains.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Budweiser Clamato have clam juice?

Clamato does contain clam juice, although it is not the main ingredient. Clamato is mainly composed of tomato juice and sugar, but it is flavored with clam broth, hence the name. Clamato should not be consumed by those with seafood or shellfish allergies.

When should you not eat clams?

There is a saying that you shouldn’t eat shellfish in months that have the letter “R” in them. Part of this is because in summer, oysters can soak up algae with the potential to spread harmful bacteria. 

People have been following this rule for over four thousand years. In the months between September and April, clams are more likely to be watery and not as satisfying. Of course, you can really eat them whenever you please. But there is some truth to this urban myth.

Are clams good for your liver?

Freshwater clams are shown to be good for your liver because they contain choline which can lower cholesterol. Choline has also been shown to improve brain function and memory retainment, as it stimulates the growth of neurotransmitters. 

Clams can also help relieve inflammation. They are also a good source of many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B-12, C, zinc, iodine, and selenium. 

Final Thoughts

Clam juice is a very versatile ingredient that can be used for many recipes. It is an excellent addition to many soups, sauces, and cocktails. If you don’t have any clam juice or want to try something different, there are plenty of alternatives that mimic the properties of clam juice.