This recipe for Instant Pot clams was moved from my travel blog Pacific Northwest and Beyond — I’m trying to make that website more “niche” and was trying to fit recipes into the mix by saying they were “travel inspired,” but found that I wanted to write about food in a way that would mean I would really have to stretch what is considered travel inspired.

What is Instant Pot Clams Bordelaise inspired by? I first started making wine steamed clams after falling in love with mixed shellfish steamed in wine at a French restaurant named Le Gavroche in Vancouver which is now, unfortunately, no more. I found a recipe for Clams Bordelaise in The Frugal Gourmet Cookbook by Jeff Smith and started playing around with it so, in a way, this recipe is inspired by both the Pacific Northwest and French cuisine.

It’s easy to steam clams in wine; it’s now made even quicker and easier using an Instant Pot. The technique works with clams, mussels, or other shellfish equally well. Serve it up with some crusty bread (see my recipe here), a good salad and, of course, some wine!

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On to the Recipe for Instant Pot Clams (or Instant Pot Mussels):

Instant Pot Clams Bordelaise

Instant Pot Clams Bordelaise (and Mussels, too!)

Cooking shellfish is easy anyway, but even quicker and easier in the Instant Pot. The recipe here is easily adaptable depending on your tastes — my version has a lot of garlic and some red pepper — if that's not to your taste you can decrease these or omit them entirely.
The recipe is sized for two people who like to eat lots of shellfish! The cost varies — if you can dig your own clams, it's very low cost — if you buy them at your boutique grocery, it can be pricey.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, French, Pacific Northwest
Keyword: clams, mussels, seafood, shellfish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 605kcal
Author: Cheryl
Cost: $20

Things You’ll Need:

  • Instant Pot

What’s in It?

  • 3 lbs clams (…or mussels, or mixture of clams and mussels (my preference))
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced. Can be reduced or omitted, to taste)
  • 2 shallots (medium to large)
  • .25 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay is my fave. Drink the rest!)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste, can be omitted)
  • 3 tbsp butter (also can be omitted — I like to add this for a more buttery texture)

Here’s How to Make It!

Before You Cook

  • If you are using mussels, they must be debearded. To to this, pull that gross stuff firmly toward the pointy end of the mussel.
    Raw Mussel With Beard
  • If you are using clams, you can clean them and get them to spit out any sandy stuff they're holding on to by putting them in a bowl with heavily salted water.
  • Mince your garlic, chop your shallots, take a sip of wine, and get ready to cook!


  • Turn the Instant Pot on to saute. Heat up the olive oil and butter, then add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently to cook evenly, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. If you want to add red pepper, add some toward the end of the cooking.
  • Add the white wine and keep sauteing until the wine is reduced by half or so.
  • Add the shellfish, put the lid on the Instant Pot, and set it to cook on High for one minute.
  • When the Instant Pot is finished, do a quick release, then open the pot. All of the shellfish should be open. If not, put the lid on, set it to saute and let it steam a bit longer.
  • Serve up the shellfish, spoon over the liquid and serve with some crusty bread, salad, and wine.
    mussels and clams

If You Don't Have an Instant Pot:

  • Well…get one! Just kidding. This is easy enough to make in a large lidded pot on the stove. Saute all of your ingredients as above, then add your shellfish, reduce the heat, and let it steam on the stovetop for about 10 minutes or so, until all of the shellfish have opened.