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Instant Pot Clams Bordelaise

Making steamed clams or mussels in wine isn't difficult, to begin with, but I'm always looking for ways to use the Instant Pot, which makes the easy even easier.


This recipe for Instant Pot clams has been a bit mobile. During COVID isolation, my blogging efforts have been in a state of transition. This recipe made the journey from my travel blog in an effort to better focus its content. Searching for a home for recipes, I started to create a food blog. But I realized that, while I like to post recipes or write from time to time, I don’t enjoy cooking and food photography enough to keep up a full-time food blog. So my recipes are finally resting here. Hopefully, this will their final home.

On my travel blog, I had listed this as a “travel-inspired” recipe. What did inspire Instant Pot Clams Bordelaise?

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. That restaurant is now, unfortunately, no more. Then, 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 even quicker and easier using an Instant Pot. Clams, mussels, or other shellfish work equally well in this recipe. Serve it up with some crusty bread (see my recipe here), a good salad, and, of course, some wine! 1

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

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 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, French, Pacific Northwest
Servings 2 people
Calories 605 kcal

Special Equipment

  • Instant Pot


  • 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

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.
  • 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.

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.


Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Clams Bordelaise (and Mussels, too!)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 605 Calories from Fat 405
% Daily Value*
Fat 45g69%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Cholesterol 76mg25%
Sodium 778mg34%
Potassium 246mg7%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 905IU18%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 78mg8%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword clams, mussels, seafood, shellfish
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References and Footnotes
  1. Though I’m not drinking wine again now and trying to transition back to a vegetarian diet so I may not be making this in the future.[]


Clotted Cream

The word "clotted" sounds kind of...off. But if you really want to serve your tea English-style, you need this fattening, heavy stuff. Serve it with scones and some preserves or lemon curd and, of course, some tea.
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Cheryl is a former Occupational Therapist and WordPress enthusiast who became a writer in some parallel universe but not in this one, other than a few published articles. She quit her day job but not her daydream and now blogs excessively on this and several other blogs. When she's not doing that, or puttering around experimenting with making things, she enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking (formerly fast, now ebike), , meditating (though she wouldn't call that "like," and reading. She normally doesn't speak about herself in the third person, but she sometimes uses "we" in the royal sense while writing this blog. She lives in Poulsbo, WA with her spouse, her youngest adult daughter, a very old mutt, and a Siamese cat.
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