Steamed Mussels With Bacon & Beer Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Steamed mussels are the perfect easy summer appetizer. My steamed mussels are cooked in a delicious homemade broth comprised of chopped bacon, beer, garlic, onion, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, butter, and a pinch of paprika. It’s easy and delicious and only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Perfectly steamed mussels in beer broth in a saucepan garnished with fresh parsley.

Why I Love This Recipe

Cooking mussels may sound intimidating, but the recipe prep takes longer than the actual steaming. Prepped in 15 minutes and fully cooked in about 5 minutes, it’s hard to argue with a simple and delicious 20-minute meal. Mussels can also be steamed in a creamy sauce like my steamed clams in creamy ale sauce or mussels in spicy arrabbiata sauce.

If you’re looking for more delicious summery seafood recipes, try my baked oysters recipe, baked lobster tails, and steamed lobster recipe!

Ingredients

  • Mussels: I usually use P.E.I. mussels (Prince Edward Island) because they’re delicious and readily available. Love pasta? try my mussels over creamy linguini for a complete meal!
  • Beer of choice: I like to use light ale or lagers, blonde ale, pale ale, or NEIPA. Whatever you like works!
  • Thick-cut bacon: bacon is optional but adds flavor to the broth and serves as delicious bites of bacon. You can also use pancetta.
  • Garlic: minced or sliced garlic works. Fresh is always better than ground spices
  • Yellow onion: onion is arguably the most important spice. The onion flavor pairs so well with the mussels. White onion works well too.
  • butter: butter is used to soften the onions and garlic and release the aromatics. You can alternatively use extra virgin olive oil.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

How to Clean and Prep Mussels

Before you cook mussels, you want to rinse the shells in cool water to remove any sand (otherwise, it ends up on your plate). This is a good time to discard any mussels that remain open or don’t fully shut when rinsing (these are dead). Sometimes it takes a minute for mussels to fully close so be patient.

Lastly, remove any thread-like ‘beard’ protruding from the shell. Grab hold and rip it out. Some are in there tight so give it a good tug. Not all mussels will have them so skip any that don’t.

Opened steamed mussels in a saucepan pictured with a hazy IPA in the background.

How to Steam Mussels in Beer

Step 1.

Rinse mussels under cool water and remove beards if any (image 1a). Discard damaged shells or any that do not fully close on their own when rinsing or gently tapping on the counter. These are dead and should not be consumed (image 1b).

A bowl of uncooked mussels
A hand holding an uncooked mussel that is slightly cracked open.

Step 2.

In a large covered saucepan on medium-low heat, cook bacon/pancetta until browned, 3-4 minutes. Do not discard bacon fat. Add garlic, onion, butter, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onion is tender. About 2 minutes.

Step 3.

Add beer and mussels. Stir, cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until shells open up. Garnish with chopped parsley, stir, and serve immediately in a bowl with beer broth. Serve with toasted French bread for dipping.

Steamed Mussels With Bacon & Beer Recipe

Expert Tips

  • We also like to serve up with some buttered, toasted French bread. Dipping in the garlicky broth at the end is heaven.
  • Mussels should be stored cool or over ice in the grocery store. If not, please look elsewhere.
  • Mussels are alive when purchased. Do not seal the bag when storing or they can suffocate. It’s best to use them within 24 hours of purchasing.
  • If you don’t like beer you can substitute it with water or even white wine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best beer for steaming mussels?

Any beer you enjoy. The beer flavor is subtle, however a nice blonde, wheat, or pale ale is a great place to start. If you like hoppy beers, I recommend trying a New England-style IPA. It will give you a citrusy, juicy flavor. If all else fails, sure, throw in a Bud Light. I would avoid stouts as they’re very bold. If you don’t like beer you can substitute it with water or even white wine.

HOW DO I TELL IF MUSSELS ARE FULLY COOKED?

When the mussels are finished cooking, their shells will open up. If the majority of the shells have opened (usually 4-5 minutes), they’re likely all cooked.

HOW DO I TELL IF MUSSELS HAVE GONE BAD?

If mussels don’t close on their own when rinsed or tapped on the counter, they’re likely dead. Mussels should have a mild oceanic or salty smell (if overly fishy, they’re likely bad).

HOW DO YOU EAT MUSSELS?

Use a fork to remove the meat from inside the shell. Everything but the shell can be consumed.

More Seafood Recipes

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this recipe, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
5 from 1 vote

Steamed Mussels With Bacon & Beer Recipe

Servings: 2
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
My steamed mussels are steamed with chopped bacon, beer, garlic, onion, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, butter, and a pinch of paprika. A delicious and easy way to steam mussels.

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds mussels, rinsed and beards removed
  • 2 cups beer of choice, blonde ale, pale ale, or NEIPA
  • 3 strips thick-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced/sliced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • pinch of paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dash crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions 

  • Rinse mussels under cool water and remove beards if any. Discard damaged shells or any that do not fully close on their own when rinsing or gently tapping on the counter. These are dead and should not be consumed.
  • In a large covered saucepan on medium-low heat, cook bacon/pancetta until browned, 3-4 minutes. Do not discard bacon fat. Add garlic, onion, butter, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onion is tender. About 2 minutes.
  • Add beer and mussels. Stir, cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until shells open up. Garnish with chopped parsley, stir, and serve immediately in a bowl with beer broth. Serve with toasted french bread for dipping.

Notes

We also like to serve up with some buttered, toasted French bread. Dipping in the garlicky broth at the end is heaven.
Mussels should be stored cool or over ice in the grocery store. If not, please look elsewhere.
Mussels are alive when purchased. Do not seal the bag when storing or they can suffocate. It’s best to use them within 24 hours of purchasing.
If you don’t like beer you can substitute it with water or even white wine.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2-1 lb (about 20 mussels)Calories: 411kcalCarbohydrates: 20.2gProtein: 37.3gFat: 14.6gSaturated Fat: 6.2gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 927mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 0.9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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4 Comments

  1. Yum! This was my first attempt at cooking mussels at home. I love them in the restaurants, and this was really good in comparison! Especially since I didn’t have white wine and needed to rely on a beer recipe. Nice job!

  2. I think I would buy your recipe book a million times and then some. How do you do it!?!?!? You’re killing me with just the photos.