Mussels are the perfect easy summer appetizer. Patty and I like to steam up a batch on weekends and sit outside on our deck and enjoy them with a crisp beer. 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.
Cooking mussels may sound intimidating, but the 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 20-minute meal. Mussels can also be steamed in a creamy sauce or spicy arrabbiata sauce.
How to Clean and Prep Mussels For Steaming
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.
How to Steam Mussels in Beer (Or Anything)
- Place mussels in a covered saucepan with beer, garlic, onion, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, butter, and a pinch of paprika (If adding bacon or pancetta we’ll simmer this first to fully cook).
- Cover and steam for 5 minutes until mussel shells open up.
Easy and delicious. The mussels will pick up the subtle flavors of beer, garlic, bacon and spices by steaming and soaking in the beer broth. We also like to serve up with some buttered, toasted french bread. Dipping in the garlicky broth at the end is HEAVEN.
What Beer Should I Use?
I’m a NEIPA guy but you can use any beer you like. 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.
If you don’t like beer you can substitute it with water or even white wine.
You’ll Also Love
- Mussels arrabbiata
- Baked oysters
- Baked lobster tails
- Squid ink pasta with mussels
- Mussels over linguine
- Clams in creamy ale sauce
Steamed Mussels With Bacon & Beer Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2–3 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 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
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- pinch of paprika
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Dash crushed red pepper flakes
- Rinse mussels under cool water, removing beards while discarding any that do not fully shut on their own (these are dead).
- 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.
If you don’t have beer this can also be made with white wine or water.
- Serving Size: 1/2-1 lb (about 20 mussels)
- Calories: 411
- Sugar: 0.9g
- Sodium: 927mg
- Fat: 14.6g
- Saturated Fat: 6.2g
- Carbohydrates: 20.2g
- Fiber: 1.1g
- Protein: 37.3g
- Cholesterol: 105mg
Keywords: steamed mussels in beer, how to steam mussels, steamed mussels
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!
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.
Thank you very much Brianne – I better get on that book then!