These 5-Ingredient Steamed Beer Mussels are the easiest, most delicious way to prepare mussels! All you need is beer, garlic, a little bit of butter, heavy cream, and of course mussels! We also talk about how to store, clean, and prepare them so they’re perfect every time!
If you’re a fan of mussels, but too scared to make them, then this is the recipe for you! Not only are we going over everything you need to know about cleaning, storing, and cooking mussels, but we’re talking about 5-Ingredient Steamed Beer Mussels that are to die for, and so easy to make.
I typically like my mussels steamed in white wine, but when I didn’t have any on hand the other day, I reached for a fruity beer, and I don’t think I’m ever going back. It has the same acidic notes that I love about white wine, but it makes for a bit more savory sauce, which I adore.
Of course, we have PLENTY of garlic (I’m talking like eight cloves), butter, and just a touch of cream for a velvety finish. As it is goes with any mussels recipe, it’s ALL about being able to dunk pieces of crusty bread in the sauce, so rest assured, there is PLENTY of flavorful broth to dunk until your heart’s content.
How to clean mussels
- First, if any mussels are open and don’t stay closed when you try to shut them, toss them out.
- Next, you want to take the mussel beard off. This is the fuzzy piece that’s sticking out of the shell. Not all mussels have them, but most have something you can remove. Do your best to get it all off.
- Take a gentle brush, such as an old toothbrush, and very quickly try to get any grime or residual gunk off.
- Put them in a colander and rinse them with cold water.
- You never want to completely submerge them in water because you risk killing them. Remember, these are alive!
- Just as we mentioned before, mussels are ALIVE. This means they need to breathe! Don’t buy them on Sunday for a recipe you’re making Thursday. They won’t last that long.
- Make sure they can breathe. If your fish monger puts them in a mesh bag, and then wraps them in paper, just poke a few holes in the paper so they can breathe.
- Keep them cold. This is a must! They will die if you they are in warmth for too long.
- If you can’t buy them the same day (which I recommend), keep them in the mesh they came in and set them in a bowl lined with a damp, cold towel.
Ingredients you’ll need for Steamed Beer Mussels
How to make 5-Ingredient Beer Mussels
- Clean your mussels.
- Melt butter in a deep dutch oven or pot over a medium heat.
- Add garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly softened, about two minutes.
- Add beer, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until it’s reduced by about half. It takes about 5-6 minutes.
- Once the beer is reduced, add the cream and simmer another 2-3 minutes.
- Add mussels! Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Steam the mussels until they all open up. It takes about 5-7 minutes.
- Discard any mussels that don’t open up.
What kind of beer should I use?
Honestly any beer will work aside from a super heavy beer like Guinness. Any light Mexican beer would be great. A fruity ale would be lovely. A pale ale or IPA would be a little bit more flavorful than a light beer, but would still be delicious.
Can steamed beer mussels be prepared in advance?
Sort of. They are best served right away, hands down. However, I did prepare them completely, cool them and then placed them in the fridge for about two hours until we were ready to eat them.
Before storing them I split up the mussels and broth and stored them separately. I kept the broth in the pot, and then when I was ready to serve, brought the broth up to a simmer. I then added in the mussels, and gently let them reheat for about 2-3 minutes. They were still delicious, but I do want to note, this is not the “best” way to serve mussels, it’s just an option if you really don’t have time to make them in the moment.
Variations on a beer cream sauce
- Add in a couple teaspoons of dijon mustard for a more tangy sauce.
- Go a completely different direction and steam the mussels in an easy tomato sauce. (Or even use jarred tomato sauce.)
- Instead of using regular butter to cook the garlic, use truffle butter. Heaven!
- Add in sliced shallots for extra flavor.
- Throw in some capers at the very end for an extra kick of brine and salt.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- As mentioned before, if the mussels don’t open up, toss them. They were already dead and they shouldn’t be eaten. However, if your mussels open up a little bit, but not ALL the way, I find they are still good. Just pry them all the way open with your fingers.
- Be careful with the salt. Only season the broth a little bit in the beginning. Because mussels have that salty, briny ocean water innately in them, it will make the broth salty on its own. After the mussels cook, season the broth to taste.
- I like to take all the mussels out of the pot, put them in my serving dish first, and then use a slotted spoon to get all the garlic pieces out. I then scatter all the garlic in the mussels shells and pour the broth on top. This way, each mussel has a generous amount of garlic and it’s not all stuck at the bottom.
- If you don’t have beer, you can absolutely sub out white wine. I think sherry would also be delicious.
- 1 1/2 lbs mussels
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic (about 8 small cloves, 5 large)
- 12 oz light ale beer a light mexican beer would also work great, or even an IPA
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- pinch kosher salt
- Crusty bread for dunking
- stock pot
- Clean the mussels. Remove the fuzzy piece called the beard that’s sticking out of the shell. Not all mussels have them, but most have something you can remove. Do your best to get it all off. Next, take a gentle brush, such as an old toothbrush, and very quickly try to get any grime or residual gunk off. Put them in a colander and rinse with cold water. Do not submerge them in water, this could kill them!
- Heat a large dutch oven or pot to a medium heat. Add butter. Once butter melts, add garlic. Cook garlic until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Pour in beer. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by about half, 5-6 minutes.
- Add in cream, and again simmer for 2-3 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt. Add in mussels and give them a stir. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the mussels steam until the shells pop open. This takes about 5-7 minutes. Discard any shells that have not opened.
- To serve. Take all the mussels out of the pot, and put them in the serving dish.Use a slotted spoon to get all the garlic pieces out. Scatter all the garlic in the mussel shells and then pour the broth on top. This way, each mussel has a generous amount of garlic and it’s not all stuck at the bottom. If desired, garnish with chopped parsley.
- Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!