Steamed Mussels in Beer

These steamed mussels in beer are made with ocean-fresh mussels, Heineken, garlic, butter, parsley, lemon, and a big pot. Wicked easy summer entertaining.

You may be more accustomed to steaming mussels in wine. That works dandy. And yet so do Heineken or any of many other beers. Much depends on personal preference, but guaranteed that any relatively light, hoppy, suck-one-down-quickly-on-a-hot-summer-day sorta beer is going to work swell here. Think an IPA such as Sierra Nevada, a Mexican cerveza such as Corona, or, well, you get the idea. Whatever you’ve got on ice in the cooler should do the trick. In the words of authors Francis Garcia and Sal Basille, “With all that butter and parsley and garlic, you didn’t miss the wine.”Francis Garcia and Sal Basille

Steamed Mussels in Beer

White plate with steamed mussels in beer, topped with parsley, nearby lemon wedges and a bottle of beer
These steamed mussels in beer are made with ocean-fresh mussels, Heineken, garlic, butter, parsley, lemon, and a big pot. Wicked easy summer entertaining.
Francis Garcia and Sal Basille

Prep 15 mins
Total 15 mins
4 servings
5 / 2 votes
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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves and stems chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 pounds mussels scrubbed and debearded
  • Two bottles warm Heineken
  • 10 basil leaves torn
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon cut into wedges, for serving


  • In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic just begins to brown at the edges, maybe 2 minutes. Add the butter, parsley, salt, and mussels and heat until the butter melts. Add the Heineken, cover, and let everything simmer until the mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that don't open.
  • Pile the mussels back into the pot or on a large rimmed platter, strew with some basil and oregano, if desired, and serve with a heaping pile of lemon wedges for squeezing. And napkins. Don't forget the napkins.
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Steamed Mussels In Beer Variation

Crab Legs In Beer
You could also easily substitute crab legs for an equally delicious dish.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These steamed mussels in beer is the perfect lazy dish for a hot day! I’ve never steamed mussels in beer before; it’s always been wine. But what a nice change. My tasters loved this dish with its subtle spicy flavor, the hint of heat contrasting with the sweet mussels and garlic, and sauce married with the butter.

We love garlic here, so 6 cloves wasn’t a problem and it wasn’t overpowering. Overall, the dish took about 20 minutes from start to finish. I think you could mix up the overall flavor by switching beers, but we were satisfied with our dish.

Oh my, these steamed mussels in beer were delicious! It’s amazing how just a few simple ingredients can come together and make such a bold statement. The broth definitely calls for some crusty bread for dipping. It has this spicy, savory flavor with freshness from the basil. It took about 35 minutes to prepare this dish, including about 17 minutes to debeard the mussels. Once all the ingredients were in the pot, it only took 4 minutes for the mussels to open. This is a quick, flavorful dish that is good any time of year!

Like the authors, we usually use wine when we make mussels. The use of Heineken was a nice change, providing a stronger, tangier flavor than that produced with wine. I strongly suggest having some crusty bread as an accompaniment to sop up the delicious liquid.

I made 2 pounds steamed mussels in beer, which served 2 of us as a main course. This dish can be on the table in less than 15 minutes.

Originally published August 24, 2018


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  1. 5 stars
    Great! Added in onions, peas and carrots for even more colour. Didn’t have parsley but was ok. The butter did the trick.

  2. 5 stars
    Even easier…. 1 bottle Heineken and 1 bottle Heineken dark, that’s it! No other ingredients, wonderful nutty tasting mussels!

  3. Is it necessary to first purge the mussels? I have been doing it for decades. I don’t recall where I first got the instructions to do it. I mix spring water with sea salt in a ratio to replicate sea water. I aireate it then dump in the mussels for 30 minutes. They all open and dump all this grey mucus and junk into the water. I quickly stir them and dump out the dirty water and do one quick rinse, then proceed with your recipe, which is a classic.

    1. Stu, not really. I had asked my fishmonger about this a long time ago, and he said most mussels we get nowadays are farmed, so they contain little grit. The mussel fishermen whom we spent a day with on their boat in Nova Scotia said the same thing. Now, my dad used to do the exact thing you describe with steamer clams that he and I used to dig ourselves.

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