Belgian Beer Steamed Mussels

Belgian Beer Steamed Mussels

The Spruce / Qi Ai

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 2 pounds
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
609 Calories
24g Fat
26g Carbs
63g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 609
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 164mg 55%
Sodium 1251mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 63g
Vitamin C 41mg 205%
Calcium 102mg 8%
Iron 16mg 90%
Potassium 857mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Mussels have a wonderful savory briny ocean flavor and are inexpensive compared to oysters or clams. Belgium beer adds a nice earthy flavor. We throw in some smoked ham, garlic, and fresh herbs to create a delicious appetizer for your guests.  Add bread and a green salad for a complete meal.

Chef's Note: Buy fresh mussels and use within a day of purchase. Choose mussels with a tightly closed shell and discard any with chipped or broken shells. Wrap in moist paper towels and refrigerate when you get them home.


  • 2 pounds mussels

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 cup diced smoked country ham (about 4 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Belgian-style ale

  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 lemon

  • Kosher salt , to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 crusty baguette, cut into 1-inch-wide slices, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Belgian Beer Steamed Mussels ingredients

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  2. Under cool water, scrub each mussel's shell with a stiff-bristled brush. Remove the byssus thread (or beard), which connects the mussel to rocks in the water. Grab the fibers with your fingers and pull them out, tugging toward the hinged point of the shell.

    cleaning mussels in a colander

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  3. In a medium-sized saucepan or skillet, heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. After the butter melts, add the ham and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until crispy and the fat has rendered.

    ham and butter in a pan

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  4. Add the garlic, shallot, and thyme and cook in the rendered fat over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the mussels, stir to coat with the vegetables and pan juices, and cook for about 1 minute.

     garlic, shallot, and thyme with mussels in a pot

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  5. Add the beer, cover the pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels open. (Discard any that do not open.)

    muscles cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  6. Add the parsley, tarragon, basil, lemon juice, and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Toss to distribute the herbs and lemon juice and allow the butter time to melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Belgian Beer Steamed Mussels in a pot

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  7. Using a slotted spoon, serve them in a large bowl or divide the mussels evenly among 4 smaller bowls. Pour the broth from the pan over the mussels, and serve with the bread.

    Belgian Beer Steamed Mussels in a bowl

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

Reprinted with permission from "Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto" by Rick Tramonto with Mary Goodbody (Andrews McMeel 2010).