Spicy Beer-Steamed Mussels

beer steamed mussels
(Photo courtesy Amanda McGrory-Dixon)
(Photo courtesy Amanda McGrory-Dixon)

There’s something comforting about a bowl of steamed mussels served in a flavorful sauce with plenty of crusty bread. Although most steamed mussels call for white wine, I’ve seen a few recipes that use beer. I love to experiment in the kitchen, so I decided to get creative and develop my own beer-steamed mussels recipe.

Some people find cooking mussels intimidating because of the cleaning and debearding process, but I encourage you to put away those fears. Most mussels are farmed, which means they’re already debearded and cleaned. While I prep the other ingredients, I like to let my mussels soak in cold water for about 20 minutes to remove any lingering grit, and it does the trick.

For this recipe, I went with a pilsner, specifically Pils from Prost Brewing in Denver. This beer complemented the dish perfectly as it added enough of a beer kick without overwhelming the delicate mussels. As a bonus, Pils made for a nice sipper with this dish. The crispness cut through the fatty chorizo and cleansed the palate to allow the mussels to shine. Honestly, pilsner isn’t a style I usually favor, but it worked out nicely with this meal.

Bon appétit!

Spicy Beer-Steamed Mussels
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 pound chorizo
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 shakes of cayenne
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces pilsner
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon butter


  1. Rinse mussels in a colander and then soak in cold water for about 20 minutes. If any mussels are open, tap on counter. If they don’t close, throw them away.  
  2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add chorizo and onions and cook until chorizo is well-browned and onions soften. Use a wooden spoon to break up chorizo while it cooks.  
  3. Add tomato paste, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne and garlic and stir frequently for two minutes.
  4. Pour in the pilsner, diced tomatoes, chicken stock and lime juice and stir to combine.
  5. Increase heat to medium-high, add mussels and cover for two minutes. Uncover and give the mussels a stir. Cover the mussels again and steam for another three minutes. Mussels are done when they open.
  6. Once mussels are done, turn off heat and stir in fresh cilantro and butter. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired and serve immediately with crusty bread for dipping.

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