11 Ways to Use Steamed Mussels

Steamed mussels are great incorporated into a variety of tasty dishes.

Gigante Beans with Garlic Confit and Mussels
Photo: © John Kernick

Steamed mussels are as much a specialty in Belgium as they are from Maine to Spain. The shellfish is a staple in seafood soups and stews, like cioppino, and often served in paella or with the tomato sauce fra diavola. Many cultures, chefs, and home cooks simply serve steamed mussels with crusty bread to sop up the juice or sauce, but you can also transform the briny bivalve into more involved dishes, from soup or salad to hearty pasta and more main courses.

Whether you source Mediterranean mussels from Maine, Penn Cove mussels from the Pacific Northwest, Canadian Blue Mussels from the Atlantic, or New Zealand mussels; steam with wine, beer, or sake; or serve with citrus, spices, tomato, or other proteins, here are some of our favorite steamed mussel recipes for succulent inspiration, plus what to pair with when served.

  1. On toast: After steaming mussels, Utah chef Viet Pham marinates them in vinegar brine and serves them with pickled carrot-coriander butter on toast.
  2. With beans: Instead of serving tomato and wine-steamed mussels with bread or French fries to sop up the juices, you can add creamy gigante beans and salty feta cheese to make a hearty main course.
  3. Chilled: After steaming mussels in white wine, serve them cold, on the half shell with red pepper aïoli how Andrew Zimmern ate them all over coastal Chile and in Galicia in Spain.
  4. Stuffed: Tear one of the shells off each steamed mussel and then top with breadcrumbs or pesto and bake.
  5. Soup: Showcase the classic combination of chorizo and mussels in a brothy soup or add spinach, saffron, and plenty of heavy cream for a decadent bisque.
  6. Pasta: Toss mussels and the creamy steaming liquid with tagliatelle and tarragon for a luscious dish.
  7. Skewered: Wrap shelled, steamed mussels in bacon and pancetta, skewer three at a time, and roast in a cast-iron skillet for a rustic starter.
  8. Cioppino: Steam mussels alongside other fish and shellfish in a tomato broth to make a Mediterranean-style stew.
  9. Aïoli: Whisk garlicky mayonnaise into mussels and their steaming liquid to spoon over fish.
  10. Potato salad: Toss steamed, shelled mussels and boiled red potatoes with a mustardy dressing and serve over greens.
  11. Fideos: Steam mussels and calamari with Spanish-style noodles in a fragrant tomato broth.
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