How To Cook Mussels

Looking for some quick and easy step by step instructions to cook your mussels?  We can help!  Check out our quick and easy tutorial on how to cook Maine mussels!

Mussel Preparation

  1. For Mussels serve about 1/2 pound per person (appetizer) or approximately 1 pound per person (main).
  2. Check for any cracked or damaged shells, toss them in the garbage.
  3. Scrub with a stiff brush or scrubber under cool running water, as this will remove any excess debris.
  4. There will likely be some in the batch with open shells, snap them smartly with your fingers or tap them against a hard surface. If they don’t close, throw them out (they’re likely dead).
  5. Examine each mussel shell and remove any strings of beard you see, simply pull off with your fingers or a knife, pull back towards the hinge end. The bearded part of the mussel depends on the season, so this step might now apply to all.
  6. Allow for one final wash under cool water and your mussels are now prepped and ready to cook!

Cooking Mussels

  1. These little guys aren’t a treat when overcooked, but it’s impossible to give a specific time for cooking (since it depends on mollusk size, quantity, and even the cookware used).
  2. Cook just until shells pop open wide, that’s the best way to tell when they’re done.
  3. When steaming, keep liquid at a minimum so the mollusks aren’t boiled. This is another instance where specific amounts are difficult to give since it depends on the pan or cookware size being used and the amount being cooked.
  4. Add enough liquid to cover the bottom of a deep pan or stockpot completely and then some (about 1/4? deep), heat on medium to high heat.
  5. You can use water, white wine, beer, with even some fresh lemon juice and butter added.
  6. When the liquid starts to boil, add shellfish.
  7. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until done.
  8. How to tell when they’re cooked? The shells will open wide. Cooking time depends on the size of the shellfish and can be anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes. After cooking: shells should be open, toss those that aren’t in the garbage. Remove siphon and enjoy.

How To Cook Mussels Video Walk Through

Get step by step instructions from our host, Vanessa Seeder, on how to properly prepare mussels.

Warning: For proper food safety, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that clam and mussels be steamed in their shells for at least four to nine minutes after the water reaches a full boil. Be sure to discard any clams or mussels that do not open during cooking.