This is how to cook frozen mussels on smoker, steamed, sauted, baking frozen fish in oven, in pressure cooker, or boiled. Add garlic and butter for a seafood meal that your whole family will love.
Cooking frozen mussels isn’t much different than if they were defrosted. You may not have time to fully thaw them ahead of time but that is just okay. We will show you how to cook them in the shell or if they have already been shucked. If you loved our frozen scallops instructions this is great too. (affiliate links present)
In this post we are going to go over all the different ways these can be cooked until the shells open, what the meat should look like and how to open them up too. One of the best ways we have found is to smoke them after boiling in a buttery garlic sauce in our Traeger. Made outside with apple wood chips it is one you must try this season along with the others.
Remember, cooking times may vary depending on the size and type of mussels, as well as the cooking method you choose. It’s important to ensure that the mussels are thoroughly cleaned at the beginning and only opened ones are safe to eat if in the shell.
Frozen Mussels How to Cook
It is very important to prep these before you cook them. The shells are often dirty and need to be cleaned free from debris and sand. Unopened pieces should not be eaten as that is a sign of spoilage.
- Rinse: Whether you thawed the mussels or not, give them a thorough rinse under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
- Check for Open or Damaged Mussels: Before cooking, inspect the mussels and discard any that are open, damaged, or cracked. This is important to ensure you’re cooking with fresh and safe mussels.
- Choose a Cooking Method: There are a few different methods you can use to cook frozen mussels:
- Steaming you just need about an inch of water or broth to the pot and bring it to a boil.
- Sautéing in some oil or butter in a pan over medium heat works great.
- Baking on a baking sheet until they open up works as well, but isn’t quite as tender.
- Smoked is what we are going to share below in the recipe card but will go over the other methods as well.
- Boiled in a pot of hot water with seasonings is quick but will leach some of their flavor out vs. steaming in the same pot.
- Discard Unopened Shells after cooking. This is an indication that they were not alive and should not be consumed.
Serve and enjoy as desired. They can be enjoyed on their own, in pasta dishes, in soups, or as part of a seafood platter. Garnish with fresh herbs, olive oil + salt and black pepper, lemon wedges, or your favorite sauce for added flavor.
Frozen Mussels Recipe
You usually won’t find frozen mussel meat outside of the shell. Instead you’ll buy them shelled sealed in a can or whole in the shell. If you did in fact find some frozen without shells you could skip the boiling and go right to sauteing them with butter, salt and pepper and seasonings of choice.
- Steamed frozen mussels with some boiling water in a pan and a basket inside so they don’t touch the liquid.
- Once boiling, add them inside and then put the lid on for about 5-7 minutes or until they open up.
- Then drizzle melted butter over the top of them all with seasonings of their choice.
- Sautéd frozen mussels: Heat some oil or butter in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the mussels and cook for about 5-7 minutes
- Stir occasionally until they open up.
- Baked frozen mussels: Preheat your oven to around 425 degrees F or 220 Celsius.
- Arrange the shells on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the shells open up.
- Boiled frozen mussels you just fill a large pot with enough water to fully submerge.
- Add flavor to the water like lemon slices, garlic, herbs, or white wine.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and add the shells.
- Boil for about 5-7 minutes.
Smoked mussels directions are shared below. You can pressure cook frozen mussels as well by following the steps in this recipe. There isn’t a difference in timing whether they are fresh or not honestly.
Smoked Mussels Canned
In all cases mussels are cooked when their shells have opened up. I will share specific instructions for how you should cook these in a Traeger or Green Mountain smoker recipe.
While fresh mussels may have a slightly better flavor and texture, frozen mussels can still be quite tasty when properly cooked. They are a convenient option that allows you to enjoy them even when fresh are not readily available. We will share 5 cooking methods for you here.
If they are still in their shells then yes this is how to cook frozen mussels steamed, baked, boiled, sauted or smoked here. However, if they are frozen in a block or have large ice crystals, it’s generally recommended to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
How Should Mussels Look When Cooked
- Cooked mussels should be plump and moist. If overcooked they can become tough and rubbery.
- When they are cooked, the heat causes the shells to open. This is an indication that they are cooked and ready to be consumed. Discard those that are still shut as they may be unsafe to eat.
- The flesh should be translucent, with a slightly opaque or white appearance. If it’s grey, discolored, or has an unpleasant smell, it could be a sign that they are spoiled.
- There should not contain any sand, grit, or other debris inside. Before cooking, clean thoroughly, after cooking, any sand or grit should have been eliminated.
- Each one after cooked should have a pleasant and inviting aroma. Slightly sweet, and an ocean scent. If emitting a strong fishy or foul odor, it could indicate spoilage.
Remember, it’s crucial to follow appropriate cooking methods and ensure that they are sourced from a reliable and trusted seafood vendor. If you have any concerns about the freshness or quality, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming them.
How to Open Mussels After Cooking
Put on the kitchen towel or oven mitts to protect your hands from the heat of the mussels. Take a cooked mussel in one hand, making sure to hold it firmly.
- Using the chef’s knife or shucking knife, insert the tip of the knife into the small gap where the two halves of the shell meet, near the hinge.
- Apply gentle pressure with the knife, and twist it slightly to pry the shell open. Be careful not to force it too much to avoid injuring yourself or damaging it.
- Once you’ve created a slight opening, slide the knife along the inside of the shell, separating the meat from the shell. Be sure to detach from both the top and bottom shells.
- As you work the knife around the shells, it should come free easily. If you encounter any resistance or the mussel doesn’t detach easily, use the knife to gently scrape the meat from the shell.
- Once it is separated from the shell, transfer it to a small bowl or plate. Repeat the process with the remaining mussels.
- After opening all the mussels, discard any mussels that haven’t opened during cooking, as they may be unviable or unsafe to eat.
Then you can serve with a creamy lemon juice sauce or in soup is a great way to enjoy them too.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
How to Cook Frozen Mussels
- 1 smoker
- Smoked frozen mussels – Scrub mussel shells, do not use hot water or they will open. In large pot, add water and chicken stock, then add one layer of mussels. Bring to medium high temperature, boil mussels 1-2 minutes or just until shells open.
- Discard unopened mussels. Repeat, scooping steamed mussels into a large bowl. Set aside to cool. In a small food processor, add olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese, parsley, minced garlic, and pine nuts to make pesto. Process until smooth. Set aside.
- Remove mussels from shells, by plucking out the meat and discarding shells. Strain the liquid from the pot into a bowl. Strain 2-3 times to remove any shell pieces or sediment.
- Place remaining strained liquid into a disposable 9×13" aluminum foil pan.Add mussels to aluminum foil pan. Add pesto to aluminum foil. Set aside. Fill smoker with hardwood BBQ pellets.
- Prepare smoker by placing 2-3 long sheets of aluminum foil along the bottom of the smoker element, underneath the rack, for easy cleanup.
- Brush grill rack clean. Set smoker to smoke. Set smoker to 180 degrees F. Place aluminum foil pan on smoker for 1.5 hour. Serve as is, with spaghetti noodles or with bread
- Steamed frozen mussels with some boiling water in a pan and a basket inside so they don't touch the liquid. Once boiling, add them inside and then put the lid on for about 5-7 minutes or until they open up. Then drizzle melted butter over the top of them all with seasonings of their choice.
- Sautéd frozen mussels: Heat some oil or butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the mussels and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until they open up.
- Baked frozen mussels: Preheat your oven to around 425 degrees F or 220 Celsius. Arrange the shells on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the shells open up.
- Boiled frozen mussels you just fill a large pot with enough water to fully submerge. Add flavor to the water like lemon slices, garlic, herbs, or white wine. Bring to a boil over high heat and add the shells. Boil for about 5-7 minutes until shells open.
- ** Do not eat mussels that have been cooked but the shells are still closed, those should be discarded.