Discover the magic of our 25-minute Coconut Curry Mussels. This recipe steams quick-cooking and tender mussels in a velvety green curry sauce infused with coconut milk, garlic and ginger. The final touch of sliced serrano pepper, fresh cilantro, and fragrant kaffir leaves adds a tantalizing depth to the dish, elevating it to an elegant appetizer or dinner in no time.

How to Steam Coconut Curry Mussels

Mussels are one of those rare ingredients that contradicts itself in the best possible way. Mussels are affordable, quick to cook and easy to cook while also being incredibly elegant and fancy. They quickly elevate a dining experience while also being an incredibly affordable protein for a family. 

Here’s how simple it is to cook mussels. 

  1. Cook aromatics in butter or olive oil until softened. 
  2. Add cooking liquid (here we use coconut milk but this steamed mussels recipe uses broth and white wine).
  3. Stir in the fresh mussels, cover and cook until they have opened, 5 to 8 minutes. 
  4. Dump the mussels and broth into a large serving bowl, finish with fresh herbs and enjoy. 

Love anything coconut + curry? Try our Curried Carrot Soup or Curried Chicken Soup!

steamed mussels in a large white bowl with a creamy yellow broth and green herbs

Buying Mussels

When buying mussels for this coconut curry mussel recipe, look for mussels that are set on ice and covered in ice with a shiny, wet shell. Avoid mussels that look to have dry shells—a sign they are close to expiration or were not handled correctly.

You should also give the mussels a smell, they should smell like the ocean—fresh and salty!

Storing Mussels

Fresh mussels can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before cooking (though the sooner you cook them, the better). Here’s how to store uncooked mussels in the refrigerator:

  1. Remove from plastic bag and store loose or in a mesh bag
  2. Place the mussels in a bowl or uncovered container
  3. Place a zipper-locked bag of ice over the mussels followed by a clean damp cloth or paper towel. DO NOT store fresh mussels in water. 
  4. Store mussels on the bottom shelf and towards the back of the fridge. Stored this way, fresh mussels can last up to several days.
steamed mussels in a large white bowl with a creamy yellow broth and green herbs

Cleaning Mussels 

Before you start cooking these coconut curry mussels, it’s important to clean and debeard them. Here’s how to do both: 

  1. Place mussels in a strainer or large bowl and rinse with cold water—rub off any dirt or seaweed. 
  2. The next step is to debeard the mussels. Mussels attach themselves to stable surfaces like rocks or, if farm raised, ropes, through thin, sticky rope-like strands referred to as “beards.” Most farm-raised mussels will have beards already removed, but you’re likely to find a handful that still have them. To remove the beards, pinch the beard firmly with your fingers and pull the strand down towards the hinge of the shell. Pull until is releases and discard. 
  3. Discard any dead mussels. This is an important step—to determine if a mussel is dead or not you simply just have to give it a tap and see if whomever is home is still alive. Mussels and clams will lazily open when they are dead. However, just because an uncooked mussel is open doesn’t mean it’s dead yet. Give the mussel a quick tap on the shell or a squeeze—if it closes itself back up then it’s alive and was just relaxing. If it doesn’t slowly close and remain agape, toss it. 

What to Serve with Coconut Curry Mussels

The best thing to serve with coconut curry mussels is huge chunks of crusty bread—something rustic with a crunchy crust and soft interior. You could also turn this into a meal for two by serving them over cooked rice.

Finally, we think it’s imperative to finish coconut curry mussels with some fresh herbs and something zingy—here we finish with sliced serrano, fresh cilantro and jarred kaffir leaves. You can also serve with lime wedges for extra zip.

FAQ About Coconut Curry Mussels

What can replace fish sauce in a recipe?

Here are a few go-to substitutes for fish sauce: soy sauce, Worcestershire, tamari, oyster sauce, liquid aminos and vegan fish sauce.

How do I cook mussels in red sauce?

Use the method we outline in the recipe card but instead of using coconut milk use your favorite pasta sauce or jarred tomato sauce.

Can you use oyster sauce instead of fish sauce?

In most cases, you can substitute oyster sauce for fish sauce. It’s great in stir fry recipes and fried rice. It is much thicker in consistency and should be thinned out for some uses. However, for this mussels recipe, feel free to add the oyster sauce right in, as is.

More Shellfish Recipes to Try

If you’re on a mussels kick, be sure to try our Steamed Mussels recipe. It’s a great go-to made with shallots, garlic, and white wine. This Seafood Soup is also a must-try. It’s loaded with a variety of fish and seafood, including mussels! 

Another great shellfish appetizer is our easy Peel ‘n Eat Shrimp. Bold and flavorful, this one is a winner!

Enjoy a bowl of Spaghetti with Clams made with bites of sweet red peppers, crisp bacon and toasty breadcrumbs. A delicious seafood entrée for a special occasion!

Our Shrimp Bisque is another must-try that can be served as a starter or a main dish.

Our Crab Salad is fresh, zesty and perfectly creamy. It makes a great dip, quick summer dinner or elegant lunch for a shower or party.

Coconut Green Curry Mussels

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a meal
Category Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Thai-inspired


A quick and easy recipe for coconut curry mussels that's ready in just 25 minutes. Serve with crust bread for an elegant appetizer or spoon over rice for a full meal.


  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed clean and debearded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • sliced serrano, cilantro and jarred kaffir lime leaves (optional), for serving
  • Crusty bread or cooked rice, for serving


  • In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high.
  • Add 2 chopped shallots, 1-inch knob minced ginger and 2 sliced cloves garlic; season with salt and cook until shallots start to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Add 3 tablespoons curry paste and 2 teaspoons brown sugar; cook 1 minute.
  • Add 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk and 1 tablespoon fish sauce, bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Add mussels, stir to coat, and cover with tight-fitting lid. Steam mussels until they open, 5–8 minutes.
  • Dump mussels and sauce into a large bowl. Sprinkle sliced serrano, cilantro and jarred kaffir lime leaves (if using) over top. Serve immediately.



We found jarred kaffir lime leaves at Whole Foods. You can skip them altogether if you can’t find them. If you can find dried kaffir lime leaves, add them to the coconut milk broth while it simmers and the mussels cook (treat them like a dried bay leaf). 


Serving: 1/4 of recipeCalories: 390kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 28gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 326mgSugar: 4g
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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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