Mussels with Bacon, Cider and Thyme

Mussels with Bacon, Cider and Thyme
Fishboxer Jamie Ross from Fishbox HQ

Mussels are the ultimate fast seafood, and their sweetness goes brilliantly with salty bacon. You could try this with white wine instead of cider if you prefer.


  • 2 kg of Shetland mussels 
  • 130g smoked pancetta or bacon lardons 
  • 500ml bottle of cider 
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tsp thyme 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • crusty white bread


  1. You'll need a pan with a lid as you want to steam your mussels.
  2. Put the pan on a very high heat.
  3. Discard any open mussels that don't close once tapped with a knife. 
  4. Clean and de-beard your mussels under cold running water. 
  5. Once your pan is nice and hot, fry off the bacon and garlic in the pan for approximately two minutes.
  6. Add your mussels and cider to the pan.
  7. Immediately cover with a lid. (Don't worry if it seems like there isn't a lot of liquid, because when the mussels cook, they will release water and add plenty of flavour to the sauce. 
  8. Leave to steam for 2 minutes. 
  9. Add the cream, thyme and cracked black pepper.
  10. The mussels should all be ready in approximately 5 minutes and will open up once cooked. 
  11. Take the pan off the heat and divide into two bowls or one big sharing pot.
  12. Serve with crusty bread to mop up all the delicious sauce.