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Mussels with White Wine

Mussels with White Wine

Customize the flavor profile of the finished dish by stirring some curry powder or Dijon mustard into the cooking liquid. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.


  • 6 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 5 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened not browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 3-4 minutes. Add mussels, cover, and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until shells open (discard any that do not open), 10–12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mussels to shallow bowls.

  • Add butter to cooking liquid and stir until melted. Add 2 Tbsp. dill and 2 Tbsp. parsley; season with salt and pepper. Ladle cooking liquid over mussels and top with more herbs.

Recipe by Andrew Knowlton,Photos by Andrew ScrivaniReviews SectionThese were EVERYTHING I wanted them to be and more, the sauce was wonderful and the muscles were delicious, looking forward to making them againFancySpatulaCalifornia 03/02/19

Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups mussels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 cups beef broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons anise-flavored liqueur
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • ½ red chile pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 10 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup light cream
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Soak mussels in a bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes remove from water and scrub with a stiff brush to remove dirt if needed. Remove beard using a sharp knife if needed.

Melt butter with the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat cook and stir garlic and shallots until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup beef broth, anise-flavored liqueur, jalapeno pepper, and red chile pepper to garlic-shallot mixture bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until peppers are softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir wine, remaining 1 cup beef broth, and basil into broth mixture simmer.

Whisk light cream and cornstarch together in a bowl until cornstarch is dissolved add to broth mixture and bring to a boil. Add mussels and lemon juice to boiling broth mixture and cover stockpot with a lid cook until shells open, about 5 minutes. Discard any shells that didn't open.

How to Cook Mussels Perfectly, Every time

If you have never made steamed mussels before at home, here are our best tips for making them.

  1. Buy mussels from a trusted seafood counter. The nice thing about mussels is the price, even at a gourmet or pricy store you will only be paying about $5 to $6 a pound.
  2. Remember that when you buy them, mussels are alive. The moment you get home from the store, take them off any ice, unwrap them and store in a cool area.
  3. Look through the mussels, if you find any cracked, chipped or open mussels, discard them.
  4. Most mussels will have a “beard,” which is just the fibers that emerge from the shell of the mussel. It’s best to remove this. To remove it, hold a mussel in one hand using a dry towel. Then, pull the beard out and away from the mussel with your other hand. Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to remove, but will come out.
  5. Use a firm brush to remove extra sand and the odd barnacle. Rinse the cleaned mussels under cold water, and then move on to cooking them.
  6. After steaming, if any of the steamed mussels have not opened, discard them.

Recipe updated, originally posted October 2009. Since posting this in 2009, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 cups white wine
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 slices bread, grilled
  • 2 lemon wedges for garnish

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. Season with red pepper flakes and lemon zest, stirring for about 45 seconds.

Quickly pour in wine into the pan and season with black pepper. Bring sauce to a boil, stir in mussels, and cover immediately. Shake pot and let boil for 1 minute.

Stir mussels, replace cover, and let boil for 2 more minutes. The shells will begin to open. Stir in parsley, cover pot, and cook until all shells are open, 1 to 3 minutes.

How to make the perfect mussels in white wine sauce and the common mistakes to avoid

Mussels are sustainable and cheap, making them an ideal midweek dinner.

Look for Irish mussels, ideally grown organically. Keep an eye out for mussels that have been grown in a Special Area of Conservation (S.A.C.) designated under the European Union Habitats Directive as being a vital area of environmental significance.

The first thing to do with a mussel is plunge them into a bath of cold water and give them a good scrub. Pull off their beards and discard any that don't close after a good tap on the shell.

Always add a flavour base

Mussels welcome any flavour that pairs well with seafood, so think garlic, shallot, fennel. If you want to go down an Asian route, consider ginger, garlic and chilli.

The liquid that you use to cook mussels in will most often become a dipping sauce for some yummy bread, so consider the liquid carefully. Wine or stock is always a good idea.

Simmer, don't boil your mussels. This gentle seafood needs a gentle cooking method.

Always pop a lid on your mussels to create steam, which will add extra flavour and prevent you from losing any of your precious aromatics from the pot.

Mussels White Wine Recipe

This mussels recipe with white wine and garlic is incredibly easy to make and an absolute winner in terms of flavor!

This recipe for mussels in white wine is elegant and sophisticated enough to serve to your guests at a dinner party - but it is also ridiclously easy to prepare!

Not only are mussels totally delicious, they're also good for you! In fact, they're considered to be the healthiest of all shellfish, packed with fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and iron.

Buying mussels

Mussels are usually quite easy to get hold of and relatively inexpensive too, so they make a fabulous addition to your meal rotation.

They are sold in their shells, which are usually closed tightly. When choosing mussels to use in this recipe, look for ones with intact shells and avoid those that are broken or damaged in any way.

Although the shells are quite substantial in size, the mussels themselves are quite small. This means that you may need to buy more than you think to provide enough for each person.

As a rule of thumb, aim to buy 1 lb of mussels per person if you'll be serving them as a main course, and about 1/2 lb per person to serve as a starter.

Preparing mussels

Fresh mussels may have barnacles or sand stuck to them, so give them a good scrub to remove this before cooking. The best way to do this is to submerge them all first in a bowl of cold water.

If any of them happen to float to the surface during this process, discard them, as they are not good to eat.

If any of the shells are open, given them a sharp tap with a knife, which should make them close. If it doesn't, discard those too.

Finally, remove the 'beards' - the fibrous parts that look like hair sprouting from the shell. A hard tug should be all you'll need to get them off.

Your mussels are now ready to cook!

Note: Mussels have a VERY short shelf life. You should cook and eat them on the same day you buy them.


  • Mussels. I used half shell mussels. If you use fresh, whole mussels, I would suggest steaming them first and discarding any that don’t open before adding to the white wine garlic sauce.
  • Butter.
  • Garlic.
  • White wine. I used Chenin Blanc but any dry white will work.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Parley.
  • Fresh sliced chillies. (optional)
  • Salt and pepper.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 pounds mussels
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, cut into thin rings
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Crusty bread, for serving

Right before cooking, scrub mussels with a stiff sponge or brush under cold running water. (If the "beards" are still attached, trim them with a knife.)

While cleaning mussels, discard ones with broken shells. Lightly tap the hinge end of any open shells on a work surface. Discard those that don't close.

In a large pot with a lid, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Add shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add white wine and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer over high.

Add mussels stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until mussels open, 5 minutes, stirring once. Discard unopened mussels.

Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat stir in parsley and remaining butter until butter is melted. Serve with crusty bread.


Very disappointing. Not nearly enough broth to dip the toast in so I added about a cup more of wine. Still not very good. I'm not going to make it again. Less than one fork.

Well I thought this recipe was delicious. Quick and easy to 'throw' together, which is what I did. The only thing I didn't do was put salt into the mussels. It was extremely tasty, perhaps I just used good ingredients. As for using sriracha, fish sauce and milk. yuk.

We just finished eating this dish and we liked it very much. It's not spicy , which is find with me. The broth was tasty and the whole recipe worked well with pasta . I will be making this again

No harsh review but this one is pretty bland. We do mussels often and try to produce flavor without calories, so this recipe won't be repeated by us. We followed the recipe but did add fresh chives, fish sauce and a tsp of Sriracha but it just didn't resonate.

This recipe is really a throw-away.. there's nothing creative or special here. Curiously, while living in Baltimore, mussels were a ➺r food', as ubiquitous as wings. For ALL THINGS mussels, try.. There are near countless variations, as some commentators have displayed adding a bit of this or that and maybe a little something else.

I forgot to rate the recipe! 4 Forks for sure!

This recipe is pretty good but I added a good squirt of Sriracha and oddly, about 1/2 cup of milk instead of water and it was amazing! I sliced a French baguette, brushed the slices with olive oil and toasted them in the oven. The toast, aoli and slight kick in the sauce made this one of the best mussel recipes I've ever tried.

Excellent and super easy. Made for the perfect weeknight meal. Skipped the aioli and didn't miss it. Adding this to the repertoire.

We used some local Maine mussels and followed this recipe. Turned out just as good as any restaurant and we'll definitely make it again. Didn't do the aioli and the bread was tasty with just the broth.

Great basic recipe for steamed mussels with white wine. I've tried other recipes that use an entire stick of butter to richen the broth, but I prefer using the aioli that's included in this recipe. I made it exactly as written for a Valentine's Day dinner. I used thick-cut toasted focaccia seasoned with garlic, parsley and oil as an accompaniment to sop up the broth. It was absolutely perfect! This will definitely be my go-to recipe in the future.

Recipe is fine, but I made some minor alterations just because! Instead of adding water with Mussels, I added half of a small can of stewed/chopped tomatoes right after the wine. I also added a splash of sweet vermouth. The mussels I used were small-ish (medium, I guess, PEI from Costoc) and cooked in less than 5-mins. Bullet-proof recipe. I had some leftover linguine in the fridge that served as a bed for the mussels with broth.

Yum! The broth is by far the tastiest and easiest recipe I've found for mussels. I omitted the aioli. It isn't necessary. Great recipe,yɺll.

I liked it. It is much the same as Moules Mariniere, except for the tomato paste. As for the "lemon" aioli. Mayonnaise always has lemon juice in it, so didn't see the reason for calling it lemon aioli. I will make it again as a bit of a change.

The mussels were wonderful with the toasted bread. The tomato-wine sauce was superb also with the bread. I see no need for the lemon aioli.

I bought mussels at the last minute before choosing a recipe. I washed the mussels in cold water with a tablespoon of corn meal and cut off beards with scissors. I made the broth without the tomato paste as I couldn't find it in the pantry but also cause I have acid reflux. I also didn't have the thyme. the broth was delicious, the lemon aioli was super easy and I can see using the extra on some steamed or sauteed vegetables. There was extra broth in the pot which I may use to poach a piece of fish. Easy & tasty.

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