Classic French Steamed Mussels

Bowl of steamed mussels

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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1009 Calories
26g Fat
59g Carbs
113g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1009
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 34%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 269mg 90%
Sodium 1692mg 74%
Total Carbohydrate 59g 21%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 113g
Calcium 289mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a spin on the classic recipe for French steamed mussels—you know, the big bowl of mussels bathed in white wine, butter, and garlic.

This dish exudes a certain sophistication, and it works for a casual dinner party. It's both easy and quick, but like all such recipes, the quality of the ingredients matters a lot.

Buy the best mussels and good, sweet butter and use a white wine you'd drink yourself. Figure on 1 pound of mussels per person for the main course.


  • 2 pounds mussels (live)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (unsalted)
  • 2 green onions (chopped or 1 chopped shallot)
  • 2 green garlic shoots (chopped or 2 cloves chopped garlic)
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • Optional: crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Scrub and debeard the mussels. The "beard" is the fibrous hairy thing hanging from one side of the tasty bivalve. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion.


    In case you are wondering, a mussel is alive if it reacts. Its shell should be closed. If it is open, set the mussel on the kitchen counter for a bit. It may close when you are not looking. If it doesn't open, discard it.

  3. Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large, wide-bottomed pot with a lid like a Dutch oven. Sauté the green onions or onion until soft but not browned.

  4. Add the garlic cloves if you are using them; if you are using the green garlic shoots, leave them out for now.

  5. Add the white wine—like a Chenin Blanc or something crisp, but any decent white wine will work—and bring it to a boil. Add the mussels in one layer if possible.

  6. Cover the pot and let the mussels steam for 3 to 8 minutes. After 3 minutes, check the mussels; many should be open. You want them all open, but some will do this faster than others.

  7. As soon as most of the mussels are open, turn off the heat and toss in the green garlic if that's your garlic choice. If you want a little more heat, add optional crushed red pepper flakes, as desired. Cover for a minute while you prepare bowls and plates.

  8. Spoon out plenty of mussels and broth, which should be briny enough not to need any more salt. Throw out any mussels that did not open.

  9. Serve with crusty bread, more white wine (a good choice is the one you used to cook with), and don't forget an extra bowl for the shells.

  10. Enjoy.