Grilled Mussels Recipe

Grilled Mussels

The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 3 mins
Total: 13 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1/2 pound
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
390 Calories
10g Fat
17g Carbs
54g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 390
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 127mg 42%
Sodium 837mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 54g
Vitamin C 31mg 154%
Calcium 75mg 6%
Iron 15mg 85%
Potassium 608mg 13%
*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.)

Grilling may be the very easiest and tastier way to cook mussels, and the dish in itself is a beauty to present at the table. Because it's ready in minutes, this makes a great appetizer for a grilled dinner; your guests can enjoy the mussels with a glass of white wine while you cook the rest of the dishes. Our simple recipe enhances the natural flavor of mussels. Optional pepper and flat-leaf parsley help the salty ocean brine come through, but just grilling them by themselves makes an exceptional dish.

Depending on how many people you're trying to feed and how many mussels you have on hand, you may need to cook them in batches. An average kettle-style grill can hold about 3 pounds of mussels at a time.​ When you're serving mussels as an appetizer, think about how many other appetizers you'll serve. If you're planning 1 or 2 other appetizers before dinner, about 1/4 pound of mussels per person will do, that's 4 to 6 medium mussels. If mussels are the only appetizer, go with 1/2 pound per person. But you may want to prepare a couple of extra pounds just to be safe, as these are really tasty and hard to stop eating! As a main, these mussels are heavenly with garlic fries or crusty bread for a delicious appetizer.

“Grilling mussels is a game-changer! If you love mussels but hate hauling out the pot to steam them in or cleaning up afterward, this cooking method is for you. The mussels come out moist and delicious with no mess in your kitchen. Add some corn on the cob to the grill and dinner is made” —Joan Velush

Grilled Mussels Recipe/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 pound mussels (per person) 

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste, optional

  • Minced fresh flat leaf parsley, to taste, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Grilled Mussels ingredients

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  2. Prepare a medium-high (400 F to 475 F) gas or charcoal grill fire. While the grill heats, pick over the mussels; throw away any mussels that don't close tightly when you tap on them and remove the beards, if any.

    clean the Mussels

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  3. Put the cleaned mussels on the hot grill and cook, covered on a gas grill, until they open, about 2 to 3 minutes.

    mussels on a grill

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  4. Use tongs to transfer the hot mussels to a serving platter. If using, add fresh pepper and chopped parsley on top. Serve immediately.

    Grilled Mussels on a platter

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Mussels 101

Here's a quick guide for a perfect mussel meal:

  • How many mussels per person? Our ratio calls for 1/2 pound of mussels per person as an appetizer. If the mussels are a main you need 1 pound per person. Depending on the type of mussels, the amount per pound varies from 25 to 30 in a pound of small mussels, 18 to 24 in a pound of medium-sized mussels, and 10 to 15 in a pound of large mussels.
  • How to tell when the mussels are done? Always wait until the mussel opens up, from 3 to 10 minutes, depending on cooking method. Discard the ones that don't. Some people like their mussels just barely cooked, still soft and tender; others prefer mussels grilled until they're almost smoked, with the flesh condensed and almost crispy on the edges. Taste different levels of doneness and decide for yourself, but always wait for the shell to open.
  • What are the hairs on the mussels? If using wild mussels, these might have hairy growths that need to be pulled out with pliers. Mussels sold at fishmongers are farmed, so they don't have highly developed beards.

Flavorful Additions

Dress up your mussels a little with one of our suggestions:

  • Make a melted garlic-butter sauce with 4 ounces salted butter and 1 or 2 cloves of minced garlic. Heat them up in a small saucepan and drizzle over the mussels before serving. 
  • Drizzle hot chili oil right off the grill, or a teaspoon of chili flakes for a spicy version.
  • Serve a simple and fresh take with a spritz of lemon juice and fresh parsley or cilantro.

What Is Medium-High Heat on a Traditional Grill?

Classic grills don't have the fancy thermometers that modern ones do, so aiming for the perfect temperature for your mussels could be a guessing game. Here's what you need to do to achieve the perfect medium-high heat on your traditional grill:

  • You should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the cooking grate for 2 to 3 seconds before pulling it away from the heat. And that's it. That's the temperature that you need for cooking perfect mussels.
  • On a gas grill, you want to achieve 400 to 475 F before putting the mussels on.

No matter the grill you are using, make sure the cooking grate is clean. Although the shells will protect the mussels more than with other foods, food safety should always be your number one priority. If you have guests with shellfish allergies, always grill the mussels last.

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