There's no way you can eat this white wine mussels recipe and not feel ~*fancy*~. Steamed in a sauce of tangy white wine, lemon, butter, garlic, a hint of tomato, and luxurious heavy cream, it's such a great meal, appetizer, or entertaining go-to.
My dad has been making these mussels forever. It was really my first foray into the world of seafood. I hated it initially, of course. While I knew I loved the flavor, the texture was...interesting. Fortunately, I tried them enough times that I grew to love them. And with it, open of the world of shellfish and bivalves.
Mussels in white wine sauce is a classic dish that is perfect for a cozy dinner or a special occasion. The combination of tender, succulent mussels and a flavorful broth made with white wine, garlic, shallots, tomato, and herbs is absolutely delicious and sure to impress your guests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Mussels are a great source of lean protein and are low in fat and calories. They're also high in vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin B12, and selenium.
Mussels are alive when you buy them, so you'll need to store them in the fridge until you're ready to cook them. Place them in a bowl or tray and cover them with a damp towel or paper towel. Don't store them in a sealed container or they'll suffocate and die.
Mussels are incredibly versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways, including steaming, grilling, baking, and frying. Mussels in white wine sauce is a classic recipe, but you can also try mussels in garlic butter, Thai-style mussels, or even mussels in tomato sauce.
Yes! Mussels can contain sand, grit, and other debris, so cleaning them thoroughly before cooking is important. Rinse them under cold water, discard any cracked or open ones, scrub the shells with a stiff brush, and soak them in cold water for 20 minutes to remove any remaining sand or debris.
If a mussel is open and doesn't close when you tap it, it's dead and should be discarded. If it's closed, it's alive and safe to eat. After cooking, discard any mussels that haven't opened, as these may be dead and can make you sick if eaten.
Why You're Going to Love this Recipe
Easy and quick to make: This recipe can be whipped up in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for a last-minute dinner or a spontaneous get-together with friends.
Affordable: Mussels are a relatively inexpensive type of seafood, making this dish a great option for entertaining on a budget.
Impressive presentation: Serving mussels in their shells with a flavorful white wine broth makes for a stunning presentation that looks like it came straight from a fancy seafood restaurant.
Versatile: This recipe can be customized by adding or omitting ingredients to suit your tastes. For example, you could add some red pepper flakes for a bit of heat or swap out the tomato for some spinach.
Flavorful broth: The broth made with white wine, garlic, shallots, tomato, lemon, and herbs is incredibly flavorful and pairs perfectly with the briny taste of the mussels.
Healthy and nutritious: Mussels are a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients. Plus, the broth is low in calories and can be made with lighter ingredients like olive oil instead of butter and without heavy cream.
Perfect for sharing: Mussels in white wine sauce are great for sharing with friends and family. Serve them with some crusty bread for dipping in the broth, and enjoy a fun, interactive meal together.
Satisfying and delicious: The combination of tender, juicy mussels, and a flavorful broth is simply delicious and sure to satisfy even the most discerning seafood lovers.
What are Mussels?
Mussels are a type of shellfish that are often overlooked, but they are seriously delicious and so versatile. You can steam, grill, bake, and even fry them! Plus, they are super affordable compared to other types of seafood, so they're perfect for entertaining on a budget.
But what I love most about mussels is how they absorb the flavors of whatever they're cooked in. That's why mussels in white wine sauce are such a classic dish - the briny flavor of the mussels pairs perfectly with the aromatic herbs, garlic, and shallots in the broth, and the white wine adds a delicious acidity that cuts through the richness of the butter and cream.
And don't even get me started on the presentation - serving mussels in their shells with a flavorful broth is SO elegant and impressive. It's the perfect dish to make when you want to impress your guests without spending hours in the kitchen.
How to Clean Mussels
You may think that because mussels come in a cute and neat little package, they don't need to be cleaned, but you don't want to skip this step.
Mussels are filter feeders, meaning they take in water and filter out the microorganisms they feed on. Unfortunately, this also means they can sometimes take in sand, grit, and other debris, which can ruin your dish if not removed.
To clean your mussels, start by rinsing them under cold running water. Then, check each mussel and discard any that are cracked, broken, or open. If an open mussel closes when you tap it, it's still alive and safe to eat. If it doesn't close, it's dead and should be thrown away.
Next, use a stiff brush to scrub the shells of the mussels, removing any dirt, sand, or debris. Be sure to scrub the hinge of the mussel, where the two shells meet, as this is where most of the dirt and sand can accumulate.
Finally, soak the mussels in cold water for about 20 minutes to help remove any remaining sand or debris. Don't add any salt to the water, as this can kill the mussels.
And that's it! Once you've cleaned your mussels, you're ready to cook them up in a delicious white wine broth. Taking the time to clean your mussels is totally worth it for a dish that's as tasty and impressive as mussels in white wine sauce.
Mussels: Mussels are the star of the show in this recipe! They're sweet, briny, and full of flavor, making them a perfect match for the other ingredients in this dish. Plus, they're great at taking on any flavor they're cooked in - so we're loading this recipe up.
Butter: Butter adds richness and depth of flavor to the broth and helps to balance the acidity of the wine and lemon.
Garlic: Garlic is a classic ingredient in seafood dishes, adding a delicious aroma and flavor to the broth.
Fresh tomato: Fresh tomato brings a bright, fresh, and tangy flavor to the recipe and adds a pop of color to the broth.
White wine: White wine is the key to the sauce in this recipe, providing acidity and a subtle sweetness that complements the mussels perfectly. (See below for some suggestions on what wine to use).
Lemon: Lemon juice brings a bright, citrusy flavor to the broth and helps to balance the richness of the butter and cream.
Heavy cream: Heavy cream is key for richness and creaminess to the broth, making it even more decadent and delicious.
Fresh herb: We'll finish off the dish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, like parsley or chives, to add a pop of color and fresh flavor to the finished dish.
What Type of White Wine Should I Use?
Choosing the right white wine is key to making this mussels recipe shine. Here are a few suggestions for white wines that would work beautifully in this dish:
- Sauvignon Blanc: This crisp, refreshing white wine has a bright acidity that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the mussels. Look for a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or California for a wine that really pops.
- Pinot Grigio: Pinot Grigio is a light, easy-drinking white wine that pairs well with seafood dishes. Look for a Pinot Grigio from Italy or Oregon for a light and crisp wine with just a touch of sweetness.
- Chardonnay: Chardonnay is a fuller-bodied white wine that can stand up to the richness of the cream and butter in this dish. Look for a Chardonnay from California or Burgundy for a wine that's rich and buttery, with a touch of oak.
- Vermentino: This lesser-known white wine from Italy has a bright acidity and a touch of minerality, making it a great match for mussels. Look for a Vermentino from Tuscany or Sardinia for a wine that's light and refreshing with a subtle herbal note.
No matter which white wine you choose, be sure to use a wine you enjoy drinking. The flavor of the wine will be concentrated in the broth, so you want to choose a wine that you'll be happy sipping alongside your mussels.
How to Make This Mussels Recipe
Making these mussels is super easy and a total showstopper. Start by cleaning the mussels and chopping up some garlic and shallots. You'll also need some fresh tomatoes, a lemon, a bunch of butter, heavy cream, and some fresh herbs like parsley or chives.
Once you have all your ingredients prepped, you're going to heat up some butter in your big pot and sauté the garlic and shallots until they're nice and fragrant. This'll only take a couple of minutes. Then you add in your fresh tomatoes, white wine, and lemon juice, and let that all simmer together until it's reduced down a bit (by about a third. You still want to be able to taste the wine at the end of this!).
Now it's time to add the star of the show: the mussels! You just toss those babies in the pot, cover it up, and let them cook until they've all opened up and are nice and plump. This only takes a few minutes, so don't go too far! If you overcook them, they tend to get rubbery and tough.
Once the mussels are cooked, add a splash of heavy cream and stir it all together. The cream adds a richness to the broth that is *chef's kiss*. Then you just sprinkle on some fresh herbs, maybe give it a squeeze of lemon juice, and you're ready to serve!
I love serving these mussels with some crusty bread to sop up all that delicious broth. It's seriously such an impressive dish that takes minimal effort. Your friends will think you're a total kitchen goddess.
Spicy mussels: If you like a little heat, try adding some crushed red pepper flakes or diced jalapeño to the garlic and shallot mixture. You could also add a spoonful of harissa or sambal oelek for an extra kick. Or - try out these delicious Spanish mussels with chorizo and paprika!
Mussels with bacon: Everything is better with bacon, amirite? Try frying up some chopped bacon in the pot before you add the garlic and shallots. Then just continue with the recipe as written.
Thai-style mussels: For an Asian-inspired twist, swap out the white wine for coconut milk and add some Thai green curry paste to the garlic and shallot mixture. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and some fresh cilantro.
Mussels with chorizo: Spanish chorizo adds a smoky, spicy kick to this dish. Just sauté some sliced chorizo with the garlic and shallots before adding the tomatoes and white wine.
Mussels with fennel: Fennel has a lovely, anise-like flavor that pairs perfectly with seafood. Try sautéing some sliced fennel with the garlic and shallots before adding the tomatoes and white wine.
Mussels with blue cheese: Blue cheese lovers, unite! Crumble some blue cheese into the broth once the mussels are cooked for a rich, creamy finish.
Storage and Reheating
If you have leftover mussels, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. It's best to remove the mussels from their shells before storing them, as the shells can trap moisture and cause the mussels to spoil more quickly.
To reheat the mussels, place them in a saucepan with a little bit of the cooking liquid (or some extra white wine or chicken broth) and heat over medium-low heat until they're warmed through. Be careful not to overcook them, as they can become tough and rubbery if reheated for too long. Honestly, I would cook up some pasta and toss it in there for a great sauce.
If you're not sure whether your mussels are safe to eat, it's best to err on the side of caution and throw them out. But as long as you store and reheat them properly, you should be able to enjoy your delicious mussels for a few days after you make them.
Other Delicious Seafood Dinners
White Wine Mussels Recipe
- 2 lbs fresh mussels cleaned and debeared
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 shallots minced
- 1 large tomato diced
- 1 C dry white wine
- 1 lemon juiced
- ½ C heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoon parsley or chives chopped
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt.
- Add the minced garlic and shallots to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the chopped tomato to the pot and cook until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the white wine and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it cook for 5 minutes to reduce slightly.
- Turn heat down to a simmer. Add the mussels to the pot and cover with a lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened up.
- Add the heavy cream, and stir everything together.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a serving dish and pour the white wine broth over the top.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or chives, and serve with crusty bread for dipping in the delicious white wine broth!
Hi, I'm Cara! I'm a food writer, journalist, and recipe developer. I'm obsessed good food, good wine, good cocktails and entertaining. I've picked up a few tips over the years, and love sharing them with others.