Cooking mussels at home can be difficult for most people but you don’t need to worry. Because in this article, I will instruct you step by step on how to cook mussels on stovetop.

1. How To Pick Fresh Mussels?

Pick mussels that are tightly closed with glossy, damp & clean shells. Stay away from open mussels or those with dirty, dull, or broken shells.

Check the source and opt for farmed mussels. Compared to the wild ones, farmed mussels have thinner shells, and are cleaner & meatier.

Smell the mussels! Those with natural salty ocean scents are fresh. Avoid those with fishy scents as it’s a sign they are rotten inside. 

Enquire (the store/fishmonger) when the mussels were fished/stocked. Best buy the ones fished the very day. Once out of the water, mussels are freshest for 3-5 days.

2. How To Prepare Mussels?

Prepare the mussels right before cooking them as follows:

To get rid of any dirt or sand particles put the mussels on a mesh strainer/colander and rinse thoroughly under running water.

To remove the barnacles or attached seaweed, use a hand brush with stiff bristles to scrub them off while rinsing under fresh tap water.

To remove the beard (brownish thread-like tuft), grasp it and pull it out. If it’s tightly stuck cut it with a paring knife or scissors.

Avoid soaking the mussels in the water at all costs. If you are wondering whether to soak mussels before cooking, this is the answer for you.

3. What is the Rule of Cooking Mussels?

The general rule for cooking mussels is to ensure they are alive before cooking. During the cooking process, mussels should be steamed or simmered until their shells open, which indicates that they are fully cooked and ready to eat. Any mussels that do not open after cooking should be discarded.

It’s important to buy the freshest mussels possible and store mussels properly, keep them refrigerated until ready to cook.

4. How To Cook Mussels on Stovetop


  • 2-2½  pounds fresh mussels (prepared)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (25 grams)
  • 2 tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 1 small shallot (chopped finely)
  • 1½ cups of White Wine
  • 3½ tbsp Crème Fraiche (50ml)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves (roughly chopped)
  • A heavy-bottomed frying pan, a spatula,


Step 1: Place the pan on the stove at medium heat. Add the butter and wait 30-40 seconds until it melts. Add the chopped shallot and minced garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently.

Step 2: Next, add the prepared mussels and the white wine to the pan and cook the mussels for 5 – 6 minutes at medium-high heat. In between, uncover the lid and stir.

Step 3: As soon as the mussels start to open their shells partially, splash the crème Fraiche and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. Stir once!

Step 4: Continue to cover and cook until all the mussels open. Turn off the stove and enjoy.

how to cook mussels on the stovetop

5. What To Serve With Steamed Mussels

Mussels are a versatile seafood that can be served as an appetizer or main course. Here are some suggestions for what to serve with mussels:

Crusty bread: Steamed mussels are often served with a flavorful broth, which makes crusty bread the perfect accompaniment for soaking up all the delicious juices.

Salad: A light salad with fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber, dressed with a vinaigrette, can complement the rich and savory flavor of the mussels.

Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables like potatoes, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts can add a healthy and flavorful touch to your meal. The sweetness of the roasted veggies balances well with the brininess of the mussels.

Pasta: Steamed mussels can also be served over a bed of pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine. Toss the pasta with the mussel broth and some garlic and olive oil for a delicious and simple meal.

Wine: Steamed mussels go well with a crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chardonnay. Alternatively, a light beer or a hard cider can also be a great option.

Although cooking mussels is not easy and can take time, I still hope you can learn how to cook mussels on stovetop in this article. If you can prepare well, you can enjoy a better time for the stomach.

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julia jane

Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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