Love mussels? My favorite way to make a mussels recipe is always in a simple garlic and lemon sauce. So today we’re chatting about How to Cook Mussels with Garlic and Lemon Sauce 🙂 Plus everything else you need to know about mussels!
There are so many ways to cook mussels, and make the best mussels recipe. This is my favorite because of the sauce and how easy it is to make the mussels recipe!
While I say sauce, I also need to mention that it’s quite a self made sauce. So you won’t need to worry about any fancy sauce techniques, thanks to the amazing way mussels cook.
The sauce is sort of a given. The herbs, flavors and any additional toppings are all up to you. I’ll share with you the easiest simplest and most straight forward way to get this done 🙂
How to posts are really one of my favorites. They remind me of my cooking school days. I miss them terribly! It’s only been 5 months since I decided to take a break from the cooking school, yet it feels like years!
There’s something magically calming and fulfilling about teaching food. Cooking, baking, fancy techniques and simple ones alike. Anything food! And it’s something I would’ve probably never imagined myself doing. But the day I started teaching food, some ten years ago, it felt perfect 🙂
MUSSELS SEAFOOD RECIPE
It’s as simple as can be. Use it as the base for any other variation on the mussels.
It’s seriously fool proof and can be adapted to your taste.
You need just 20 minutes to get this ready.
Above all, it’s absolutely delicious. Think garlic, lemon, butter, herbs and olive oil. The simplest flavors sometimes really bring out the most in foods!
HOW TO CLEAN MUSSELS
First of all, rinse your mussels and make sure you buy mussels that are sealed. Open mussels mean they’re dead and not ok to eat, so if you catch a mussel that’s not sealed while you’re rinsing them, discard it right away.
Then you’ll find a tiny thread hanging out on the side of each mussel, pull that right out. That’s basically how the mussels were hanging and clinging in the water.
HOW TO COOK MUSSELS
I find that this easy simple garlic and lemon mussels is the base for anyone to start building on their mussels recipes. So here’s a break down of how to cook mussels, perfectly.
Take a nice deep sautee pan and here’s the beauty of this mussels recipe–the variations are endless. Add in some butter, olive oil, coconut oil, neutral tasting oil– just chose your favorite. Then add in the garlic (or shallots, scallions, red onions, ginger, etc.. endless options) and sautee for a few minutes.
Now add in your mussels, season with salt and pepper and put the lid on. You’ll need the mussels to cook for 10-15 minutes until you see each mussel has opened up.
At that point, uncover the lid and start adding your falvors.
I add lemon zest, lemon juice, some fresh minced herbs (parsley, dill, thyme) and a final drizzle of olive oil. Simple. Easy. Delicious.
Here are a few other ways you can jazz up your mussels recipe. Rather than lemon zest, add diced tomatoes, basil, pesto, fresh kale, kalamata olives, feta cheese, pomegranate molasses, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, cumin, salsa, chilli powder..you name it! It’s all delicious! and all so EASY!
Finally, I love to squeeze a touch of lemon juice and serve the mussels with crunchy bread! YUM 🙂
The magical sauce happens when the mussls cook, they give out so much water. And not just any water, it’s a delicious mussel-y seafood-ish water. It seems like a lot at first, so feel free to let some evaporate before serving, or enjoy it saucy 🙂
Make this easy mussels recipe and you’ll be hooked to try them all!! Enjoy 🙂
MUSSELS – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW!
Here are a few things you need to know about Mussels!
What are mussels?
Mussels are a bivalve mollusk similar to clams and oysters. They live in fresh and salty water. With their dark distinct oval shell, mussels are readily available in all grocery stores.
How to eat mussels?
This is a tricky one! You can absolutely grab the mussel by the hand and simply suck the fish out of the shell when it’s cooked. However you can also try holding the shell with one hand and grabbing the inside of the mussel using a fork or seafood fork. Don’t forget to dip the inside in the sauce before eating it!
How to make mussels?
There are so many ways to cook mussels, but they mostly involve steaming or boiling. The best way to make mussels is to clean them well first (check the section above for cleaning mussels). Then choose the sauce or flavor you want (such as today’s simple garlic and lemon) and add in the mussels. Close the pot or pan really well so the mussels cook in the steam.
What do mussels taste like?
Mussels have a very mild ocean taste with a faintly sweet and almost mushroom like undertone. That’s the best way to describe the taste! Overall, they don’t have a distinct taste and for that they’re great to pair with many sauces and dishes.
Are mussels healthy?
In moderation, yes! Mussels pack a good amount of omega-3 and amino acids.
How long to cook mussels?
Depending on how hot your pan is, the mussels cook anywhere from 6-15 minutes. I love adding an extra 5 minutes of cooking time so that the mussels absorb more flavors from the sauce!
How to prepare mussels?
Depending on the mussel itself. For these mussels the best way to prepare them is by cleaning them, flavoring the post with your aromatics and adding in the mussels. Allow them to cook well while the pot is closed.
I also love cooking them in marinara sauce with pasta. Here’s the recipe and video for Mussels Marinara.
Plus, if I’m making green lipped mussels, then I love adding a crunch topping and baking / broiling them!
How to Cook Frozen Mussels?
Follow the exact recipe here.
- Make sure your mussels are sealed before cooking, and likewise, make sure your mussels have opened after cooking! Any mussel other than that should be thrown away.
- Make sure to follow how to clean mussels (above) before cooking.
- Add in your favorite flavors to this recipe and make different mussels recipes every single time.
- Serve mussels right away with bread, pasta, salad , rice on any which way.
- It’s best to eat mussels the same day, but if you can’t, store them in the fridge for 2 days at most and reheat them before serving.
- If you want to cook frozen mussels, follow the same way as this recipe.
- Read the questions above for more tips and info on mussels and everything you need to know!
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How to Cook Mussels with Garlic and Lemon Sauce
Love mussels? My favorite way to make them is always in a simple garlic and lemon sauce. So this is all about How to Cook Mussels with Garlic and Lemon Sauce 🙂 Plus all the tips and variations you'll ever need to cook mussels.
- 4 lbs mussels fresh rinsed and any opened mussel discarded
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, coconut oil, neutral oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced ( or shallots, gingers, red onions , etc)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 zest lemon
- 1 juice lemon
- 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley leaves minced ( add basil, mint, cilantro etc)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- bread crunchy for serving
Preheat a 10 inch sautee pan with lid over high heat and add in the butter and garlic. Sautee the garlic for 2 minutes and then add in the mussels. Toss the mussels with the garlic butter and then close the lid. Lower the heat to medium low and let the mussels cook for 10-15 minutes until you notice all mussels have opened up.
Uncover the post and let some of the liquid evaporate over high heat.
Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and olive oil. Toss the mussels one final time and serve right away 🙂 Enjoy! 🙂
Make sure your mussels are sealed before cooking, and likewise, make sure your mussels have opened after cooking! Any mussel other than that should be thrown away.
Make sure to follow how to clean mussels (above) before cooking.
Add in your favorite flavors to this recipe and make different mussels recipes every single time.
Make sure you drop the heat to medium low to low and cover your pot.
If you're working on an electric stove or your skillet is super hot, add in the juice of 1 lemon and water to equal 1/4 cup to the mussels skillet before covering it.
Serve mussels right away with bread, pasta, salad , rice on any which way.
It's best to eat mussels the same day, but if you can't, store them in the fridge for 2 days at most and reheat them before serving.
If you want to cook frozen mussels, follow the same way as this recipe.
I cooked these for my wife and I the other evening and we both loved it. I added a 12 oz can of organic chopped tomato and probably doubled the garlic. This is the best recipe for mussels that I’ve ever tried and I was impressed how much liquid the mussels produced -no need for additional liquid that many recipes suggest. The second night the leftover mussels were even better. Thank you!
So happy you made this and enjoyed it JT! Thanks for sharing!
Holy goodness! Used frozen mussels and grass fed butter with minced shallots. Also added a few torn kale leaves. Covered for two minutes over med high flames then added some fresh lemon juice and covered again on low flames for two minutes …….transferred to a shallow bowl – drizzled with quality olive oil. Damn! So good. Of course had a few slices of sourdough to sop up the juices. Cheers!
Wow Lisa sounds great!! So happy you made this and enjoyed it!
I made this last night for Christmas Eve traditional fish dinner. This was wonderful and was used as the base to use with scallops shrimp and mussels over a nest of pasta. It was a huge success! I will make this again. Thank you for all of the tips here’s to more wonderful meals in 2021
Love this easy recipe Mahy! Can’t wait to try it out with some seafood rice 😋
I buy frozen precooked mussels so I only have to deal with 1 pound. Most of the mussels we buy are either bulk or in 2# bags. The ones in bags are dated, the bulk “who knows” when they were harvested?
Can I freeze my own cooked mussels? I can vacuum pack my extras.
Hi Jim, I know the ones you’re talking about. Vacuum packing cooked mussels are a great way to store them. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. And best to defrost them in the fridge and reheat them gently with extra olive oil. The one thing I notice is that reheating frozen mussels can make them slightly dry, that’s why I prefer completely defrosting in the fridge and heating the thawed mussels over medium heat or medium low heat only.
Just made this for the first time tonight, absolutely LOVED IT! I kept to the basics – onions/shallots, garlic, olive oil, butter and lemon juice. It tasted so fresh and balanced; perfect for a hot summer day. Definitely a favorite way to cook mussels!
Thanks so much Tiffany! So glad you love this recipe too!
Great recipe, but I think the calorie count is off…4 mussels 320 calories? maybe 400 grams…
Thanks Ruth! It’s actually 4 servings, so each serving is 320 calories (mussels only, not paired with bread).
Kelly I Girouard
I have never cooked mussels before so I followed your recipe as it included an informative part about how to clean the mussels…which was so helpful. It kind of went down hill from there though. I was questioning the recipe when I saw that there was no real ‘liquid’ for the mussels to be steamed in. I should have stuck with my gut. With just 2 tablespoons of garlic butter and the lid on for 10 minutes I opened the pan to a blackened mess. The entire batch had to be thrown out. I checked so many recipes after this happened to see where I went wrong and every recipe had at least a cup or two of a liquid of choice (beer, wine, tomato sauce etc) for the mussels to steam in. Did this recipe miss that ingredient?
Hi Kelly, So sorry this happened with your mussels!
Was your heat on high? I know many recipes add in liquids to the mussels, however I’ve had success with just butter and garlic, and in some cases I’ll add in the juice of 1 lemon too with water to sum up 1/3 cup max. The trick is to drop the heat to medium low or low and allow the mussels to release their juices into the pan. You’ll notice recipes with lots of liquids rely on high heat and the mussels cook in the hot boiling liquid.
In all cases I’ll add the liquid in the notes, especially if you have an electric stove and can’t drop the heat off right away when you need to.
Hope you give this another try! 🙂
Mussels are such a delicious seafood. So healthy too. I absolutely love garlic and lemon pairing here. I bet this taste amazing. Will give it a try. That’s for sure.
It really does!!
I love mussels but I always make a variation of the same white wine mussels recipe – a classic version, or I add some roquefort or other blue cheese to it for added yuminess. Never tried with lemon before but since I love lemon I bet I will love this recipe! Thank you!
This one you must try!
Cheese Curd In Paradise
I love mussels and am always looking at different ways to prepare them! This looks delicious and I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.
Thanks so much!
Marisa F. Stewart
You certainly give a lot of great tips. You’ve reminded me that I haven’t had my fix of mussels in a long time. We simply love mussels and clams. We love serving them with pasta or just lots of crusty bread to sop up that delicious juice. I like how you zest your lemon – this way you see the beautiful yellow against the dark mussel shells. Can’t wait to make some mussels.
Love your ideas Marisa!
Kylee from Kylee Cooks
oh wow – you took something I’m totally too intimidated to cook and made it look doable! This looks like a Saturday recipe for my family! (I’ll make them help me clean the mussels!!)
Thanks it’s really doable and delish!!
this dish was absolutely incredible! so easy to make, simple but delicious flavor – it was perfect with some crusty bread!
Danielle thanks so much!!
I love this recipe. I have tried many garlic and lemon mussels recipes online and this is by far the closest to the ones I’ve tried in Croatia and Belgium. Thanks for sharing! Very tasty.
I’ve tried this recipe as well with onion salt, a combination of shallots, garlic and a small amount of ginger, spring onions, and lemon and a small amount of calamansi and it tastes fantastic.
PS: For other fellow metric users, this recipe is for approximately 1.8 kg of mussels!
Lilith, Thanks so much you made my day!!! So glad you enjoyed this, it’s one of my favorite simple things in life!! 🙂
A lovely post. I’ve never cooked my own mussels and probably won’t, because I’d have to have them shipped to me. I have had cuttlefish shipped to me and they were okay, but I’m somehow a little more apprehensive about the quality of mussels. But I certainly do order them at restaurants when we travel!!!
Oh I love mussels too Mimi! How intriguing to get seafood shipped to you!
I really enjoy cooking this recipe and start to love mussels is amazing
yes they really are!