Restaurant Style Mussels With Garlic Wine Sauce

Restaurant Style Mussels With Garlic Wine Sauce

Mussels In Wine SauceToday is my birthday. And the tradition in our family is that the birthday girl/boy gets to choose where they’d like to have their celebratory dinner. But this year I wanted to make my own birthday meal. Sometimes making your own birthday dinner is the very best way to go.

My favorite appetizer is mussels in wine sauce. When I order it at restaurants, sometimes I’m delighted. But other times I’m disappointed. You see, mussels themselves are not hard to make. You really can’t screw them up. It’s the sauce that makes or breaks the dish.

So instead of leaving it up to the restaurant gods, I decided to make my own mussels for my birthday dinner. You just don’t want to leave things to chance when you are talking about birthday dinners!

raw musselsSome people are intimidated over cooking with mussels. It’s really quite simple. Here’s what you need to do…

Ask your grocer or fish monger if the mussels are farm raised. If they are farm raised, then that means that they will not be sandy. No need to soak them. Also, farm raised mussels usually have the beards removed before they are bagged. So the takeaway is to look for farm raised mussels if you want less work.

If the mussels are straight from the wild, then they need to be soaked in a bowl of water that has some cornmeal in it. The mussels with suck in the cornmeal/water mixture which will purge the sand out of their system.

If you have three to four pounds of mussels, place them in a large bowl of cool water with about 1/2 cup of cornmeal mixed in. Let them sit in this bath for about 30-45 minutes. Dump the soiled water out and give the mussels a good scrub with a scrubber pad. Then you will be good to go.

The other issue people have is the fear of not recognizing dead mussels. To find the duds, look at the shells. Are they tightly closed? Those are the good ones. If they are open, give them a tap on the shell. If they close, they’re fine. If they stay open, toss them out.

That’s the basics of mussels. Not so scary, right?

ingredientsLike I said earlier, the sauce is the thing that makes this dish sing. There’s not much to it, really. Garlic, shallots, wine, a little citrus. Some simple ingredients that make an extraordinary meal.

sauce for musselsWhen you consider that mussels cost about $2.50 a pound, it blows my mind that restaurants charge as much as they do for this dish. A dish that takes just minutes to make. A quick sauce. A whirl around in a hot large pan. And voilá! You have a mussels dish that will rival any restaurant’s offerings.

Now what are you waiting for? Go get a bag of mussels. And don’t forget the bread for soaking up the sauce. It’s the very best part.

mussels in white wine sauce

5.0 from 4 reviews
Restaurant Style Mussels With Garlic Wine Sauce
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Restaurant style mussels at home. All of the flavor at a fraction of the price.
  • 4 lbs mussels
  • 3 Tbsps butter
  • 3 Tbsps olive oil
  • ½ cup shallots, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • ½ Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1¼ cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsps lemon juice
  • 2 tsps kosher salt
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • A few good cranks of fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  1. Dump mussels into a large bowl and cover with cool water. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy pot, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Cook shallots until translucent. About three minutes. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant. About another minute or two.
  3. Add tomatoes, thyme, white wine, broth, lemon juice, salt, red pepper and black pepper. Turn up heat to medium high and allow to come to a boil.
  4. Add mussels and cover. Cook for eight to ten minutes. Shake pan every now and again to move mussels around.
  5. Pour into bowl and garnish with parsley and lemon zest. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up garlic wine sauce.

 There are affiliate links in the post to products that I believe are relevant to this recipe.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Happy Birthday Melanie!! What a beautiful looking meal or appetizer, I love, love the pix and I have learned to love mussels too! They are quite marvelous once you know the ‘trick’ to get the sand out. Your cooking and dipping sauce sounds and looks great. I agree with using the bread to get every last drop, that’s the way I roll too! Enjoy your special meal and your birthday; AND I hope your team wins tonight Melanie! 🙂

    • Thank you! You know what’s funny? Not that long ago I wasn’t a mussels fan either. It’s something that grows on you. Now I love them! I find them incredibly luxurious and so much fun to eat! And yes, go Pats!

  2. Mussels are one of my very favorite eats – I pull ’em all out of their shells, ask the waiter for a soup spoon, then slurp up my delicious mussel soup – but I’ve never attempted them at home. You make it look so easy (and beautiful), and now I’m inspired to give ’em a go. Thanks, Melanie!

    • Sounds like we are mussels kindred spirits, lol. It is easy to make! I love them for entertaining but I also like them any other day of the week as well!

  3. We love mussels in this house. It’s my favorite app to order when eating out. I didn’t know the cornmeal trick!! We’ll have to keep it in mind for next time! Happy birthday Melanie!

    • Thanks so much Annie! Yes, the cornmeal trick is a good one. But do keep in mind that most mussels in our region are PEI mussels and are usually farm raised. So, most likely you can skip that step entirely. 🙂 And thanks for the bday wishes!!

      • Thanks for the tips! Im from newfoundland originally but living in Ontario. I am picking up Mussels from Metro here that were farm raised in PEI. So Im hoping they are cleaned and ready to go! Im going to call them to see otherwise might switch my dish as too time consuming if they need to be cleaned. But I would love my camp ontarioan friends to be able to try some:)

  4. I’ve made most all of my own birthday dinners! It’s better that way!

  5. Patricia N. says:

    Hi Melanie,
    Happy belated birthday! Hope it was a good one and that you enjoyed your mussels. I will have to try this recipe; I also love mussels. The last time I bought some to cook, my husband and I found at least one tiny pearl in each one. What a surprise, but such an unexpected treat.
    Are you aware that you get a free meal on your birthday at the Charlie Horse? No coupon to clip, either. Just go in with at least one other person, show your license and any meal on the menu is free. You also get a cupcake for dessert. It can be the most expensive meal on the menu, too. Not a equal or lesser value thing.
    I usually get the steak tip Caesar salad; delicious! They also make a killer fisherman’s platter, but there’s so much fried seafood in it, that I usually get a side salad to fill up on and take most of the platter home to last 2-3 more days.
    Think about it for next year; their food is amazing. There is one in Kingston and one in West Bridgewater.

    • I haven’t been to The Charlie Horse in forever. They have yummy wings. Thanks for the birthday tip. A free meal there would be great! The kids like it too.

  6. I am so intimidated when it comes cooking with mussels. I’m going to try your recipe and see if I can make them like this.

  7. I’m always on the look-out for a nice and simple mussel recipe and yours looks scrumptious. Happy birthday!

  8. Happy birthday! I agree that sometimes making your own bday dinner is probably better because you know what you want. 🙂 And mussels is the clever way to go. We have all sorts of shellfish here and I love it! I always make mine simple with ginger, scallions and sliced chillies. I need some now.

  9. Oh that looks so good – I am definitely going to try it!

  10. Happy belated birthday Melanie! I don’t eat seafood, but this looks really yummy! 🙂

  11. Love your recipe! Would like to incorporate creme. When should I ad this?

  12. Thank you so much for this recipe. i have never been on this site before and it was random google search in which I found your site and tried this recipe for mussels. It’s my fiancé’s favorite meal and i made it last night for New Years Eve and it was amazing. We were both surprised at how good these came out and it will always be remembered for being a part of our special new years eve together. FYI – We used chardonay and 4 teaspoons of garlic. this recipe is a keeper and i will definitely not only making again but will also be trying more of your recipes. Happy New Year!

    • I am delighted that you liked the recipe and took the time to let me know that you enjoyed it! Thank you so much! Happy New Year!

  13. I made your recipe tonight for dinner and my husband said they were the best mussels he has ever eaten. Thanks for sharing.

  14. This recipe is perfect! We made it this weekend – what a bliss for the palate!!! Thank you for sharing!

  15. Only recently tried mussels for the first time at a restaurant. Thouht I would try your recipe….it was delicious. I am now a big convert to mussels, and I am doing the recipe again tonight for friends.

  16. Holiday Bruck says:

    This recipe is delicious!! And easy! I can’t wait to make it again. Thanks, Melanie!

  17. Dr.Mary Dunlap-Beales says:

    Hi Melanie
    Stumbled here while searching for recipes for a friend’s daughter’s baby shower,Usually my husband or son who is a chef makes Mussels,This time I want to,and WE share a birthday,,don’t meet many people born on Jan 20th

    Have a great day

  18. Becca Lee says:

    Silly question — do you add in the water the mussels are sitting in to the whole pot or just the mussels into the wine, chicken broth mixture? Thanks!

  19. I’m going to give this a try. I love mussels . I was once asked in a nice way that perhaps I had enough at a local restaurant that was featuring all you can eat mussels, BIG mistake.


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