There are some foods I almost never order in restaurants.  Chicken is the main one.  Why pay someone else to prepare something I could make easily at home?  (Not to mention homemade is usually better.)  There are other dishes, though, that I tend to reserve for restaurants because I imagine them too complicated to make at home.  Mussels was one of those dishes.  But no longer.

I recently received a copy of America’s Test Kitchen’s Cooking School Cookbook, and came across this recipe while browsing through the pages.  (For my review of this cookbook and your chance to win a free copy, head over to the giveaway page!  Let me also just say here that if you need a last minute gift for anyone you know who loves cooking or wants to love cooking, I think this book would be an excellent idea.)  I figured I have a few days off work, now is as good a time as any to try my hand at making mussels at home.

As it turns out, this really  could not be easier.  Essentially you combine the wine and other seasonings in a pot, bring to a simmer, add the mussels and cook until they open.  That’s it.  And it’s totally knock your socks off delicious.  Ben and I both agreed these were far better than any mussels we have tried in a restaurant…so I suppose these are now on the “no need to order” list right alongside chicken.  This is one of those wonderful recipes that seems fancy and complicated but requires so little effort, making it perfect for entertaining.  If I hadn’t already bought ingredients for our Christmas Eve dinner, I would totally be making this again. Maybe we will have it for New Year’s instead.

I hope you all have a lovely holiday filled with love, laughter, and lots of good food!


  • 2 cups white wine
  • ½ cup minced shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. roasted red pepper flakes
  • 4 lbs. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and pepper


  • 01

    In a Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat, combine the white wine, shallots, garlic, parsley, bay leaf and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a simmer and let simmer about 3 minutes to blend the flavors.

  • 02

    Increase the heat to high and add in the mussels. Cover and cook, stirring twice, until the mussels open, 4-8 minutes.

  • 03

    Use a skimmer or a slotted spoon to remove the mussels to a serving bowl. Add the butter to the pan with the white wine and whisk in until fully melted.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over the mussels and serve alongside crusty bread for dipping in the excess sauce.

  • Kelsey

    I made mussels for the first time this summer while in South Carolina. Like you, I had thought they would be complicated. They weren’t, though, and they turned out to be delicious!

  • Shelly

    I read somewhere that if you soak mussels in water with flour, it helps to free them of sand, now the debearding thing……does it come off easily? I’ve never attempted mussels before, but will be trying this recipe soon!

  • There is really no better (or barely any better) feeling than that of accomplishment when you make something you never thought you could!! Mussels are definitely a restaurant-thing in my book also. Or, WERE. You’ve changed my mind.

  • GolfingWithDokken

    Soaking is for clams because they live in the mud. Mussels live above the sand by attaching themselves to rocks or piers. No need to soak. To clarify – clams should be soaked overnight in cornmeal. “Beards”, for those who don’t know, are wiry branch like thinks that connect the mussel to the rocks. You want to remove those as you are transferring the cooked mussels to the serving dish. Most come off easy after they are cooked. Advice from a Maine-ah!

  • Diane

    Annie – my husband and I love making these too – we add diced tomatoes to ours – oh so good!

  • Susan Shore

    This is a great recipe, except instead of butter my French friend added cream at the end. OMG!

  • Jacki

    I am drooling over the book, absolutely love the chronological photos.
    Not much intimidates me in the kitchen, but I don’t like starting with live ingredients.

  • Mary Redmond

    Merry Christmas to you & your family. Santa brought me the Cooking School Cookbook. I’m looking forward to new cooking adventures.

  • Debi

    i love all the test kitchen cookbooks

  • Nancy Long

    we love mussels and this reminds me that it’s be way too long since I’ve fixed them, thanks

  • Bekah P.

    This was amazing. We halved the recipe for just two of us and it was perfect. I saved a little parsley for garnish and it looked just as pretty as if it was in a restaurant. If it wasn’t for the fact that we ate an entire loaf of bread (to soak up the delicious sauce), I’d make it every week!