Creamy Garlic Mussels Recipe

You may think of mussels as a fancy gourmet appetizer you order at upscale bistros, perhaps to enjoy with a glass of white wine or as an appetizer preceding a five-course feast. And in both cases, sure, you'd be right. Mussels can certainly be part of a fine dining experience. But if you don't think of them as something you can competently prepare and enjoy at home, then you need to give yourself a bit more kitchen credit. "These aren't too difficult to make," says chef and recipe developer Cecilia Ryu, who created this accessible recipe for creamy garlic mussels. "These mussels are so good!" she says. "You have to try them!"

There are a few things to keep in mind as you try your hand at this recipe, though. "I would recommend having all ingredients ready before you start cooking. Mise en place!" says Ryu. That's really important here because "after the mussels have opened and you add the heavy cream and butter, you need to taste for seasoning and work fast because the last thing you want to do is overcook the mussels. [And] be sure to use the freshest mussels you can find. That definitely makes a difference."

Beyond that, you can feel free to enjoy these as a fancy snack, made into a fine meal by serving them over pasta, or incorporated into other seafood dishes, like a truly unforgettable paella.

Gather your ingredients for creamy garlic mussels

To make a batch of truly delectable mussels, you'll need about 2 pounds of these little mollusks, being sure that they've been scrubbed and cleaned to remove any grit that might be lingering inside. You'll also need some extra virgin olive oil, a few garlic cloves, some shallots, red pepper flakes, white wine ("Try to use good wine. Something you would drink. It makes a difference!" says Ryu), heavy cream, tomatoes, unsalted butter, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Take a minute to thinly slice the garlic and chop the shallots, tomatoes, and parsley.

As for how you'll serve these mussels, they are great on their own as an appetizer. Of course, you can also incorporate them into another dish, adding them into pasta, a soup or stew, rice, and many more dishes. This recipe only focuses on the mussels, so if you're planning to team this up with another recipe, plan accordingly.

The health benefits of mussels

Granted, you need to eat quite a few mussels to get enough protein and pure calories to keep yourself full and fueled up for the day. But even if you're not making them the centerpiece of a meal, mussels are still a great way to not only enjoy a tasty treat but to get some seriously good nutrients. According to Health, mussels are an especially good source of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. They're also relatively easy to farm in a sustainable manner, meaning you can feel just as good about the impact your mussel-based meal has on the environment as it does on your body.

They are also high in iron and vitamin C and are very low in fat. Granted, you'll add some of the latter in with the cream and butter, but the taste is assuredly worth the small indulgence here. 

Cook the garlic and shallots, then add the tomatoes, wine, and mussels

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium to high heat. Once it has warmed up to that heat, add in the sliced garlic and chopped shallots. Cook until these two ingredients have softened and grown fragrant, stirring often and making sure the garlic does not burn. Allow about 3 minutes for this part of the process.

Next, add the red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Sauté the mixture until tomatoes are slightly softened, then add the white wine and the mussels and stir to coat them in the liquid. Then cover the pot with a lid.

Cook until mussels open, then add final ingredients

Keep the heat going under the pan until all the steam inside has fully cooked the mussels and they have opened, which will take approximately 8 minutes. Then add in the heavy cream, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to thoroughly coat the mussels in the cream sauce and bring the liquid to a simmer. Once that happens, immediately turn off the heat and add the parsley, stirring everything once more to mix the flavors throughout. You don't want to leave the mussels on the heat for much longer, or else they might overcook.

Now spoon the cooked and ready mussels into a shallow bowl, discarding any mussels that have not opened. Serve them immediately, to the delight of your guests and your own tastebuds. As for how you should serve them, this dish works perfectly well on its own, though a few accompaniments can really elevate the experience. "I almost always have crusty bread ready to dip in the broth with this recipe but it is also very good served over linguine," says Ryu.

If you happen to have any leftovers after this meal, they should keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. To reheat, put them in a pot on low heat and warm until the meal is just warmed through, being careful not to overcook.

Creamy Garlic Mussels Recipe
4.9 from 23 ratings
You may think of mussels as gourmet restaurant fare, but it's time to give yourself more kitchen credit. Here's how to make creamy garlic mussels at home.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
4
servings
Creamy Garlic Mussels in a bowl
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and shallots and cook until they soften, about 3 minutes. Make sure the garlic does not burn.
  2. Add the red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Sauté until the tomatoes are slightly softened, then add the wine and mussels and stir to coat. Cover the pot with lid.
  3. Heat until the mussels are cooked through and have opened, approximately 8 minutes.
  4. Add the heavy cream, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly to coat the mussels in the cream sauce.
  5. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and add the parsley.
  6. Spoon the mussels into a shallow bowl, discarding any mussels that have not opened. Serve immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 621
Total Fat 42.6 g
Saturated Fat 21.1 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 167.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 5.2 g
Sodium 977.4 mg
Protein 29.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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