Why We Love Mussels: Easy Recipes That Spotlight the Beauty of This Quick-Cooking, Affordable, and Sustainable Shellfish

steamed mussels with crust bread
Photo: Johnny Miller

They're fast and simple to cook, so why don't we eat mussels more often? Let our best recipes for mussels inspire you to make them for dinner tonight.

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brothy mussels oven fries
Johnny Fogg

Mussels are a shellfish too often overlooked by home cooks, but there is absolutely no need to leave their preparation strictly to a professional kitchen. In this collection of our best mussel recipes, you'll discover that these delectable little bivalves cook quickly, are easy to prepare, and are also surprisingly economical. Perhaps best of all, mussels are a sustainable seafood: Whether farmed or wild-foraged, mussels are a renewable resource, which means they're something you can feel good about eating and feeding your family.

Their glamorous packaging also shouldn't be ignored: A morsel of mussel meat inside a glossy shell is revealed when the mollusk transforms magically into a black-winged butterfly the second it is cooked. Mussels are also nutritious, with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and even vitamin C.

The quintessential mussels recipe must be moules marinieres. A bowl of these piping hot mussels in a steaming broth conjures up instant French bistro. If you need a prescription for a culinary holiday, we recommend cooking up a potful and diving in. For extra authenticity, use the first, hinged mussel shell as pair of nippers to delicately extract the meat from all the others. It's the ultimate cosmopolitan comfort food, with a rustic touch. To turn an intimate evening into a party transform those moules marinieres into moules frites with our crisp oven-fries, pictured here. Just don't forget to whip up a bowl of garlic mayonnaise for dipping!

While you really need never venture beyond those storied dishes, we have curated our most mouthwatering mussel recipes to show you how to prepare mussels in many other ways, and much more than once a year.

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Seafood Linguine

frutti di mare linguine
Ngoc Minh Ngo

For the ultimate in fork-twirling and mussel-slurping, we give you this luxuriously tangled seafood linguine, rich with tomato and spicy with chile pepper.

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Mussels with Red Wine and Roasted Garlic

Mussels with Red Wine and Roasted Garlic
John Kernick

Lay the no-red-wine-with-fish myth to rest once and for all with this luscious potful of mussels steamed in fruity red wine scented with roasted garlic and fresh thyme.

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Chilled Mussel Salad

chilled mussel salad
Bobbi Lin

The peppery freshness of watercress and crisp radishes is an excellent foil for the sweet brine of chilled mussels in this elegant salad.

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Mussels with Corn, Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon

Johnny Miller

Fresh corn kernels and cherry tomatoes are sweet summer fillers for this quick and satisfying mussel supper, which is ready in 15 minutes.

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Drunken Mussels with Chorizo and White Beans

drunken mussels with chorizo and white beans topped with parsley leaves
Con Poulos

Travel to a Spanish coast via a bowlful of these chorizo-spiked steamed mussels, fragrant and filling in a garlicky wine broth.

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Grilled Mussels with Herb Butter

Grilled Mussels with Herb Butter
Petrina Tinslay

Cooked right on the grill, whether it's in the backyard or over glowing coals on the beach, mussels pop open in minutes. The genius touch is warming the cut lemon pieces while the shellfish cook. The heat gentles the juice and softens the acid for a quick squeeze.

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Coconut Curry Mussels

Coconut-Curry Mussels
Petrina Tinslay

Thai curry paste, fresh ginger, and lime juice brighten a creamy coconut broth where succulent mussels steam open in minutes.

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Italian Seafood Salad

Emily Kate Roemer

This celebratory and decadent salad, sweet with crab and plumped up with mussels, is perfect for serving in the Italian Christmas Eve tradition known as The Feast of Seven Fishes, but we promise not to tell if you create it in July and serve it poolside.

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Mussel and Shallot Stuffing

Raymond Hom

Turn to economical and easy mussels for this aromatic riff on traditional oyster stuffing. The tender little bivalves are like hidden treasure among the bits of toasted bread.

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Lemon and Fennel Mussels

Lemon-Fennel Mussels
Johnny Miller

Sweet shallots, the anise of fresh fennel, and an unapologetic amount of fresh lemon zest make a deliciously memorable base for mussels steamed in white wine.

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Stovetop Clambake

Raymond Hom

You don't need the beach for this stovetop clambake. In a stovetop pot, pile in the mussels and lobsters, the clams and the corn, and spread a table with newspaper to tip it all out serve. Bibs optional.

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Mussels Picante

Mussels Picante in salsa
Bryan Gardner

When time is really tight (and when isn't it?) the instant heat and sweetness of ready-made salsa come to the rescue! This satisfying mussel dinner is cooked in as long as it takes the wine and salsa to come to a boil, and the shellfish to steam open.

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Chilled Mussels with Saffron Mayonnaise

Chilled Mussels with Saffron Mayonnaise

The sunny color of saffron mayonnaise atop each plump mussel begs for an outdoor table under summer skies.

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Paella For a Crowd

Heady with cognac and saffron our seafood paella is a glorious party platter that features mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, and pork tenderloin in an exuberant celebration of good rice.

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