Oven-Steamed Mussels with Garlic and White Wine

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Mussels in a buttery, garlicky white wine broth make a simple and elegant supper.

(America’s Test Kitchen, 2020)

Easy to make and inexpensive to buy, mussels make a simple, elegant dinner. Here, they’re steamed in a briny, garlicky, buttery wine broth that begs to be sopped up with crusty bread. The recipe is modestly adapted from Foolproof Fish: Modern Recipes for Everyone, Everywhere by America’s Test Kitchen, a beautiful and practical new cookbook filled with pro tips and seafood recipes galore.

This is a classic recipe, but the cooking method is unique. Because mussels come in a range of sizes, it can be a challenge to cook them evenly. Rather than cramming the mussels into a Dutch oven on the stovetop, the authors steam them in a roomy roasting pan in a blazing-hot oven. After 15 minutes, all of the mussels – big and small – gently yawn open, their juices mingling with the cooking liquid to create a delicious sauce.

What You’ll Need To Make Oven-Steamed Mussels

mussels white wine sauce ingredients

When you purchase mussels, they’re still alive. After bringing them home from the store, they will stay fresh in the refrigerator for several days. Because they’re alive, avoid storing them in an airtight container. Instead, place them in a bowl covered with a wet paper towel.

When a recipe calls for dry white wine, the best options are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or unoaked Chardonnay. Select a bottle that is inexpensive but still good enough to drink.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Most markets sell farm-raised mussels, which are easy to clean — in fact, they are usually already scrubbed and debearded. However, it’s still a good idea to clean them prior to cooking. Simply put them in a colander and run them under cold running water, using your hands or a scrubbing brush to remove any sand or debris. If beards (the little tuft of fibers the mussel uses to connect to rocks or pilings) are present, cut or scrape them off with a paring knife, or use your fingers to pull them sharply down toward the hinged point of the shells.

scrubbing mussels

The mussels should be tightly closed. If you see a mussel that is open, tap it gently against the counter; in a live mussel, this will trigger a reaction to close its shell. If the mussel doesn’t slowly close, it has died and should be discarded. Discard any mussels with cracked shells as well.

Set a large roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Do not brown.

sautéing garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil

Add the wine, thyme, and bay leaves and boil until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.

simmering wine, thyme, and bay leaves

Stir in the salt and mussels.

adding mussels to the roasting pan

Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil (remember the edges of the pan will be hot) and transfer to the oven.

roasting pan covered with foil

Roast until the majority of the mussels have opened, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and place a dishtowel over the handle to remind yourself that it’s hot. Discard any unopened mussels.

steamed mussels

Using a wooden spoon, push the mussels to the edges of the pan. Add the butter to the center and stir until melted.

stirring in butter

Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and stir in the parsley.

adding parsley to musselsSpoon the mussels and wine broth into bowls and serve with bread.

(America’s Test Kitchen, 2020)

You May Also Like

Oven-Steamed Mussels with Garlic and White Wine

Mussels in a buttery, garlicky white wine broth make a simple and elegant supper.

Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups dry white wine (see note)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Brimming 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded (see note)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Crusty bread, for serving

Instructions

  1. Set an oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 500°F.
  2. Set a large roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Do not brown. Add the wine, thyme, and bay leaves and boil until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the salt and mussels. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil (remember the edges of the pan will be hot) and transfer to the oven. Roast until the majority of the mussels have opened, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven, and place a dishtowel over the handle to remind yourself that it's hot. Discard any unopened mussels. Using a wooden spoon, push the mussels to the edges of the pan. Add the butter to the center and stir until melted. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and stir in the parsley. Spoon the mussels and wine broth into bowls and serve with bread.
  5. Note: When a recipe calls for dry white wine, the best options are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or unoaked Chardonnay. Select a bottle that is inexpensive but still good enough to drink.
  6. Note: Most markets sell farm-raised mussels, which are easy to clean — in fact, they are usually already scrubbed and debearded. However, it’s still a good idea to clean them prior to cooking. Simply put them in a colander and run them under cold running water, using your hands or a scrubbing brush to remove any sand or debris. If beards (the little tuft of fibers the mussel uses to connect to rocks or pilings) are present, cut or scrape them off with a paring knife, or use your fingers to pull them sharply down toward the hinged point of the shells. The mussels should be tightly closed. If you see a mussel that is open, tap it gently against the counter; in a live mussel, this will trigger a reaction to close its shell. If the mussel doesn’t slowly close, it has died and should be discarded. Discard any mussels with cracked shells as well.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • This was so easy and delicious. I worked all day and put it together easily when I got home.We had a restaurant quality meal without leaving our home on a cold rainy night. Served it with a salad and toasted homemade bread I had in the freezer. I will make this again and again.

    • — Kathy on October 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi.. if I half the number of mussels, would I also have to half the other ingredients? Also, if I use a creuset pot, can I just use the lid I instead of aluminum foil? Thanks

    • — Terri on October 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • I’ve made this recipe twice using local Penn Cove Mussels. It is sooooo good. I’ve shared the recipe with several friends and I describe it as restaurant quality mussels. The first time I made the recipe, I was worried that it might have too strong of wine flavor but I was wrong. This recipe makes a delicious buttery garlic broth and my 11-year-old son who previously wasn’t a fan of mussels ate two servings!

    • — Deanne on October 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe was adjusted for cooking frozen mussels. I ensured I followed the directions on the packaging for cooking the mussels and used the recipe for all the other ingredients. I did not cook in the oven due to the directions on my frozen mussel packaging but used all the ingredients otherwise and made for a very tasty and quick meal! I covered my mussels with foil while cooking on the cook top.

    • — Christy on September 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have some bags of frozen Patagonia mussels. How can I adjust if mussels frozen

    • — rhonda Helfand on August 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Rhonda, Unfortunately, I don’t think frozen mussels would work here — sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • What size is your all-clad roaster please? I see they come in two sizes:
    Large Roaster: 16 3/4″ x 13 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ high overall; 5 lb. 4 oz.; holds up to a 20-lb. turkey.
    Extra-large Roaster: 18 3/4″ x 14 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ high overall; 7 lb.; holds up to a 25-lb. turkey.
    Thank you!

    • — Michele on August 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Michele, It’s the large one.

      • — Jenn on August 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • My apologies, that it took so long to rate this recipe. It was delicious. I had 8lbs of mussels and it worked a treat. It did of course take a little bit longer in the oven. As recommended by you I made steak frites and caprise salad and of course lovely bread. It was simple and quite easy for six adults. Oh, and our mussels were from Salt Spring Island 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 From the north

    • — Marjory on August 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • I was very skeptical about using the oven for mussels. I have only made them on the stovetop. These were delicious and not overcooked after 15 minutes as the recipe indicated. In fact, they were the juiciest most succulent mussels I have ever had. We loved them! Definitely will make again! Easy, simple, fantastic! It probably helps that we live near the south shore of Nova Scotia and bought our mussels directly from a mussel farm. So fresh! Thanks for yet another keeper Jenn! ❤️

    • — Bev Kloppenburg on August 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made this for dinner to celebrate my social distancing birthday and it was SO good and unbelievably quick and easy to whip up. I used an oblong shaped Le Creuset since my roaster is not stovetop compatible. I cut the recipe in half to reduce the serving size. I cannot wait to make this for others (it may be be just the recipe to make people think I can cook!). Jenn—you are not kidding when you say “tested and perfected recipes”.

    • — Ling on August 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • We tried this recipe for for dinner this week, and it was good, but not great. The sauce was thin and lacked a robust flavor. I followed the recipe to a “t” – wondering what went wrong. I generally love your recipes, and although the final result sure looked pretty, I probably won’t make this one again.

    • — Jill on August 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’m planning to make this for myself (1 serving but this girl can eat)—can I cut the ingredients in half and use either a large skillet with tall sides or a large Dutch oven? My roaster isn’t the type that can be used on the stovetop. Thank you!

    • — Ling on August 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Ling – that will work.

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made this tonight! So simple, flavorful and absolutely delicious! Cut the recipe in half and ate the whole thing by myself with crusty bread for dinner. I also cut way back on the olive oil (1 tsp) and it worked perfectly. This is a keeper per usual Jenn!

    • — Erin on July 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • I intend making this on the weekend for five or six adults. Can you suggest something to serve as a starter and/or alongside. I will have bread, just don’t want folks to be hungry

    • — Marjory on July 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Marjory, I would serve them with roasted potatoes (the ones from my cookbook would be delicious) or french fries and maybe a simple green salad or a tomato (or caprese) salad.

      • — Jenn on July 30, 2020
      • Reply
  • I planned to serve this Mussel recipe for my husbands birthday today. His family is from the east coast of Canada and when I heard my husband utter the word “AWESOME” I knew I had a winning recipe. I will be making again and again.
    I made the recipe as is and would NOT adjust at all.
    Thank you very much!

    • — Sandy on July 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • I only have a large non stick roasting pan. Do you think that would be fine? Thank you!

    • — Janet on July 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Janet, as long as it’s oven-safe it will work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • I know this is going to be terrific, like everything else you’ve given us. My question: can I use a bottle that I opened last week? It’s a bit not on the delicious drinkable side anymore but I hear that wines like that are ok for cooking. Is that so? Thanks!

    • — Martell Sandra on July 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandra, I think you can get away with it. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can clams be used instead of mussels?

    • — Gerry on July 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Gerry — enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2020
      • Reply
    • Depends on the clams. Hard shell clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) may be too tough cooked like this unless they’re very small, but soft shell clams (Mya arenaria) would be good.

      • — Kate on July 24, 2020
      • Reply
    • In Barcelona, one of my favorite seafood places cooks their clams on an cast iron plate upon a woodfire grill. The clams cook quickly and are delicious. When I read this recipe, I thought of using clams first.

      • — LC on August 5, 2020
      • Reply
  • Looks delicious. I have done a similar mussel dish like this on the grill instead of the oven. I have never gone 15 minutes on the grill. Is there a reason for so long? Perhaps the amount of mussels? I usually do two pounds. P.S. I have tried many of your recipes. They were all excellent. Thank you!

    • — Lois on July 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Lois, Yes I believe it is because there are so many. Feel free to peek a little earlier to see if they open up. Glad you enjoy the recipes!

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • This looks amazing. Love your roasting pan too.
    What if you want to use frozen mussels. Could you and would recipe remain the same?
    Thanks again fir all your wonderful recipes.

    • — Sunny Drohan on July 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sunny, I wouldn’t recommend frozen mussels here- sorry!

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks. Good to know.

        • — Sunny on August 4, 2020
        • Reply

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.