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close up of steamed mussels with onions and celery
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5 from 4 votes

How to cook mussels

Mussels marinières is a delicious classic mussels recipe. Steaming the mussels with onions, garlic and celery gives this dish its subtle yet delicate taste, which is rather sweet and soft with a hint of ocean flavour.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Belgian, French
Servings: 1
Author: Sabine


  • 2 lb (or 1 kg) mussels scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 onion finely cut in half rings
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 celery stick finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Wash the mussels well in cold water. Discard any with broken shells or those that don't close after washing and lightly tapping the shell with your finger. Scrub any debris or barnacles off the shells. Remove the beard, which is the fibrous thread sticking out of the side of the mussel. Rinse at least twice with cold running water.
  • Cut the onion finely in half rings, chop the celery, including the celery leaves finely and mince the garlic.
  • Heat oil in a large cooking pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and celery and fry for 2 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
  • Turn up the heat, then add the cleaned mussels, freshly ground black and cayenne pepper and cover with a lid. Leave to cook covered for around 8 minutes or until all mussels have opened. Toss the pot 2-3 times carefully to mix all the veggies with the mussels.
  • Remove the lid and serve immediately in the same pot.


  • As a main dish, Belgians count on 1 kg or 2 lb per person. If this still sounds like a lot or you also plan to serve some side dishes, count on half the amount as a main dish.
  • For a stand alone starter, count on half the amount.
  • This recipe is for 1 person as a main dish. Each person is served their own mussel pot. If you make this recipe for more people, just multiply the above ingredients per mussel pot per person.