Moules frites

Moules frites

20 min
Blue mussels cooked in wine and cream with crispy French fries feel luxurious but are easy to make. Be sure to wash the mussel shells well and discard any that are broken or do not close when tapped.


  • Clean and rinse the mussels. Remove those that are open and/or broken.
  • Peel and finely chop the onion, carrot, and celeriac. In a large pot, fry the vegetables in butter until softened (but not browned).
  • Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the mussels and cover with a lid. Simmer for about five minutes.
  • Pour in the cream, bring to a boil, and stir in the parsley just before serving.
  • Discard any mussels that have not opened. Serve with fresh and crispy French fries.

Moules frites

How long should mussels be cooked?
Generally, a five-to-seven-minute cooking time is plenty. This does, however, depend on the heat setting, how much liquid you are using, and the number of mussels you are preparing. Your best bet is to keep an eye on the clock, as well as your mussels: once the shells have opened, your star ingredient is perfectly cooked.
Is moules frites French or Belgian?
Despite its French name, moules frites is a Belgian name (where French is also one of the official languages). In fact, it’s the country’s national dish and you will find it, as well as many variations of the original recipe, on the menus of most restaurants.
How do you know mussels are fully cooked?
When the shells open, your mussels are perfectly cooked. This usually happens at the five-to-seven-minute mark, depending on how large your batch is. Be sure to check every one, and throw out any mussels that haven’t opened (the first sign of a bad mussel that could pose a serious health risk).
Are mussels OK if slightly open?
If you break into a sweat from trying to open a cooked mussel, you’re better off discarding it. The shells should be easy to pry open after cooking and, when it comes to any shellfish, it’s always best to play it safe: when in doubt, throw it out.


Blue mussels
2 kilos
Yellow onion
50 g
1 tbsp
Dry white wine
200 ml
Chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 handful
Double cream
300 ml
Serve with
French fries, preferably homemade
600 g

Why moules frites is a must-try dish for any occasion

Originally a poor-man’s meal, moules frites is today Belgium’s most celebrated dish. Dating back to 1781, mussels often featured on dinner tables as a cheap and abundant alternative to other proteins, especially during winter fish shortages. It didn’t take long for the shellfish to be paired with French fries and the combination has more than stood the test of time. Today, it’s a bucket-list dish that shines on any occasion, whether a laid-back family meal or more sophisticated dinner.

Creative and delicious toppings to add to moules frites

The popularity of moules frites has seen the original recipe evolve into many variations. The most traditional is a simple mussel-aromatics-butter combination, while more luxurious versions, like our recipe, adds cream, white wine, or both to the cooking liquid.

For toppings, we’d suggest that the empty half of the shell is removed, and this recipe will pair well with most flavours. One of our favourites is a breadcrumb, garlic, lemon zest and pecorino combo that is spooned over the cooked mussel and baked to crispy perfection in the oven. Chorizo is also an interesting pairing that works surprisingly well, especially when a sprinkling of parsley and spring onion is added to the mix.

How to serve moules frites for the perfect meal

Traditionally, the moules (mussels) are served separately from the frites (fries). This is to avoid the crispy fries from becoming soggy, which would quickly happen if they shared a plate with the juicy mussels. Adding a bowl of plain mayonnaise as dipping sauce is also very common, and you will see many a plate of moules frites served in this manner across Belgium, whether in a sophisticated restaurant or bustling home kitchen.