Mussel soup

Mussel soup

1 h
This is one of the best mussel soup recipes you will find. The fresh mussels, cream cheese and fennel combine perfectly to create perhaps the tastiest mussel soup in the world! This soup isn’t just delicious, it can also be adapted with French fries or polenta fritters to create equally wonderful moules frites. Try it, it’s worth it!


  • Rinse and scrub the mussels well with a stiff brush. Discard any mussels that do not close following a light tap on the kitchen table.
  • Bring the chicken stock, onion and parsley to the boil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the cleaned mussels and cook over a moderate heat, covered, for about 7 minutes. Shake the pan 2-3 times during cooking.
  • Put a cloth in a sieve and strain the liquid into a bowl. Keep the liquid and discard any mussels that have not opened.
  • Melt the butter in a clean pan over a high heat, but without browning. Add the curry and leave to brown.
  • Stir in the flour and mix well. Add the chicken stock and cream cheese.
  • Cook the soup over a steady heat, stirring while the cheese melts. Add approximately 500 ml of the cooking liquid and bring the soup back to the boil.
  • Add the mussels, fennel, salt and pepper. Let the soup boil over low heat, stirring gently, for about 2 minutes.
  • Season to taste and serve the mussel soup in warm deep plates.
Topping Suggestions

Garnish with Top of fennel and parsley.

Mussel soup

Does it matter if mussels float in water?
Placing mussels in a bowl of cold water is a fast way to check if they have gone bad – if they float, it’s best to discard rather than risk eating them. Don’t leave the mussels in the fresh water for too long however, after only 15 minutes they will die.
Can you overcook mussels?
It’s definitely possible to overcook mussels – if you want to avoid the meat going chewy, tough and losing flavour, stick closely to the guidelines in the recipe.
How many mussels do you need per person?
Determining how many mussels to serve per person is akin to determining how long a piece of string should be – the answer is really determined by how many you want to serve. As a rough rule of thumb, measuring 20 mussels per person provides a good starting point.
How do you eat mussels in soup?
It is completely acceptable to remove the mussel from the soup with a spoon, grasp the shell in a hand, then dislodge the meat with a fork. After that the choice is yours: either eat it with a fork, or suck the mussel out from the shell with some of the tasty broth!


Fresh mussels in the shell
1¾ kilo
Chicken stock
200 ml
Onion, sliced (approximately 100 g)
Flat-leaf parsley
10 stalks
25 g
Curry powder
1/2 ½ tsp
2 tbsp
Chicken stock
600 ml
Cream cheese, natural
150 g
Fennel, thinly sliced (approximately 150 g)
¾ tsp
Freshly ground pepper
1 pinch
Top of fennel
For serving
Flat-leaf parsley
Rustic bread
150 g

A shellfish choice of soup

This mussel soup is adapted from the base components of moules frites, Belgium’s national dish, which originated in the 1700s when cheap and readily available mussels from the North Sea were combined with white wine, butter, shallots and the ever-important fries on the side.

There is no such thing as too many mussels

Mussels have fairly large shells but relatively small edible contents, so keep that in mind when determining how many to use in your soup. There’s nothing worse than making the effort to prepare a delicious stock then realising at the end that you used too few of the tasty molluscs, so be generous with yourself and your guests!

Flex your mussels and add some herbs

Mussels go well with a range of herbs – in this recipe we chose parsley and fennel, but try thyme, tarragon and dill for alternative takes that are equally satisfying. If you feel like a really luxurious version, saffron is also a wonderful compliment.

Don’t be shy to use your hands

Removing the meat from the mussel shell can sometimes be a challenge: using your fingers to grasp the shell while a fork is adopted to dislodge the mussel itself is usually the easiest and most time efficient approach. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty in the name of good food.