Moules Frites

These mussels are steamed in white wine, butter, and shallots, and served with Dijon mayonnaise and French fries for an appetizer or light meal.

Moules Frites

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Amelia Rampe

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
4 servings

Moules Frites, a Flemish dish consisting of steamed mussels served with French fries and Dijon mayonnaise, is so popular that it is considered to be the national dish of Belgium. This dish is also beloved in neighboring France, where it gets its etymology. The mussels come from Belgium's North Sea; they are often eaten in the winter months when fresh fish is scarce. While you can eat this dish in restaurants throughout the region, preparing moules frites at home is easy to do and can be achieved in under an hour.

When buying mussels, look for ones that are clean, with an outer sheen. They should smell fresh and like the sea. Most mussels at the market are farm-raised, and have been cleaned, but you should rinse your mussels to remove any dirt or debris. Also check that they have been debearded, which means the fibers from the opening in the shell have been pulled out; simply pull them out with your fingers if any remain.

This recipe is based on the most common way to enjoy mussels, a la mariniere, steamed with shallots and white wine. It saves time by using store-bought French fries that cook in the oven; you can cook the mussels in the time it takes for the fries to cook. If you feel like making your own French fries, try this pommes frites recipe

There are plenty of ways to play around with this recipe to personalize it. You can swap out the wine for beer, cider, or even Pernod. Try adding a splash of cream to the broth or a pinch of your favorite spice blend to the shallots as they cook (it’s not uncommon to find this dish with a hint of curry seasoning). And you can swap in different aromatics like celery, carrots, or leeks. The fries help you sop up all that wonderful broth; add a hunk of crusty bread as well if you like. And be sure to serve this dish alongside your favorite crisp glass of wine or beer.


  • 14 ounces store-bought frozen french fries (from 1 [28-ounce] bag)

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces)

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 cups dry white wine

  • 3 pounds mussels

  • 2 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Cook French fries according to package instructions.

  2. While fries cook, combine mayonnaise and Dijon mustard in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

  3. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and kosher salt, and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Add mussels and stir to coat in aromatics. Cover pot and cook until mussels just begin to open, about 5 minutes. Taste cooking liquid and add salt as needed. Top mussels with parsley and serve with lemon wedges alongside French fries and Dijon mayonnaise dipping sauce.

To Make Ahead

Dijon mayonnaise dipping sauce may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

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