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Moules Marinière recipe

By BBC Maestro

Food and Drink
Last updated: 06 October 2022

This French classic takes less than 5 minutes to make. At the heart of this dish is a batch of fresh, good-quality mussels, garlic, herbs and butter.  

Tastebuds already tingling? Read on to discover this moules marinière recipe, straight from Marco Pierre White’s kitchen.

What is moules marinière?

Moules marinière is “one of the easiest, simplest and most delicious dishes to make,” says Marco Pierre White in his BBC Maestro course. “I’ve seen it on menus in bistros, brasseries, restaurants and hotels, (it’s) one of the nation’s favourites.”

Its roots are undeniably French. However, some credit its popularity in France to the actions of an Irish man Patrick Walton who became shipwrecked off of France’s coastline in 1235 and discovered mussels were latching onto the submerged wood. It’s believed that he then introduced mussel farming to locals. And, in time, the French added their flair with flavours and created the dish many so fondly love today.


Moules marinière recipe:

Every chef will add their own touch of magic to this dish. Some add cider, some add wine, and some add cream. Marco Pierre White’s take on the classic moules marinière recipe? “It’s so simple. It’s a classical dish. I make it with butter and oil. Not with cream,” he says.


  • 75g very soft butter
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 1 handful of parsley – chopped
  • 2 banana shallots – peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large bulb of garlic – peeled and finally sliced
  • 1 large glass of dry white wine
  • ½ a fresh bay leaf
  • 12 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1.25kg of mussels – cleaned and checked
garlic butter


1.     Mix together the butter and olive oil until fully combined, then fold in the chopped parsley. Pour the mix into a container, put a lid on it and leave in the fridge until ready to use.


2.     Warm a large, heavy-based pan over medium to high heat. Add the shallots, garlic and wine. As it bubbles up, add in the bay leaf and thyme. Leave the wine to bubble away its acidity for a minute or so.


3.     Tip the mussels in and immediately clamp on a lid. “Now let the stove and the pan do the work,” says Marco Pierre White. Let the mussels cook and steam through for a couple of minutes.


4.     With the lid still on, move the pan over the heat. You should hear the mussels shaking loosely about the pan.


5.     After a few more minutes remove the lid, standing back from the escaping steam. When the very last mussel is easing itself open (or starts “smiling” as Marco Pierre White calls it), give them one last shake before decanting the mussels onto a warm plate.


6.     Return the pan to low heat and whisk the marinière butter into the cooking juices until well incorporated. Do not let it boil. As soon as the butter has melded with the juices, spoon them straight over the still warm mussels and serve immediately with chunks of bread. “No need to season, the sea’s done that for us,” says Marco Pierre White.


What to eat with moules marinière?

Moules marinière is delicious enough to eat on its own but there are some popular pairings people love to try. To soak up that delicious garlic herb butter, try dunking some fresh crusty bread (like sourdough or tiger bread) or chunky chips into the sauce. If you want to keep the meal light, serve the mussels alongside rice or a fresh garden salad. And to top it off? Many enjoy moules marinière paired with a crisp glass of white wine.

This moules marinière recipe is proof that French cooking doesn’t need to be complicated. “No technical ability required, just a little bit of confidence,” says Marco Pierre White.

Want to get more confident with your cooking? Take a look at Marco Pierre White’s course Delicious Food Cooked Simply. And if French cooking excites you French chef Pierre Koffmann covers some of the nation’s most classic dishes in his BBC Maestro course.




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