Mussels in a Mustard and Saffron Sauce Recipe

There’s something so simple-yet-elegant about a pot of mussels. A few summers ago, hubby and I went to dinner with friends at Madame Claude’s in Jersey City. We sat outside with some wine, and pots of mussels, and simple fries and crusty bread for dipping, and it was just heavenly. This girl became an instant fan of les moules!

I love a dish that feels simple and elegant, and honestly, one that results in a sauce that you just want to dip bread into. Even better if the sauce is so good you want to bottle it up; the best if you swear you could just drink it. I think you’re going to want to drink this sauce, y’all. It’s just that good!

This mustard and saffron sauce can be made ahead (and don’t worry, you can leave out the saffron if you don’t have any or if it’s out of your budget), which makes it a really easy dish for entertaining. You’ll make the sauce a few hours ahead, then reheat it, drop in the mussels and in like 3 minutes this dish will be ready!

When you’re in France, you’ll often see moules frites on the menu – mussles with fries! A la moutarde is my favorite, I think the sauce just tastes the best! So, that’s what we’re working with here today. Dijon mustard, butter (of course) and some white wine. Okay, some garlic and parsley to garnish, too. But really, such a genuinely simple sauce. And the smell….it’s just heavenly. I do love the smell of wine in a sauce, though!

Mussels, like basically all seafood, pairs best with white wine. You know the traditional wisdom here – use a wine you would drink when you’re cooking with wine. Let’s take it one step further and use the wine you will serve your mussels with in the actual sauce! It makes the whole experience that much better. Promise.

Mussels in Mustard & Saffron Sauce

This sauce packs so much flavor, the wine scenting the dish so perfectly and the butter and mustard working with the mussels for a dip-your-bread-to-sop-it-up worthy dish. If you don’t have saffron or it’s out of your budget, just leave it out! 
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people


  • 8-12 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 minced shallots red onion can substitute in a pinch
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/4 c Dijon mustard
  • 2 c white wine
  • 6 saffron threads optional
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 lb mussels
  • 3 tbsp minced parlsey, for garnish optional
  • lemon, sliced, for serving optional
  • 1 loaf crusty bread, for serving optional
  • 4 c french fries, for serving optional


  • Melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add shallots, garlic, thyme and cook over medium low heat for 1-2 minutes until shallots are softened and fragrant.
  • Add the mustard and wine, stirring to combine.
  • Bring sauce to a boil, cover with a lid and then allow to simmer over the lowest heat for about 5 minutes. 
  • Taste for salt & pepper and adjust as necessary.
  • Set aside the sauce for a few hours at room temperature; bring back to a boil when you are ready to use; or continue.
  • Scrub and de-beard mussels, if necessary.
  • Bring sauce to a boil, drop in the mussels and place a lid over for 2-4 minutes or until mussels are cooked (open).
  • Discard any mussels that did not open, serve immediately.


  • Saffron can be left out of this recipe if desired.
  • Inspect mussels for any broken mussels and discard prior to cooking. 
  • If any mussels do not open, discard before serving.
Keyword mussels, seafood

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