leftover mussels

Leftover mussels? Here’s What You Should Do!

If you’re worried about what to do with leftover mussels, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve all been there – haven’t we? Overestimating how much we need and ending up with a heap of cooked and flavored mussels with no idea what to do next. 

In this blog, I’ll teach you all there’s to know about what to do with leftover mussels. I’ll share tried and tested recipes and spill the beans on the best reheating technique for mussels. 

Let’s begin! 

Table Of Content

What To Do With Leftover Mussels?

Leftover mussels should be quickly improvised into something new and tasty as they can go bad super fast. You can make leftover mussels pasta, soup, stew, and chowder, to name a few. You can simply microwave them to reheat, but they might turn rubbery. 

Recipes With Leftover Mussels 

Leftover Mussels Pasta

  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes 
  • Cooking Time: 10 minutes 
  • Yield: 2 bowls 


  • Leftover mussels in broth
  • ½ lb dried pasta 
  • 1 cup chicken stock 
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Parsley 
  • Pepper 
  • Sea salt 
  • Mixed herbs 


  • Boil water in a deep saucepan for pasta and season it with salt. 

  • You can use any kind of long and dried pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine, and linguini. I used linguini in my recipe. 

  • Add the pasta to the saucepan and let it cook. However, you have to cook it for a minute or two less than what the instructions say on the box. The aim here is to have it underdone, so it doesn’t overcook later. 

  • In a large saute pan, heat the mussels in the broth on low heat. If you boil the mussels too much, they will turn out rubbery. If there’s not enough broth, add a cup of chicken stock. 

  • Next, add a tablespoon of cold butter and stir to achieve a richer and thicker sauce. Also, add salt to taste if required, a pinch of pepper, mixed herbs, and stir. 

  • Once the pasta is boiled, transfer them to the pan and cook for another minute or two. Evenly toss around the pasta, so everything is coated in sauce. 

  • Finally, divide into 2 balls, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle parsley. 

Leftover Mussel Soup

  • Total Time: 30 minutes


  • Leftover mussels
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 large potatoes (cubed)
  • 4 ribs celery (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 3 cup chicken broth 
  • 1 tablespoon cream 
  • Parsley (chopped)
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  • Heat up some oil in a deep saucepan on medium heat. Once the oil is heated, saute onions until they turn golden brown.

  • Next, add potato cubes and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Then add celery, garlic, and leftover mussels and stir. 

  • Add chicken broth and cover and cook for 20 minutes. Throw in some cream to make the soup thicker and creamier. Finally, garnish with chopped parsley leaves and serve with crusty bread.

Leftover Mussel Stew

  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 


  • 2 pounds of leftover mussels 
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 medium onion (cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1-inch freshly peeled ginger 
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • ¼ cup parsley (chopped)
  • ¼ cup fennel fronds (chopped)
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt 
  • ½ tsp dried and crushed red pepper 
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup tomatoes (crushed)
  • 1 cup dry red wine 
  • 2 cups butternut squash (diced)
  • 1 small fennel bulb (wedges)

I know that’s a long list of ingredients, but trust me – it’ll be worth it. 


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the garlic bulb’s top to expose the cloves. Drizzle the garlic olive oil, wrap in an aluminum foil, and roast for 1 hour. Set it aside to cool. Once cooled, squeeze garlic cloves gently out of the bulb. 

  • Put a large saucepan over high heat and melt some butter. Next, add onions, squash, and fennel wedges and cook for 10 minutes until the veggies have caramelized. 

  • Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, roasted garlic cloves, red pepper, salt, and wine. Bring to a simmer. 

  • Once the stew starts simmering, reduce the heat to medium and cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to high, add mussels, cover, and steam for 3 minutes. You just want to heat the mussels since they’re already cooked. 

  • Stir in parsley, fennel fronds, and lemon juice, and serve! 

Leftover Mussel Chowder 

  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8


  • 4 ½ lb leftover mussels 
  • 2 medium carrots (chopped)
  • 2 medium leeks (chopped)
  • 1 large shallot (chopped)
  • 2 large orange bell pepper (chopped)
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine 
  • ¼ cup heavy cream 
  • 2 large garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 


  • First, pour reserved mussel cooking liquid through a fine sieve lined with dampened kitchen towel into a bowl. Halve the mussels crosswise. Wash chopped leeks in cold water, lift out, and drain well. 

  • Next, cook bell peppers, carrots, leeks, and shallots with salt and pepper in butter and oil in a deep saucepan. Stir occasionally until tender – it should take you about 7 minutes. 

  • Stir in garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and strained mussel cooking and simmer for 10 minutes. 

  • Add halved mussels and cream and stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

How To Reheat Leftover Mussels? 

Mussels are pretty small to begin with. Therefore, they don’t require a lot of reheating. The best way to reheat is not reheating the mussels but the other components of the dish, like the broth or the soup. Once the soup/broth is heated, take it off the heat and add the leftover mussels. 

It’s advisable to deshell the mussels first as the shells inhibit the heat transfer. 

The heat from the soup/broth will be enough to reheat the mussels. Stir to reheat everything evenly. 

Note: you might want to wait a minute or two until the boil or simmer has subsided. If you add the mussels right away, there’s a chance that they’ll overcook and become gooey. 

And it goes without saying – do not reheat the dish once again after adding the mussels. 

If you go by the book, you will now end up with warm, soft, and tender mussels packed with flavors. 

If there’s no broth accompanying mussels, you can simply steam the mussels in a steamer. 

Set up the steamer and boil some water. Deshell the mussels, spread them out in the steamer basket, and steam for 30-60 seconds.

How To Microwave Leftover Mussels?

Pour the broth into a microwave-safe bowl and stir in the mussels. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pierce a few small holes. Next, on a high setting, warm the mussels in ten-second increments. 

When you microwave mussels, there’s a good chance they’ll turn rubbery if not consumed immediately. Thus, I wouldn’t really recommend microwaving leftover mussels. 

How To Store Leftover Mussels?

Leftover mussels can be stored in one too many ways depending on what state they’re in. Based on what technique you use to store the mussels, the shelf-life can range from a few days to up to 5 years. 

How To Store Fresh Mussels?

Transfer the fresh mussels to a breathable bag and toss it in the back of your fridge as it’s the coldest part of the fridge. If you don’t have a breathable bag lying around, transfer the mussels to a bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth or paper towel. 

This way, the mussels will last for a day or two. However, it’s advised to cook the mussels the same day they’re purchased for the best results. 

How To Store Cooked Mussels?

Cooked mussels don’t have a long shelf life. So first, drain the mussels and place them in an airtight container. This way, the mussels will remain in a good state for up to 4 days. 

Can You Freeze Leftover Mussels?

I’d recommend against freezing cooked leftover mussels as they will turn rubbery. However, you can freeze fresh mussels. I’ll tell you how. 

You can freeze fresh mussel meat on its own or in the shell. First, shuck the clams, rinse the meat, and drain using a colander to freeze individual mussels. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe airtight container. 

Likewise, to freeze mussels inside the shell, run the live mussels under cold water to clean them, then place them in an airtight container or plastic bag. It’s crucial that you only freeze the mussels with shells tightly closed. A mussel with an open shell is probably dead and will inevitably go bad. 

How To Tell If Leftover Mussels Have Gone Bad?

First off, you have to discard any mussel that doesn’t open. It’s probably dead and thus unhealthy to eat. Also, discard mussels with broken shells as it’s a sign of being overcooked or spoilage. Lastly, if it smells funky or tastes weird, just give it a pass. 

Final Words: What To Do With Leftover Mussels?

You can make pasta, broth, stew, or chowder with leftover mussels. In fact, you can improvise and make so many more dishes as long as the mussels were stored correctly.

We hope the recipes mentioned above and storing tips prove helpful to you. 

Let us know if you tried any recipe!

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