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Moules Frites Recipe: A Classic French Delight

Savor the Flavors of France with Our Easy Moules Frites

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Moules Frites is just the French way of saying mussels and fries. There are many iterations of this dish such as moules marinière (marinara sauce) or a moules à la crème (cream sauce). In my opinion the best by far is mussels in a white wine and garlic broth. Here I added pancetta, which gives the broth an extra layer of dimension, and the mussels some additional texture and salt as you bite into a piece of crispy pancetta.

When I think of mussels, I can’t help but think of all the restaurants in New York City I used to visit for a “Mussel Monday” special. For a fixed price, these restaurants would serve all-you-can-eat mussels, and trust me, with the number of mussels I eat a restaurant could go belly-up. While unlimited mussels were a great idea, oftentimes they lacked depth in flavor. These moules frites with pancetta take 20 minutes and beat out the mussels you find in most restaurants.


Mussels should be bought and made the same day, at max you have 24 hours. These mollusks need to remain chilled, so once you bring them home, take them out of the bag so they can breathe and store them in the refrigerator.


Oh barnacles! You’ve got to clean them. When you’re ready to clean the mussels, soak them in fresh water for 10 minutes so they can release any sand or dirt. Now comes the tedious part: one by one clean the outside of the mussels by running them under cold water and rubbing the shell gently. Inspect the sides of the mussel for the “beard” (stringy hair popping out from the side). To remove, pull and yank on the beard towards the “hinge,” or bottom corner. Most beards come off easily, however some might put up a fight. Don’t be scared to get aggressive and play a little tug of war.


Honestly, nothing; this dish is a meal in itself. I like to buy enough mussels per person so that you don’t leave hungry. A good rule of thumb is buy 1 – ½ lbs. per person, and plenty of fries.

Moules Frites

Servings: 2


  • 2 lbs. fresh mussels
  • 4 oz. pancetta, pre-packaged, cubed
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, white or yellow, diced
  • 1 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1 cup white wine, such as pinot grigio
  • 1 cup broth, chicken or vegetable
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Frozen fries, shoestring
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
  • Parmesan cheese


  • In a large pot over medium-low heat, add the pancetta. Brown pancetta for 5 minutes or until fat has rendered down and most pieces have crisped up. Remove from the pot and set aside for later.
  • In the pancetta fat, add garlic and onions and cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Onions and garlic should not brown. If they start to, turn down the heat.
  • Deglaze the pan with white wine, add the chili flakes, and cook off for 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any bits.
  • Add broth, 2 Tbsp. of butter, and ½ tsp. of salt.
  • Add mussels, close the lid, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened up. Gently mix them every few minutes.
  • While you are preparing the broth, toss the frozen fries in olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Prepare per instructions on package. Toss in parsley and parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle pancetta over served mussels with fries.

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Eden Nosal

Founder of The Bold Appetite

Eden Nosal is the founder of The Bold Appetite. Once a corporate retail professional, she turned to food photography and content creation in pursuit of her culinary passion. Her food and cooking blog is dedicated to big, bold flavors with recipes that combine global inspiration with approachability for the home cook. From harissa roasted tomatoes and spicy scallion noodles to homemade hummus, The Bold Appetite serves as the destination to satisfy your daily food fix.