August 9, 2021

Moules Frites (Mussels in White Wine and Pancetta)

Mussels and fries. Name a better combo… I’ll wait.

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

Whenever 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 often times they lacked depth in flavor. These moules frites with pancetta take 20 minutes and beats out most restaurant’s mussels.

uncleaned mussels



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


Oh barnacles! You got to clean them. When you are 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 is a dish in itself. I like to buy enough mussels per person so that you don’t leave hungry. Good rule of thumb is buy 1 – 1/2 lbs a person, and plenty of fries.

cooked moules frites in a dutch oven


  • Mussels – Buy fresh, and make them the same day.
  • White Wine – Best tip of advice is cook with wine you would drink, but also let’s be real there will be extra wine, and you are going to want a glass. Buy a dry, more acidic wine for this dish ie. Pinot Grigio.
  • Pancetta – This is what makes these mussels great. Buy the prepackaged cubed pancetta that is often found in the cheese section. The fat from the pancetta is the base to the sauce, and the salty crispy pancetta pieces makes this dish pop with every bite.
  • Garlic
  • Onion – Yellow or white.
  • Broth I used chicken, but feel free to use vegetable.
  • Butter
  • Fries Do yourself a favor, don’t make these from scratch. This is meant to be an easy dish. Buy your favorite frozen fries and take them up a notch with freshly shaved parmesan and parsley.
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Parsley


  • Large Dutch Oven – You need a deep pot for this dish, deep enough to hold the mussels with the lid on. My favorite HERE.

Yes, thats right, dive right in

up close moules frites in a pancetta wine sauce


Render the Pancetta – In a Dutch oven over medium heat add in the pre-cubed pancetta. Cook until fat has rendered down and pancetta is crispy. Depending on the size this could be 5-10 minutes. Once crispy, with a slotted spoon, ladle the pancetta out of the pot and reserve on the side for later.

Assemble the Broth – Add onions, and garlic to the rendered fat and cook on low for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add wine and chili flakes, and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release any leftover pancetta bits. Cook wine for 3 minutes then add in the broth, 2 tbsp of butter, and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Add Mussels– Add your cleaned mussels to the pot over medium heat and cover. After 2 minutes give them a stir and cover once more. Check again in another 2 minutes. Mussels take approx 4-7 minutes to cook. You will know they are done when all of them have opened up, excluding the duds (discard those). Ladle the mussels into a bowl and top with the crispy pancetta, and a boat load of Parmesan fries.

moules frites in a pancetta wine sauce on a white table cloth.


I have an unspoken rule for mussels and clams. Eat them same day.

August 9, 2021

Moules Frites in White Wine with Pancetta

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Mussels steamed in a white wine, garlic, and pancetta sauce.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine French
Keyword Fries, Mussels, Seafood
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • Dutch Oven or Deep Pot



  • 2 lb Mussels fresh
  • 4 oz Pancetta pre-packaged, cubed
  • 6 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/2 Onion white or yellow, diced
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 cup White Wine Pino Grigio
  • 1 cup Broth chicken or vegetable
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Frozen Fries shoe string
  • 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 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • Add mussels, close the lid and cook for 5-7 minutes or when 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, a pinch of salt and pepper. Prepare as per instructions. Toss in parsley and parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle pancetta over served mussels with fries.


  • If you do not like a little heat reduce the amount of chili flakes or remove them completely.


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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing! I squeezed lemon and brought the heat to low before adding heavy cream to make the sauce creamier. NExt time I may add the pancetta back in earlier as well. will be making this again & again in the future.

  2. no, it is not sunday, but yes, i just made this for dinner and i ran to the comment section to tell you this was a knockout. i made it just for me and my mom and we were both licking our bowls. so so so darn good!!!

  3. 4 stars
    I made the mussels without the fries and it was very good. THe broth was a little salty so I would use low salt broth and delete the salt from the recipe. ALso i sprinkled fresh parsely and sliced green onions as a garnish. Next time I will sprinkle some some fresh lemon juice along with the pancetta on top. Husand loved them!

  4. 5 stars
    Great recipe thanks my family loved it. I set aside the pancetta but added this back when adding the mussels rather than at the end and was absolutely delicious.