Can You Reheat Mussels?

As we would all likely lament, there can be too much of a good thing. A hearty dinner of seafood, pasta, soups, and any other accoutrement is likely to fill you up quickly. Keeping leftover mussels in the fridge may seem like a good idea in the moment, but reheating them poses a challenge. It’s no mystery that a reheated mussel will be a shell of its former self, pun intended.

Can you reheat mussels? And if so, what is the best way to do so?

You can, in fact, reheat mussels. The best method for reheating mussels is to warm them in broth to maintain their texture. Even when using the microwave, adding broth will prevent them from drying out. Steaming them is another good option for hanging on to that delicious tenderness.

Can You Reheat Mussels? 

As it stands, you can reheat mussels. The trick to doing it in a way that will leave them edible is to make sure they do not overcook. Overcooking will dry them out, or worse make them rubbery and tough. There’s no use letting a good mussel go to waste with improper heating methods.

When reheating mussels, you should aim to reintroduce moisture. The texture should be kept tender, and flavor should be another top priority. When you dig into your reheated mussels, you are looking for a soft and chewy, but not rubbery texture. The taste should be salty, briny, and full of whatever seasonings you cooked it with.

How To Reheat Mussels 

In A Pot With Broth

Unless you are feasting on a bowl of plain, undecorated mussels, there was likely another component to the original dish. It may have been served with soup, rice, or with pasta. The trick to reheating mussels is to reheat the other components of the dish first. Some things, like pasta, may quickly overcook. While your mussels may be perfectly done, squishy, overcooked pasta could sully the rest of the dish.

If your dish includes a sauce or a broth, you can use it to your advantage to perfectly reheat mussels. Heating up your broth or sauce will allow the mussels to warm slowly. mussels are relatively small, and they don’t need a long time over the heat to get to a proper eating temperature. Remember, it is essential not to overcook mussels when you are reheating them.

To Reheat Mussels In Broth Or Sauce 
  1. Set your soup, broth, pasta sauce, or rice in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. While your component is cooking, remove all of your mussels from the shell. Keeping them in the shell will impede their ability to heat correctly. 
  3. Once broth and soup is boiling, pasta sauce is simmering, or rice is thoroughly warm, remove it from the heat. With your component off the heat, stir in your mussels. 
  4. Stir for a few moments to allow them to become entirely warmed by the ambient temperature of your liquid or rice.

The heat or steam resonating from your base dish will be sufficient in rewarming the mussels. This gentle heat will keep their delicate texture intact. It also prevents you from recooking the mussels entirely.

This method is extremely effective in reheating mussels. The end results will be soft, juicy, tender, and full of flavor.

Tips: 

When you are reheating them this way, let the boiling or simmering subside just a little before you introduce your mussels. Incorporating them immediately could overload them. That sudden influx of moisture could render your mussels gooey. If the temperature is too high at that moment as well, you’re in danger of re-cooking the meat.

After you’ve stirred the mussels in and they are heated, there’s no need to return them to the heat. Returning them to the heat will only cause them to continue cooking, which you surely do not want at this point.

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If you don’t have a sauce to cook them in, making one from scratch can be a great way to not only heat the mussels, but to repurpose them. For example, you can make a basic sauce out of butter, white wine, garlic, and a few other ingredients. Not only will this pair excellently, but you’ve made a perfect heated vessel for easily warming your seafood.

If there was already pasta present in the dish, you will want to heat this up separately. Assuming the pasta was already cooked, you can introduce it shortly before you add in the mussels. Heat the sauce, add in the noodles, and then remove it from the heat. 

Just as with the mussels, the noodles should warm up along with the ambient, resonating temperature of the liquid component.

If your pasta was frozen, you will need to add it earlier in the cooking process.

Steamer 

If you are always looking for new ways to use your kitchen steamer basket, reheating mussels is the perfect opportunity. Good for more than just making bow or vegetables, your steamer can apply the gentle heat needed to keep mussels tender and delicious. As there is no direct heat on this. You were at less of a risk of re cooking the mussels in the process.

How To Reheat Mussels With Steam 
  1. Arrange your steamer with water in whatever configuration it calls for. Allow the water to come to a boil. 
  2. You can deshell your mussels, however this is optional. It may work better for reheating them evenly, and will make you easier for you to judge their warmth. However, if you’d prefer the experience of shelling them while you eat, simply allow the mussels more time to sit in the basket. 
  3. Arrange your mussels out into the steamer basket in an even layer. If you have a lot, you may need to do multiple batches to ensure that you are not crowding. 
  4. Cover the steamer and allow it to work for 30 to 60 seconds. If you are using shelled mussels, allow for 45 to 75 seconds.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve your mussels immediately.

This method is perfect for mussels that we’re prepared without a base element like sauce, soup, or rice. If they were to the part of a large seafood bake. This method is easy, because it allows you to simply pop them into the steamer for less than a minute while you work on other parts of the meal that need to be reheated.

The delectable, salty flavor of mussels is retained from steaming. You will enjoy the soft texture left behind by this gentle method that prevents overcooking. The steam allows the meat to stay wonderfully moist, even without the use of an external broth or sauce.

Tips

mussels are relatively small, depending on which species you are cooking with. Because of that, this method will only take seconds. It’s imperative to keep your eye on this, as over cooking can be dangerous. Oversteaming your mussels will render them rubbery, leaving you chewing on the salty end of a shoe instead of a delicious bit of seafood.

If you don’t have a steamer basket but still want to take advantage of one of the best ways to reheat mussels, you can create a makeshift saucepan of your own. 

To do so, use a metal colander or sieve as your vessel. Heat two to three inches of water in a pan, and cover it with a colander or sieve as if you would a lid. As long as you have a lid that will be able to cover the colander or sieve completely you will have your very own steamer basket.

In The Microwave With Broth 

In theory, a microwave should be leftovers’ best friend. It’s quick, convenient, and easy. However, most experienced next-day-food fans will tell you that it does not often do seafood many favors.

Most seafood is meant to be tender and soft. Because of the waves and direct heat at play inside of a microwave, seafood is often left to be chewy and tough. If you have no other choices, or simply prefer to not dirty many more dishes, you can reheat mussels in the microwave successfully

The key here, as it was in the saucepan, was to use another liquid component. If you’re digging into a tasty seafood stew with mussels, heating the mussels in the broth will allow them to cook gently.

How To Reheat Mussels In Broth In The Microwave 

  1. Place your broth in a microwave safe bowl, complete with the mussels. 
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, tightly sealing around the edges so that there are no large gaps. 
  3. Use a fork or knife to pierce a few small holes in the top of the plastic wrap. 
  4. Heat your mussels in 10 second increments. If you are able to adjust your microwave’s temperature, heat these on high. 
  5. After each 10-second interval check the microwaved broth and mussels for doneness. 
  6. Once heated thoroughly, serve immediately. 
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Using this method will help maintain the delicious brainy flavor of your mussels, while keeping it in tune with the other component it’s being heated with. The texture, however, may prove troublesome. You could wind up with mussels that are slightly tougher than they were the night before. All the same, this is a perfectly reasonable way to heat up your mussels without resorting to the stovetop.

Tips

You can opt to leave your mussels in the shells for this method, or you can shell them first. Keep in mind that if you do choose to leave your mussels in the shells, it will impact how evenly they warm up. 

Since you are heating liquid along with it, it may be advised to sell them first, as you may end up with sauce that is overly hot and mussels that are still undercooked.

In A Microwave With A Damp Paper Towel

If you only have a microwave, but do not have a broth or sauce to serve your mussels with, you may still want to heat them up while imparting additional moisture. You can try to heat your mussels up by using a damp paper towel laid across them. This may not be the ideal method, but if you are in a pinch, it will at least make them edible again.

How To Reheat Mussels In The Microwave With A Damp Paper Towel

  1. De-shell your mussels and spread them out on a microwave safe plate. 
  2. Sprinkle the mussels with about a tablespoon of water. You can also use stock, if you have some available. 
  3. Cover the mussels with a damp paper towel and set it into the microwave. 
  4. Microwave in 10 second intervals until fully cooked. 
  5. Remove from the microwave and serve immediately.

This method is tricky. It is extremely difficult to use this method without your mussels drying out and becoming claggy in the mouth. It is convenient if you have no other available option, as a little of the flavor will be retained. 

Tips 

Check your mussels constantly as you heat them. Between every 10-second interval check them for doneness. Thankfully, the small stature of mussels will allow them to nicely heat up quickly. Bear in mind that heating them even for a second too long will render them dry and chewy.

How To Use Reheated Mussels 

As outlined above, you can reheat mussels. However, many home chefs like to find their own ways to spin the previous night’s leftovers. There are a few ways you can use leftover mussels after you’ve reheated them.

  • Adding your mussels to pasta, such as linguine, will create a new way to enjoy your leftovers. Cooking linguine with olive oil, white wine, parsley, and butter will make for an amazing meal.
  • If you want to give your mussels a salty, crunchy twist, you can also deep fry them. You should do this very quickly, as the heat from the fryer could easily toughen up the mussels. Coat them in a silky batter, such as one you would fry karaage in, and send them for a quick dunk in a pan full of hot oil. Remove once they have turned golden brown, which should not take very long.
  • As with most good leftovers, mussels can serve well in the form of a soup. You can turn them into a creamy, comforting chowder, or add onions and celery for aromatics that will make the flavors pop.
  • Toast can sometimes be a vehicle for bringing delicious things to your mouth, like avocados, garlic butter, or nutella. Mussels are no exception to the toast hype train. You’ll find they can be delicious served with garlic butter and heaped upon a crusty slice of bread.

Can You Reheat Baked Or Breaded Mussels? 

While mussels fresh and uncoated can serve a challenge in reheating, at the end of the day you can reheat mussels. You will need to go through a few hoops to get them just perfect, but you will still benefit from a soft textured and salty flavored treat.

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However, with such worldwide popularity and thousands of years of eating, there is more than one way to make a mussel. Another popular way of enjoying this mollusk is baked or breaded. This coating, while crunchy and delicious, causes an issue. 

Reheating fried food is a challenge of its own. Microwaves are liable to create a soggy situation, and while oven heating them is great for retaining crunchiness, it will decimate your mussels. Grilling will yield a similar result, drying them out and making them unpleasantly chewy.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to reheat baked or breaded mussels that will not sacrifice some form of texture. You will either cause your breading to get soggy, or the mussels to get chewy. The best way to do this is to sacrifice some of the coding by scraping it off with a fork or knife. You can then add your mussels into a soup, pasta, or other dish to enjoy them.

Can You Reheat Mussels In The Oven? 

While you certainly could reheat mussels in the oven, this is not the most recommended method. The oven is going to be much too strong, as well as possibly not worth the effort. 

One way you could try to reheat your mussels is to fill an oven safe dish with a thin layer of your sauce, broth, or pasta, as outlined in the stove top method. Allow the sauce to heat until it is fully warmed before removing it from the oven. Just as before, deshell your mussels and stir them into the rice, a sauce, or other accompaniment. If you don’t have access to a stove top, this is the best way to reheat mussels in the oven. 

Can You Reheat Frozen Mussels? 

Mussels take particularly well to freezing. If you are a meal prepper, or planning to keep your mussels for a while, the freezer is a perfect option for preventing them from spoiling. To easily reheat frozen mussels, you should first look at storing them properly. 

Correctly storing mussels in broth will retain their moisture. When that moisture is retained, the texture will linger no matter what method you reheat it in. Broth will also provide a protective shield against the dreaded freezer burn.

However, if you do not have a broth to freeze them in, there are other methods of storing your mussels for reheating.

How To Freeze Cooked Mussels

After you cook your mussels, wrap them in their shells in aluminum foil. Place them in a heavy duty freezer bag and seal. When you seal, it is imperative that you remove as much air as possible. Do this by gently pressing down on the bag as you slide the zip-top closed, careful not to crush the shells. You can also use a straw inserted into the bag to suck out the extra air.

Wrapping the mussels in aluminum foil will protect them from freezer burn. mussels naturally contain a good deal of salt, as is evident in their taste. Salt is a natural preservative, meaning they will keep well in the freezer.

How To Thaw And Reheat Frozen Mussels

To thaw your frozen mussels, remove them from the freezer and allow them to defrost overnight in the fridge. Once they’re thawed, remove them from the liquid as soon as possible. Allowing them to soak in the liquid once they are thawed could render them soggy and unpleasant.

After you’ve removed them from the freezer, it is simply a matter of heating them to your preferred method. If you don’t have a broth with them, you can consider adding chicken broth or fish stock while you heat them. It will not only impart additional flavor, but it will allow the flesh to stay tender and delicious.

Conclusion 

mussels are delicious, hearty, and can be used in thousands of different ways. They take well to the freezer, but can you reheat mussels?

The answer to that is yes. You can reheat mussels. However, it is not so simple as just chucking them into the microwave and heating for 30 seconds. 

As with many other types of shellfish, like clams,  mussels are tricky and temperamental. Improper heating will render them chewy, flavorless, and just plain bad.

The best way to reheat mussels is to use the broth, sauce, or stock that they were in the night before. If you heat them over the stove this way, they will retain their moisture, flavor, and texture. You can reheat breaded or baked mussels, however you will have to do so at the loss of the coating on the exterior. However, this does give you the opportunity to spin your baked or breaded mussels into a brand new dish.