How to Reheat Mussels in the Shell

While this dish may be an acquired taste for some, the fans of mussels are far and wide. Especially in recent years, the popularity of mussels is spreading and more people are coming around to it every year.

Mussels, like most seafood, come with added health benefits to its interesting taste and texture. 

So, you’ve come into quite a number of mussels and were forced to toss them into the fridge or freezer, and now you’re wanting to crack open a shell again. What are you to do?

Well, the best method to reheat your food is always in the same method it was cooked in. However, if you’re pressed for time or want something more convenient, you can remove them from the shell and microwave them under a damp paper towel for 30-60 seconds.

Is it safe to reheat cooked mussels?

Most definitely!

In some cases no, but in general, it’s perfectly safe to reheat your cooked mussels once. 

If your mussels are already open, meaning in a half shell, you’ll need to discard them.

Also, within 2 hours of cooking, you should have the leftovers already stored in air-tight containers. Any longer at room temperature, and you’ll pose a serious risk to foodborne bacteria and pathogens.

What to do with the sauce?

This one is a quick answer!

Just reheat the sauce – and your mussels – on the stove.

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Start with the sauce on medium, and add your mussels once the sauce has warmed. They can be added in, or out of the shell.

Keep at it until the mussels are warm, then remove from heat and serve immediately.

Microwave in broth

Believe it or not, this is actually a really great method to use!

It’s quick, convenient, and with a little ingenuity, you can keep the taste and texture about the same as it was fresh.

Now, this is still a microwave, so the texture of your mussels may still change – but hopefully, this technique will help you out a little if you’re pressed for time but still desperately wanna sink your teeth into those leftover mussels.

  • Toss your mussels into a microwave-safe dish
  • Add some broth or water
  • Cover the container with plastic wrap and poke some holes 
  • Blast them at 10-second intervals
  • Serve once fully heated
  • This method, while quick and easy, can end up with dry and chewy mussels right quick. Be sure to be careful and check your dish after every 10-second cooking interval. 

Microwave with a damp paper towel

This process is just the same as the previous microwave method, with a slight tweak.

  • Toss your deshelled mussels into a microwave-safe dish in an even layer
  • Skip the broth and cover your mussels with a damp paper towel, being sure they’re directly on the mussels
  • Blast them at 10-second intervals
  • Serve once fully heated
  • While both of these microwave methods are easy and fast, you’ll probably end up accidentally overcooking them and ruin your mussels if you’re not careful.
  • Pay close attention, and opt for a little under rather than a little over.
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Oven

While not as quick as the microwave, the conventional oven is actually a great method for reheating your mussels – whether inside or outside of the shell.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Place your mussel shells in a single layer on a baking sheet
  • Heat for 10-20 minutes
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately

Steaming

If you’ve got a steamer – or a steamer basket – laying around, this will be a fun method to use!

Mussels are very small portions, so it won’t take a lot of cooking time to get them warmed up and ready to serve again.

  • If you’re heating them alone, remove the mussels from the shell
  • Preheat your steamer, or bring your water to boil
  • Lay your mussels in the basket and place in the steamer – or boiling water
  • Cover with lid and heat for 30-60 seconds
  • Remove from heat and add optional seasoning/lemon juice
  • Serve immediately

Stovetop

Another fast, easy method. It’s not as quick as the microwave (just about nothing is!) however, but the loss of extra time is made up for in retention of taste and texture quality.

  • Grab a small pan or skillet
  • Add a tablespoon of oil or cooking spray
  • Toss in a single layer of mussels, remember to cook in batches instead of all at once to ensure a thorough cook
  • Add in your broth
  • Cook for 30-60 seconds per handful, depending on how much you’re reheating
  • Remove once fully heated and serve immediately

Final thoughts

While mussels are delicious and unique in many dishes, they’re equally difficult and tricky to reheat just right. If you’re not careful or attentive enough, you’ll end up with rubbery overcooked seafood, or even worse you’ll dry it out and completely ruin it.

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Hopefully, by following this simple guide, you’ll be having reheated mussels worth talking about – and sharing if you can stand it!