The BEST Mussels Marinara (Easy 20-Minute Recipe)

Mussels Marinara is a quick & easy recipe to make at home. Serve them with crostini as an appetizer, or over pasta as an entree. Spice them up with red pepper flakes to make Mussels Fra Diavolo.

I’m back with another quick & easy seafood recipe for you! This Mussels Marinara recipe will be on your table in under 30 minutes.

It’s light, delicious and oh so flavorful – with white wine, plenty of garlic and fresh parsley. And if you like heat, just add some red pepper flakes to make Mussels Fra Diavolo, similar to this Shrimp Fra Diavolo.

Ingredients for mussels marinara labeled on counter.

Ingredients needed

  • Fresh Mussels
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • White Wine – Here are 13+ of my favorite white wines for cooking.
  • Marinara Sauce – Homemade or store bought.
  • Parsley – Or, swap in some fresh basil.
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

How to store & clean mussels

  • Once purchased, mussels should be used within a couple days. Store them in the refrigerator, in a bowl covered with a damp towel.
  • To clean, rinse them in a colander using a scrub brush. If you find mussels with open shells, tap them gently to ensure that it closes up and is alive. If not, discard.
  • The “beard” of a mussel is a bundle of hair-like fibers that comes from the shell. Most farm-raised mussels will come debearded. However, if you find mussels that need to be debearded, simply grab the beard from the mussels and give it a tug to remove it.

How to make mussels marinara

  • Heat olive oil on MEDIUM so that your garlic wont scorch. Sauté until golden.
  • Add wine and reduce by half.
  • Add marinara sauce and bring to a simmer.
  • Add mussels to the skillet and cook until mussels open, 3-5 minutes.

Tip: To make these mussels fra diavolo style (spicy), add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes when you are sautéing the garlic.

Mussels in skillet with marinara sauce with serving spoon.

Recipe variations

  • Clams marinara – Swap out the mussels for some clams.
  • Herbs – Swap out the parsley for basil or oregano.
  • Olives – Chop up some kalamata or green olives and sprinkle them on your finished mussels.
  • Breadcrumbs – Toast up some italian breadcrumbs or panko in a bit of olive oil and sprinkle them over your finished dish.

How to eat mussels marinara

  • With crusty bread to soak up that delicious sauce.
  • Over pasta as a main course.
  • This Mussels in Red Sauce recipe will serve 6 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course over pasta.

What to serve with it

What wine goes with mussels marinara?

  • White Wine – Pinot Grigio or dry sparkling wine such as Prosecco are awesome with this dish.
  • Red Wine – Dolcetto or Barbera. Look for fruity reds that are lower in alcohol.
Close up of mussels in marinara sauce served over spaghetti with lemon wedges.

More Italian seafood recipes

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PS – Be sure to check out these 15+ sensational sauces for mussels too!

Close up of mussels in marinara sauce served over spaghetti with lemon wedges.

Easy Mussels Marinara

Mussels in marinara sauce is a quick & easy seafood recipe to make at home. Serve them with crusty bread as an appetizer, or over pasta as an entree. Spice them up with red pepper flakes to make Mussels Fra Diavolo.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 people



  • In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and sauté garlic (and red pepper flakes if using) for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic.
  • Add wine and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir in mussels, cover and cook until mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes; discard any mussels that do not open.
  • Season with salt, to taste, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with crusty bread.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 290mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 3mg

This post was originally published in 2019. It was updated in 2024 to add new photographs and additional information. The mussels marinara recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

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