Baked Tahong with Sweet Chili-Mayo Topping are the ultimate seafood appetizer! These stuffed mussels are easy to make, creamy, cheesy, and seriously addictive.
Looking for the ultimate seafood appetizer? These baked tahong with sweet chili-mayo topping will knock your socks off!
Juicy and tasty with a creamy, cheesy, perfectly sweet, and mildly spicy crust, they’re seriously addicting! Trust me when I say DOUBLE the servings because these babies will disappear from the buffet table as fast as you make them.
I also have a crispy thing and mussels a la gamba on the blog if you’re looking for more ways to cook this seafood. They’re all delicious with their own set of flavors, but I have to say, these cheesy baked mussels recipe is my personal favorite!
It’s budget-friendly and easy to prepare which makes it perfect for serving a large crowd. You can have a big batch ready in minutes and with hardly any effort unless you’re using fresh mussels which do require a bit of prep.
How to Prepare Fresh Mussels
I use frozen mussels that already come in half-shells and are ready to use in the recipe after thawing. If using fresh, please check out the tips below on how to clean and open the tahong.
- Mussels that are open before cooking are not necessarily “dead.” Gently tap the mussel with your finger and wait for it to close up; if the shell doesn’t close after tapping, throw it away.
- Inspect shells for cracks or openings and discard them.
- Soak the mussels in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes to rid of any dirt or sand. Drain well.
- Scrub the shells with a kitchen brush under cold, running water. Use a paring knife to scrape off any hard filaments.
- Remove the beard or byssus by pulling down toward the hinge of the shell and outward.
- Hold the mussel firmly and insert a blunt knife between the top and bottom shell and gently twist to pop open. Remove the top shell.
Sweet Chili-Mayo Topping
This mayo-sweet chili topping is the stuff food dreams are made of and needs to be in your back pocket of kitchen tricks! Not only does it add tons of flavor, but it also acts as a protective coating that keeps seafood or meat from drying out during the cooking process.
And it’s versatile, too! I use it on shrimp, salmon, and chicken breast and always with great results. The best part is, the topping mixture is quick and has only five ingredients!
- Mayonnaise-for that golden, creamy layer of goodness
- Shredded Cheese-try to use cheese that melts quickly and smoothly such as Eden, American cheese, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack. I don’t recommend Mozzarella as it’s very stringy.
- Sweet Chili Sauce-a couple of tablespoons takes the topping over the top! It’s sweet and mildly spicy taste balances out the creamy and salty cheese and mayo.
- Green Onions-for a pop of color
- Lime Juice-a drizzle or two help brighten flavors
How to Make Baked Mussels
- If using fresh mussels, prepare the mussels following the tips above. If using frozen half-shells, thaw completely.
- In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, shredded cheese, sweet chili sauce, green onions, and lime juice and gently stir until just combined. Make the topping when you’re ready to top and bake the mussels as the mixture tends to get liquidy as it stands.
- Spoon about one teaspoon of the mayo mixture on each shell and spread to cover the mussel fully.
- Arrange the stuffed mussels in a single layer on a baking sheet. Make sure to line the sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil to catch drips as baked-on cheese can be pretty hard to scrub off.
- Bake in a 375 F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. If the topping is browning too fast before the mussels are cooked through, loosely tent with foil.
- Do NOT overbake! As with most shellfish, mussels will shrink and toughen the longer they cook.
How to Serve
With a cold beer, of course! These cheesy baked mussels are the perfect tapas and are sure to be a party hit!
But although I usually serve them as appetizers, they also make a great meal with steamed rice and your choice of green salad or vegetable side dish. Any way you enjoy them, they’re delicious!
The number of servings (about six pieces per person) in the recipe card below is when served as an appetizer. You might want to adjust the amount if serving as the main entree.
I first published this baked mussels recipe in the first year of the blog (2013), and it remains one of my favorites. Give these cheesy stuffed mussels a try; I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do. 🙂
If you’re in the mood for soup instead, you might want to try this Sembawang tahong. Bursting with ginger flavor and vibrant spinach leaves, it’s the ultimate cold-weather comfort food! Prefer omelet? I’ve got that covered, too! This sorting thing is so good with rice and a side of banana catsup for dipping!