How To Prepare, Cook, And Serve Oysters


On the outside, oysters may look different from most foods we consume, but the soft meat inside makes them a modern delicacy. Whether you are trying to impress your friends with a luxurious appetizer or set the mood with a flavorful aphrodisiac, you can purchase and prepare oysters to serve successfully at home. Let's look at the steps you'll need to take so you know how to prepare oysters for your next dinner party.


First, it's important to purchase your oysters from a reputable source that you're certain sells the highest-quality seafood. Once you bring your oysters home, you don't have to prepare them right away. They can be safely stored for up to two days in the refrigerator. If, on the other hand, you want to eat them raw, it's best to eat your oysters as soon as you get them home and opened.

To store your oysters, simply arrange them on a plate and place a damp towel over them in the fridge. Make sure you never soak your oysters in fresh water, or they'll die.


One of the most important steps in knowing how to prepare oysters includes cleaning them properly, which is especially true if you want to eat them raw. Scrub away dirt and debris from each oyster under cold running water to ensure they're completely clean. Otherwise, you may end up with gritty bites that ruin the entire experience. Carefully look through your oysters and toss any that look damaged or open. These oysters have died and aren't safe for consumption.


Opening oysters can be tricky; without the right technique, you can cut yourself. First, wrap the oyster in a small towel with the flatter surface at the top and the hinge facing your body. Grip it tightly as you insert a shackling knife into the small hole in the hinge. If you don't have a shackling knife, you can use a dull kitchen knife, but never use one that is sharp.

Once inserted, twist the knife until the shell opens. Cut the muscles along the upper shell and separate the shells from one another. Over a bowl, carefully remove the top shell completely without spilling the liquid inside. Once you're done, simply remove the black beard from the main body, and it's ready to serve.


If you want to savor that delicious briny flavor, you can eat your oysters raw. Garnish with a spoonful of mignonette and a squeeze of lemon juice, which pairs perfectly with the briny, natural salinity of the oyster. Adding these ingredients allows you to fully taste the oyster's authentic flavor without all the extra ingredients competing for your attention.

If you want to know how to prepare oysters so they're packed with flavor, you may want to consider cooking them. The easiest way to open your oysters and remove the flesh is by steaming them in the microwave for a minute. Once they're done, remove the flesh so you can cook it. It's important to note that you should reserve the juice so you can use it in the recipe to add more flavor.

When preparing oysters, it only takes a few minutes for them to cook. The time-consuming part lies in creating your sauce. Determine which recipe you like best and carefully follow the instructions. Oysters can be fried, wrapped in bacon, and drizzled with several different sauces to enhance their flavor. 


There are many methods for cooking oysters, but we have rounded up the most admired of the bunch. Below, you will find six popular ways to cook oysters at home and how to prepare oysters that are packed with flavor.


To prepare smoked oysters, you'll need access to a smoker. This method is typically used for cooking large cuts of beef and pork at low temperatures for an extended period. The smoky, rich flavor is well worth the wait, and it is not nearly as long for oysters. Since oysters are much smaller, they typically only require about 90 minutes to two hours in the smoker. 


Steaming is an excellent way to cook oysters for two reasons — it is one of the healthiest methods, and it results in tender, juicy oysters in minutes. You will need a special steamer pot to steam oysters so they can sit above boiling water, but you won't need any other ingredients. Without extra ingredients, you won't add any extra calories to your dish, and your oysters will taste absolutely delicious. This method is one of the easiest to try when you are unsure how to prepare oysters.


Although pan-fried oysters require a little extra work, the end result is well worth the added prep time. This method requires you to shuck the oysters. To do this, you will need to open each shell and remove the meat inside. The meat is then dredged in eggs and breadcrumbs and fried in a pan with oil until golden brown. Although it may not be the healthiest method, it is definitely at the top of the list in flavor.


Fried oysters are not the same as pan-fried oysters but they are very similar. With this method, you drop breaded oyster meat into about three inches of hot oil for about two or three minutes. Essentially submerging them allows the meat to cook completely and quickly, leaving the outside crispy while the inside is deliciously soft. Once you remove them from the oil, let the oysters finish cooking on a paper towel, and serve them with your favorite dipping sauce.


Grilled oysters are extremely versatile, and you can add your personal touch to every batch. Place them on a baking sheet or shell side down on the grill at high heat, cover them with foil, and let them cook for five to ten minutes. To make them extra flavorful, add a pad of butter to the top of each oyster and experiment with fresh spices. When finished, remove each oyster with a set of tongs and serve to your impressed guests.


The only difference between baking and roasting oysters is in the temperature at which you set the oven. Roasted oysters are cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter period. With both methods, you line unshucked oysters on a baking sheet and top them with your favorite fresh herbs, cheeses, and stuffing recipes. Cook until they pop open, and serve immediately. With all the flavor combinations available, your oyster baking and roasting options are nearly endless!


Now that you know how to prepare oysters in several different ways, you may wonder how to make the process even easier. Oysters are fairly easy to prepare, but a few tips and tricks can make the process a breeze and the results an absolute success.

Shucking oysters can be intimidating. Either use an oyster knife (or a butter knife if you don't have an oyster knife) to carefully open the oyster. Grip the oyster with a small towel or oven mitt as you pry it open with the knife.

Don't place too many oysters on a baking sheet when baking or roasting them. Giving them space allows them to cook evenly.

A little salt goes a long way. Oysters are already salty, so consider using other ingredients to enhance the flavor, like garlic, lemon zest, and parsley.

Overcooked oysters are flavorless and chewy. Don't overcook them. You can tell oysters are ready to eat when the shell begins to open.

Raw oysters should always be served on ice. That way, they remain at a safe temperature for consumption.

Shucking oysters can be tedious and time-consuming. To make it easier, pop your oysters into the freezer for a few minutes. They'll be easier to open!

Most importantly, never eat or serve oysters that have opened and will not close again, as this indicates that the oyster is dead and unsafe for consumption.


Oysters are a unique food that comes with its own tiny serving dish. They make an impressive spread on your table and are easy to grab and eat without using utensils. To serve raw oysters, leave them in the bottom shells and place the shells on crushed ice. Serve them with cayenne pepper and a lemon wedge for squeezing. You can also serve them with Tabasco sauce, salt, and a homemade mignonette sauce. Cooked oysters will be served differently, depending on how you prepare the oysters. 

Pair your oysters with a bottle of light, crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a bottle of bubbly champagne. 


At the Rusty Pelican, we offer a variety of fresh and frozen oysters that you can purchase and take home with to-go ordering.  We also serve the best oysters in Miami in a vibrant, sophisticated space with water front views and festive cocktails on demand. Check out our online menu and make a reservation to sample our oysters. 


Visit The Rusty Pelican to try the freshest, most delicious oysters in Florida. Sample the Pink Peppercorn and Champagne Mignonette or Kushi oysters, prepared with a hint of watermelon. Our extensive menu offers a variety of fresh seafood, sushi, and other signature dishes. Make a reservation and visit us at The Rusty Pelican today.