Simple Steamed Oysters

Your Oyster Recipe of the Day: Simple Steamed Oysters. You need to learn to steam oysters. Steaming is one of the easiest oyster preparations (and a favorite of oyster purists). All you need is fresh, unopened oysters and water.

simple steamed oysters recipe
Steamed Oysters (Photo ©2012 Extra Zebra via Flickr)

Simple Steamed Oysters (One Dozen)


12 fresh, unopened oysters


  1. Scrub the oysters to remove any mud and grit. Rinse with cold, running water, but do not let the oysters stand in water.
  2. Dispose of any oysters with broken shells or any that have opened.
  3. Place the oysters in a steamer pan or basket in a single layer with their cup side down. Don’t pile them on top of each other. You don’t want to lose their tasty liquor.
  4. Place the steamer pan (or basket) over boiling water and cover with lid. The boiling water should not touch the oysters.
  5. Steam until the oyster shells open. Most people prefer a 5-minute steam depending on the size of your oysters. At 10 minutes, the oysters will start to overcook and get tough and rubbery. TIP: Keep in mind that the shells will be very hot and the oysters will continue to cook for a minute after they are removed from the steamer.
  6. Using tongs, transfer the oysters to a serving tray or plate.
  7. You may need to use a shucking or paring knife to separate the oyster from the top and bottom shells.
  8. Serve with lemon, hot sauce, and your favorite toppings.

Steamy Inspiration

Now that you’ve got the basics of oyster steaming, consider experimenting with other liquids and subtle flavorings. The following ideas should inspire you

  • Add 1/4 cup of white wine, a diced shallot and a bay leaf to water.
  • Instead of water, steam oysters over three cups of your favorite beer.
  • Add thin slices of ginger to the steamer pan before adding the oysters.
  • Add a bunch of rosemary, thyme or other fresh herbs to the steamer pan before adding the oysters.

More about Steamed Oysters

Roasted Oysters in Beer

Seeking Oyster Perfection? Steam Them” from the New York Times

Keep an Open Mind about Closed Oysters” from the Washington Post

Calories and other nutrition data for steamed oysters at