How to Steam Oysters

Steam Oysters

Oyster Steam
Steamed Oysters

Easily learn how to steam oysters. The first section covers how to steam oysters outside for a traditional roast. The second section covers steaming oysters on the stovetop. Also, learn how to easily shuck oysters and what side dishes to serve at an oyster roast.

How to Steam Oysters Outside

First, you will need a pot with a strainer basket for steaming larger amounts of oysters outdoors. Most oyster roast use at least one bushel of wild-caught oysters or a twenty-pound box of farm-raised singles. Using the basket makes it easy to remove all the oysters from the pot and put them on an oyster table.

How to Steam Oysters
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You will typically cook about a quarter to a half bushel at a time for an oyster roast for 10 to 15 guests. So, we recommend a 10-gallon pot and basket. Use one bushel of wild-caught cluster oysters for every ten people and forty pounds of singles.

Shop High Quality Oyster Knives
Shop High-Quality Oyster Knives

Second, you want to fill the pot with about two inches of water. Put enough water in the pot to create steam but not enough to boil the oysters.

If you plan to steam several batches, you will need to occasionally add water to the pot. Therefore, you won’t burn the bottom of your pot. Always ensure there is at least a couple of inches of water in your pot.

The method for steaming oysters is the same for all, including farm-raised and wild-caught.

Bring the water in the pot to a boil, bringing the water to a boil will not take long since there is not much water in the pot. Once the water is steaming, place the strainer basket with oysters in the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and begin steaming. Check the oysters every few minutes until the shells have popped open. Once they have opened they are ready to eat.

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How much is a half bushel of oysters? There should be between fifteen and twenty pounds of oysters in a half bushel. A whole bushel should have between thirty and forty pounds.

Steaming Oysters Using a Turkey Fryer

Purchase a Cooker and Burner for Steaming Oysters
Purchase a Cooker and Burner for Steaming Oysters

Also, if you have a turkey fryer set up, you might be able to steam oysters in the pot that came with turkey fryer kit. Most turkey fryers use a hanger to lower the turkey into the oil. However, the fryer kits usually also include a strainer basket which can be used to steam oysters.

The pot and strainer basket also can be used for shrimp, crawfish, and crab boils. Use water instead of oil to make the seafood boils or to steam oysters.

Try our easy steamed mussels recipe.

Steam Oysters on the Stove

You steam oysters on the stove as you do with a large pot. Put enough water in the pot to cover the oysters about halfway. You only use the water to create steam, and you don’t want to boil the oysters. Instead, put a single layer of oysters in the pot, put the lid on the pot, and bring the water to a boil. The oysters should open in about four or five minutes.

If the oysters have been steaming for five minutes or more and have not opened, turn off the burner and remove them from the pot with tongs. The oysters are probably finished cooking even if the shell has not popped open. Steaming them any longer will overcook the oysters. Use an oyster knife to open the oyster. Don’t open the oyster at the top. Open the oysters at the hinge on the bottom.[VIDEO]

How Long to Steam Oysters?

Steam oysters
Freshly steamed cluster oysters.

The amount of time it takes to steam the oysters open will depend on two things. One, the type of oysters you are steaming, and two, the temperature outside, if you are cooking outside, where you are cooking them. Thicker-shelled oysters will take a little bit longer to open. Once the water is steaming, it should not take more than five to seven minutes for the oysters open.

Once the oysters are open, you can finish opening them with an oyster knife. Traditional side items are cocktail sauce, hot sauce, lemon wedges, and saltine crackers.

Watch How to Steam Oysters in a Pot.

How to Shuck Oysters like a Pro

How to Shuck Oysters
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It is easy to learn how to shuck oysters like a pro at home, whether steamed or raw. Oysters have finished steaming when the top of the shell has opened. Use an oyster knife to open the oyster the rest of the way and enjoy. Steamed oysters are easy to finish opening.

To shuck raw oysters, you want to open them at the hinge on the bottom. This technique is easier than trying to pry open the shell of a raw oyster from the top.

Farm Raised or Wild Caught Oysters?

There are several differences between farm-raised oysters and wild-caught oysters, other than how they are raised and harvested. Click to watch this video about the two types, and learn about farm-raised and wild-caught oysters.

Oyster Roast Side Dishes

Some traditional oyster roast side dishes include Shrimp Boils and Fish Stew. Some popular sides are Chili and Hot Dogs if you have non-seafood eaters at your roast. These are just a few side dishes, but anything you would like to serve will probably work.

Learn how to make a keto-friendly seafood boil. Watch a video on Deep Frying Fish. How long does it take to boil shrimp?

Coastal Caterers provided the information for this webpage. Coastal Caterers has gained expertise in how to steam oysters by hosting thousands of oyster roasts over the past 25 years. They are featured in regional and local publications for their oyster catering service. Customers trust them to host their events year after year.