How to Steam Oysters

Steam Oysters

Learning how to steam oysters is relatively easy to do. This first section covers how to steam oysters for an outside roast. The next section covers how to steam oysters on the stovetop.

How to Steam Oysters
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First, you will need a pot with a strainer basket for steaming the oysters. The basket makes it easy to remove all the oysters at one time. You will normally cook about a quarter to a half bushel at a time for an oyster roast. So, we recommend a 10-gallon pot and basket. 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 are planning on steaming several batches, you will need to add some water to the pot occasionally. You don’t want to burn the bottom of your pot.

The method for steaming oysters is the same for all types of oysters 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.

Purchase a Propane Burner or Pot with a Strainer Basket to Steam Oysters. Purchase High-Quality Oyster Knives and Gloves

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 are only using 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 4 or 5 minutes.

If the oysters have been steaming five minutes or more and they 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 not open the oyster at the top. Open the oysters at the hinge on the bottom.[VIDEO]

How Long to Steam 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 where you are cooking. 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 to be steamed open. It may also take a little longer if the outside temperature is in the 30s or 40s. Less time if the temperature is in the 60s or 70s. When the oysters are open, they are also said to be “smiling.”

Steam oysters
Freshly steamed cluster oysters.

Once they are open, you can finish opening them the rest of the way 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

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 open.

How to Shuck Oysters
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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. If you have non-seafood eaters at your roast, some popular sides are Chili and Hot Dogs. These are just a few examples of 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.