How To Fry Oysters In A Skillet – Recipe & Instructions

Fried oysters are an incredible treat for just about any occasion!

If you love the flavor of oysters but struggle with the raw texture, they’re easy to fry in a light breadcrumb. You get a lovely, crunchy outside, and a soft, slime-free texture inside.

They’re really easy to make, and in this article I’ll explain everything you need to do to get incredible results.

Here’s how to fry oysters in a skillet:

  • Step 1: Wash and/or drain your oysters
  • Step 2: Bread your oysters
  • Step 3: Oil and preheat your skillet
  • Step 4: Fry the oysters

That’s the basic – very simple – idea! In the rest of this guide I’ll walk you through each of these steps in greater detail.

(If you want to explore more of my cookware content, take a look at the home cookware guide I have on the site.)

Recipe & Method

Let’s walk through these steps from start to finish:

Step 1: Wash & Drain The Oysters

If you’re working with fresh produce, take your shucked oysters and give them a wash before draining them in a colander.

If you’re working with store-bought oysters, just empty the containers into a colander and let the juices drain through for a minute or two.

Step 2: Coat The Oysters

You only need a few simple ingredients to bread your oysters. 

I recommend putting these ingredients in front of you in separate bowls, so you can move from one to the next:

  • Flour (seasoned if you like)
  • Lightly whisked egg yolks
  • Fine breadcrumbs

Dredge an oyster through the flour, then move it to the egg yolk and coat it all over. Next, move it to the breadcrumbs and roll it around until the oyster’s entirely covered.

Put your oyster to one side on a clean plate or cutting board, then simply repeat the process for the rest of them.

Step 3: Oil & Preheat Your Skillet

It’s a good idea to use clarified butter when you’re frying oysters in a skillet. You need to start working at a high temperature here, and regular butter has a tendency to burn.

If you can’t get hold of clarified butter, regular butter or oil will work. Just keep a close eye on the heat levels.

Step 4: Fry The Oysters

Add the oysters to the pan one at a time. When they’re all in the oil, reduce the heat to a medium temperature.

There’s no real hard and fast rule for how long you should fry your oysters on each side. It really depends on the size of the oyster and the amount of breading you’ve used.

I recommend using one from the batch as a guide to the rest! Turn it and wait until there’s a rich, dark crust on one side.

When that’s the case, turn them all over and keep checking for the doneness on the other side.

When the oysters have finished frying, transfer them to some paper toweling, so some of the excess oil is absorbed.

From here, you can serve with a little seasoning sprinkled over, and perhaps a squeeze or two of lemon juice!

A large pile of freshly hauled oysters

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section I wanted to answer some of the most common questions people have about preparing and cooking fried oysters!

Are Fried Oysters Keto Friendly?

The answer to this question is yes! The oysters themselves do contain carbs, but as a very small proportion of the produce overall.

As always though, the secret to keeping your fried oysters keto-friendly is to focus your attention on the crumb you use to coat them before cooking.

Viva Flavor is not focused on the keto lifestyle, so I’ll point you instead to this article which highlights a keto-friendly fried oyster recipe.

Are Fried Oysters Slimy?

No. The frying process alone does much to take away the slimy texture that’s so often associated with eating raw oysters. 

A well-fried oyster has a crunch, crispy outside, and a soft interior that delivers nothing but intense oyster flavor. No slime here!

Can Fried Oysters Be Frozen?

Although technically you can store fried oysters in the freezer, I really don’t think the results are worthwhile.

If you’re using a breadcrumb / batter coating, that coating really doesn’t produce good results once it’s been thawed out and then reheated.

In my experience, it’s not worth the convenience of preparing a bigger batch and putting the leftovers on ice!

Can You Fry Oysters Without Breading?

Yes! In fact it’s a very popular method in Japan. 

Once the oysters have been drained, give them a very gentle dusting with cornstarch. 

Heat a skillet with a little bit of oil, butter and garlic. As the butter melts, add the drained and dusted oysters, then fry them for around 2-3 minutes per side.

Can Fried Oysters Be Reheated?

If you want to reheat your fried oysters, use the oven rather than the stovetop. Otherwise you risk burning the outside of the already-cooked coating.

Heat your oven to a temperature of 350F / 177C, then cook the oysters for around 5 minutes. You don’t need much time here as they’re small.

When it comes to reheating any kind of meat or seafood, it’s essential to check the temperature with a cook’s thermometer. A temperature of 165F / 74C is the benchmark to look for here.

Can You Fry Oysters In An Air Fryer?

Definitely! If you’re lucky enough to have an air fryer in your home, the process for cooking your oysters is very similar to the skillet method.

1. Prepare and bread the oysters as usual. 
2. Lay them in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
3. Cook at 350F / 177C for around 4 minutes.
4. Shake the basket and cook for another 4 minutes.

After that, serve them as you wish!

Wrapping Up 

That’s everything you need to know about frying oysters in a skillet! 

It’s not a complicated dish at all, but if you love the taste – but hate the texture – of raw oysters, it’s well worth trying out.

Just make sure you drain the oysters first, set up a neat production line for the breading process, and get that butter up to a high heat before the frying starts.

Happy cooking!