How To Cook Oysters In The Shell On The Stove

Oysters are delicious mollusks that can be eaten in various ways. Although some people eat raw oysters, others prefer them cooked to kill any potentially harmful bacteria. So, how do you cook oysters in the shell on the stove?

You can cook oysters in the shell on the stove in one of two ways, boiling or steaming them. First, clean the oyster shells and discard any dead ones. Then, steam or boil the oysters until the shells open. These two methods have different cooking times, and the oysters taste pretty different.

Although there are many ways to cook oysters, these are the only two stovetop measures that allow you to keep the oysters in their shells while cooking them. This article discusses how to cook oysters in their shells on the stovetop and how to determine which oysters are bad.

Cooking Oysters In Their Shells On The Stove

Oysters aren’t tricky to cook, and there are some advantages to cooking them in their shells. First, the flesh is kept intact. Sometimes when shucking oysters, the meat gets damaged in the process. However, by cooking them in the shell, the flesh can be removed whole and undamaged from the shell.

The second reason cooking oysters in their shells is beneficial is that you can then see which oysters are bad and when they are cooked. When cooked in their shells, bad oysters won’t open. So you know which oysters not to eat.

You’ll also know when the oysters are cooked based on when the shells open slightly. This way, you won’t overcook the oysters. Overcooked oysters are tough and don’t taste as good. Now, let’s discuss the two stovetop methods for cooking oysters in their shells.

Boiling Oysters In Their Shells On The Stove

Boiling oysters in their shells on the stove is a great way to cook the oysters. You can easily make an oyster soup by boiling the oysters in a broth. This is how to prepare and boil oysters in their shells on the stove.

Step 1: Clean The Oyster Shells

After getting your oysters, prepare them for boiling by washing the shells in cold freshwater. Remove any barnacles stuck to the shells with a knife and scrub the shells clean with a brush. While cleaning the oysters, discard any open shells, as these oysters may already be dead.

If you come across any open shells, tap the oyster a few times. If the shell doesn’t close, the oyster is already dead, and you should throw it out.

Step 2: Put Water Into A Small Pot

Place some water in a small-sized pot and bring the water up to a rolling boil. It’s important to use a small pot, as it will allow the oysters to cook evenly. You can substitute the water for broth to make an oyster soup or add aromatics to the water.

When the water or broth reaches the rolling boil stage, add the oysters to the pot and boil them for three to five minutes, or until the oyster shells are open. As soon as the shells are open, remove the oysters from the heat.

Step 3: Serve The Oysters

When the oysters are finished cooking, remove any oysters that didn’t open. These oysters are likely bad. Serve the oysters with hot sauce or seafood sauce and fresh bread.

Here are some boiled oyster recipes worth a try next time you want to boil oysters in their shells:

Steaming Oysters In Their Shells On The Stove

Steaming is similar to boiling. However, when steaming oysters, only a little bit of liquid is used for cooking the oysters. This allows the taste of the oyster meat to stand out, meaning that you taste the actual oyster a lot better than when it is cooked in more liquid.

Steaming oysters on the stovetop is easy and involves just a few steps. This is how to steam oysters in their shells on the stovetop.

Step 1: Clean The Oysters

As when boiling, you must first clean the oysters before cooking them. Wash the oysters with cold water, remove any barnacles, and toss any open oysters from the batch. Don’t cook any oysters in an open shell because these oysters are dead and can cause serious illness.

Step 2: Add Some Water To A Pot

Add a few inches of water to a pot or steamer basket and place the oysters inside. Then, allow the oysters to steam for about ten minutes or until the shells open.

Instead of water, you can also use wine or stock and aromatics. The oyster will absorb these flavors and add flavor to the cooked oysters.

Step 3: Serve The Oysters

Once the shells are open, remove the oysters from the heat. Discard any oyster shells that didn’t open. Serve the oysters with a dip or sauce.

Here are some great steamed oyster recipes to try next time you want to steam oysters in their shells on the stove:

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Tips For Cooking Oysters In their Shells On The Stove

Although cooking oysters on the stovetop is straightforward, there are some tips for ensuring you serve and eat the best oysters in their shell on the stovetop. Here are some suggestions for cooking oysters on the stove:

  1. Use the fresh oysters as soon as possible. Although oysters can be kept in the fridge for a week, they will start to lose texture and flavor. Therefore, use the oysters as soon as possible while they are still fresh.
  2. Remove the oysters from the heat to stop the cooking process. When boiling or steaming oysters, remove them from the heat as soon as the shells are open to prevent them from overcooking. Overcooked oysters have a strange texture and aren’t as pleasant to eat.
  3. Soak the oysters in freshwater before cooking. Soaking the oysters in freshwater before cooking them allows the oysters to expel any sand inside the shells. Then, you can rest assured the oysters inside the shells are clean.


Cooking oysters on the stove in their shells is a straightforward process. There are two ways to cook oysters in their shells on the stove. You can boil them or steam them. Boiling oysters in their shells is a great way to cook oyster soup or curry. Steaming the oysters in their shells allows you to taste more of the oyster meat.


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