Baked Oysters Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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My baked oysters recipe is a close spin on Oysters Rockefeller. Pancetta, butter, shallot, garlic, panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and baby spinach all come together to deliver a salty and slightly crispy oyster with a hint of smokey pancetta. It’s an amazing combo of flavors you won’t be able to deny.

Golden baked oysters topped with golden panko crumbs and sautéed prosciutto and spinach.

Freshly shucked oysters are one of my absolute favorite apps, entrees, lunch, dinner, you name it. While I love eating oysters raw, I like to switch things up and bake them for a fancy savory app.

Why I Love This Recipe

The oyster filling is very straightforward and comes together really quickly. The only part that takes a bit of practice is the oyster shucking itself. The briny juices and smokey prosciutto will add a pop of delicious flavor to every bite.

This recipe is seasonally fitting for both summer and winter and pairs well with white wine, sparkling wine, or a nice saison or witbier! It’s a great date night app and also perfect for the holidays!

If you enjoyed this recipe, try my beer-steamed mussels with bacon, creamy ale mussels with garlic butter, and my mussels in red sauce. If you’re a scallop lover, you must try my pan-seared scallops as well.

Ingredients

  • Fresh oysters: always source oysters from a trusted and fresh source. Osyers should be alive when you purchase them. Fresh oysters smell briny and salty like the ocean and should not have an offputting aroma.
  • Panko crumbs: panko crumbs work best in this recipe because they’re larger and crunchier. Regular breadcrumbs are too fine and gritty.
  • Grated parmesan cheese: always use freshly grated parmesan cheese for the best results. My favorite kitchen tool for grating cheese is a microplane.
  • Pancetta or prosciutto: both options work well in this recipe. You can also substitute bacon if you can’t find the others. Check out my brown sugar bacon-wrapped scallops next.
  • Butter: I prefer unsalted butter in this recipe because the oysters and cheese deliver plenty of salt.
  • Shallot: fresh shallot has a beautiful aroma and sweet flavor. You can use white or yellow onion as a substitute, just be sure to very finely dice.
  • Garlic: always opt for fresh whole garlic cloves. Use a microplane to break down into a paste-like form.
  • White wine: white wine can be omitted or substituted for water or a splash of dry vermouth. The main purpose is to help deglaze the pan and release the caramelized flavors.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Buying and Shucking Oysters

By regulation, oysters in their shells must be sold alive. When purchasing oysters, ensure they’re tightly closed. If they’re even slightly open and fail to close promptly when tapped on the counter, they’re likely dead and should be discarded.

When shopping for oysters, ensure they are properly stored in a cold environment (usually over ice). Fresh oysters should smell salty like the ocean breeze. They should not smell fishy or offputting.

Shucking Oysters

Use an oyster knife (a dull-pointed, thick-bladed knife) to pry the back hinge of the oyster open and separate the body from the shell. Once the blade is inserted, work your way around the perimeter of the shell to separate the two halves. Be sure to cut the oyster meat from the bottom of the shell so it’s no longer attached.

I would 100% recommend you use a dishtowel as demonstrated above to hold onto the oyster shell. This will give you more leverage and also protect you from slipping and stabbing yourself in the palm of your hand. Never use a sharp knife.

Serious Eats also has a quick video demonstrating exactly how I shuck my oysters.

How to Prepare Baked Oysters

Step 1.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Step 2.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add pancetta and cook an additional minute. Add spinach, one cup at a time, and saute until tender. About 2 minutes. Turn the heat down low and add white wine to deglaze. Let simmer to evaporite. Stir in parmesan cheese.

Step 3.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and place in a small bowl with the panko crumbs. Toss until panko crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.

Step 4.

Line a small baking sheet with 2-3 cups of rock/sea salt. This will prevent oysters from tipping. If you don’t have salt, you can use a crinkled sheet of aluminum foil instead.

Quick Tip

A layer of rock salt, coarse sea salt, or crumpled aluminum foil on a sheet pan helps to keep the oyster shells upright when baking in the oven. Salt works the best and also helps to create a nice hot surface for the oysters to stay warm once they’re removed from the oven.

Step 5.

Shuck the oysters and nestle them into the salt bed. I like to retain some of the oyster brine but you can discard it if you prefer. You want the deeper half of the shell to hold the oysters so you have plenty of room for the filling.

Quick Tip

After you have shucked the oyster, use your knife to separate the meat from the shell. This allows the meat to slide out for easy consumption.

Step 6.

Top each oyster with a spoonful of spinach/cheese mixture and then a spoonful of buttered panko crumbs.

Step 7.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until panko crumbs are golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges.

Cooked golden oysters on a bed of rock salt, topped with golden panko crumbs and sautéed spinach and prosciutto.
What kind of oysters are best for this recipe?

Any local fresh oysters you have access to will work just fine. There are all sorts of varieties so I like to experiment. My only tip would be to grab a few extra so you can shuck and eat a few raw.

Do I have to clean the oysters before shucking?

Before shucking, I recommend rinsing the shells with cool water and removing any sand, grime, or mud stuck in the ridges.

Are baked oysters fully cooked?

Yes, baking the oysters will fully cook them.

More Seafood to Love

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this recipe, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
5 from 1 vote

Baked Oysters Recipe

Servings: 10 oysters
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
My spin on Oysters Rockefeller. Pancetta, butter, shallot, garlic, panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and baby spinach all come together to deliver a warm and savory baked oyster.

Ingredients 

  • 10-12 fresh raw oysters, shucked
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces sliced pancetta or prosciutto, cut into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Splash of white wine
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • 2 cups rock salt or coarse sea salt

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add pancetta and cook an additional minute. Add spinach, one cup at a time, and saute until tender. About 2 minutes. Turn the heat down low and add white wine to deglaze. Let simmer to evaporite. Stir in parmesan cheese.
  • Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and place in a small bowl with the panko crumbs. Toss until panko crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.
  • Line a small baking sheet with 2-3 cups of rock/sea salt. This will prevent oysters from tipping. If you don’t have salt, you can use a crinkled sheet of aluminum foil instead.
  • Shuck the oysters and nestle them into the salt bed. I like to retain some of the oyster brine but you can discard it if you prefer. You want the deeper half of the shell to hold the oysters so you have plenty of room for the filling.
  • Top each oyster with a spoonful of spinach/cheese mixture and then a spoonful of buttered panko crumbs.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until panko crumbs are golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges.

Notes

Serious Eats has a quick video demonstrating exactly how I shuck my oysters. I would 100% recommend you use a dishtowel as demonstrated in the video to hold onto the oyster shell. This will give you more leverage and also protect you from slipping and stabbing yourself in the palm of your hand. I would strongly recommend against using a sharp knife.

Nutrition

Serving: 2oystersCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 9.4gProtein: 17.1gFat: 19.2gSaturated Fat: 9.5gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 585mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 1.1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I literally cannot wait for an R month down here in Maryland. I love oysters any which way, off the half shell, baked, poached, fried – all of it. My only challenge is getting hubby to ignore that there is a bit of spinach in this recipe.

    1. I’m with you! Nothing better than buck a shuck. The spinach adds a nice touch. Let me know how these come out!