Listen, I absolutely love a fresh oyster on the half-shell, but there is something next level about crispy fried oysters. They still carry that briny, ocean flavor, but add an amazing level of texture when dunked in batter and fried to a golden brown.
Fried oysters are definitely a luxury, but one of the best. Kind of like eating popcorn chicken of the sea. They're also pretty easy, and fry up in know time because they're so small. The hardest part is shucking the oysters - but I have that covered for in you in my oyster guide.
Fried oysters are light, crispy, and utterly delicious. They make for a perfect appetizer indulgence!
There are many ways to batter your fried oysters too. I'm sticking with a simple tempura style here, but you can also use panko and cornmeal (very traditional southern preparation) if you're looking to experiment a bit.
FAQ's on Oysters
No, not really. They are fried food, so are definitely an indulgence to be enjoyed once in a while, not every day.
They oysters themselves taste briny, like the ocean, and the batter doesn't have a ton of flavor in and of itself - but provides a light and crispy texture.
Yup, you can. You might want to use panko or cornmeal in the batter to make it slightly less sticky, but otherwise, preheat to 350F, and cook for 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 4 minutes, and you're good to go!
Fresh is definitely the tastiest when it comes to oysters, but yes, you can use canned if you wish.
Here's what we need for these bad boys:
- All-purpose flour
- Ice water
- Ice-cold soda water
- Baking soda
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Oil for deep-fat frying
We're also going to make a chipotle aioli for the dipping sauce, but more on that later.
How to Fry Oysters
Ok, now we're getting to the fun part. First, let's get everything prepped and ready to go.
I'm going to use my Dutch oven - because I just love it for deep fat frying anything. The sides are high, so it cuts down on splatter, and it makes for easy clean up. Pour enough oil in your pot to come up about ⅓ of the way up the sides of the pot. Heat over medium-medium high heat - until the oil temperature is 350F.
While you're oil is heating, let's prep the oysters. First, we need to shuck them. Once that's done, place them in a sieve and let the liquid drain out of them.
Next, make the tempura batter. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk. Lightly beat the egg in a separate bowl, and add the ice cold water. Add this to the flour mixture. Whisk gently. Add the soda water - and mix even more gently. This is going to keep the tempura light and crisp, so don't over do it.
The batter should have a pancake batter-like consistency. Add a little more soda water if it's too thick, or a little more flour if it's too thin.
Dunk the oysters one at a time in the batter, and then place them in the oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until crispy and golden. Remove to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack.
Serve alongside fresh lemon slices and dipping sauce.
Fried Oyster Sauce
There are many, many different sauces that would go well with fried oysters. In fact, I have a whole post on different dipping sauces to make with sweet potato fries, and they would all work beautifully, so make sure to check those out.
Today, we're going to be sticking with chipotle aioli, because it's one of my favourite (and it's so ridiculously easy). It's going to pair perfectly with the salty oysters, and this whole thing together is definitely addictive.
Here's what you need for chipotle aioli:
- An immersion blender
- Room temperature eggs
- olive oil or vegetable oil
- Dijon mustard
- Lemon juice
- Chili pepper in adobo sauce
- Salt and pepper
To make the aioli, you combine all the ingredients in a tall, thin, high sided container (likely the one that came with the immersion blender), and blend for 5-10 seconds. That's it, you're done! I love this recipe.
Tips & Tricks
- The water and the soda water in the batter has to be ice cold. The cold water helps the flour develop less gluten, therefore making it light and crispy, vs. chewy.
- Make sure your oil is hot! The best way to do this is using a meat thermometer - alternatively you can test it by dropping a bit of batter in the oil, and seeing if it starts frying immediately.
- Make sure you place the oysters on a cooling rack inside of a baking sheet - this will keep them crisp as the rest of the oysters cook.
- Don't over crowd the pan. Let them roam a little as they fry.
Other Awesome Oyster Recipes
The Best Crispy Fried Oysters (Tempura-Style)
- 12 oysters fresh, shucked
- ¾ C flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ½ C ice water
- ⅔ C ice-cold soda water
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1 C olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- Prepare your oysters, and set them in a sieve to drain any excess moisture.
- Pour your oil in a Dutch oven or large pot, and heat over medium high heat (this will take a few minutes).
- Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the egg, water and soda water, mixing genltly to combine. The batter should have a pancake batter-like consistency. If you need to adjust, you can add more flour or water accordingly.
- Place the oysters in the batter, and once your oil has reached 350°F, add the oysters one by one to the oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes depending on the size.
- Remove to a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and serve with chipotle aioli.
For the Chipotle Aioli
- Combine all the ingredients in immersion blender. Blend for 10 seconds, or until smooth. Keep in the refridgerator until ready to serve.