Oyster Stew Recipe – This easy Oyster Stew Recipe is full of delicious seafood flavor! This family favorite recipe makes the best oyster stew and is one that everyone will love.

Oyster Stew Recipe | ©addapinch.com

This Oyster Stew recipe is a family classic. You see, my granddaddy loved it more than any other dish on a cold winter day.

I always looked forward to the days my grandmother would make her recipe because it was secretly a favorite of mine, too. I would watch as she chopped the onions, melted the butter, and started the stew. She always made cooking look so easy!

Oyster Stew Recipe

This recipe makes the best oyster stew I’ve ever had. And I love that this is so easy to make on any cold night when the craving hits me! There’s nothing like the deliciously rich seafood flavor of the oysters and the creaminess of the onions and milk from this stew! It is the perfect fix for my cravings.

Oyster Stew Recipe | ©addapinch.com

The best oysters for this oyster stew are fresh. As in the fresher the better. But, if I have a craving for this stew and am no where near finding fresh oysters that I can shuck myself (ha!), I have found that the seafood section of my grocery store usually has a very good selection of oysters that work perfectly.

How to Make Fresh Oyster Stew Recipe

To make Grandmother’s Oyster Stew, begin with a pint of fresh oysters. You’ll drain away the juices (oyster liquor) from the oysters and set aside for later use. Then, melt your butter in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven set over medium-low heat.

Stir in your chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in your reserved oyster liquor and cook until reduced by about half. Stir in your milk and half and half and simmer. Do not let reach a boil as this will cause your milk to curdle.

Add your oysters and allow to cook until the edges of the fresh oysters begin to curl. Remove your oyster stew from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Then, stir in your salt and pepper and serve with crackers.

Oyster Stew Recipe | ©addapinch.com

Here’s my Grandmother’s Oyster Stew Recipe. Hope you like it as much my Granddaddy and I always have.

Oyster Stew Recipe

This Oyster Stew Recipe is full of delicious seafood flavor. Get this family favorite oyster stew recipe you are sure to love.
5 from 18 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 4
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 1 pint fresh oysters packed in their juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Drain juice from oysters into small bowl. Set aside.
  • Add butter to large saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat until melted.
  • Add chopped onions and cook until translucent and tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add oyster liquor and cook until mostly reduced, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in milk and half-and-half and heat to simmer. Do not allow to boil as it will cause your milk to curdle. 
  • Add oysters and continue on simmer until outer edges of oysters curl, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, and add salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Serve with mini saltines or oyster crackers.
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Robyn xo

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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110 Comments Leave a comment or review

      1. Robyn..I’m thinking about getting my Bullet food processor out and pulverizing some onions and celery and using the juice in the oyster stew….should I use 1 onion…how much Celery? To compliment your recipe??  I don’t want to take away from the flavor of the Oyster Stew by adding to much!!  Thank you for your reply!!

      2. Hi Ann,
        I’ve not tried it that way before by using the juice from the onion, so I’m not sure how much of it you’d want to use. Not sure if that would be a more intense onion flavor…
        Hope you enjoy the oyster stew! Thanks!

  1. Hi Robyn.
    You are truly a talented cook. I’m always impressed with your recipe postings and southern traditions. While I’m living in New Jersey now, my roots are southern and screaming to get out. Thanks for the southern feel.

  2. This is a favorite in my family as well…are we related? Ate this often as a kid, along with (canned) salmon stew. As I grew and started cooking on my own I combined the two and added fresh mushrooms and parsley…..almost as simple and different tastes that blend well. Thanks for the memories!

    1. Grew up on oyster stew but have never heard of salmon stew. Sounds wonderful. Would you share your recipe? I will try to wait patiently !

    2. Do you have a recipe for salmon stew? If so can you email it to me. As a kid my grandmother made salmon stew and it was wonderful.


      1. I was born n Raised in Denver Colorado an my Gramma was from the South. She always made Oyster Stew for us on Cold winter days n for Christmas dinner. I miss the Awesome rich flavor experienced every time.
        Now that I’m older, she had passed away, n with her, she took that recipe. ????
        I’m gonna try ur recipe in hopes of getting that same flavor.
        I am using Condensed milk (unsweetened) as the cream, n whole milk as a filler. Salt Pepper, and let’s not forget the butter.

  3. Brings back go memories for me as well. My Dad was a quail hunter and seem to alway bring in three or four on Christmas eve just in time for Mom to make quail and oyster stew for our Christmas eve supper.
    Wish I had a recipe for the combination. Would you have one in you collection?
    Joan Lansdell
    Southern cook from MS

  4. My husband has been in mourning since Campbell’s stopped making their oyster stew. I was hesitant to try making it myself until I saw Robyn’s recipe. It gets two thumbs up from him for taste and two thumbs up from me for ease and simplicity. We used canned oysters instead of fresh since I had some in the pantry. Not as good as fresh but it saved a trip to the store and my husband liked it.

  5. I remember eating the most delicious oyster and artichoke stew growing up in Louisiana and I never see it on any menu in Georgia where I now live. I will definitely have to give this a try…even if I am the only one in the house who will eat it! As you said, good, more for me!!!

    1. Hi Ginny,
      So sorry you had problems with it! It sounds like the heat was a little to high on your stovetop. I would recommend reducing the heat next time and only allowing the liquid to reach a low simmer. I hope that helps!

    2. My milk curdled as well, the first time – but I forgot you cannot add milk to boilimg water. Simmerworked fine ! Love this recipe !

  6. What memories this brings back for me. My Gran made oyster stew for my grandpop. I don’t remember if she started by sauteeing (in real butter) celery and onion, then added the milk, cream and oysters, or not using these at all. But I do remember she would sprinkle it with paprika and float a pat of butter on top. Oh, my!

      1. I always added potato cut in small cubes, celery chopped about 1/2 inch and sautéed onions in butter. Boiled the potato cubes and celery until tender and add them in with the oysters. Season with salt and pepper. When I serve a bowl of stew I splash a dab of Old Bay Seasoning in the center. Not only does it gives it a seafood flavor but a nice presentation,

  7. I too have great memories as a child when my Dad would make it. Now I worry about the fat and calorie count. Anyone guess the calorie and fat is ceiling could eat the whole thing

  8. My sister taught us to make oyster stew for years now. Put all ingredients in at one time and stir
    until comes to boil, oysters will be curled by then, remove and its ready… no vegetables in this one.

  9. I’ve never heard anyone else eating oyster stew! I grew up on it too and it’s my comfort food or when I’m sick food. The only difference is we add small diced potatoes to the butter/juice/onion mixture and simmer about 5 minutes (they are tiny pieces). I’m the only one in my house now who eats it but the picture makes me think I’ll make some! Thanks for posting.

  10. When I was a child, my grandparents had a farm down on the coast in Bluffton, SC. The oyster beds were plentiful in those days as Hilton Head was not as developed as it is now. My grandmother would make this very stew. It was delicious!!! I’m making this tonight for my family, as it will be perfect in this frigid cold snap we are having this week. Thanks for bringing up fond memories and sharing your recipe

    1. Oh I love that you had oyster stew made from those fresh Hilton Head oysters! What a treat and a great memory of your grandmother, I’m sure! I hope you are staying warm and enjoy that bowl of oyster stew! xo

  11. Oh my gosh!!! I made the recipe this morning for the first time , and I just have to say,  it is the best oyster stew I’ve EVER eaten! I only added a tbsp of dried parsley to the recipe.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  12. I am going to serve oyster stew Thursday night at our Masonic Lodge Meeting using your recipe.

    I will be serving 12-15 people and will use a boiled down version of Harlan hawkers recipe.
    It consists of 1 gallon of oysters, 3 gallons of milk, 8 cups of butter, 4 Tsp salt, dash of cayenne pepper, 8 Tsp Worchester sauce, 2 Tsp paprika,. Instructions; bring oysters to a slow boil in their own liquor adding enough water to cover well, then add milk and rest of ingredients slowlyback to slow boil, serve. I am going to add a medium chopped onion to see how it works out. thanks for the recipe and will let you know how it turns out.

  13. I have never put onion in my recipe out of fear it would over power the oyster flavor.  It is April 3, 2018 and,  here in Iowa, we are experiencing 3 to 5 inches of heavy, wet snow – the perfect day for a good soup.  No fresh oysters on hand, but two cans of whole ones will do in a pinch.  Good time to experiment with the onion!  Thanks for the little push!

    1. Oh goodness – snow in April! I hope you have sunshine and warm temps soon, Terry! This soup will add a little bit of delicious comfort to your day! 😉 Enjoy! Thanks!

    2. Also loved as a kid. Lost my mother this year and am honoring her memory tonight with this recipe…homesick for bama, relocated in Oregon so trying the local oysters! Thx for recipe!!

  14. I’m On My Mom’s Phone My Name is Lauren This Oyster Stew
    Sounds So Good
    My Grandma Use to make it for her My Grandpa and I And Now That She’s Gone Now Yrs Ago My Grandpa And I Would Go Out And Get Us a Bowl
    Can I Use Unsweetened Almond Milk?

  15. My Mom used to make this during the winter months when I was growing up. I loved it. But, we never had fresh oysters due to living in Iowa. Also, she never used onion in her recipe. I had asked her about it a couple weeks ago and she still makes it from time to time. I personally haven’t had this delicious soup in over 20 years.

    I live in El Paso now which makes it hard to find good oysters.

  16. Just like my mom used to make in the late 1960’s while I was growing up in southeast Texas near the Gulf coast. So rich and yummy with plump, firm, medium size oysters fresh off the boats out of Galveston, TX. This was a Friday night staple in the Fall months. She used green onion tops instead of yellow onion but otherwise exactly the same. Thanks for this simple, authentic oyster stew recipe.

  17. This is exactly my fathers oyster stew recipe…like exactly. I usually like complicated recipes with tons of seasoning that I usually add more thing to, but this stew is simple perfection.

  18. I just made half of this recipe and devoured it! However, I did tweek it abit.

    I used ghee instead oif butter and all Half & Half instead of milk since I didn’t have any and I enjoy the extra richness.

    When the oyster water was about 1/2 reduced I added the oysters to let them cook before adding the half & half to simmer.

    In addition to salt and pepper I added celery seedsand paprika, raised the broth to simmer and enjoyed.

  19. Thank you SO much for this recipe, Robyn!! I grew up in the South (where I still live) and my mom died unexpectedly and suddenly when I was just 18. So I never got to really learn all of her recipes from her directly. But I have memories of helping cook her oyster stew and this sounds exactly like her recipe. God bless you for sharing not only a delicious recipe, but for also rekindling great childhood memories for so many of us! 

    1. This is such a touching comment, Laurea. I am so glad that this brought up good childhood memories for you. Thank you for telling me how much you enjoyed this. I’m happy to have you here – I hope you find more recipes here that you like as well. xo

    1. I hope you enjoy the oyster stew, Eldon!
      As far as the “schooled celery” I am not sure, except I did see a reader comment where she used that term. I think she must have made a typo. 🙂
      Have a great Christmas!

  20. I also grew up having oyster stew on Christmas Eve here in Iowa. Dumb question, but after stew is done do you think it would keep ok in a crock pot or is it a serve immediately type of food, in your opinion?

    1. Hi Jean,
      Salt can cause your soup to curdle, but I’ve not had issues with using salted butter. If you have tried everything to prevent it, then you may be on to something with your salted butter. I’d try it with unsalted butter and then add salt once the soup is off of the heat.

  21. Merry Christmas! My Grandmother made oyster stew for the entire family on Christmas morning. It was a treat to have it. I am making this recipe for my dad. 

  22. We served this oyster stew recipe for Christmas dinner. This is the first time we have used onions in the oyster stew, and the family liked it very much. We used a quart of oysters, so we doubled the recipe. I put the recipe in our computer bookmaker. We did boil the oysters in water the second time we used this recipe, so they got tender and the edges curled. The first time we put the oysters in the milk, and the oyster didn’t get done, so we ended up boiling them in water to get them tender. Our guests liked the stew very much. We may have miss interpreted putting the oysters in the milk and let them simmer until tender. Having said that, we would recommend this recipe to anyone.

  23. My mom used to make oyster stew for New years Eve. She passed away 6 years ago and my dad had been making it the last few years. It was good but it didn’t taste the same. I’m going to give it a try, this sounds similar to the way she did it. I’m going to try to make a bit of a bigger pot. Wish me luck.

    1. Best of luck, Jessica! I know how important it is to keep those traditions once our loved ones, especially our parents, pass away. I hope this is close to her recipe for you!

  24. I love oyster stew or soup!  But we I am from a state where I can not get fresh oysters,can you use canned ones instead?

  25. My husband grew up eating oyster stew but I had never eaten any or made it. He mentioned he’d love to have some oyster stew if it wasn’t too much trouble. I searched online and found your easy and relatively quick recipe. I only had canned oysters, but it made a wonderful stew, and after reading some of the other reviews I think this will become a Christmas or New Year’s Eve tradition! Thank you!

  26. I made this tonight. It was my first time making it. My dad would be so proud of me!! He made this when I was a kid. Thanks for the recipe!!

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