Roasted Oysters

roasted oysters in a cast iron tray

These oysters are as ‘Rich as Rockefeller!’

My husband Brett and I have an obsession with oysters, but specifically roasted oysters! It started a while back after a weekend trip to Newport, Rhode Island where seafood is abundant and can be found at every eatery. We were out late night and saw a tray of roasted oysters go by, namely the most famous of roasted oysters – Oysters Rockefeller. We had to have them. And then we had to have more.

And there it began….our obsession with the history of Oysters Rockefeller and roasted oysters in general.

After doing a deep dive, we learned that there is a long history, and a bit of a mystery, surrounding the original Oysters Rockefeller recipe. 

The History of Oysters Rockefeller – the most famous of all roasted oysters.

In 1840 Antoine Alciatore opened the doors to “Antoines” – a French Creole restaurant in New Orleans. Antoine’s was a thriving restaurant that specialized in amongst other things, escargot. After Antoine’s death, his son Jules Alciatore took over as head chef and the restaurant continued to thrive.

On a late night in 1899, a hungry unnamed person ordered Antoine’s Escargot, but the Escargot had been 86’d. (That means they ran out.) Not discouraged but certainly disappointed, he asked the chef to create him something from the kitchen. It was late, and only scraps of vegetables lay around the kitchen. Inspired by the butter and herb mixture used to make the escargot, the chef combined these scraps with Oysters and baked them.  Upon tasting the dish the hungry man exclaimed, “Why this is as rich as Rockefeller!” Thus, the legend of oysters rockefeller was born.

Roasted Oysters in Tray
Roasted Oysters in Tray

Jules Alciatore went to his grave with the original recipe that was born that night. However, Antoine’s restaurant is still turning out the same dish to this very day in New Orleans. They keep their recipe a secret and it seems that no one will ever know how close todays version is to the one created that night back in 1899.

What are the ingredients of Oysters Rockefeller?

Oysters Rockefeller Ingredients

With the story above as our inspiration, we got to thinking. What ingredients were available in New Orleans in 1899? What would have been in the kitchen? Antoine’s was almost 60 years old when they invented Oyster Rockefeller which means they had established dishes, recipes, clientele, and chefs. That would have played a part in the creation. There are numerous reports of it being a bright green color, which if you have ever seen escargot before it is cooked, you know this is common with this dish as well. Was that all it was? Could it be the recipe for escargot applied to oysters? Or was there more to it? We think a little bit of both.

Likely it was the escargot sauce elevated with less garlic and the addition of new herbs and greens to compliment the briny taste and delicate texture of the oyster.

Keep in mind- Oysters were a main source of food in America dating back to the first settlers. Oysters were plentiful all over the United States, and even were shipped on trains before beef was shipped. The point here is that the chef at Antoines knew how to cook Oysters. He was a talented chef who knew how to handle oysters and how to cook traditional french snails. He most likely simply adapted the classic escargot recipe that Antoine’s had been severing for 60 years and there you have it.

Roasted Oysters in Tray
Preparing Roasted Oysters with cheese
Roasted Oysters in Tray

We tested a few different approaches including with cream and without, with cheese and without, with spinach and without. Here is what we discovered in our test kitchen – any oyster baked with butter, herbs and cheese in any combination will never disappoint. So we started roasted oysters obsessively!

Special Equipment

I purchased a Cast Iron Roasting tray for roasting oysters many years ago. It makes it SO much easier to roast or grill oysters. Shuck them and nestle them into the divets to prevent the oyster juices spilling and bring the whole tray right to the table. This is a great gift for yourself or the oyster lover in your life! If you don’t have time to order this pan, simply use some tin foil to support them if needed.

Cast Iron Oyster Grill Pan
A Must-Have for Seafood Enthusiasts
A Must-Have for Seafood or Grilling Enthusiasts, the cast iron oyster tray is designed to withstand high heat and deliver consistent cooking results, making it ideal for grilling, broiling, or baking oysters to perfection!
Raw oysters in cast iron roasting tray

How to Select Oysters for Roasting

When selecting oysters to roast or grill, tell your fish monger you are looking for oysters with a belly shape, not flat ones. This will provide a plumper cooked oyster and also keep them protected in the shell while roasting which prevents them from drying out.

Loaded Lobster Rolls
For a seafood lover, nothing is better than a loaded lobster roll in summer. Decadent chunks of lobster meat are lightly dressed with a blend of mayonnaise, lemon juice and seasoning then nestled perfectly inside a toasted split-top bun.

Roasted Oysters in Tray

Roasted Oysters

These baked oysters are succulent and rich and oh so delicious! 
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Seafood


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (and/or any combination of basil, tarragon or chives)
  • 1/8 cup minced celery with leaves (optional, but recommend!)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ounces gruyere cheese (or similar nutty cheese)
  • Sprinkle of breadcrumbs- optional
  • 12-24 fresh oysters (in the shell)


  • If you have a oyster roasting pan now is the time to use that! If you don’t, prepare a baking sheet with a roasting grate to support the oysters, or make a bed of dried rice or rock salt to nestle the oysters into on the sheet pan to keep them supported so they do not spill their liquor or the butter sauce you will add.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
  • Open the oysters with an oyster knife. (if you don’t know how to safely do this, don’t make this recipe!)  
  • Meanwhile, melt together the butter, herbs, shallots, lemon zest, garlic and a dash of salt and pepper. (Feel free to add a dash of white wine) Be careful not to burn the butter sauce but cook it enough to cook down the shallots and garlic. 
  • Once all oysters are in place on your roasting tray, add a heaping teaspoon of the melted butter mixture on top of each oyster. Top with about a teaspoon of shredded cheese followed by a pinch of breadcrumbs, if using. 
  • Roast the oysters until the the oysters are just cooked through and the cheese is melted and turning golden brown. (About 8 to 10 minutes) Serve immediately.


If your cheese is not browning or you really want a nice dark brown color, Put the oysters on broil for the last 2 minutes.  
Keyword oysters

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2 thoughts on “Roasted Oysters”

  1. So good. I only put maybe 1/2 tsp of Swiss/gruyere on them and a sprinkle of panko. They weren’t getting very brown so I put them under the broiler to finish them off. Just right!

    • Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed them! I made them on New Years Eve for my husband and myself along with our favorite spicy crab dip and a bottle of champs 🙂
      I’m going to update the post to include the tip about the broiler because I do find I need to do that as well sometimes, especially depending on the cheese variety.

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