These fried oysters are a southern favorite! They are crispy and a little spicy on the outside and moist on the inside.
They're perfect for snacking on by themselves or for tossing on a po'boy!
But don't wait until you go back to the beach to treat yourself to fried oysters. You won't believe how easy they are to make at home!
Ingredients and Substitutions
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- Oysters - Naturally the ones that are freshly shucked are best. But, if you don't have those available you can use the type in a jar or plastic container from your seafood market. They're quite good and they are meant for cooking, not to be eaten raw.
- Oil - We like peanut oil, but any high smoke point oil (such as canola) will be fine.
- Cornmeal - Yellow or white is good.
- Cajun or Creole seasoning - We like Tony Chachere Original and use it all the time. Substitute your favorite, or leave it out if you prefer a more bland taste. You'll need to add salt if you don't use the Cajun seasoning.
- Flour - plain all purpose
- Buttermilk - full fat or low fat would be just fine.
- Egg - large is standard
- Hot sauce - it's optional. We like Crystal, but use whatever you have on hand.
How to make fried oysters
- Whether you are shucking them yourself or buying them pre-shucked, it's always a good idea to drain and rinse your oysters and get any traces of shell or sand out of there.
- Mix the buttermilk with the egg (and hot sauce if you want to give them a little kick.)
- Next, you'll pat them dry before putting them in the buttermilk mixture for a few minutes.
- When you pull them out of the mixture, you'll want to use your fingers to "pull" the excess off the oysters. This will ensure that your breading doesn't fall off after they're fried!
- Now you'll dip them in the mixture of cornmeal, flour, and Creole seasoning.
- Fry the oysters using your desired method (more about that below!)
See recipe card for a complete list of ingredients and instructions.
When you're ready to fry them up, there are some different methods you could use:
First, if you have a deep fryer (you can click the link to grab one) it's super easy to regulate the temp. Don't have/want a deep fryer? No worries...
You could also fry them in a dutch oven (we recommend this to prevent splatter) using a candy thermometer to regulate the temperature. Maintain it as close to 360 degrees as possible.
No candy thermometer handy and want to do it the old fashioned way? Toss a little water on the oil. If it's hot enough to sizzle, it's hot enough to fry.
Just be sure to only put a few oysters in the oil at a time (6-8, depending on their size), and take a little break between batches to let the oil get back up to temperature again.
For a fun look at this recipe, be sure to check out the web story!
Fried oysters without cornmeal
For real old fashioned southern goodness leave out the cornmeal and flour and bread your oysters with cracker meal. Never heard of it? My mama always used it for breading her seafood, and we've included it in our southern style fried shrimp recipe.
You could even make your own by crushing up saltine or Ritz crackers with your food processor.
What do you serve with fried oysters?
- A good dipping sauce like tartar, remoulade or cocktail sauce (our 3 ingredient recipe for cocktail sauce is included in the article about how to throw your own oyster roast)
- Make it a po'boy!
- Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins
- Homemade French Fries
- Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
- Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
Need more fried recipes? Check out these:
- Fried Squash: A Southern Classic
- Country Fried Steak Recipe: Southern Style
- Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp: Southern Style
- Crispy Fried Pickles
- Southern Fried Shrimp Recipe
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Fried Chicken – Southern Style
We do not recommend this- Fried oysters are best served right out of the fryer.
Nope! You can fry them in a dutch oven (we recommend this to prevent splatter) in oil that is maintained at 360 degrees.
We used a mixture of cornmeal and flour, but you can also use cracker meal!
If you don't have buttermilk, you can trade 1 cup of buttermilk for 1 cup of milk and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Heat oil to 360 degrees in a deep fryer or a dutch oven.
- Rinse oysters and pat dry with a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, and hot sauce. Submerge the oysters in the mixture.
- In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, and cajun seasoning.
- Remove oysters from the buttermilk mixture and use your fingers to "pull" off the excess. Then, coat with cornmeal mixture.
- Drop oysters into oil 6-8 at a time, being careful not to crowd. Give the oil time to heat back up between batches.
- Let oysters cook 2-3 minutes (depending on size) and pull out when golden brown. Put on paper towels to drain.
- Cracker meal may be substituted for the cornmeal and flour.
- Cajun seasoning may be omitted, but if so add 1-2 teaspoons of salt, according to taste.
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