Skip to main content
Recipes

The Best Tool for Shucking Oysters Is Your Oven

Five minutes in a hot oven makes oysters pop right open—no brute strength or raw-bar expertise required.
By Published Oct. 7, 2021

With the right technique, a proper knife, and a little muscle, most anyone can pry open an oyster’s tightly clamped shell—but it takes practice to do it efficiently and confidently. 

Want to skip the work? Try roasted oysters. Roasting not only renders them food-safe and allows you to dress them up along the way but also makes shucking a breeze.

Step 1

Place raw oysters on a rimmed baking sheet (nestling them, cupped side down, in a sheet of crumpled-then-uncrumpled aluminum foil will prevent them from tipping) and warm them in a 450-degree oven for about 5 minutes. At that point, their shells will have opened slightly because the weakened adductor muscle can no longer contract, making it easy to slip in and twist the knife blade to fully sever the muscle. (Oysters that don’t visibly open are safe to eat and will still be easier to shuck.) 

Step 2

Once all the lids are off, place the oysters back on the baking sheet, dollop each one with flavored butter (grainy mustard and herbs work well), and roast them for another few minutes until they’re fully cooked; the thickest part of the largest specimen should register 160 to 165 degrees. They’ll be festive and elegant, and the compound butter will meld with the liquor to form a rich, punchy sauce. 

Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter

The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.

0 Comments

Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.