Classic Oysters Rockefeller

Classic oysters Rockefeller

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Chill: 60 mins
Total: 115 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 48 oysters
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
735 Calories
54g Fat
30g Carbs
32g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 735
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 54g 69%
Saturated Fat 31g 155%
Cholesterol 272mg 91%
Sodium 1010mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 26mg 129%
Calcium 95mg 7%
Iron 15mg 85%
Potassium 612mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In the classic dish, oysters Rockefeller, oysters on the half-shell are topped with breadcrumbs and a buttery seasoned sauce. The oysters are baked to perfection on a bed of rock salt and are perfect for serving at parties.

Jules Alciatore, of Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans, created oysters Rockefeller in 1899. His great-grandson, Roy F. Guste Jr., wrote in "Antoine's Restaurant Since 1840 Cookbook" (1979) that the dish was created as a replacement for snails, which were scarce at the time. Alciatore chose oysters because they were local and readily available. Guste says that he named the dish after John D. Rockefeller—one of the country's richest men—because the sauce was so rich.

While the original recipe remains a well-kept secret, there are many variations and recipes out there. This version is made with a topping of butter, parsley, green onions, and breadcrumbs. A small amount of Pernod and some Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce season the sauce mixture.


  • 1 pound (2 cups) unsalted butter

  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped

  • 2 bunches green onions, finely chopped, about 2 cups

  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, more to taste

  • 1 1/4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 teaspoon Pernod, Anisette, or Herbsaint

  • 4 dozen small or medium oysters, in their shells

  • Rock salt, for baking

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make classic oysters Rockefeller

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the celery, scallions, and parsley. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the Worcestershire and Tabasco. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

    Celery, scallions, parsley, Worcestershire, and Tabasco cooking in a pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Add the breadcrumbs and Pernod and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl.

    Breadcrumbs and Pernod added to the pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, until cold but not firmly set.

    A bowl of seasoned breadcrumb mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Shuck the oysters into a bowl. Discard the top shells and scrub and dry the bottom shells. Drain any excess liquid from the oysters.

    Shucked and cleaned oysters and shells

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Arrange several oyster shells in baking pans lined with about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of rock salt. Place 1 oyster in each shell.

    Oysters and shells arranged on a salt-lined baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Remove the chilled buttery crumb topping from the refrigerator and beat it with an electric mixer to evenly blend the butter and fluff it a bit.

    A hand mixer mixing the breadcrumb mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Alternatively, use a small spoon. Pipe a tablespoon of the mixture onto each oyster.

    Oysters topped with breadcrumb mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is browned and the oysters are just cooked through. Allow about 6 oysters for each guest.

    Baked oysters Rockefeller on a salt lined baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack


  • The sauce mixture is chilled in this recipe. To save time, you can spoon the unchilled sauce mixture over the oysters.
  • Smaller and younger oysters will be more tender than bigger, older oysters.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the finely chopped parsley with 1 bunch of trimmed, fresh watercress, finely chopped.
  • Replace the finely chopped parsley with about 1 bunch of spinach, or about 6 ounces, finely chopped.
  • Add a few tablespoons of chopped tarragon along with the parsley.