Fried Oysters With Cornmeal Batter

Crispy fried oysters with cornmeal batter on a plate with lemon wedge

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1202 Calories
107g Fat
43g Carbs
20g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 1202
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 107g 137%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 153mg 51%
Sodium 1288mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 10mg 51%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 9mg 50%
Potassium 403mg 9%
*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.)

Fried oysters are a flavorful treat that can be easily made at home. Use them as an appetizer or add them to salads or simple pasta or rice dishes. Split a baguette and use the fried oysters to make a fabulous New Orleans po'boy sandwich, or wrap them in a soft tortilla spread with a Louisiana rémoulade sauce.

There is no science involved in the making of a crispy and decadent fried oyster. The main trick is to drain the oysters really well to help the cornmeal breading stick better, remain on the oyster, and not float and burn all over your fryer. Drain the oysters well and pat them dry thoroughly; the less moisture on the oyster, the better the breading will stick to them.

The second thing you have to take into consideration is maintaining a steady temperature in the frying oil—an instant-read thermometer is always a great tool to have at hand. Choose an oil with a high smoking point, like vegetable, peanut, or canola oil.

Our recipe with a cornmeal coating makes these fried oysters super crispy, and the recipe is a great template for you to add to and experiment with other seasonings. Serve these crispy fried oysters with the tartar sauce included in the recipe or with cocktail sauce. Add some lime wedges, fresh coleslaw, or perhaps some fries to complete a wonderful meal.


Click Play to See This Make Fried Oysters With Cornmeal Batter Recipe Come Together


For the Fried Oysters:

  • 2 cups oysters, drained

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 2 cups cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

For the Tartar Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup dill relish, or finely chopped dill pickle

  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped, optional

Steps to Make It

Fry the Oysters

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Crispy fried oysters with cornmeal batter ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Pat the drained oysters dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

    Oysters draining on a paper towel on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs.

    Beaten eggs in a medium bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add the oysters to the egg bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.

    Drained oysters in a bowl with beaten eggs

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar, pepper, salt, and flour.

    Cornmeal, sugar, pepper, salt, and flour in a medium bowl with a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Lift each oyster out of the egg mixture and allow the excess moisture to drip off before rolling them in the cornmeal mixture to evenly coat. Repeat the process with all oysters.

    Oyster from egg mixture dipped in cornmeal mix

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Pour about 3 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy, deep saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring it to a temperature of 370 F.

    Vegetable oil for deep frying in heavy saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Carefully add the oysters to the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan.

    Add cornmeal battered oysters to hot oil

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Fry each batch of 6 to 8 oysters for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

    Oysters frying in vegetable oil in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Use a metal slotted spoon to remove the oysters to paper towels to drain. Reserve.

    Fried oysters draining on paper towels

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Tartar Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tartar sauce ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the dill relish, capers, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and black pepper. Mix well.

    Mayonnaise combined with dill relish, capers, lemon juice, black pepper, and Dijon mustard in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. If using, add the green onion to the sauce and stir it into the mixture, or reserve the onion to garnish the finished oysters. Stir to blend thoroughly.

    Green onion added to the tartar sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Serve the sauce alongside the fried oysters and enjoy.

    A plate of fried oysters with cornmeal batter served with tartar sauce and lemon wedge

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

How to Keep Oysters Warm

To serve many hot fried oysters all at once:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 F before you begin to prepare the oysters.
  • Drain the hot fried oysters as directed.
  • Place them on a baking sheet as soon as they come out of the fryer and place them in the hot oven.
  • Fry all oysters and keep adding them to the baking sheet until you're finished frying.

Different Seasonings for the Cornmeal

The dry mixture is the perfect place to experiment with new flavors. Here are our favorites:

  • Cajun seasoning: Replace 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 teaspoon of a Cajun or Creole seasoning blend.
  • Spicy oysters: Add 1 tablespoon of hot sauce to the egg mixture. Add 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper to the cornmeal mixture.
  • Herby seasoning: Add 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder into the cornmeal.

Note: If you can't eat eggs because of a dietary restriction or allergy, use 1 /2 cup of buttermilk instead.