Grilled Oysters

Grilled oysters in shells on a serving plate

The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
163 Calories
5g Fat
10g Carbs
19g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 163
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 100mg 33%
Sodium 212mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 13mg 64%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 9mg 51%
Potassium 302mg 6%
*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.)

Raw oysters on the half-shell are a delicious delicacy, but shucking the oysters is not an easy feat. Cooking them on the grill, however, eliminates the need for struggling with a sharp knife and results in the mollusks having a subtle smokey taste. Just be sure to follow the steps and exercise some caution as there is a risk of one or more oysters bursting open.

This method works with any type of oyster, but super small Olympias, Kumamotos, or other Pacific oysters can get lost through the cooking grate. If you want to grill particularly small oysters, set them on a piece of foil with a few holes punched in it. You can grill as many oysters as fit on your grill. Plan on 4 to 6 oysters per person as an appetizer. 

"The grilled oysters were easy, and the oysters are clearly the star with the simple seasonings. I served my oysters with melted butter, a drizzle of hot sauce, and lemon wedges, and they were a hit. My medium-size oysters were cooked in about 5 minutes at 400 F." —Diana Rattray

Grilled oysters with lemon and butter/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 10 to 12 fresh oysters

  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, optional

  • Hot sauce, optional

  • Lemon wedges, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Rinse the oysters in cold water. Discard any with shells that are open and won't stay closed when gently squeezed shut. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high.

    Ingredients for grilled oysters recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  2. Set the oysters, with the cupped side down, directly on the grill grate.

    Oysters placed with the cupped side down on a grill grate

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  3. Cover the grill and cook until the oysters have opened and the meat is opaque and cooked through but not yet dried out, about 5 minutes for smaller oysters and 8 to 10 minutes for larger ones. Note that most oysters will open their shells enough to make it easy to lift off the top shell, but not as wide as cooked mussels and clams.

    Oysters on the grill

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  4. Use tongs or heavy-duty oven/grilling mitts to remove the oysters from the grill.

    Oysters on a platter next to tongs

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  5. Remove the top shell and, for easy eating, run a sharp knife along the inside of the bottom shell to detach the oyster. 

    Oysters with the top shell removed on a platter

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  6. Serve the oysters hot or warm with melted butter, hot sauce, lemon wedges, or any other desired toppings.

    Grilled oysters served with lemon wedges and melted butter

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

Recipe Variation

If you can't grill the oysters, roast them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a rack or layer of kosher salt in a roasting pan. Arrange the oysters on the rack or salt and bake for about 8 to 12 minutes, or until they have begun to open.

How to Serve

You can top the hot oysters with a bit of butter, compound butter, your favorite barbecue sauce, or, for something tasty and a bit different, a dollop of pesto. You can also remove the top shell from the cooked oysters, add a bit of sauce to each, and return to the grill for a deeper flavor.

What if some oysters don't open?

Some oysters may not open because the muscle that joins the oyster to the shell doesn't let go. If most of your oysters open but you have a few live oysters that don't, pry them open. If the oysters are bad, they will smell.

How long do live oysters last in the refrigerator?

Store live oysters in the refrigerator, cup side down, covered with a moist cloth—they need to breathe so don't store in an airtight container. Fresh live oysters will last for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.