Easy Oyster Stew

Easy Oyster Stew

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
692 Calories
45g Fat
35g Carbs
36g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 692
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 45g 57%
Saturated Fat 26g 128%
Cholesterol 262mg 87%
Sodium 771mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 21mg 106%
Calcium 250mg 19%
Iron 15mg 83%
Potassium 761mg 16%
*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.)

For many, when hearing the word oyster, they think about extremely difficult and fancy dishes that only restaurant chefs can accomplish. But in reality, there is nothing simpler than an oyster stew. There's nothing to chop, there's no sauteeing of vegetables, no extreme preparation. Simply place all the ingredients in a large pot, cook until hot, and serve with oyster crackers. This simple one-pot meal is actually a soup, but it's been called a stew for decades. The main difference between the two is that soups have a higher liquid quantity, even if there are other solid ingredients, whereas stews are thick and hearty and could be picked up with a fork, even if they have some liquid in them.

Oysters are high in many essential nutrients and minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium, very low in calories, and still comparatively high in protein compared to other animal meats. A 3-ounce serving of oysters has 69 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 8 grams of protein, compared to the 210 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 14 grams of protein that the same serving size of ground beef provides. Oysters are available in the refrigerator section of the seafood department; you can find them in 10-ounce or 32-ounce jars. While not fresh from the sea, these oysters are a good option, and a time-saving one, too. If you choose to use fresh oysters and shuck them, buy between 48 and 60 oysters.


  • 32 ounces jarred or canned oysters with juice

  • 5 cups half-and-half

  • 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups oyster crackers

  • Paprika, for garnish

  • Hot sauce, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Easy Oyster Stew ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Combine all ingredients except oyster crackers, paprika, and hot sauce in a large saucepan.

    Combine all ingredients except oyster crackers, paprika, and hot sauce in a large saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Stirring often, bring to a near boil, but don't allow the mixture to actually boil or you risk that the soup may curdle.

    cook the oyster stew in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring often. Serve with oyster cracker, a sprinkling of paprika, and hot sauce if desired.

    Easy Oyster Stew in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Why Does Oyster Stew Curdle?

The reason for curdling is enzymes in fresh oysters that can cause a chemical reaction, which causes the proteins to coagulate. Not allowing the soup to boil, keeping it at a steady low temperature while cooking and stirring often, will help prevent curdling.

Another reason the stew could curdle is if the milk or half and half is added cold after other ingredients, oysters included, are already hot. That's why it's best to start the stew with all of the ingredients at similar temperatures and heat them up at the same time.

For either of these reasons, if your stew curdles, it's not a problem. The flavor won't be affected. If it happens, remove the stew from the heat immediately, add an ice cube, and keep stirring. The texture might go back to normal by doing so. If not, it means the temperature was too high for too long. It will taste good, but it won't be quite as attractive.

Dairy-Free Oyster Stew

Many people who can't digest dairy, or choose not to eat it, miss out on delicious seafood stews and soups because they often have dairy products, from butter to whole milk. Or half and half like our recipe. Although many might argue the following variation isn't a proper oyster stew, it is a delicious one, even if not classic:

  • Replace the 5 cups of half-and-half with 3 cups of full-fat coconut milk and 2 cups of coconut cream. Cook all ingredients together, like in the original recipe. Add extra salt, as needed, as the coconut flavor and creaminess might require you to do so.

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Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  2. Beef, Raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.