Crispy fried oysters are a classic Southern dish that's often enjoyed as an appetizer or in a po'boy sandwich. Made from a delicious cornmeal batter that's seasoned with spicy Creole seasoning, deep-fried oysters are perfectly crispy and crunchy on the outside, and perfectly tender on the inside.
They're an amazing, fast appetizer you can whip up in no time – ideal for bringing a little taste of New Orleans to your table. Use the freshest oysters you can find for the best flavor and feel free to get creative with the seasoning!
There are only a few ingredients you need to make the best homemade fried oysters you'll ever taste.
First, you'll need some freshly shucked oysters.
For the batter, you'll need yellow cornmeal, flour, salt, and Creole seasoning.
The best oil for frying oysters is any neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, canola oil, and peanut oil are all good choices.
To make the crispy deep-fried oysters at home, start by heating your oil in a Dutch oven. Drain off the oysters but don't rinse them – you want that briny flavor. Place the oysters in a large bowl with the buttermilk. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Coat the oysters in the cornmeal mixture, making sure each oyster is well-covered. Once the oil reaches 375F, fry the oysters for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. Take them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and let them drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
To keep them warm, place them in an oven preheated to 200F. Serve them hot with a little tartar sauce or pop them into a po'boy.
If you like spice, add some cayenne pepper or chili flakes to the cornmeal mixture, or add a few lashings of hot sauce to the buttermilk. Or try experimenting with other herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, or Italian seasoning, or paprika, mustard powder, or taco seasoning.
You can try different coatings like breadcrumbs, panko, crushed crackers (Ritz crackers are especially good thanks to their buttery flavor), or tempura batter.
You can also make gluten-free deep-fried oysters by swapping out the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour.
Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature of the oil for frying. It should reach 375F before you start frying the oysters.
Put the oysters on a wire rack after coating them. This will keep the coating from rubbing off.
To help stop hot oil from splattering all over your cooking area, use a splatter guard.
Depending on the size of your oysters, you'll want to fry between six to eight at a time. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan as the oysters won't get properly crispy.
Buttermilk adds a wonderful tanginess and helps keep the oysters tender, but if you don't have any, you can use regular milk. For a non-dairy option, almond milk or coconut milk both work well, too.
Serve your deep-fried oysters as an appetizer with a side of tartar sauce or remoulade and some lemon wedges.
To make them into a full meal, try making a crispy fried oyster po'boy sandwich, enjoy them with a side salad, coleslaw, pickles, or French fries.
It's best to enjoy fried oysters right away.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Drain the oysters in a strainer.
In a large bowl, combine buttermilk and oysters.
In a separate bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, Creole seasoning, and salt.
Coat the oysters in the cornmeal mixture one at a time. Make sure they're completely coated.
Fry the oysters in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Serve immediately.
Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point like peanut, vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil.