How to Prepare Raw Oysters

by Angela LaFollette ; Updated September 28, 2017

If you enjoy oysters, try buying them fresh from your local grocery store or market. Learning how to shuck them requires skill, time and patience, but you'll be rewarded with a fresh taste of the sea. Crackers, lemon wedges and hot sauce often accompany raw oysters, usually listed on restaurant menus as oysters on the half shell. Besides being a delicacy, oysters provide many health benefits, such as helping to maintain a strong immune system, providing tyrosine to the brain to regulate the nervous system and improving vision.

Clean the oyster shells with a kitchen brush. Remove any dirt or debris that could come into contact with the raw oyster. Use a kitchen knife to remove any hard incrustations or deposits on the shell. Removing incrustations makes the overall appearance of the oyster shell more appealing when you serve the oysters.

Place the oysters in the freezer for one hour. This will make them easier to open.

Remove the oysters from the freezer. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes at room temperature.

Hold an oyster firmly in your hand over a bowl .Insert the flat knife between the top and bottom of the oyster’s shell. Use a towel to protect your hand when opening the oyster.

Twist the knife to begin prying open the oyster halves. Carefully work the knife around to the hinge muscle. Cut through this muscle with the knife. Allow the bowl to catch any excess liquid that comes from the oyster.

Hold the bottom part of the shell downward. Slide your knife between the oyster and the top shell.

Remove the top shell from the oyster. Move the knife under the oyster and loosen it from its bottom shell. Leave the oyster on the bottom shell to serve it.

Immediately serve the fresh oysters. Try serving the oysters with Tabasco sauce, crackers and lemon wedges.


  • Clean the oyster shells and place them in a bowl covered with a damp towel for 2 to 3 days if you are not going to prepare them immediately.

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About the Author

Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.