Fried Oysters with Tartar Sauce

Try making these delicious fried oysters at home. Photo credit: Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food stylist: Sue Li. Prop stylist: Nicole Louie.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
shucking the oysters: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: appetizer, cooked, cooked shellfish, fried oysters, oysters, sauce, tartar sauce
Servings: 6
Calories: 393


  • deep skillet for frying


For the Oysters:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper to taste
  • 24 shucked, plump, meaty oysters
  • 2 large eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • lbs Vegetable shortening preferably Crisco

For the Tartar Sauce:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 small shallots
  • 8 cornichons
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar from the cornichon jar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons capers and their brine
  • 1 shy cup mayonnaise preferably Hellman’s or Real Foods
  • cup sour cream
  • tablespoons lemon juice from about 1/2 lemon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped


Prepare the Oysters:

  • Season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge each oyster in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg, then coat evenly in the panko.
  • Set breaded oysters on a baking cooling rack, leaving a little room between the oysters so they can dry and set. Refrigerate until ready to fry and serve.

Make the Sauce:

  • Finely mince garlic with a pinch of salt until sticky and pasty. Mince shallots, cornichons and capers as finely as possible. Add all to a small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, caper brine and cornichon vinegar, and stir well. Add chopped parsley, stir well and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fry the Oysters:

  • Melt enough shortening in a deep medium skillet (we love cast iron) over medium for 1 1/2 inches of liquified fat once hot. Increase heat to medium-high. It’s ready to fry in when a few crumbs of panko or the tip of a wooden chopstick sizzles actively in the fat.
  • Add the oysters cold from the refrigerator, working in batches of 6 to 8 or as you have room. Fry, making sure to turn them to get both sides, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, depending on size. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider, and let rest on a clean rack while you fry the rest. Season each batch with a little salt while still piping hot, as soon as you pull them from the fat. Serve with tartar sauce.


If you don’t want to deep fry the oysters, you can cook them in an air fryer for about 10 mins or so, depending on the size of the oysters.
This recipe originally appeared in a New York Times Magazine article entitled, Fried Oysters Are Delicious. They’re Even Better at Home, by Gabrielle Hamilton.
Photo credit: Ryan Liebe for The New York Times.
Food stylist: Sue Li.
Prop stylist: Nicole Louie.


Serving: 4oysters | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 799mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 274IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
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