Fried Oysters


Crispy fried oysters are a party food, appetizer, or a down-them-by-the bushel dinner.

Fried oysters on a plate with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce.

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
2 Servings

Crispy, salty, juicy—is there a Southern seafood delicacy more coveted than fried oysters? In this recipe, Bill Smith combines self-rising flour and corn flour to create a dredge that fluffs and fries up exceptionally crispy, yielding golden, crunchy oysters you’ll finish eating before you even knew you started.


  • Peanut oil, for frying

  • 1 cup self-rising flour

  • 1 cup corn flour (such as Maseca)

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

  • 2 dozen fresh shucked Select oysters in liquid, drained, divided

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

  • Cocktail sauce or mayonnaise mixed with Sriracha, for serving


  1. Pour oil to a depth of 3/4 inch in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet; heat oil over medium-high to 370°F.

  2. Whisk together self-rising flour, corn flour, salt, and pepper in a wide, shallow baking dish. Shake off excess liquor from oysters. Working with 1 oyster at a time, dredge 12 oysters in flour mixture. Place on a large plate. Dredge oysters in flour mixture again, gently shaking off excess.

  3. Add dredged oysters to hot oil, and cook, turning occasionally using a slotted spoon or spider skimmer, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. (Immediately begin cooking them once they are breaded; the crust won’t be as crisp if breading sits and becomes soggy.) Drain oysters on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with additional salt to taste, and serve immediately with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce. Return oil to 370°F. Repeat dredging, cooking, and serving process with remaining oysters.

Related Articles