Recipe: Oyster Stew in 15 Minutes

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Oyster Stew

I remember loving oyster stew since I was a small girl. Frankly, it’s kind of like mother’s milk from the Earth and Sea. I know that sounds weird, but that’s how I felt about it today when I ate three bowls right before a long nap. I actually don’t like oysters very much. I prefer to swallow them whole. Chewing them is just too gross. But fresh oysters are essential to give the stew its oceany goodness. A few bowls and a few swallowed-whole oysters and I am one happy woman. My kids love the stew, too.

For some reason I remember oyster stew as a Christmas food. The most essential ingredient, however, is something you can’t make yourself. It’s O.T.C. (Original Trenton Crackers) Oyster and Soup Crackers (since 1848). They are hard little balls that you have to crack between your palms. If your palms aren’t red from cracking these crackers after three bowls of soup, then you haven’t added enough crackers. The crackers give the soup its thickness. Otherwise, it’s just the consistency of warm milk.

Oyster Stew


  • 1 stick organic butter
  • 1 pound shucked raw oysters, with their natural juices
  • 4 cups whole organic milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and brown ever so slightly.

2. Add the oysters and cook for a few minutes, until their sides are ruffled.

3. Add the milk, salt, and pepper and heat up until hot.

That’s it! I buy my oysters freshly shucked from the seafood counter. I guess if you have to shuck them yourself, this might take longer to make.


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9 Responses to Recipe: Oyster Stew in 15 Minutes

  1. Lee December 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    Mmmm. I also grew up on this. If you cut up the oysters before you cook them, you can actually chew them and don’t have to swallow them whole. Also good with some sauted onion and fried bacon.

  2. Donna in Delaware December 19, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    I never liked oysters. It sounds good though.

  3. Carolyn Scopone December 29, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    Yes, Christmas and oyster stew…Mama made it and Dad and I ate it. I was the only one out of 7 siblings that would sit with Dad and eat this delicious stew with oyster crackers. It took several years befor I could actually enjoy one of the oysters, but the broth smelled and tasted sooo good.

  4. shari January 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    I throw in a couple tblsp to 1/4 cup of sherry to taste–either with the milk to heat or tableside. That makes it I think. If you buy small oysters (best for this chowder) you don’t have to cut them and you can still chew them. I also sauté minced onion in the butter and garnish finished stew with chopped fresh parsley. Serve with sourdough bread and an Anchor Steam or similar malty beer. Delicious!

    Thanks Maria!

  5. Henrietta June 22, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Wonderful explanation of facts aavlailbe here.

  6. party crackers November 16, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    I’ve read a few just right stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you place to create one of these magnificent informative web site.

  7. Shari November 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    I’m in Colorado. now but enjoyed this in days gone by at a place called The Shop in Bolinas Beach, CA. I revisit this experience every year at home and your email today reminded me. Happy to find fresh oysters on sale at Whole Foods so I made this tonight with the minced onion and sherry. Enjoyed it with friends, a sourdough bolle and an Anchor Steam by a fire in the woodstove. No better definition of heaven.

  8. B Gabbert March 9, 2019 at 3:37 pm #

    This would be Oyster Soup. To make a Stew you need diced Potatoes ( instant mashed potato) to give thickness… Along with Onions & Celery ;seasoned with a good amount of Soy sauce and pepper. (with Round crackers)

  9. Joan Fox December 12, 2023 at 10:49 pm #

    I did not eat the oysters but love the flavor in the stew. Tried to just buy the juice but no go. Enjoy, but without OTC crackers it won’t be the same. I think they had it for new years Eve to line their stomach so they could drink more. What did I know
    I was a little kid. Enjoy!

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