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Oyster Stew

Posted by Denise on December 22, 2011

oyster stew in white bowl

Our Oyster Stew is a treasured tradition for Christmas Eve supper.

Oyster stew is traditionally what we make for Christmas Eve supper. We look forward to eating it for weeks beforehand. On Christmas Eve day, we prepare it several hours before we plan to serve it, simmering it on the stove and filling the house with the wonderful fragrance of the stew as it gently cooks. If we are attending a party, I always offer to bring the oyster stew. The offer is always gratefully accepted. We have never gone a Christmas Eve without eating our oyster stew!

One of the really nice things about oyster stew is that it is pretty flexible. You will generally always have people who prefer the broth only, not wanting to eat the oysters, so a large quantity of broth is important. Last minute visitors dropping in just before meal time? Quietly add more milk or cream to the pot and let it come up to temperature, stirring to mix well. Then you are ready to serve the additional guests as well.

We serve oyster stew with cheese and crackers. Sometimes we add a salad. After the abundance and heaviness of the season up to Christmas Eve and the anticipation of the upcoming Christmas feast, this meal is filling but light. Just perfect!

Our version of the recipe is very simple, allowing the briny oyster flavor to shine through. A simple addition of salt and pepper to taste is all that it needs to be fantastic.




Oyster Stew

8-10 servings




oyster stew ingredients 

Oyster Stew ingredients







Tablespoons butter or margarine


Pints shucked oysters in their juice


quarts half and half cream


quarts milk


Salt and pepper to taste


Small crackers, such as oyster crackers (optional)


Fresh chopped parsley to garnish (optional)



1.    Melt butter in a large heavy soup pot on low heat.


                   oyster stew melting butter


2.    When the butter is just melted, add the oysters and their juice. Cook on medium heat until they almost come to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the oysters are cooked through but not tough.


                 oyster stew cooking oysters 1

Raw oysters are sorta slimy and limp, but they firm up and become succulent, like pictured below:

                 oyster stew cooking oysters in their juice



3.    Add the cream and milk. Keep the heat on low and simmer until needed, at least an hour and up to several hours. If a skim forms on top, gently mix back in. It will dissolve back into the stew. If a “skin” forms on the bottom of the pan, try not to stir that up into the stew since it will not dissolve. If the heat is low enough, the skin should not form on the bottom. Stir periodically.


                  Adding milk to oyster stew and simmering


4.    Serve hot with crackers and parsley for garnish, if desired.

                    oyster stew in bowl



oyster stew in Christmas bowl


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