Chargrilled Oysters

Chargrilled oysters are a briny, cheesy, spicy and delicious appetizer (or meal) you can make at home. It only takes a few ingredients and a quick assembly, so grab your oyster shucker and fire up the grill. This chargrilled oyster recipe is easy and tastes like the ones from Drago’s in New Orleans.

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oysters in their shell on a sheet pan.

My oyster obsession comes from growing up in the Tidewater region of Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay, where I learned to eat raw oysters on the half shell, gobbled them up in an oyster stew, and swooned over fried oyster sandwiches.

When Scott and I visit New Orleans, chargrilled oysters are at the top of a very long MUST-EAT list. Usually, we’ll get them at Drago’s on Poydras street, but I admit the chargrilled oysters from Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter are pretty tasty too.

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We love them so much that waiting for our next trip to the Big Easy for another oyster fix is out of the question. Luckily, they’re easy to make at home and ready to enjoy in about half an hour.

Using plump, fresh oysters in their shell, with Creole seasoning, butter and cheese, you can make this close replication of Drago’s Charbroiled oysters recipe on your home grill.

Ingredients for Chargrilled Oysters

  • Fresh Oysters In Their Shells – get them from a reputable fishmonger.
  • Creole Seasoning – you can use homemade or storebought.
  • Unsalted Butter – we prefer unsalted because the Creole seasoning is well salted.
  • Parsley – Adds fresh flavor to the grilled oysters.
  • Lemon Zest – fresh citrus zest gives the butter sauce a lively freshness.
  • Fresh Garlic – for a punch of flavor and heat.
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese – to create the irresistible crust on the chargrilled oysters.

Seasoning for the char grilled oysters

If you have a Creole or Cajun seasoning in your pantry, you can use it in this dish.

Otherwise, make my easy recipe for Creole seasoning from basic pantry staples like smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic and onion powder, dried oregano and thyme.

It adds a spicy New Orleans vibe to the chargrilled oysters, but you can use leftover spice as a tasty seasoning for chicken, pork, seafood, pasta, potatoes, and rice… it’s that versatile.

Since this recipe comes together very quickly, it’s essential to have the ingredients prepped and ready before you start shucking the oysters.

Making the cheesy topping for chargrilled oysters

  1. In a small bowl, combine the softened butter, Creole seasoning, garlic, parsley, lemon zest and grated pecorino romano cheese.
  2. Mash them with the back of a fork until you have a smooth, creamy paste.
  3. Set aside the butter mixture until you’re ready to top the oysters, and here’s a pro tip... Don’t rest it beside the grill as it’s heating, or it will melt prematurely.

That’s it. Pretty simple, right?

The steps of shucking an oyster.

Now let’s clean the oysters.

  • Run the mollusks under fresh water.
  • Use a stiff brush {affiliate link} to scrub the outside of the shell and remove any sand or grit that’s stuck on.
  • Rinse away the detritus under fresh water and get ready to shuck.

Recommended gear for shucking oysters

I strongly recommend you take the proper precautions. Not only can the oyster shells be sharp, but the oyster shucker is pretty much a blunt dagger that can also cause injury.

  • Protect yourself with a good pair of oyster shucking gloves, preferably some with a rubber grip, for greater control {affiliate link}.
  • Don’t try to jury rig a screwdriver or butter knife to open the oysters. You need a bonafide oyster shucker {affiliate link}.
  • An old (but clean) dishtowel is handy to rest the oyster shell on to keep it in place without skittering across the counter.
  • Keep a rimmed baking sheet nearby to transfer the shucked oysters to (If your oysters are a little tippy, you can bunch up some aluminum foil to create a nest in the pan and help balance the shellfish so you don’t spill the liqueur.

How to shuck oysters (without injury)

  • Wear oyster gloves to protect your hands. Rest the oyster, cup side down on the old dish towel to secure it. 
  • Insert the tip of the oyster knife adjacent to the oyster’s hinge, forcing it open and twisting to break the hinge. (Wipe the blade off on the towel to prevent any bits of shell from getting back into the shucked oyster). 
  • Slide the oyster knife along the inside top of the shell (the flat side) to disconnect the meat from the adductor muscle. Discard the flat shell so that the oysters are resting on the cupped side of the mollusk. Don’t loosen the oyster from the bottom shell, otherwise you’ll risk it escaping while you’re grilling them. Try not to lose the oyster liqueur as you want it for the sauce. 
  • Transfer the oysters in their shell to the baking sheet, so they stand upright and do not lean to one side. Continue to process the seafood in this manner.

You can use a gas grill or charcoal grill for cooking the oysters, and you’ll want it at a reasonably high heat, around 500°, maybe a smidge more.

Chargrilling the oysters

  1. Place the oysters carefully on the hottest part of the grill grates, balancing them so they stand upright without losing the oyster or the liquor (use a Pitt Mitt {affiliate link}, so you don’t burn yourself).
  2. Cook the oysters for 5-7 minutes (with the lid closed). Once the liquid starts to bubble around the edges, it’s time to add the topping.
  3. Spoon a teaspoon or so of the butter mixture onto each oyster, close the lid and charbroil the oysters for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the shellfish with additional grated cheese and grill for 1-2 more minutes until bubbly.
  5. Carefully transfer the oysters (use a Pitt Mitt {affiliate link}) onto a platter. (We like to line the platter with rock salt {affiliate link} to give the oysters a bit of stability so they don’t tip and lose their liquid.)

Cooking oysters in the oven:

If you don’t have a grill, or if it’s just too cold to go outside to fire it up, you can cook the oysters in your oven. Here’s how:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500°.
  2. Arrange the shucked oysters on a baking sheet so they’re standing upright and you’re not using any of the oyster’s liqueur. If they’re unsteady, as they usually are, crumple some aluminum foil and lay it on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake the oysters for 5-7 minutes or until the liquid bubbles at the edges.
  4. Top each oyster with a teaspoon of the butter mixture and cook the oysters for 3-4 more minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with grated cheese and turn the oven to broil. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and bubbling.

Variations and substitutions:

  • Swap Pecorino Romano for grated Parmigiano-Reggiano in the filling and topping.
  • Swap Cajun or Old Bay seasoning for the Creole.
  • Add panko breadcrumbs and send them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes for a crunchy topping.
  • For a smoky bite, add cooked crumbled bacon with the cheese.
  • If you want to veg it up, saute some mushrooms and spinach in a bit of butter and spoon them over the oysters after adding the butter mixture, then finish with the cheese.
Chargrilling the oysters on a gas grill.


How long will leftovers last?

These are best eaten when you make them. If you think you’ll have leftovers, make fewer oysters. The filling will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Are the oysters fully cooked on the grill?

Yes. No need to worry about raw seafood with this recipe.

How do I store a bag of oysters in the refrigerator?

Place the oysters in a large bowl and soak a dishtowel under running water. Ring it out so the towel is damp, and cover the oysters with the towel (tuck it inside the bowl, so there are no drips. Continue to wet the towel daily and keep the oysters in the refrigerator. They can last for several (2-3 weeks).

Grilled oysters with cheese and butter topping on a platter lined with rock salt and a wedge of lemon.

How to serve chargrilled oysters:

You can enjoy the oysters hot from the grill, but to round out this tasty appetizer, add a little hot sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Serve with a warm loaf of soft french bread to sop up the garlic butter sauce. Oh-ma-GAWD! So good!

What my tasters said:

“They taste just like Drago’s chargrilled oysters recipe. It’s like I’m in New Orleans.” – Scott

“Grilling them with the butter, spices and cheese takes the oysters to a new level. Delicious!” – Francoise

A pewter platter lined with rock salt and topped with chargrilled oysters with lemon wedges.

More famous fried and chargrilled oysters recipes you’ll love:

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5 from 7 votes

Chargrilled oysters

Looking for an authentic New Orleans chargrilled oysters recipe? This is it. These bivalves are rich, buttery, briny with a lively spice and cheesy crust. Easy to make on your grill or in a hot oven, these chargrilled oysters are the closest thing you can get to the Big Easy without a plane ticket.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Creole, Louisiana
Keyword grilled oysters
Dietary Restrictions Egg Free, Gluten-Free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 pair oyster shucking gloves
  • 1 Pitt Mitt or grill safe gloves
  • 1 oyster shucking knife
  • 1 old, clean dish towel that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • rimmed baking sheet
  • aluminum foil


  • 1 dozen oysters in their shells
  • 4 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 6 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano



  • In a small bowl, combine the softened butter with Creole seasoning, parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Mash with a fork to combine until you have a thick paste.
  • Clean the oysters by running them under fresh water and using a sturdy wire or stiff bristled brush to clean the outside shells of dirt and grit. Rinse the oysters and set aside.
  • SHUCK THE OYSTERS:Wear the oyster gloves to protect your hands. Rest the oyster, cup side down on the old dish towel to secure it.
  • Insert the tip of the oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster, forcing it open and twisting to break the hinge. (Wipe the knife off on the towel). 
  • Slide the oyster knife along the top of the shell to disconnect the meat from the top flat shell. Discard the flat shell so that the oysters are resting in the cupped side of the shell. Don’t loosen the oyster from the bottom of the shell, to help prevent it from escaping while you’re grilling them. Try not to lose the oyster liqueur as you want it for the sauce. 
  • Transfer the oysters in their shell to the tin foil lined baking sheet in such a way that they stand upright and not lean to one side. Continue to shuck the oysters, in this manner.


  • Use the Pitt Mitts to carefully place the oysters on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the oyster liqueur starts to bubble up around the sides.
  • Divide the seasoned butter among the oysters and close the grill lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the butter has melted and is bubbling.
  • Sprinkle the oysters with Pecorino Romano cheese and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the cheese is melted and crusty. For more browning, you can place the oysters under the broiler for 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer to a serving platter (line it with rock salt to prevent the oysters from tipping over) and serve hot.


YouTube video


Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 213mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 1552IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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  1. 5 stars
    Haven’t tried this specifically but mine are extremely similar! I melt lots of butter n garlic w fresh chopped thyme let solidify take some mix w parm n panko. incredibly amazing made em all summer on charcoal w wood chips mmmmm serve w PBR

  2. 5 stars
    This came out amazing!!! Can’t believe how good they are!

  3. 5 stars
    OMG!!! These look fantastic! We used to toss them on the grill or wood fire and toss a wet cloth over them to steam, but this takes them to a new, elegant level! Great recipe, Lisa!