Oysters Rockefeller Casserole

The Ultimate Oysters Rockefeller Recipe

Pinterest pin showing oysters rockefeller on a bed of rock salt.

Ultimate Oysters Rockefeller is for you if you are looking for an outstanding appetizer to impress your guests or a light, healthy dinner entree! This classic dish is a must-try for seafood lovers and, like my recipe for Southern Crispy Fried Oysters, is perfect for showcasing oysters’ briny and succulent flavors.

This simple recipe features plump Gulf of Mexico oysters on the half shell, topped with a rich and flavorful blend of spinach, parmesan cheese, garlic butter, panko, and Pernod, then baked or roasted until they are golden brown.

These little jewels are a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy nature’s bounty and are bound to be a hit at your next gathering.

Three oysters on a bed of rock salt topped with spinach and panko.

Like this sea scallops recipe, not only is this recipe easy to make, but these visually stunning and flavor-packed baked oysters are an elegant addition to any dinner party or special occasion. So get ready to indulge your taste buds and try my ultimate Oysters Rockefeller recipe today!

Special thanks to my friend Deborah Keller for generously sharing her farmed Oyster Mom oysters and her husband Jack Todd for shucking them for me. This is not a sponsored post. Oyster Mom oysters are delicious, and I highly recommend them if you are in the Tallahassee area.

Using an oyster glove and oyster knife to shuck an oyster.

Jump to:

  • Ingredient notes:
  • How to make Oysters Rockefeller:
  • Sides that pair well with this dish:
  • Recipe variations:
  • Why oysters are essential for the environment:
  • Recipe FAQs
  • Top tips and tricks:
  • More seafood recipes:
  • 📋 Recipe:

Ingredient notes:

Ingredients to make oysters rockefella including spinach and parmesan cheese.

  • Raw oysters – you will need fresh raw oysters, either shucked on the half-shell or unshucked.
  • Spinach – fresh spinach, a classic ingredient in Oysters Rockefeller, adds color, texture, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. You can use frozen, but ensure you have squeezed all the excess water.
  • Garlic and shallots – add a touch of garlic and onion flavor.
  • Pernod – another classic ingredient in Oysters Rockefeller, adds a faint licorice flavor. Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur. You can substitute vermouth or sweet white wines such as Moscato, Moscatel, Reisling, chardonnay, pinot grigio, or sauvignon blanc.
  • Butter and olive oil – are used to saute the spinach and added to the topping.
  • Bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley – form the tasty topping.
  • Red pepper sauce, kosher salt, and pepper- season the dish and enhance the other flavors.
  • Rock or ice cream salt – is used to keep the shells from tipping over and spilling their juice while they bake. It also helps to make a nice presentation. If you don’t have rock salt, you can use a muffin pan or Madeline pan to hold the oysters while they cook.
  • Optional: fresh lemon wedges and chopped chives for garnish.
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(Specific measurements can be found in the recipe below.)

How to make Oysters Rockefeller:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450° F.
  2. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet or dish by covering it with about a half-inch thick layer of rock salt. Nestle the oysters on the half shell in the salt to steady them. Set aside.
  3. Melt four tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds or until it is fragrant. Pour half of the garlic butter into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the minced shallot, chopped spinach, and parsley to the remaining garlic butter in the skillet and sauté for about three minutes or until the spinach wilts. The key is not to overcook the spinach; you do not want it to be mushy.
Sautéing fresh spinach in a skillet.
  1. Add the Pernod to deglaze the pan. Add a dash of red pepper sauce and season with a half teaspoon of kosher salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and remaining salt and pepper to the bowl with the garlic butter. Mix well.
  3. Top each oyster with one to two heaping teaspoons of the spinach mixture, followed by a spoonful of the breadcrumb mixture.
Oysters Rockefeller on a bed of rock salt ready to bake.
  1. Bake the oysters for 10-15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the oysters start to curl around the edges.
Three baked oysters topped with spinach and panko.
  1. Serve the baked oysters on the rock salt and garnish with lemon wedges.
Baked Oysters Rockefeller garnished with lemon wedges ready to serve.

Sides that pair well with this dish:

If you are serving this dish as an entree, it’s rich, so it’s best to pair it with lighter sides that won’t overwhelm its flavor. Here are some suggestions for sides that pair well with Oysters Rockefeller:

  1. Salad: A light green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing, such as my Spinach Salad with Apples and Pecans or my Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Pecans, can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the oysters.
  2. Bread: Southern Style Hush Puppies, Hoe Cakes, or Cheesy Texas Toast Garlic Bread is a great way to soak up any remaining sauce or juices from the oysters.
  3. Vegetables: Sweet and Sour Green Beans, Southern Fried Cabbage, Baked Tomato Casserole, or Grilled Vegetable Kabobs can balance out the richness of the oysters.
  4. Dessert: light, refreshing desserts such as Homemade Strawberry Sherbet, Southern Grape Salad, or Key Lime Mousse would be an excellent way to end this meal.
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Recipe variations:

  • Add a bit of cooked and crumbled bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto to the topping.
  • If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can substitute lemon juice.
  • Add more cheese to the topping. Good choices include Monterey Jack, asiago, fontina, and mozzarella.
  • Add a cup of heavy cream to the garlic butter and reduce it a bit before adding the spinach.

Why oysters are essential for the environment:

Oysters are natural “ecosystem engineers,” for they maintain or improve water quality and clarity and cycle nutrients throughout the water where they are found.

They also assume the characteristic taste and flavor of the surrounding water, the “merroir”; this is why oysters harvested from different locations taste slightly different.

Recipe FAQs

What’s the origin of this dish?

Oysters Rockefeller was created at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans in 1899 as a substitute for escargot. The story goes that the dish was so rich that it was named after John D. Rockefeller, one of the world’s wealthiest men at the time.

Can I use canned oysters to make this recipe?

Fresh oysters on the half shell are recommended for making Oysters Rockefeller, as they have the best flavor and texture. Canned oysters are already cooked and would negatively affect the taste and texture of the dish.

How should I store and reheat leftovers?

If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

This dish is best enjoyed right out of the oven. However, if you have leftovers, they can be reheated covered n a 400 °F oven for about five minutes or until they are warmed.

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Can I freeze Oysters Rockefeller?

I don’t freeze them because it compromises them and changes their texture and taste.

Can you make this recipe ahead?

This dish is best when eaten hot right out of the oven. Therefore, I do not recommend making it ahead for the best results. However, you could prepare the spinach mixture and the panko topping ahead and assemble and bake right before serving it.

Top tips and tricks:

  • Oysters are tricky to open. If you don’t know how to shuck them, I recommend that you have your seafood market do it for you or buy them already shucked. Shucking oysters or removing their shell requires a special oyster knife and a certain amount of skill. If you are interested in learning how to shuck them, check out this video by America’s Test Kitchen.
  • If you buy oysters that are already shucked without shells, you can use small ramekins, a muffin pan, or a Madeline pan to hold the oysters and the other ingredients. The dish won’t look as fancy, but the oysters will still be delicious.
  • Another option is to make an Oyster Rockefeller casserole by layering the oysters in a baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, adding the topping, and baking. If you choose this method, you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.

More seafood recipes:

If you like seafood as we do, I know you will also love these popular recipes:

Brown Sugar Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
Pan Seared Scallops with Salsa Verde
Crispy Pan-Fried Buffalo Shrimp
Easy Crispy Pan-Fried Shrimp

However, if you need more menu ideas, check out all of my seafood recipes here.

📋 Recipe:

Three oysters Rockefeller on a bed of rock salt.

The Ultimate Oysters Rockefeller Recipe

This simple recipe features plump Gulf of Mexico oysters on the half shell, topped with a rich and flavorful blend of spinach, parmesan cheese, garlic butter, panko, and Pernod, then baked or roasted until they are golden brown.