Southern Oyster Dressing

updated Oct 10, 2023
christmas
Oyster Dressing Recipe

Oyster dressing is a Southern-style side with briny Gulf oysters, savory mushrooms, and crusty bread.

Serves4

Prep25 minutes

Cook50 minutes

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A photo of oyster dressing in a skillet with a spoon resting in the skillet.
Credit: Maria Do

Oyster dressing is a en elegant holiday side dish that includes briny oysters in lieu of turkey. This tasty Southern take on holiday stuffing (or dressing), made with the holy trinity vegetables (green bell peppers, onion, and celery), savory mushrooms, crusty bread, and the star ingredient — succulent oysters. It’s a classic reserved for celebrations, especially along the coast where oysters are plentiful and fresh, but now you can add this to your holiday traditions no matter where you reside.

What Is Oyster Dressing?

Adding oysters to stuffing may seem extravagant today, but it wasn’t so at the height of the dish’s popularity back in the mid-19th-century. At that time, oysters were plentiful and affordable, while turkey was a luxury for many Americans. While oysters are a specialty ingredient today, the dish is still a tradition on many holiday tables, especially along the Southern coast.

Ingredients in Oyster Dressing

How Do You Make Oyster Dressing?

  • Sauté aromatics. Cook celery, onion, and bell pepper with unsalted butter in a skillet until tender. Then add the seasonings (garlic, salt-free Cajun seasoning, kosher salt, and black pepper).
  • Add oysters, and chicken stock. Bring oysters and chicken stock to a simmer.
  • Fold in bread and herbs. Stir the bread and herbs into the oyster mixture until the bread absorbs most of the liquid and the mixture is combined.
  • Bake. Bake covered until warm, then uncover and continue baking until the top of the dressing is crispy and browned.
Credit: Maria Do

What to Serve with Oyster Dressing?

Oyster Dressing Recipe

Oyster dressing is a Southern-style side with briny Gulf oysters, savory mushrooms, and crusty bread.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion

  • 1/2

    medium green bell pepper

  • 3 medium stalks

    celery

  • 8 ounces

    white button or cremini mushrooms

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 3

    medium scallions

  • 1/2 medium bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 5 ounces

    crusty day-old bread, such as 1/2 French baguette

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 pint

    (16 ounces) shucked oysters, preferably Gulf

  • 2 teaspoons

    salt-free Cajun seasoning

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400º F.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Dice 1/2 medium yellow onion, 1/2 medium green bell pepper, and 3 medium celery stalks (about 2 cups total). Dice 8 ounces white button or cremini mushrooms.

  3. Mince 4 garlic cloves. Thinly slice 3 medium scallions. Finely chop the leaves from 1/2 medium bunch fresh parsley until you have 1/4 cup; reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish. Cut 5 ounces day-old crusty bread into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups).

  4. Pour off 1/2 cup of the oysters juices from 1 pint shucked oysters and pour the juice through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl. Drain the remaining juices from the oysters (about 1 1/2 cups drained).

  5. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large cast iron or regular skillet over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the oysters, strained oyster juices, and 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.

  6. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Add the bread, scallions, and parsley. Stir and simmer until the bread is fully soaked in liquid, about 4 minutes. Keep the dressing in the cast iron skillet, or transfer to a greased baking dish if the skillet is not oven safe. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden-brown and crispy on top, about 15 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with the reserved parsley.

Recipe Notes

Salt-free Cajun seasoning substitute: If you can only find Cajun seasoning with salt, reduce the amount of kosher salt in the recipe to 1 teaspoon.

Make ahead: The dressing can be baked up to 1 day ahead. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate. Bake uncovered in a 400º F oven until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with the parsley right before serving.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.