Oysters Rockefeller

published Feb 18, 2022
Oysters Rockefeller Recipe

If you love shellfish, try this no-fuss oysters Rockefeller recipe.


Makes12 oysters

Prep25 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Oysters Rockefeller consists of oysters on the half-shell that have been topped with a rich sauce of butter, parsley and other green herbs, and bread crumbs, then baked or broiled.
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Today, oysters Rockefeller can be found on countless restaurant menus but the idea can be traced back all the way to the 1800’s at Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans. The chef-inventor took the original recipe to his grave, so any version from that point on is just an assumption on how it’s prepared. The oysters are known for a trademark green color, and many recipes use spinach, however chefs from the restaurant claim the original version did not contain this ingredient. Some recipes use watercress to achieve this color, while others use fresh parsley.

In this version, I use Blue Point oysters from the East Coast because I love how salty and briny they are, with a clean, crisp seawater flavor. I top them with a combination of watercress and parsley in a buttery sauce made with a splash of Pernod. Panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese make for a crisp topping that becomes golden and bubbly in the oven.

What Are Oysters Rockefeller?

Oysters Rockefeller is a dish made with oysters on the half shell that have been topped with a combination of green herbs, butter, and breadcrumbs. They are then baked or broiled and served with lemon wedges.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

What to Serve with Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller are typically enjoyed as an appetizer. They especially pair perfectly with a glass of bubbly Champagne.

Oysters Rockefeller Origin

Oysters Rockefeller was created at the iconic New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s in 1889. Legend has it the dish was invented out of desperation when there was a shortage of escargot and locally available oysters were used as a substitute. It’s named after John D. Rockefeller, who was the wealthiest American at that time.

Oysters Rockefeller Recipe

If you love shellfish, try this no-fuss oysters Rockefeller recipe.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes 12 oysters

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 to 2 cups

    rock salt

  • 12

    raw oysters, any variety, medium-sized

  • 1

    small shallot

  • 1 clove


  • 1/2 bunch

    watercress (about 1 packed cup)

  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons

    grated Parmesan cheese

  • 6 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon


  • 1

    medium lemon


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Spread 1 to 2 cups rock salt onto a rimmed baking sheet (enough to cover the bottom) in an even layer.

  2. Wash and scrub 12 raw oysters clean in cold water. Shuck the oysters one by one: Place an oyster in a folded kitchen towel to keep the oysters steady on the countertop while also protecting your hand. Work an oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster. Twist and pry open the oyster to separate the two parts of the shell. Use the knife to scrape the oyster free from the bottom shell. Nestle the shucked oyster in its shell into the rock salt on the baking sheet.

  3. Mince 1 small shallot until you have 1/4 cup. Mince 1 garlic clove. Finely chop 1/2 small bunch watercress until you have 1/2 cup. Pick the leaves and finely chop 1/2 bunch fresh parsley until you have 1/2 cup. Place 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese in a small bowl and stir to combine.

  4. Melt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to the bowl of Parmesan breadcrumbs and stir to combine.

  5. Add the shallot to the remaining butter and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the watercress, parsley, and 1 tablespoon Pernod, and sauté until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  6. Top the oysters evenly with the watercress and parsley mixture, then sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut 1 medium lemon into wedges.

  7. Serve the baked oysters immediately with the lemon wedges for squeezing.