Oyster Stew

James Beard

Author and Educator

"If there is a traditional Christmas Eve dish in the United States, it is oyster stew." –James Beard


  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 1/2 pints oysters and liquor
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Chopped parsley or paprika


Heat soup bowls. Add a good pat of butter to each bowl. Keep piping hot. Drain the oysters, then heat the milk, cream, and oyster liquor to the boiling point. Add the oysters and bring again to the boiling point. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Ladle into the hot bowls and add a sprinkling of chopped parsley or of paprika.

Variation: Sautéed Oyster Stew:

Combine the oysters and butter in a skillet and cook until the edges of the oysters curl. Add the hot cream and milk, and bring to the boiling point. Season, ladle into hot bowls, and serve with crisp biscuits or buttered toast.


4 servings