Ritzy Oysters Rockefeller Recipe

Oysters are truly one of those foods that you either love or hate with a passion. For some, they are a salty, silky delicacy that's perfectly adorned with spicy horseradish and vinegar. For others, they are comparable to an unsavory, bodily discharge. For those who hate shellfish, oysters Rockefeller may be the remedy. For starters, they are baked, not raw, and topped with an herby, buttery topping that completely covers the oyster's salty flavor. 

Oysters Rockefeller was originally invented in New Orleans by chef Jules Alciatore in 1899 in response to an escargot shortage. Accompanied with a vibrant green sauce, the dish was named after the famous J.D. Rockefeller, who was known for his extensive wealth. The sauce recipe was, and still is, a well-kept secret, and one that has been riffed on in different ways ever since. This recipe, developed by Michelle McGlinn, features fresh green herbs like parsley, scallions, and celery blitzed into a flavorful sauce, and covered with anise-drenched breadcrumbs. It's complex but easy to prepare, making these oysters particularly luxurious. Try it for a romantic date night, or as a surprise appetizer for a festive holiday celebration. 

Everything you need for these ritzy oysters Rockefeller

Visit your most reputable fishmonger, and look for large, fresh oysters. Typically, you would use Gulf oysters for this dish, a large but mild oyster, but any will work here so long as they're fresh. If you don't know how to shuck oysters, try asking the fishmonger to open them for you, then use them the same day.

To make the green sauce, you'll need parsley, celery, green onions or chives, a shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. If you're someone who prefers guess-timating measurements, you're in luck; this recipe is very forgiving. Use extra green onions or shallot for more onion flavor, more garlic for a strong garlic presence, or pack in more parsley for an especially herby taste.

For the crunchy topping, you'll need butter, Pernod, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs. Panko will be extra crunchy, but it's not a necessity. If you don't have Pernod, you can use any anise liqueur, swap for white wine, or simply replace it with extra butter. Use fresh Parmesan here — it melts better than the pre-grated option. You can optionally get rock salt and lemon slices for serving. 

A quick guide to shucking oysters

It's hard to grasp the art of shucking oysters without simply trying it out yourself, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be cracking open oysters all day. Before buying your oysters, get an oyster knife, which is stronger and more blunt than a paring knife, making it ideal for prying open the oyster shells. Find the base of the oyster, called the hinge, and look for a good entry point to stick the tip of the knife into. 

Secure the opposite side of the oyster with your hands, using a towel to stabilize the shell and protect your palm. Gently dig the tip of the knife into the entry point you found on the hinge, guiding it forward so that it's inserted ⅛ inch into the shell. Softly rotate the knife away from you until the shell pops — this is the hinge releasing. Slide the knife into the hinge and along the outer lip of the oyster, severing the muscle and opening the shells. 

Make the green sauce

Preheat the oven to 450 F. If using, pour the rock salt onto baking sheet, then add the shucked oysters on top of the salt. Don't waste all your kosher salt on this — buy a small carton of rock salt and spread 1 to 2 cups onto a baking sheet. The large salt distributes heat evenly and gently, making it almost impossible to overcook the delicate oyster meat.

Pack the parsley leaves, roughly chopped celery, green onions, roughly chopped shallot, peeled and smashed garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor, and blend until creamy, adding more oil to loosen if needed. You can also add lemon for some brightness, red pepper flakes for heat, or spinach for a deeper green color.

Make the breadcrumb topping

Melt the butter, then combine the butter, Pernod, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to form a paste. We don't recommend tasting it, since the Pernod will be very strong in the unbaked mixture. That sharp flavor will bake out into a soft anise flavor, perfect for complementing the salty oysters.

Bake until golden, then serve

Layer the green sauce on top of the oyster meat, then top with the buttered breadcrumbs. Place the prepared baking sheet in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the breadcrumb topping is crispy and golden. Remove the oysters from the oven, and serve warm. Serve optionally with lemons wedges, and sprinkle fresh parsley around the salt for garnish. Serve these with champagne, or make a batch of french 75's, and enjoy as an appetizer with steak or lobster. We don't recommend storing these, as the oysters will not keep well, nor will they taste the same reheated. Luckily, these go down easy, so you shouldn't have any leftovers to worry about.

Ritzy Oysters Rockefeller Recipe
5 from 34 ratings
You will become a fan of oysters thanks to this cheesy, crispy, ritzy oysters Rockefeller recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
close up of oyster rockefeller
Total time: 22 minutes
  • 12 oysters, shucked
  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves, plus more for topping
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, whites removed
  • ½ large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod
  • ½ cup freshly-grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
Optional Ingredients
  • Rock salt
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. If using, pour rock salt onto baking sheet, then add the shucked oysters on top of the salt.
  2. In a food processor, blend the parsley, celery, green onions, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil until smooth and emulsified.
  3. In a small bowl, stir the butter, Pernod, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan into a paste.
  4. Spoon the green sauce on top of oyster meat, about 1 tablespoon per oyster.
  5. Spoon the breadcrumb mixture onto each oyster, about ½ tablespoon per oyster.
  6. Place the oysters in the oven, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until breadcrumb topping is golden. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired, and enjoy warm.
Calories per Serving 452
Total Fat 30.9 g
Saturated Fat 11.3 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 110.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Total Sugars 1.8 g
Sodium 581.6 mg
Protein 22.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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