Grandma’s Simple Oyster Soup Recipe

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Grandma’s Oyster Soup is a traditional Christmas menu item. Grab a sleeve of crackers and dig into this soup featuring oysters in a buttery-milk broth.

Grandma's Oyster Soup is a traditional Christmas menu item. Grab a sleeve of crackers and dig into this soup featuring oysters in a buttery-milk broth.

Oyster Stew

Grandma was the kindest, most gentle, tender-hearted, church-going farm wife around. The only time I ever saw her mad was if Dad (or someone else) turned up the heat too high on her oyster stew. That is a huge no-no for Grandma and any other oyster stew-making cook.

Let me repeat that, do not turn up the heat. Do NOT scald the milk. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you again later.

Every Christmas day or Christmas Eve (that I can remember), Grandma made this old-fashioned oyster stew recipe. It’s synonymous with Christmas dinner.  Even after she passed onto heaven, my Dad (with Mom’s help) has kept the tradition alive.  It’s a known fact in our house, that you do not mess with the temperature of the burners when the oyster soup is brewing.

Low and slow. That’s the name of the game when you’re cooking up cream of oyster soup.  Do not turn up the heat to speed up the warming process and do not scald the milk.

Grandma's Oyster Soup is a traditional Christmas menu item. Grab a sleeve of crackers and dig into this soup featuring oysters in a buttery-milk broth.

Grandma’s Oyster Soup Ingredient List

This is a very basic oyster stew recipe with only butter, milk, oysters (with the liquor), salt and pepper. This allows the oyster flavor to shine through and take center stage.

  • Fresh oysters
  • Butter
  • Whole Milk
  • Salt
  • Black peppers

Much of the oyster flavor comes from the oyster “liquor”.  I’m not sure if this is an accurate term or just one my Mom uses.  In the dictionary of Mom, oyster liquor is the liquid that the oysters come in from the store.  Be sure to follow this process to prevent grit and broken oyster shells in your oyster liquor.

  1. Run the oyster juice through a sieve. Save the oyster juice to add to the cream of oyster stew.
  2. Rinse the oysters in cold water in a colander.

The amount of oysters you use is ultimately up to you.  Grandma lived through the Great Depression, and she never really lost that sense of frugalness.  When Grandma made a pot of oyster soup with milk, she only added one pint of oysters. (She also counted exactly three chocolate chips to be added to each chocolate chip cookie. But that’s a story for another day.)

Dad prefers more oysters in his oyster stew so our Mom usually adds two pints.  Either way you go is just fine.

Grandma's Oyster Soup is a traditional Christmas menu item. Grab a sleeve of crackers and dig into this soup featuring oysters in a buttery-milk broth.

How to Make Oyster Stew with milk

Step by Step Instructions

  1. To remove any dirt or grittiness, put a sieve over a bowl; drain oyster juice and reserve juice.
  2. Rinse oysters gently in a colander to rinse away any shells.
  3. Melt butter in a soup pot or large saucepan over low heat.
  4. Add rinsed raw oysters and gently warm for a few minutes never taking heat over low.
  5. To the oysters and butter, add whole milk and stir.
  6. Gently warm soup (low simmer), stirring occasionally until heated through. Do not boil and do not scald milk.
  7. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with crackers.

Storage Instructions

Let leftovers cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. Eat within one to two days.

For the full recipe and ingredient list for basic oyster stew, scroll to the bottom of this post. 

Oyster Soup with Buttery-Milk Broth

When cooking this soup, just be sure to season, taste, and season again. Without the proper amount of salt and pepper, the oyster broth won’t have enough flavor or pizzazz.  I recommend starting with 1 teaspoon of salt and adding up to 3 teaspoons total.

Grandma's Oyster Soup is a traditional Christmas menu item. Grab a sleeve of crackers and dig into this soup featuring oysters in a buttery-milk broth.
pin button

How long is oyster stew good for?

The FDA recommends eating cooked shellfish within two days (with proper refrigeration). Be sure to refrigerate the oyster stew within two hours after the cooking process has ended.

How do you make oyster stew from scratch?

It’s simple really.  Slowly warm melted butter, whole milk, and clean oysters (with their juices) in a large saucepan.  Once warmed through, season with salt and pepper.  Serve with oyster crackers or saltines.

What do you eat oyster stew with?

Go simple with basic oyster crackers or saltines or serve with homemade yeast rolls. Grandma’s oyster stew is the perfect side dish or appetizer before a larger meal such as brisket or prime rib.

Notes About Grandma’s Oyster Soup:

  • Use whole milk, no exceptions!  You could use 2% milk but for a full, rich, creamy flavor, use whole milk.
  • Use 1 or 2 pints oysters, to your preference.
  • Substitute margarine for butter, if desired.
  • The most important thing to remember is to only heat this soup over low heat. Resist the urge to speed up the process by turning up the heat.
  • This soup will not taste good if it isn’t seasoned properly.  Start with 1 teaspoon salt, and then taste. Go up to 3 teaspoons salt, if desired.

Traditional Christmas Recipes:

Mom’s Poppy Seed Bread

Mom's Poppy Seed Bread is one of those quick breads that is perfect for breakfast, dessert or as an afternoon snack with a hot cup of coffee.

Dainty Logs (shortbread with chocolate chips)

Crock Pot Beef Brisket

This Crock Pot Beef Brisket, which takes minutes to prep, will make you look like a superstar this season when you serve it as part of your holiday menu.

Grandma’s Fantasy Fudge

Cinnamon Glazed Nuts

Ever wanted to make those sweet, crunchy nuts that are a staple at mall kiosks across the country? Look no farther than our Cinnamon Glazed Nuts (pecans)!
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Grandma’s Oyster Soup

Grandma's Oyster Soup is a traditional Christmas menu item. Grab a sleeve of crackers and dig into this soup featuring oysters in a buttery-milk broth.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Entree, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas dinner recipe, christmas oyster stew, cream of oyster soup, Grandma’s oyster soup, grandma’s oyster stew, how do you make oyster stew from scratch, how long is oyster stew good for, old fashioned oyster stew recipe, oyster soup, oyster soup with milk, oyster stew, traditional christmas recipe, what goes with oyster stew, wht do you eat oysters stew with
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 253kcal
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 – 2 pints oysters (with juice)
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1 – 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Pour oyster juice through a sieve to remove grit; reserve juice for soup .
  • Rinse oysters in cold water in colander to remove any broken shells.
  • Melt butter in a large sauce pan or soup pot over low heat. Add oysters and gently warm for a few minutes.
  • Add milk and oyster juice. Continue to heat slowly over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • When the broth is warm (not scalded), season slowly with salt and pepper. Taste and continue to season until the milk broth is flavorful.
  • Serve with crackers or oyster crackers.

Notes

  • Use whole milk, no exceptions!  You could use 2% milk but for a full, rich, creamy flavor, use whole milk.
  • Use 1 or 2 pints oysters, to your preference.
  • Substitute margarine for butter, if desired.
  • The most important thing to remember is do only heat over low heat. Resist the urge to speed up the process or to turn up the heat.
  • This soup will not taste good if it isn’t seasoned properly.  Start with 1 teaspoon salt, and then taste.   Go up to 3 teaspoons salt, if desired.
  • Love soup? Try Mom’s Wild Rice and Broccoli Soup. 
  • The nutritional information below is auto-calculated and can vary depending on the products used.

Nutrition

Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 794mg | Potassium: 331mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 738IU | Calcium: 278mg | Iron: 1mg

Similar Posts

12 Comments

  1. Exactly how my 76 year old grandmother used to make it! This is the only recipe I’ve seen online that is made like this. Thanks for sharing!

      1. You can click on the print recipe button at the top of the page or at the top of the recipe and uncheck the boxes at the top to print without the extras!

  2. My mother would use 3 quarts whole milk and 1 qt of half and half. Otherwise the recipe was the same. It was a traditional Christmas Eve supper.

  3. An addition that puts it over the top is dried minced onion flakes (I add when melting the butter to soften them). Also use whole milk and real butter…I mean really, we’re not making this very often..indulge! Our family also had this treat on Christmas eve…Great memories…

    1. My mother made this same oyster stew just Luke your grandmother makes it. so simple an so delicious. I’m having this tonight with crackers. Just like yall do.

  4. Great recipe! I’ve been making Oyster Stew this way for years but have never had a recipe to follow. Quality butter and whole milk are so important. We like a little heat so I add a small amount of Cayenne Pepper (to taste) when heating the stew. Being from Maryland we also love Old Bay Seasoning so I usually put the ole’ can on the table for those who want to add in another layer of flavor. Seasonings are added sparingly as we certainly don’t want to overpower the stars of the stew, the oysters. Glad to see this recipe. Thank you!

  5. Delicious! I used my pressure cooker to steam oysters open, with 1 cup of water, (after thoroughly cleaning them with water and a scrub brush). Once pressure cooker heated up, I let them cook for 2 mins then quickly released the pressure. After pouring them into a colander, (lined with cheesecloth), I was able to reserve the juice for the soup and the partially-steamed oysters were easy to get out of the shells.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating