Food & Drink

Decadent Scalloped Oysters

A classic Southern casserole combines briny oysters and the comfort of cream

Photo: Food Seen

“This casserole is a Southern classic. Unlike most casseroles, which rely on pantry staples like canned soup, rice, or pasta, this scalloped version uses fewer ingredients, highlighting the briny flavor of the fresh oysters. It can be prepared hours in advance, then covered and refrigerated. Just wait to add the last layer of breadcrumbs and the oyster liquid/cream mixture before popping it in the oven.” —Susan Gravely, in her new cookbook, Italy on a Plate

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  • Scalloped Oysters (Serves 10 to 12)

    • 1 sleeve saltines, crushed, about 2 cups

    • 2 tbsp. minced dried onions

    • 1 tsp. celery salt

    • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

    • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

    • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley

    • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

    • 1 qt. oysters, liquor reserved

    • ½ cup half-and-half


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.

  2. Combine the crushed saltines, dried onions, celery salt, black pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Stir to fully mix and set aside. 

  3. Drain the oysters in a colander set over a bowl to capture the oyster liquor. Cut large oysters into two or three pieces. Set the oysters and liquor aside separately. 

  4. Butter an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Cover the bottom with a layer of crumbs, top with a layer of oysters, then repeat the layering, ending with crumbs to top. Combine ½ cup of the oyster liquor with the half-and-half and pour over the casserole. 

  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Serve hot.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Italy on a Plate by Susan Gravely (Vietri Publishing, 2023).