Can You Freeze Oysters?

Oysters are notoriously known for dividing opinions. With their distinct taste and specific way of eating, many people avoid them at all costs. However, to others, oysters are a delicacy!

Oysters are seasonal, and given this, at certain times of the year, they can be more difficult to purchase. If you love oysters this can be rather disappointing.

If you are a fan of oysters, you probably already know that the majority of the time oysters are served alive. So, does this affect if and how they can be frozen? In short, yes, it does. 

Luckily, oysters can be safely frozen! You will no longer have to worry about only being able to eat them at certain times of the year. You will be able to save up a frozen supply to consume when you fancy a treat!

In this article, we will be discussing how to safely freeze and defrost oysters. We will also be discussing some important factors to take into consideration before you decide whether or not you should freeze them.

How To Freeze Oysters

Freezing oysters is fairly straightforward. You can choose to either freeze them in their shell or you can shuck them. Shucking will help to save freezer space as they are being frozen without their shells. 

If you are going to use this method, your oysters will need to be fully submerged in their liquid. If there is not enough liquid leftover, you can bulk up the liquid with water too. 

You will want to store shucked oysters in a sturdy container that can be fully sealed. Fill up the container so that it is almost full. You will want to leave around half an inch at the top of the container. 

If you prefer to keep your oysters in their shell, this is completely fine to do so. Before you freeze your oysters, ensure to wash the shell thoroughly and place them in a container or sealed bag. 

While you are washing the oysters, you should always check that they are still alive. It is only safe to freeze live oysters. If the shell closes when you tap it you know that the oyster is alive. If it remains open and does not move, it is already dead. Although freezing will kill the oysters, avoid freezing oysters that are already dead.

If you are following our method carefully, your frozen oysters can remain in the freezer for around 3 months before they will need to be eaten. 

How To Defrost Oysters

As with any raw meat, caution should be taken when you are defrosting your oysters. Given the nature of oysters, we would highly recommend defrosting them in the refrigerator. This will help to defrost them safely.

If you leave your oysters to cool on the counter, especially if it is a warm day, you will increase the risk of your food becoming contaminated. You may suffer from food poisoning as a result. 

If you are defrosting your oysters in the refrigerator you will not need to eat them immediately but within two days. While we do recommend eating them as soon as possible, this method will give you the option of saving them for another day if necessary.

If you do not want to defrost your oysters in the fridge, you can submerge your frozen oysters in cold water. While this will allow them to defrost, please note the potential hazards of doing this. If you are using this method you will need to cook the defrosted oysters immediately to ensure that they are safe for consumption. 

For best results, pop the frozen oysters into the refrigerator the night before you are planning to cook them to ensure they are fully thawed. Always ensure that your oysters are fully thawed before cooking them. 

Factors To Consider Before Freezing Oysters

Live Oysters

Oysters are usually eaten when they are alive. When you freeze oysters, this will kill them. This is very important to remember. While you can still eat the oysters when they are cooked, it is not safe to eat them raw after they have been frozen.

If you only like to eat oysters live and raw, defrosting the oysters will not be the best option for you. However, they can still be incredibly tasty when cooked and possibly added to your favorite pasta or soup dish!


As with most foods that are frozen, oysters do change in texture and color. While this may be offputting to some people, rest assured, they are still perfectly fine to eat.

Washing your oysters before they are frozen and cooking them straight away will help to preserve their texture.

To Shuck or Not To Shuck?

That is the question! Whether or not you shuck your oysters before you freeze them is completely up to you. Shucking helps you to save a significant amount of room in your freezer as you will not have to worry about the large shells.

However, shucking does take longer and the oysters can lose some of their flavors if they are not stored in enough of their liquid. While shucking does make your overall freezing process longer, it will save you time when you have defrosted your oysters.


We hope this article has answered your question about whether or not you can freeze oysters! Thankfully it is safe to do so. If you follow our simple instructions above, you will be able to save your tasty oysters as a treat to eat at a later date.

Always remember to check that your oysters are alive before you freeze them and discard any dead ones. When you have defrosted the oysters, ensure to cook them fully before consuming.

As the oysters will change in color and texture slightly after they have been defrosted, it is better to eat them alongside something else. Why not make an oyster soup or a seafood pasta dish? However you decide to eat your oysters, we hope you enjoy them!


Hi there! My name is Caroline Stevens, and I am an American mom of three wonderful children. I started this blog to help everyday families be more sustainable and save money by preventing food waste. I currently live in Wisconsin, and enjoy crafting, cooking at home, and traveling. I have a degree in art and previously worked in the restaurant business.