Here's How To Tell When Your Oysters Are Done Cooking

Oysters are one of those "love it or hate it" kind of food. That's likely because when most people think of oysters, they think of slurping down slimy, salty snails, which is hardly an appetizing image. Even if you're someone who enjoys the ocean's natural aphrodisiac raw on the half shell, there are also plenty of other ways to eat oysters fully cooked (which are more appetizing to the less adventurous diner). You can get them grilled, steamed, baked, fried, or broiled at many seafood restaurants — or you can try preparing them yourself at home.

One of the trickiest parts of cooking oysters in your own kitchen, however, is knowing when they are, well... cooked. After all, they are enclosed in their shells, so it's a little more intimidating than making chicken or ground beef. Fortunately, there's an incredibly easy way to tell that does not require any special knowledge or equipment. Here's how to determine if your oysters are finished cooking.

Your oyster shells will start to open when they're fully cooked

The last thing you want — whether you are grilling, steaming, or baking your oysters — is to open the shell only to find a slimy, juicy, raw mess inside. Yuck! But fear not: You can tell when your oysters are fully finished cooking just by looking at them. According to Scout Life, when your oysters are cooked, they'll start to open their shells. At that point, you can let them cool and then crack the shell open the rest of the way and scoop out the delicious flesh.

As for any that do not open while cooking? Lobster Anywhere recommends discarding those, as they may have gone bad or are dead and thus no longer edible. And make sure you cook them just until they start to pop open. Overcooking oysters will make the meat tough and chewy, which probably isn't the texture you were going for.