Eating canned oysters is better than eating them fresh Here’s why

You’ve probably heard the rumor that oysters give your libido a boost and there may be some truth to it, but what we know for sure is that these delicacies of the sea are packed with essential nutrients that support your overall health. The hitch? Due to their cost and lack of availability, fresh oysters aren’t a go-to for most people. Plus, some people hate the very thing others love about fresh oysters: their slimy, salty taste. Both boiled and smoked canned oysters are much cheaper and easier to find in grocery stores. Additionally, they boast a very different taste profile and mouthfeel than their fresh brethren.

Are canned oysters good for you?

Yes, a 1-cup serving has just 120 calories and boasts 12 grams of protein. And they’re an easy way to boost your daily intake of key vitamins and minerals. Here are all the benefits offered by canned oysters:

They are an excellent source of vitamin B, especially B12

Canned oysters are an excellent source of various micronutrients needed to keep our vital organs and immune system functioning properly. For example, 1 cup of drained canned oysters is high in vitamin B12, which contains more than 1,400 percent of our recommended daily intake. The older you are, the more likely you are to have a vitamin B12 deficiency which can lead to extreme tiredness and mental fog. Canned oysters are also a good source of vitamins B1 (22%), B2 (22%), B3 (14%) and B6 (13%).

They are full of iron for increased energy

One cup of canned oysters contains 12 milligrams (mg) of iron, or 66 percent of women’s daily needs. Maintaining adequate iron levels is important for overall body health and also keeps age-related hair loss at bay. Low iron levels inhibit hair growth, and I’ve also found that low-iron women don’t respond well to hair loss treatments, says dermatologist George Cotsarelis, MD. Additionally, maintaining sufficient iron levels is crucial for women because iron helps deliver oxygen to the muscles and aids in hormone production. If you’ve ever been anemic, you know what it feels like: low energy levels and constant tiredness.

They boast plenty of copper for firm, beautiful skin

A single cup of canned or smoked oysters contains 873% of our daily copper requirement. Copper is important for boosting the immune system, supporting eye health, and maintaining strong hearts and bones. It also has beauty benefits: copper increases the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, making it firmer and more resilient. While deficiencies are rare, they can lead to heart and bone problems.

They are a terrific source of selenium to treat the thyroid

One cup of canned or smoked oysters contains 115% of our daily selenium requirement. Selenium strengthens the immune system, promotes cognitive health and helps the body fight inflammation. It can also help protect you from cancer and heart disease. You also need it to keep your thyroid happy and functioning, says Sara Gottfried, MD. A happy thyroid means you are happy as it helps you maintain energy, mood and a healthy weight.

How to eat canned oysters

Canned oysters are smoked or boiled, then packed in oil or water. These variables influence the taste, but canned oysters are usually salty and only slightly fishy, ‚Äč‚Äčeasy to bite into, and not at all slimy unlike their raw counterparts. They are fully cooked and safe to eat right out of the can. The great thing is, you can prepare canned oysters the same way you would raw ones. Keep scrolling for recipes that use canned oysters:

Smoked Oyster Cream

smoked oyster cream
Courtesy of Christin Mahrlig

This Spicy Southern Kitchen recipe comes together in minutes since it uses things you already have, but tastes like it took a lot longer to make.


  • 1 package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can of smoked oysters
  • 1 Teaspoon. Worcestershire sauce
  • teaspoon. Cayenne pepper


  1. Mix the ingredients until combined.
  2. Serve with crackers or greens.

Oysters in the air fryer

air fryer oysters
Courtesy of Summer Yule

Want fried oysters in a pinch? With an air fryer, these Summer Yule bites take just 10 minutes with no need for hot oil.


  • 8 oz. canned oysters
  • 1 large egg
  • teaspoon. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Teaspoon. garlic powder
  • teaspoon. dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Drain and rinse canned oysters and dry them on paper towels.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the egg and Old Bay seasoning.
  3. In a large bowl, combine panko, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and paper.
  4. Coat the oysters in the egg mixture, lifting them up with a fork, one at a time, and placing them in the panko mixture. Stir to coat completely.
  5. Place the coated oysters in a single layer in the tray or basket of the air fryer.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Serve with fresh lemon wedges and cocktail sauce, if desired.

Oysters wrapped in bacon

oysters wrapped in bacon
Courtesy of Jennifer Meyering

These quick and delicious appetizers from Jennifer Meyering will be a crowd-pleaser at your next get-together. She uses smoked oysters for an extra salty kick.


  • 8 oz. Bacon
  • 8 oz. canned oysters, drained
  • 4 tsp. granulated sugar
  • cup of soy sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the sugar, soy sauce and garlic in a shallow roasting pan.
  3. Wrap each oyster with a slice of bacon and place in a roasting pan, seam side down.
  4. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the bacon has crispy edges.

Oysters are delicious and healthy, and the best part? You don’t have to shell them. Stock up your pantry and enjoy.

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