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Here's our irresistible take on the classic oyster po' boy. Freshly shucked oysters are fried until golden brown then served on a brioche bun with crunchy sesame slaw, sweet onion relish, and chipotle aioli. There are just 45 minutes between you and this messy, delicious sandwich!
Fried oysters are amazing on their own, but tuck them into a soft bun with a crunchy slaw, sweet onion relish, and spicy aioli and let the good times roll!
For our take on this classic sandwich, we use a few unconventional ingredients like miso, panko, and sesame oil that add lots of Asian flavor and flare. We opt for a soft brioche bun but you could use a crusty baguette or hotdog bun, if you prefer.
Serve these po' boys for lunch, as a dinner sandwich, or a game-day snack that everyone will love!
What is a po' boy?
Originating in New Orleans, a po' boy is a simple classic sandwich. While it varies depending on the restaurant or location, it's typically crusty french bread stuffed with fried meat or seafood, dressed with tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, pickles, mayonnaise, and hot sauce.
Ingredients in a fried oyster po' boy
Here's what you'll need to make the sweet onion relish:
- Olive oil
- Granulated sugar
Here's what you'll need for the homemade sesame slaw:
- Sesame oil – a little bit of this oil goes a long way for adding lots of rich, sesame flavor.
- Miso paste – miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste that adds umami flavor, and it's full of healthy probiotics, too!
- Rice vinegar – this is the acidic element of the dressing. It adds brightness and enhances the other flavors.
- Honey – adds natural sweetness to the savory dressing.
- Cabbage, carrot, and onion – thinly sliced cabbage, shredded carrot, and finely minced onion make up the crunchy slaw.
- Sesame seeds – toasted sesame seeds, for topping the slaw and a little visual pop.
This is everything you'll need for the fried oysters:
- Flour – we use regular all-purpose flour.
- Sweet paprika – this seasoning has a slightly sweet taste and fruity flavor.
- Oysters – fresh oysters, shucked and rinsed in cold water.
- Egg – when combined with flour, eggs act like a binder helping the panko stick to the oysters.
- Panko – these Japanese bread crumbs have a drier and crunchier texture than regular breadcrumbs and are perfect for breading and coating fried foods. You could also use regular breadcrumbs if you prefer.
- Oil – any neutral, high-heat oil for frying.
Lastly, you'll need chipotle aioli and brioche buns for serving.
How to make an oyster po' boy
There are a few steps involved in this succulent sandwich but it's not difficult to make and the effort is beyond worth it.
Let's walk through making this oyster po boy recipe and you'll see how easy it is!
- Start by making the onion relish. Cook the onion until lightly brown then sweeten it with sugar.
- Next, make the dressing by mixing together the sesame oil, miso paste, rice vinegar, and honey. Then pour the dressing over the veggies to make the coleslaw.
- The next step is to prepare the oysters. Coat them first in flour, then in egg, and finally in panko.
- Then, fry the oysters until they are golden brown on both sides – you may need to do this in batches.
- It's assembly time! Spread some chipotle aioli on the inside of each bun, top with the onion relish, fried oysters, and slaw. Dig in!
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
Tips for making the best oyster po boy sandwich
- To stay organized, we recommend setting up a few shallow dishes side-by-side on your counter with the breading ingredients.
- The key to deep frying is making sure the oil is hot. Using hot oil ensures it won't be absorbed and make the batter extra crispy.
- Don't skimp on the sweet onion relish and chipotle aioli. As you know, sauce makes everything better!
What can I use instead of oysters?
Shrimp, crab, fish, or chicken are all classic po' boy meats that can be used in place of oysters.
What can I prepare ahead of time?
Both the sesame slaw and sweet onion relish can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 1-2 days. This will save you lots of time in the moment so all you need to do is fry the oysters and assemble the sandwiches.
Can I use cornmeal instead of panko or breadcrumbs?
Yep! It will give the oysters a different taste and texture but they will still be delicious.
What to serve with an oyster po' boy
The best dishes to serve with an oyster sandwich are potato and fresh corn dishes, soups and chowders, or a simple salad. Sautéed vegetables like zucchini or asparagus are other healthier options.
These are some of our favorite recipes to serve with an oyster po' boy:
- Fresh corn like buffalo corn on the cob or chili lime grilled corn on the cob
- Simple salads like our spring mix salad or baby kale salad
- Soups like our grilled corn chowder, gazpacho, or avocado soup
- Vegetable sides like sautéed asparagus, garlic parmesan zucchini, or blackened cauliflower
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Sweet Onion Relish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion (thickly cut )
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon light miso paste
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 cups cabbage (thinly sliced)
- 1 medium carrot (grated)
- 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 12 oysters (shucked and rinsed in salt water)
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup panko (or breadcrumbs)
- Oil for frying
- ½ cup chipotle aioli
- 4 large brioche buns
- Begin by making the onion relish. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until lightly brown. Stir in the sugar then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes more.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 large onion, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Make the dressing in a small bowl by mixing the sesame oil, miso paste, rice vinegar, and honey.1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon light miso paste, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey
- In a medium-sized bowl mix the cabbage, carrot, and onion. Toss to coat with dressing and top with sesame seeds.2 cups cabbage, 1 medium carrot, 2 tablespoons finely minced onion, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Whisk the flour and paprika in a shallow bowl. Add the oysters and mix them around so they are well-coated in flour.¼ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon sweet paprika, 12 oysters
- Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Add the oysters to the bowl (discard any remaining four) and mix so they are coated in egg.1 large egg
- Add the panko to another shallow bowl. Remove one oyster from the egg bowl and press it into the panko. Repeat with the remaining oysters.½ cup panko
- Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oysters and cook until they are golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.Oil for frying
- To prepare the sandwich, spread the 2 tablespoons of chipotle aioli on each of the buns, top with onion, fried oysters, and slaw.½ cup chipotle aioli, 4 large brioche buns
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.