Oysters are Irish?!

Most of us here in Chicago don’t tend to include oysters when we think of Irish food—but believe it or not, they’re one of the most quintessential foods in a traditional Irish diet. Mollusks are found in abundance all along the Irish coastline, but there’s one in particular worth knowing about: the European Flat Oyster.

irish oyster

Irish Oysters

Native oysters have a looong history in Ireland. People have been eating them for over 4,000 years, with the first oyster farms appearing in the 15th century. That’s a long time! Oysters along the Irish coast also served as a source of free food during the Great Famine in 1879. 

In addition to their cultural and historical importance, oysters have two other big things going for them: they’re absolutely delicious, and they’re good for you, too! They’re full of vitamins and trace minerals that we need in our diets. So let’s go beyond our corned beef comfort zone!

Guinness and Oysters: A match made in…, well, this one is all thanks to my friend Terri!

If you follow me online, you will have heard about my friend, Terri Milligan. We have a long history together, and she’s a treasure (not to mention a talented chef). I love going over recipes with her, and honestly, if I have any questions about anything, Terri’s my go-to! In this Guinness-themed oyster recipe, Terri tosses together crispy bacon and julienned cabbage for the perfect fresh, savory garnish. She uses the Guinness to liven up a traditional hollandaise sauce that tops them off. You won’t believe how easy these are to make at home. And in my experience, anything that Terri touches is gold!

irish oyster
Yield: 2 dozen oysters
Terri’s Irish Oyster Recipe with Bacon, Cabbage and Guinness Hollandaise

Terri’s Irish Oyster Recipe with Bacon, Cabbage and Guinness Hollandaise

Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 5 MinTotal time: 35 Min
Go beyond your corned beef comfort zone with these plump and creamy oysters. Topped with bacon, cabbage, and Guinness-infused hollandaise sauce, you won’t believe this succulent treat is so easy to make at home.


  • 4 large, green cabbage leaves (from the outside of the cabbage)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 24 fresh oysters in the shell
Hollandaise Sauce
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup Guinness
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
  • A pinch of white pepper and salt
  • 1 cup unsalted clarified butter, melted and slightly warm, divided
  • You can substitute 2 tablespoons of Irish whiskey for the 1/4 cup Guinness for an Irish whiskey hollandaise!


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet pan with foil and set aside.
  2. Bring a 2-quart pot of water to a low boil. Place the whole cabbage leaves in the water and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove and drain the leaves, then transfer to a mixing bowl. “Quick cool” the leaves by placing some ice cubes on top of them. Remove the cabbage from the ice bath and dry with a paper towel. When they’re cool, slice the leaves into thin strips and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan. Add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the chopped cabbage, sage, and cooked bacon. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.
  4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pan. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Carefully shuck the fresh oysters. Keep the best-looking 24 shell halves. You can discard the remaining shells. Rinse the oysters and shells under cool water to remove debris. Place the oysters on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess water. Dry the shells with paper towels. Arrange the shells on the prepared pan. Refrigerate the oysters while preparing the hollandaise sauce.
  6. Now it’s time to prepare the hollandaise sauce. Fill a 1-quart pot with approximately 2-inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer. Have a metal mixing bowl ready—it needs to be wide enough to sit on top of the pot, but the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Combine the egg yolks, Guinness, lemon juice, salt, and white pepper in the metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove the bowl from heat and gradually whisk in the clarified butter, a tablespoon at a time, until everything is well combined.
  8. Pro tip: I like to set the bowl on a kitchen towel so that it doesn’t spin while I whisk! Sneak a spoonful of the sauce and adjust to taste with white pepper and salt.
  9. Top each cleaned half-shell with a heaping spoonful of the cabbage mixture. Top the cabbage with an oyster, and then a generous tablespoon of hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the oysters and bake for 4 to 5 minutes. If you prefer a crisper top, broil for a few seconds before serving.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @blameitonbiscotti on instagram and hashtag it # IrishOysterGuinnessHollandaise
February 23, 2022 — Mary DiSomma