Baked whole Red Snapper is a heart-healthy, simple, but delicious dish that’s great for a weeknight meal or dinner party.
Deliciously seasoned with citrus and herbs, this red snapper recipe is on the table in minutes!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
In a nutshell, it’s easy, healthy, and tastes great.
But more to that is that this dish, visually, is pretty dramatic. You place this delicious stuffed whole snapper down in the middle of the dinner table, and you’ll get the ‘oohs and aahs’.
We all eat with our eyes, and this fish brings a tantalizing promise of what’s to come. And that is a perfectly tender, flaky fish with flavor bursting in every bite.
What is Red Snapper
Red snapper is a common name for several species of fish that can be found worldwide. In the United States, red snapper is sourced from the Gulf of Mexico, the western Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific coast.
It is a lean firm-textured fish. A slightly sweet, mild flavor that lends itself very well to fresh herbs and spices.
How to Buy Fresh Red Snapper
Look for clear eyes, not cloudy. The snapper flesh should be firm and shiny that’s not slimy.
The gills should be pink or red and not dry.
Most of all, “the smell test”! If it smells too fishy and not fresh, move on.
Cooking a whole fish can be intimidating, but once you realize how simple it is, you will do it every week.
How To Prepare This Stuffed Whole Red Snapper
Preheat oven to 425º degrees F. You are basically roasting at high heat, which lends crispy skin and moist, tender flesh.
Prepare a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and parchment paper. You can use parchment paper only, but I use both for ease of cleanup.
Brush one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on the parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, and parsley.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels, then lay them on parchment paper.
Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over both fish and inside the cavities.
Spread half of the oil and vinegar mixture inside the fish cavity. Lay the lemon slices and fresh dill sprigs inside the cavity. Then brush the remaining oil mixture over the top of both fish.
Place the fish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, and the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Cooking time can vary according to the size of each fish.
Squeeze the remaining lemon juice over the fish and serve.
See, roasting a whole fish is ridiculously easy! Don’t wait. Try it immediately.
Tips And Variations
- Stuffing the fish with other things can give you a completely different flavor profile. A mix of fresh spinach, swiss chard, garlic, and parsley would be delicious!
- Adding a mix of the holy trinity (green peppers, onion, and celery) with some cajun or creole seasoning and breadcrumbs will give you great cajun stuffing. Serve it with dirty rice, and there’s a delicious meal.
- Can’t find a snapper? Grouper, cod, and rockfish make great substitutions.
Baking snapper is an easy method of preparing stuffed whole snapper. Grilling or cooking in a pan are also convenient ways to prepare snapper, but not stuffed.
No, keep the skin on. It aids in being a better cook.
Yes, snapper contains many bones. The flesh of the fish does come away easily from the bones when cooked properly, but it’s always a good idea to eat it slowly.
The skin of the snapper crisps very nicely and is edible. A light seasoning on the skin adds great flavor.
Other Delicious Fish Recipes
Baked Whole Red Snapper Recipe
- 2½ lbs red snapper whole (scaled and cleaned)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 lemons (fresh) 1 thinly sliced lemon & 1 for garnish
- 4 sprigs fresh dill
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper fresh ground
- 1/3 cup parsley fresh, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil divided (1 tablespoon for the baking pan)
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and parchment paper. Brush 1 tbs of olive oil on the parchment paper.
- Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Place the fish on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly on the outside of the fish and inside the cavity.
- In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and parsley. Spoon 1/2 of the oil and vinegar mixture into the fish cavities.
- Lay the lemon slices and fresh dill sprigs along the inside of the cavities. Pour the remaining oil and vinegar mixture over both fish evenly.
- Place the fish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F and flakes easily with a fork. Cooking time can vary according to the size of each fish.
- Squeezing the remaining lemon juice over the fish ( if desired) and serve.