This 35-minute roasted whole red snapper is a delicious fish recipe infused with Mediterranean flavors. If you are a fish lover or following the Mediterranean diet, this recipe has it all!
Another great roasted fish recipe is this steelhead trout with garlic butter.
What You Will Love
Wowzers, there's nothing like red snapper taste. It's a delicate white fish with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor.
If you've never tried making roasted whole fish, now is the time! The flesh of the fish is so tender it melts in your mouth. You can even make this recipe using freshly-caught fish (greater than 1.5 lbs in size).
- Whole fish (red snapper): Red snapper is an excellent fish to roast whole. You can also use other whole fish like bronzini, barramundi, and trout. A good size fish to buy is between 1.5 lbs to 3 lbs. If you have more dinner guests, buy more fish.
- Onion and garlic: Use sliced onion and fresh whole garlic cloves.
- Fresh lemon
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh herbs: Use any fresh herbs you have available.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Whole Red Snapper
Heat the oven to 425 ℉ (220 ℃).
Peel and slice the onion.
Slice the garlic cloves in half. Cut the lemon into wedges. Wash the herbs. Set aside.
Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the whole snapper about 1" apart.
Get everything ready to assemble! Drizzle olive oil on top of the fish. Generously add sea salt (and black pepper) on both sides of the fish.
On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, add the sliced onion and a bit of olive oil. Place fish on top. Stuff the herbs, lemon slices, garlic, and onion inside the cavity of the fish. Stuff garlic pieces into the slits.
Bake the red snapper fish at 425 ℉ (220 ℃) for 25 to 30 minutes. Depending on the size of the fish, the cooking time may vary.
Tips and Tricks
- Buy fresh fish. The best fish is the freshest fish (even Dr. Suess seems to think so). I recommend checking a local fish market or the seafood counter at your local grocery store for the freshest options.
- If making a snapper fillet rather than a whole snapper, I recommend laying lemon slices on top of the fish, similar to this steelhead trout recipe. Red snapper fillets don't have skin, which keeps the fish moist.
- Not sure what size fish to buy? A good rule of thumb is one person can eat 1-1.5 lbs (500 to 700 grams). For a large appetite, buy 2 lb (1 kg) of fish per person.
Variations and Substitutions
Make grilled whole red snapper. Use a grill basket to keep the fish (and stuffing) from falling out. A grill basket results in crispy skin. Alternatively, wrap the fish in aluminum foil and grill it that way. Aluminum foil is more of a steaming process. Both are great options.
Use a variety of herbs. Use oregano sprigs, fresh rosemary, or thyme sprigs.
Substitute the fish. This recipe works great for bronzini, barramundi, and trout. Some grocery stores have the whole fish ready to go with the fish cavity stuffed and everything!
I recommend eating this fish fresh if possible. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Whole red snapper should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends for safe consumption. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature at the thickest part of the fish, making sure not to touch the bone. Once the internal temperature reaches 145°F, the fish should be fully cooked and safe to eat.
Yes, red snapper is generally considered a healthy fish due to its high nutritional value and low levels of contaminants. Red snapper is a good source of high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients can provide various benefits, including improved heart health, brain function, and immune system support. Additionally, red snapper is low in calories and saturated fats, making it a good choice for people watching their weight or managing their cholesterol levels.
Mediterranean Seafood Recipes
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Mediterranean Baked Whole Red Snapper Fish
- 1 whole red snapper weighing 1½ to 3 lbs
- ½ whole onion
- 2 whole lemons
- 1 bunch fresh herbs thyme, rosemary, or oregano
- 6 whole garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 425 ℉ (220 ℃).
- Prep the fish (if not already gutted and scales removed). Slice the exterior of the fish deep enough to pierce the skin.
- Slice the onions, fresh garlic, and lemons. Save half a lemon to squeeze on top of the fish once it comes out of the oven.
- On a parchment paper lined baking dish, add the sliced onions. Drizzle olive oil on top.
- Lay the whole fish on top of the bed of onions. Stuff the fish with fresh herbs, lemon wedges, and garlic cloves. Stuff a few garlic cloves into the cut slits. Generously sprinkle salt and black pepper on top.
- Roast the fish at 425 ℉ (220 ℃) for about 30 minutes. Squeeze fresh lemon on top once it comes out of the oven.
- For whole fish, one person can eat 1-1.5 lbs (500 to 700 grams). If you have a large appetite, one person can finish a 2lb (1 kg) fish.
- Substitute any kind of whole fish: barramundi, trout, and bronzini.
- I recommend whole fish larger than 1.5 lbs (700 grams) and smaller than 3 lbs.