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How to Cook Red Snapper

How to Cook Red Snapper

Last Updated on 27th February 2022 by

Red snapper gets its name from its snapping teeth, and it’s a fish with a sweet, subtle flavor that’s typically found in Caribbean waters. When buying snapper, don’t be fooled by other red fish marketed as red snappers.

Some food manufacturers will classify some fish that aren’t truly red snappers, like rockfish, as red snappers.

How do you tell if you’re actually getting a red snapper? The skin should be a vibrant red or a lighter pink with a metallic sheen. They are typically sold either filleted or whole, and you ought to buy them with the skin still attached.

This keeps the meat together so that they cook easier and don’t fall apart when you try to prepare them. When looking for red snappers, look for the clear, bright, red eyes.

If you’re going to cook on snapper, you want to make sure that you are cutting them properly, which usually means cutting the fish a few times through the thickest part of the body.

There are so many different ways you can make this fish- steaming, baking, grilling, broiling, and frying.

I’ll share with you a couple methods for how to cook red snapper filets, so, the next time you see them in the store, you’ll know what to do with them.

How to Cook Red Snapper in the Oven

To bake red snapper, you should start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean off the fish and then pat it dry with a paper towel.

Perform three scoring cuts on both sides of the fish, and then insert minced peppers and garlic into the slits you made. You can use a fish rub all over the surface of the fish, mixing together salt, pepper, and fish seasoning.

At this point, you can let the fish marinate while the oven heats up. If you want the flavor to be stronger, you can allow the fish to marinate overnight.

I like my red snapper to be really juicy, so I make a butter sauce to melt over it. To do this, I melt a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan on the stove and add diced peppers and onions to that.

Once it’s all cooked and the butter is melted, I slice the snapper’s belly and pour the butter sauce in there. Any excess sauce can be drizzled over the fish.

This method for how to cook whole red snapper makes for a really succulent meal. Now that it’s all prepared, it can be put in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. If you want your fish to be really juicy, you can wrap it in foil and rest it on a baking sheet in the oven. Once it’s cooked, it can be served with the juices from the foil for extra flavor.

How to Cook Red Snapper on the Grill

Grilling red snapper can be pretty simple. The most complicated part of it is preparing the seasoning for your fish. To make the most of the grilled snapper’s texture, I recommend a seasoning mixture that combines onion powder, garlic powder thyme, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and oregano.

Mix all those together as you heat up your grill to medium high. That should make it about 400 degrees Fahrenheit or so. Then, brush the fish lightly with oil and pat the seasoning onto the fish.

Next, you can oil the grilling rack and then place your fish onto the rack once it’s heated. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side until the fish begins to flake easily when you prod it with a fork.

You can check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer to make sure it achieves 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Garnish with some lime or lemon wedges.

How long to cook red snapper on the grill? That depends on how big your cut of fish is, how black and you want the fish to be, and how high the heat for the grill is.

How to Cook Red Snapper Fillets in a Pan

I want to share one additional method for how to cook red snapper fish. That would be pan frying. You may want to understand there’s a difference between pan frying and pan searing. Pan searing uses very little oil, whereas pan frying is more liberal with the oil.

Start by mixing together your seasoning for the red snapper. I like a mixture of black pepper, lemon pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.

You’ll also want to make a butter mixture, combining olive oil and butter and then heat that mixture in the microwave for about a minute, long enough for the butter to melt. Stir the mixture until it’s smooth and then brush the fish with your butter in the oil mixture.

Make sure you get both sides of the snapper. Then, sprinkle your seasoning mix on both sides as well. Pour some of your butter and oil mixture into the pan, as this method for how to cook red snapper fish fries the fish until it has a lovely blackened appearance.

You want to fry your fish on medium high heat until the flesh can flake off effortlessly when you poke it with a fork. How long to cook a whole red snapper in a frying pan on the stovetop?

This should take around four or five minutes for each side. It may take longer if you have a thicker cut of fish, or less time if using this small amount of fish. Watch the snapper closely the entire time it is cooking to make sure it’s not burning on one side.

So, you now have a few ways to cook red snapper, and you can add this sweet tasting fish to a meal with steamed vegetables, or salad, potato wedges, alfredo, and a number of other dishes.

Make your fish more appealing by garnishing with lemon wedges or drizzling with lemon zest. For a spicier fish, sprinkle some extra cayenne pepper seasoning on it.

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here