Trout is a sweet and tender fish that’s easy to cook whole. There’s no need to chop it up into smaller pieces when you have a relatively thin piece of fish like this that’s not very thick even when it’s the whole fish.
I’ll show you how to cook trout whole and make it come out flavorful and mouth watering without too much difficulty.
Whole trout is usually sold gutted and cleaned already. You don’t have to do anything but season it and cook it. There’s no cleaning or other complicated preparation that needs to be done, even though you’re getting a whole trout to cook.
How Long to Bake Whole Trout?
Before you jump into the recipes for how to cook whole trout, you may want to know from the start how long it will take to bake, fry, or otherwise cook it up. If it takes too long, you may want to try a different fish instead.
After you’ve seasoned your fish and you have everything prepared to cook it, it will only take 10 to 15 minutes to actually cook all the way through. So, it doesn’t take very long, and after you’ve cooked it once, the entire process will be shorter next time.
You’ll know what to have in place and how to prepare the fish for cooking, seasoning it up with an experienced hand that ensures the process moves along quickly.
So, if you’re looking for something to throw on last minute for supper, a whole cooked trout will make a nice addition to your meal.
How to Cook a Whole Trout
Let me give you a quick and simple recipe for baked trout. With this method for how to bake whole trout, your fish will be done cooking in 15 minutes or less.
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you don’t put the fish in until the oven is fully preheated. Otherwise, it may not cook all the way through, and it can take longer to cook.
Prepare a baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. You’ll need two sheets of foil, and you should slice your trout in half so that you have two even cuts.
Make sure the sheets of foil are bigger than the fish. Place your trout skin side facing down on the foil. Then, use olive oil or another oil of your choice to lightly oil both sides of the fish.
You want to season your trout as well. You can use salt and pepper, as well as any kind of fish rub or seasoning you prefer. A really good fish seasoning that’s simple is a combination of parsley and lemon juice.
Next, fold the foil around the fish to seal the fish into a foil packet. Place your fish onto the baking sheet and allow it to cook in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. You can check your fish at 10 minutes to see if it’s done. If it is finished cooking, the flesh should come off easily when you prod it with a fork.
When you take the fish out of the oven, open the foil packets carefully, as there may be some steam escaping that could burn you. Place your fish onto a separate plate and then pour the juices from the packet onto the fish to help give it more flavor.
This method works as well for how to cook whole rainbow trout and any other type of trout.
How to Grill Whole Trout
If you prefer to grill your trout outdoors, you can use the following method.
Preheat your outdoor grill using high heat and drizzle a light layer of oil over the grate. Then, salt your trout with sea salt and season with black pepper. Rub the trout with olive oil and other seasonings and garnishes as you like. You can use onion and lemon slices as well, placing them inside the trout’s cavity.
Once you’re ready to put the trout onto the grill, turn the grill down low and put the trout directly onto the grill’s grate. Cook about six or seven minutes on each side, until the skin starts to brown and the flesh will flake off easily.
How to Cook Whole Trout in a Pan
One of the simpler methods for cooking whole trout is to cook it in a pan on the stove top. This method for how to fry whole trout can be as simple or as complex as you like, depending on what kind of seasonings you want to add to the fish.
I’ll give you a simple recipe you can use, but there are plenty of additional seasonings and better ideas you can add to this.
If the fish still has its gills, you want to slice them off and discard them. Then, rinse your fish under cold running water and prepare a large skillet on the stove top. Place enough oil into the skillet to cover the bottom and warm on medium heat.
As the oil is warming, combine salt, pepper, cornmeal, and flour in a separate dish. Increase the heat in the pan to high and dredge your fish in your mixture of flour.
Once it’s covered in the flour mixture, place the fish into the hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.
How to Smoke Whole Trout
If you have a smoker available, you can use that as well to cook your trout. Just make sure that the trout is cleaned and gutted and properly rinsed.
Then, make a few slits on the fish’s side, just deep enough to make a break in the skin. Use salt, pepper, and dill to season both the inside and outside of the fish, and add a little lemon juice to the exterior of the fish. You can learn more about cooking with dill here.
Preheat the smoker, and then cook your trout for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep cooking until the internal temperature of the trout reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
What to Serve with Whole Trout?
Trout pairs well with the number of sides, including mashed or scalloped potatoes, steamed vegetables, garlic bread, pasta with white sauce or cheese sauce, and casserole. It also pairs nicely with other seafood dishes, like scallops, shrimp, crab, and lobster.