Roasted Whole Red Snapper

What’s easier to cook than roasted whole red snapper? Almost nothing.

Find the freshest whole fish you can, add herbs, ginger, whatever you love and roast.

I’ve always wanted to cook a whole fish, but didn’t know how, and I figured it would be tricky. Turns out it’s fairly easy. Buy the freshest fish you can – I chose snapper because I love it – and have your fish monger or guy at the country scale and gut your fish. Season with salt, rub with oil, and make your paste with fresh herbs, garlic… and make cuts on both sides of the fish, stuff with your herb and garlic paste, and cook. You can grill this fish or roast it. Either way, it’s a crowd pleaser, and it’s 100% ageless.

Whole Roasted Red Snapper

A simple recipe that yields delicious results.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Tania Van Pelt


  • One whole 3-pound red snapper cleaned and scaled
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small jalapeño seeded, minced
  • 2 scallions finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil plus more for rubbing


  1. Chop all of the ingredients except the oil together with a large pinch of salt. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and stir in the sesame oil. Make 5 parallel 3-inch-long slashes on each side of the snapper, slicing almost through to the bone. Lightly season the fish with salt and fill the slashes with the paste. Rub the fish all over with canola oil.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425℉ or grill at medium high heat. Transfer the fish to a heavy rimmed baking sheet, using 2 bamboo skewers pierce through the body of fish so it stands upright. Roast the fish for 25 to 30 minutes, until the flesh just flakes. Transfer the fish to a platter. Using 2 forks, lift the fillets off the bones and serve. Garnish with fresh cilantro and more scallions.