Grilled Whole Red Snapper (Oven Grilled)

4.84 from 6 votes
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Grilled Whole Red Snapper is incredibly tasty! Ready in 25 minutes and made completely in the oven, this is a no-fuss whole fish recipe that anyone can make.

It is incredibly flavorful with the combination of herbs used. This is an easy dinner recipe for the whole family!

grilled red snapper on a platter

No grill, no problem! you don’t need grill baskets or other fancy equipment to make this recipe. I am going to show you how to cook a whole fish completely in the oven. I used a red whole snapper here, but the principles in this post will apply to any other fish.

The combination of fresh herbs is to die for! The marinade that goes on this delicate fish takes the taste to a whole ‘nother level. Even my non-fish-loving daughter was in love with this Grilled Whole Red Snapper recipe!

Herbs and spices for cooking a whole fish

Grilled Whole Fish Ingredients

When grilling fish for this recipe, you need the following ingredients:

1. Whole Fish. Red snapper has a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, so it is very healthy! You can buy your own fish from a local fish market. Mine was about 1 1/2 pounds, but you can use a smaller fish if you want to.

Raw whole red snapper on a chopping board

2. Garlic cloves. Lots of minced garlic gives the fish a great flavor.

3. Herbs. A combination of fresh thyme, parsley, and basil makes fish taste insanely good!

4. Lemon Juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a great way to add freshness to fish and seafood in general.

5. Oil. You will need a bit of olive oil or canola oil. However, vegetable oil, or any neutral-tasting oil would work.

5. White Pepper. White Pepper adds a more intense depth of flavor that works well with fish. But use black pepper if that’s what you have.

6. Chicken Bouillon Powder. My favorite thing about this ingredient is that it brings out more flavor in the fish that salt alone doesn’t bring out. But you can also exclusively use salt to season fish.

7. Salt. You can use table salt or kosher salt, depending on your preferences.

How To Grill Whole Red Snapper In The Oven

1. Scale, gut fish, trim the fins, and thoroughly rinse the fresh fish with cold water. Thoroughly dry the fish, patting it with a paper towel. Make 4-5 half-inch deep diagonal slits on the outside of the fish (both sides) with a very sharp knife.

2. Mince garlic, basil, and parsley. Strip leaves off thyme stems.

Minced herbs and garlic on a chopping board

3. Place herbs and garlic in a small bowl. Add in lemon juice, oil, salt, white pepper, and chicken bouillon powder. Mix to form a marinade.

Green marinade for fish in a mixing bowl

4. Rub the marinade all over the fish. Spread it evenly on the first side, then flip it and rub it on the second side. Make sure to stick the marinade into every cut inside of the fish.

Marinated Red Snapper

4. Place fish on a lined baking sheet. To oven grill fish: Bake it at 400 degrees F (Fahrenheit) for 20 mins. Then broil for 5 minutes to achieve a crispy skin.

Oven Grilled Red Snapper on baking sheet

5. Once done, transfer fish to a serving platter and add preferred garnishes.

Depending on the size of the fish, you might need a large platter. For garnish, you can use orange slices, lime slices, or lemon slices. Even large lemon wedges look beautiful with it!

Where To Buy Whole Red Snapper

Here in the United States, I get whole red snapper fish from Asian stores, even though red snapper is native to the gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea. Most Asian stores have seafood sections where you can buy whole fish.

If you search for “Asian store near me” or “seafood market near me” you’ll likely find stores selling whole fish near you.

Top Tip: Have the fish monger scale and gut the fish for you to make things easier at home. This is especially helpful if it is your first time working with a whole fish!

Also, check out this Lemon Butter Salmon and Pan Seared Tilapia.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Lemon Juice: If you want, you can use fresh lime juice instead of lemon when making this recipe. It provides a zesty, citrusy flavor that benefits the flavor of the fish.
  • Fish: You can use any white fish you want! For example, use cod, sea bass, or another type you prefer. Just make sure it is fresh with a firm texture. It shouldn’t have odor, discoloration, or feel slimy.
  • Onions and Peppers: This type of fish tastes delicious with veggies. Saute them over medium-high heat until tender, then serve the red snapper on a bed of peppers and red onions for a delectable taste and a beautiful presentation.
  • Capers: Capers are another excellent pairing for this fish. Consider spooning on some capers when serving. You can even make a caper sauce if you wish!

Expert Tips For the Perfect Oven Grilled Red Snapper

1. After rubbing herbs and spices on the fish, let it marinate for 30 minutes. This is the best way for the flavors to penetrate the fish.

2. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper instead of aluminum foil. Sometimes, fish will still stick to the foil even when you grease the foil. With parchment paper, that problem is solved. The fish easily slides out of the pan.

3. Bake the fish first to cook it, then broil it to achieve color and crispiness on the outside. This makes it taste like it was cooked on a gas grill or charcoal grill outside. The broiler in an oven cooks food with high direct heat like the outside grill. But while hot grill grates cooks from underneath, the broiler cooks from the top.

4. If you use a small fish, the cooking time will be shorter, so keep an eye on it. No matter what, you can check the internal temperature by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the fish.

5. If you happen to have leftovers, make sure to store the fish in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Grilled Whole Red Snapper on a Platter

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Temperature To Grill Fish In The Oven?

For oven grilling, it is best to use a moderately high temperature, as this will ensure the fish forms a nice crust on the outside. My recipe uses 400 degrees fahrenheit and then finishes it off with the broil function to achieve the perfect texture and color.

What Temperature Should Red Snapper Be Cooked To?

In order to be safe to consume, it is recommended that you cook red snapper to 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it continues cooking after you remove it from the oven, so really, you can remove it when it is slightly lower, such as 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do You Know When Whole Red Snapper Is Done?

The visual cues will tell you a lot! On the outside, it will have a nice charred crust. On the inside, the red snapper will not be translucent, but opaque. Its texture will also be moist and flakey!

What To Serve With Grilled Whole Red Snapper

Enjoy this fish with healthy, whole foods! You could serve this grilled fish with a variety of side dishes, including:

More Tasty Fish Recipes

Looking to try more fish recipes? Try one of these recipes next time you want to embark on great cooking adventures:

If you make this recipe please leave a star rating below. Your rating helps others find the recipe plus I love hearing from you! Thank you!

grilled red snapper on a platter

Grilled Whole Red Snapper

4.84 from 6 votes
Grilled Whole Red Snapper is incredibly tasty! Ready in 25 minutes and made in the oven, this is a no-fuss whole fish recipe that anyone can make. It is incredibly flavorful with the combination of herbs used. An easy dinner recipe for the whole family!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 whole red snapper (1 – 1 1/2 pounds) scaled and gutted
  • 10 sprigs thyme leaves stripped off the stems
  • 6 sprigs parsley minced
  • 8 basil leaves minced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil sub with olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper


  • In a bowl combine the minced garlic, parsley, basil and thyme leaves. Add in salt, chicken bouillon powder, white pepper, oil and lemon juice. Mix well to combine.
  • Using kitchen shears cut the fins of the fish. Rinse thoroughly then pat dry with good quality paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth.
  • Using a knife, make 4-5 1/2 inch deep diagonal slits on both sides of the fish.
  • Rub half of the garlic herb mixture all over the fish making sure to rub the mixture into the cavity and stuff some into the slits you made. This will ensure the seasoning gets to the bone of the fish.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the fish on the baking sheet and cover with a plastic wrap. Let it marinate on the counter top for 30 minutes (no need to place the fish int the fridge).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius).
  • Take the plastic wrap off the fish then place in preheated oven to cook. Let it cook for 20 minutes then take out the fish and brush with a little oil.
  • Set the oven to broil. Place fish back in the oven and let it broil for about 5 minutes or until the fish is nicely charred. Be sure to watch the fish closely so it doesn't get burnt (the broil function could burn things fast).
  • Take fish out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving!


Here in the United States I get whole red snapper fish from Asian stores. Most Asian stores have sea food sections where you can buy whole fish.
Have the fishmonger scale and gut the fish for you to make things easier at home.


Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 466mg | Potassium: 964mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 252mg | Iron: 8mg

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Afro-Carribean
Calories: 264
Tried this recipe?Mention @preciouscore or tag #PreciousCore!

About Precious

Welcome to my core! I am Precious Nkeih, the recipe developer and writer right here on my blog, Precious Core. My goal is to show you insanely delicious recipes you can replicate in your kitchen. And I love to tell stories too. Hope you find recipes here that will make cooking easier for you! Check me out on YouTube at

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Recipe Rating


  1. My husband and daughter love this recipe! Packed full of flavor, quick, easy and healthy dinner. I make it all the time. Thanks for sharing this wonderful dish!

  2. My son wants to be buried in the marinade. I made the whole snapper but pulled it from the broiler a tad early so not to burn the meat. Honestly, we were not going to eat the under skin so the top was not really a deal killer. As I write this he is still in search of meat.
    I served it with a side of sautéed green pepper, mushrooms, onion, and jalapeños that added a nice bit of heat to accompany.

    1. Your side dish sounds delicious, Harold! So glad you and your son loved this snapper recipe.
      Thank you for taking the time to let me know.