Tasty Pan Fried Red Snapper Recipe with Caribbean Flavors

This fried red snapper is flaky, slightly sweet and so delicious! To make it, I prepare the whole fish, wash with lime, leave marinate with Caribbean green seasoning before frying.

If you’re into fish recipes, I have a grilled red snapper, pan fried king fish, fried shark and buljol recipes to explore.

For pinterest: flaky, tasty, fried, red snapper from wetrinifood.com
For pinterest: fried red snapper recipe from wetrinifood.com

This post may contain affiliate links.

Fried red snapper ingredients

For this recipe, I used small whole red snappers, lime or lemon, Caribbean green seasoning, salt, pepper and oil for frying.

These snappers were bought fresh and cleaned by the fishermen, who did an amazing job at gutting, scaling, and cleaning the fish. So, I didn’t need to do any additional cleaning. Frozen whole snappers can be used for the recipe but be sure to defrost fully before starting.

Lime or lemon is great for washing the fish to remove any ‘fresh smell.’ The juice can also be used for marinating and for serving the fried snapper.

Caribbean green seasoning here was made with chadon beni or culantro leaves, garlic, ginger, scotch bonnet pepper, and other herbs. This seasoning is the only thing you need to flavor the entire fish. You can make your own Caribbean green seasoning fresh using my recipe.

How to make fried red snapper

1. Prepare the fish

If using frozen red snapper, defrost completely. To do this, place the fish in a large bowl and fill with water, enough to cover the snapper. Squeeze one lime and add the juice to the water. Leave until the fish has softened completely, which can take about an hour. This will remove any fishy taste from the meat. If the fish is fresh, do the same thing – add the fish and lime juice to a bowl filled with water, ensuring the lime juice gets inside the cleaned cavity. Leave for 2 – 3 minutes.

Next, drain the water and rinse the fish fully, about one to two times. Cut slits along both sides of the fish, about an inch apart and about a quarter inch deep. I usually cut off the head, but that is optional and entirely your choice.

fresh red snapper
prepped red snapper for frying

2. Marinate

Add Caribbean green seasoning and salt to the fish. Squeeze half of a lime over everything. Massage the seasonings into the underbelly and the slits, making sure every part of the fish is completely covered. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so the red snappers can marinate.

seasoned red snappers

3. Fry

Place a small frying pan on medium heat. Add enough vegetable oil for frying. I used about 1 cup of vegetable oil. Leave to heat up for about 5 minutes or so. Remove the marinated fish from the fridge and add it to the hot oil very carefully. The oil may splutter, so be cautious.

Fry the red fish for 3 minutes. Flip over and continue frying for another 3 minutes, for a total of 6 minutes. The fish is cooked when the meat is white, no longer translucent, flaky and has an internal temperature of about 145°F.

frying seasoned red fish
turning red snapper in frying pan

4. Serve

Remove from the pan and place on paper napkins to soak up the oil. Sprinkle a little salt over the fish. Serve hot. You can squeeze a little lime juice over the fish when serving as well for wonderful bursts of citrus. This recipes goes great with dhal and rice, or stewed lentils, macaroni pie, and callaloo.

fried seasoned red fish

Fried red snapper recipe

two fried red snapper on napkins without the heads
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Fried Red Snapper Recipe (with Caribbean Flavors)

With just 5 ingredients and 40 minutes, you can enjoy this tasty fried red snapper recipe that has lots of Caribbean and citrusy flavors. It’s so good!
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time41 minutes
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 3
Calories: 600kcal
Author: Ros Singh


  • 3 small red snapper (total 2 lbs)
  • 2 small limes
  • 2 tbsp Caribbean green seasoning (with culantro, garlic, ginger, scotch bonnet pepper)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying


  • Place the fish in a large bowl.
  • Cover with water and add the juice of 1 lime.
  • Leave to 2 – 3 minutes if the fish is fresh and unfrozen; or at least 1 hour if the fish is frozen to defrost completely.
  • Drain the water. Rinse the fish thoroughly.
  • Cut the head off (optional).
  • Cut slits 1-inch apart and ¼-inch deep along each side of the red snapper.
  • Mix together Caribbean green seasoning, salt and juice of ½ lime.
  • Massage the seasoning mix onto the fish, inside the slits and into the underbelly.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
  • Add a small frying pan on medium heat.
  • Pour in enough oil for frying. Allow to heat up fully.
  • Add the marinated red snapper to the hot oil (be careful!).
  • Fry for 3 minutes.
  • Turn the fish over. Fry for 3 more minutes.
  • Check the internal temperature of the fish (it should be 145°F).
  • Remove the fish from the oil. Place on paper towels.
  • Sprinkle salt over the hot fish.
  • Squeeze juice of ½ lime over the fish.
  • Serve immediately.

Pin this:

Fried red snapper: Whole fish with Caribbean flavors over a photo of fresh out of the oil 2 pound red snappers
fried red snapper recipe on a photo of two small fried, semi-whole red snapper fish

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    So surprised how quick and easy this was. I used cilantro instead of culantro (never heard of it before) and the fish tasted really good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating