Easy Fried Red Snapper Recipe

This fried red snapper is mild, flaky, slightly sweet and so easy to make. Did I mention you only need 5 ingredients?

To make this fried red snapper recipe, wash the whole fish with lime, marinate with Caribbean green seasoning and salt for 30 minutes before frying for 3 minutes per side (6 minutes total).

fried red snapper on napkins

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Ingredients for fried red snapper

Here’s what I used for this recipe:

  • small, whole red snapper: I got these fresh whole, red fish from the fish vendors along Milford Road in Lambeau, Tobago. They did an amazing job at gutting, scaling and cleaning the snappers – I didn’t need to do any additional cleaning. Of course, if fresh fish isn’t an option, feel free to use frozen whole red snappers for this recipe, but be sure they have defrosted fully before getting started.
  • lime: or lemon can be used to wash the fish to remove any smell or freshness from the fish. The juice can also be used for marinating and for serving the fried snapper.
  • Caribbean green seasoning: 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 or pick up these seasonings on Amazon.
  • salt
  • vegetable oil: for frying.

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How to make fried red snapper

Prepare the red fish

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: Drain the water and rinse the fish fully, about one to two times.

fresh red snapper

Step 3: 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.

prepped red snapper for frying


Step 4: 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.

Step 5: Refrigerate for 30 minutes so the red snappers can marinate.

seasoned red snappers

Fry the red snapper

Step 6: 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.

Step 7: Remove the marinated fish from the fridge and add it to the hot oil very carefully. The oil may splutter, so be cautious.

frying seasoned red fish

Step 8: 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.

turning red snapper in frying pan

Step 9: 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.

fried seasoned red fish

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Fried red snapper recipe

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5 from 1 vote

Fried Red Snapper Recipe

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.

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.

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