How to Pan Cook Red Snapper

Red snapper is a saltwater fish that has a flaky white meat when cooked. Snapper has a milder flavor than other fish, making it a staple on many restaurant menus and in many homes. Pick up some red snapper fillets with the skin still on from a fish market or grocery store and pan fry the fish for an easy and delicious dinner. Snapper cooks quickly in a hot pan and you can season and flavor the dish to your liking or serve it simply and let the flavor of the fish shine.

Red snapper for sale at a market. Credit: Christian Müller/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Rinse 2 lbs. of snapper fillets and pat them dry with paper towels.

Step 2

Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Step 4

Place the snapper fillets in the skillet with the skin sides facing down.

Step 5

Cook the snapper, undisturbed, for three minutes or until the skin becomes crispy and golden.

Step 6

Turn the snapper to the flesh side carefully with a spatula and cook for another two minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Step 7

Check the snapper for doneness by using a fork to peek at the center of the fish. The snapper will be flaky and opaque when fully cooked.

Step 8

Place cooked snapper fillets on dinner plates and serve plain with lemon wedges or drizzled with your favorite butter-based sauce or vinaigrette.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Skillet

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • Spatula

  • Fork

  • Plate

  • Lemon wedges, butter sauce or vinaigrette


Garnish snapper with fresh herbs for a nice presentation.


Use a meat thermometer to be sure the snapper is cooked properly. Cook all fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

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