Grilled Red Snapper Recipe

Grilled Red Snapper
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  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 1 Whole Red Snapper (4 Servings)

This recipe calls for a whole red snapper. If you haven't grilled a whole fish yet, it isn't as difficult as it might sound. This is the traditional Mexican method for grilling snapper.


  • 1 (2-pound) whole red snapper (split and butterflied)
  • 1/2 cup/120 mL achiote paste
  • 1/2 cup/120 mL orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons/45 mL lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons/45 mL lime juice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix achiote paste (you should be able to find it in a Mexican or international market) with citrus juices.

  3. Cover all surface of the fish. Place in refrigerator and let sit for at least two hours.

  4. Preheat grill for medium heat.

  5. Once hot, oil grates a few times and place fish skin side down.

  6. When fish is about halfway done (about 5 minutes), turn and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. The fish is done when the internal temperature reaches between 145 to 150 F/60 to 65 C.

  7. You should be able to lift the central bone out easily when the fish is cooked. Remove from heat, cut into portion sizes and top with a salsa of your choosing.

  8. Serve and enjoy!


  • The traditional Mexican way to cook fish is to place it on a banana leaf. If you can find them, wash the leaf and place on grill while it's still wet. Then add the fish. This is an old trick to keep the fish from sticking to the grill and falling apart when you try to turn it.