Jump to Recipe

Salt Baked Fish

This post is sponsored by Morton Salt, but as usual, all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting We are not Martha!

You might be surprised to learn how easy it is to make salt baked fish… And the results are an incredibly moist and well-seasoned fish with a gorgeous presentation!

Overhead view of two fish whole on a baking pan with salt chipped away and "salt baked fish" text at the top

When was the last time you entered the kitchen just a little nervous for your next cooking or baking endeavor? That’s exactly how I felt when I decided to tackle salt baked fish. I had heard about salt baking fish and had seen beautiful photos of salt baked fish, but I had never even thought about doing it for myself.

Until Morton Salt released their new Alexa skill, the Salting Sous Chef, and made it seem so ridiculously easy that I decided to just go for it! My mom came along for the adventure since she had never made salt baked fish either and we spent a wonderful day in the kitchen.

I’ve recently become slightly obsessed with salting my food, but I have a lot to learn in terms of when to add salt to various foods, what kind of salt to use for different foods, etc. Morton’s Salting Sous Chef is here to help uncover all of that! You can either tell the app what you want to cook or just ask it for a salting tip. We keep one of our Echoes right in the kitchen (mainly because I like to have dance parties when I’m cooking) and this is an app I can definitely see myself using on the regular so I can always make sure I’m salting my food correctly. Check out my video tutorial at the end of this post to see exactly how the app works!

But first, let’s talk about fish, baby.


You may be wondering why the heck anyone would want to take a whole fish, cover it in salt, and bake it, right? Well besides the fact that it looks really pretty (obvi. quite important), the salt coating helps the heat of the oven cook the delicate fish evenly and gently without added cooking oils. The end result is a super moist fish that’s perfectly seasoned. And no, it’s not overly salty because the fish’s skin adds a layer of protection. This technique is seriously awesome.


If you’re like me, you’re probably used to going to the grocery store and buying your fish already cut into filets. Working with whole fish can be intimidating if it’s your first time, but you can have the fish monger do most of the work, so it’s not as daunting. Obviously, you’ll first have to make sure your local store sells whole fish, but if not, you can likely call ahead and ask the fish monger to save some for you. I recommend asking them to clean and gut the fish for you, so you don’t have to do it yourself and by the time you bring it home, it’s ready for you to get cooking. This was my first time ever preparing whole fish and I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was.

Sues holding a whole red snapper

I got a 1-pound branzino and a 1.5-pound red snapper.

Overhead view of whole branzino and whole red snapper on parchment paper with Morton Salt containers


But before I could do anything, I had to ask Morton’s Salting Sous Chef what I was doing and which kind of salt I should be using for my salt baked fish.

A landscape view of an Amazon Echo surrounded by Morton Salt containers

Alexa told me to stuff my fish with herbs, but I decided to add some other fun stuff, too. For the red snapper, I used grapefruit, lime, and mint. And for the branzino, I used onion, lemon, and parsley. Because the fish monger prepared the fish, literally all I had to do was stuff it.

Overhead view of whole branzino and whole red snapper stuffed with herbs and citrus on parchment paper

Then I got the salt mixture prepped, which just consists of Morton Coarse Kosher Salt and egg whites. How much salt and how many egg whites you need will obviously depend on the size of your fish and for my just under 3 pounds of fish, I found 6 cups of salt (a 3-lb. box) and 6 egg whites worked well. You’ll want to mix the salt and egg whites together until the texture is like wet sand.

Overhead view of box of Morton kosher salt and big bowl filled with salt and egg white mixture with wooden spoon

And then it’s time to cover your fish in the salt mixture! I made a salt bed for each fish on a baking sheet and then continued using the mixture to coat each of the fish completely.

Overhead view of baking pan with two salt-covered whole fish before baking

And bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the salt is starting to turn golden.

Overhead view of baking sheet with two salt-covered whole fish after baking

Let the fish cool slightly, for about 5 minutes… And then for the fun part! Crack that salt coating off. You can use any kind of mallet for this; I used the kind you’d use for crabs at a crab bake.

Overhead view of two fish whole on a baking pan with salt chipped away

How you serve the salt baked fish is totally up to you. I just think it looks so beautiful on the pan like this and if you’re having company, you may want to show it off to them like this. In addition to the taste, one of the big benefits to salt baked fish is how stunning it looks when you chip the salt away.

Landscape view of a whole branzino and whole red snapper stuffed with herbs and citrus on a baking sheet with salt chipped away

Of course, it’s slightly awkward to serve a whole fish sitting in a bed of salt on a baking pan to your dinner party and after your guests go “oooh,” they may be like, “OK, so what now??” So after showing it off and letting your guests get some pics for Instagram, you may want to remove the skin and filet it for them.

Guess what? Everything I heard about salt baked fish is true! I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever had such a moist and well-seasoned piece of fish in my life. It was seriously melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

A white plate with fish cut up, lemons, grapefruit, and herbs and a container of Morton salt on the side

Who knew a 3 lb. box of kosher salt could make for such a delicious meal? And though I started off thinking this was going to be super complicated and time consuming, it ended up being incredibly easy to prep and bake. But ridiculously impressive, right? Serve it with a simple salad and it makes for the perfect light, but deliciously satisfying meal.

Thanks to the Morton Salting Sous Chef for teaching me how easy salt baked fish is! Not only does it help with specific recipes, but it also offers great tips on all things salt, including what to do if you over-salt your food. You can enable the app for your Alexa devices now!

To see how the Morton Salting Sous Chef works, check out my video:

Salt Baked Fish

You might be surprised to learn how easy it is to make salt baked fish... And the results are an incredibly moist and well-seasoned fish with a gorgeous presentation!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Eclectic
Keyword: fish, salt
Author: Sues


  • 2-3 lbs. whole fish like red snapper or branzino (either 2 smaller fish or 1 large fish), cleaned and gutted
  • 1/4 grapefruit, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 lime, sliced into rounds
  • 6-10 mint leaves
  • 1- 3 lb. box Morton Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 6 large egg whites


  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Stuff fish with grapefruit slices, lime slices, and mint leaves (see recipe notes for alternative stuffing)
  • In a large bowl, mix together kosher salt and egg whites until mixture resembles wet sand.
  • Spread about 1 cup of the mixture on the bottom of a large baking sheet to create a "bed" for the fish. Lay the fish on the bed. Use the rest of the salt mixture to completely coat the fish, gently pressing down.
  • Bake fish for about 30 minutes (or until fish has an internal temperature of about 135 degrees). Remove from oven and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Use a mallet to gently crack the salt coating away from the fish.
  • Serve fish as is or remove the skin and fillet before serving.


Alternative stuffing: 1/4 of a small onion, sliced; 1/2 lemon cut into rounds; and a small bunch of parsley

13 Responses to "Salt Baked Fish"

  1. Madi says:

    5 stars
    I had never heard of salt baking fish but it sounds like an awesome idea! I have to give it a go!

  2. Jenn says:

    5 stars
    Whaaaaat this is so cool! A must-try technique!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve heard of salt baking before but didn’t quite get it or know too much about it. Really helpful post, and the result sounds great.

  4. shelby says:

    5 stars
    You’ve convinced me I must try this (as soon as I get my oven back!) I have never cooked a whole fish, like you, it’s always been fillets. I can’t wait to try it out and impress my hubby!

  5. Julia says:

    5 stars
    I’ve heard of cooking in salt but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. The video certainly helped!

  6. Tara says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe! Perfect for dinner year round

  7. Traci says:

    5 stars
    Love this and am convinced I need to try it this fall! You make preparing whole fish seem so approachable. Just pinned…thanks! 🙂

  8. Claire says:

    I’ve never tried baking fish in salt, but the end result looks amazing.
    Will have to give this a go soon 😀

  9. I’ve never had salt baked fish, but it looks amazing! I’ll definitely have to try it soon!

  10. Susan Brigham says:

    5 stars
    Ok so I made this tonight. It’s awesome. Question- I had the fish monger trim etc the fish. I used snapper. We took the fish out brushed off extra salt that was left. We had some bites of fish that were super salty. Suggestions as to what I did wrong?

  11. Sues says:

    @Susan- Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I did a little bit of research and there are a couple things that could cause some parts of your fish to be super salty… It looks like the most common reason would be if your fish monger penetrated the skin of the fish at all when they were trimming it. If there were any little openings in the skin, it could cause the salt to seep in. The other cause could be if your salt/egg white solution wasn’t cooked through all the way, but since you mentioned it only being some bites, I bet there was a puncture or two in the fish. I hope that helps!

  12. Kip West says:

    Can you leave the scales on the fish since I’m filleting post cook?

  13. Sues says:

    @Kip- Yes, you should leave the scales on, otherwise the fish will be too salty when cooked!

Leave a Reply

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