Whole Steamed Fish: A Delicious, Healthy Recipe!

I absolutely love steamed fish! It’s one of my favorite things to eat. I always feel so healthy and satisfied after eating a big plate of delicious, fresh-steamed fish. And this recipe is the perfect way to enjoy steamed fish at its best.

Whole Steamed Fish

Prep Time

20 mins

Cook Time

15 mins

Total Time

35 mins


6 to 8 servings

Whole Steamed Fish


  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) whole black sea bass or red snapper, scaled and gutted
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Cooked white rice
  • 20 small sprigs cilantro, divided
  • 1 ginger, divided


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C).
  • Rinse the fish inside and out with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity of the fish with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/16 teaspoon of pepper. Place the fish in a baking dish just large enough to hold it. Pour 3 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine or dry sherry over the top of the fish, along with 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.
  • Cut 10 small sprigs of cilantro in half and insert them into the cavity of the fish, along with half of a ginger root that has been cut into thin slices. Spread the remaining cilantro sprigs around the outside of the dish, and sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven.
  • Bake at 450 degrees F (232 degrees C) for 15 minutes per pound, or until cooked through (the internal temperature should be 140 degrees F (60 degrees C)). Remove from oven, carefully remove foil cover, spoon some of the pan juices over the top if desired, and serve immediately with cooked white rice
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Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1 fish (120g)
  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated fat: 3.5g
  • Cholesterol: 85mg
  • Sodium: 610mg
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 4.5g
  • Protein: 35

What fish is best for steaming?

There are many different kinds of fish that can be steamed with great results. Some of the best choices for steaming include tilapia, cod, and red snapper. All of these fish cook up moist and tender when steamed, making them perfect for this cooking method.

How do you eat a whole steamed fish?

To eat a whole steamed fish, start by gently peeling the meat away from the center of the fish with your fork piece by piece. Then remove the fin bones, separate the top fillet from the head and collar bone, separate the top fillet from the tail, and separate the dorsal and belly halves of the fish. Most of Asia steams fish whole (head and tail intact) for good luck. The time will vary depending on size of fish; however, the meat should easily separate from spine when it is cooked through.

How do you steam a whole fish without using a steamer?

  • Boil water in a pot over medium-high heat.
  • Place the pot on the cooktop and switch on the burner. Allow the water to warm up for 5-6 minutes, or as long as it takes to reach a full boil.
  • You want it to be putting off a thick curtain of steam by the time you add your fish, so check that it has reached a full boil before proceeding.
  • Carefully lower your whole fish into the boiling water using tongs or a slotted spoon.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and allow the fish to steam for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through according to your preference.
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How long does it take to steam a fish?

It takes about 10 minutes to steam a fish. The size of the fish affects the steaming time. For a whole fish, you will need to add 5 minutes for each inch of thickness. Fish that is 1 inch thick will take about 15 minutes to steam.

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