What temperature Should I bake fish? And how should it bake?

Baked fish is a quick and easy dinner option. The downside of baking fish is that it can dry out quickly. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a master chef to learn how to bake a tender, delicious seafood dinner. Follow these recommended cooking temperatures and baking times the next time you make fish.

Baking Temperatures for Fish

Chefs recommend baking fish at between 350° Fahrenheit and 450° Fahrenheit. The best temperature to bake fish depends on the cut of fish.

baking pan dressed salmon, avon ct450° F = Whole Fish, Fish Steaks & Fillets

If you are baking a whole fish that’s been scaled and gutted but has the head and tail attached, cook it at 450° F. Fish steaks and fillets should also be baked at 450° F.

Fish steaks are thick, crosscut slices of a large fish such as halibut, mako shark, tuna, salmon, or swordfish.

Fish fillets are lengthwise, boneless cuts of fish that may or may not be skinned. You can find fillets of large fish like salmon as well as smaller sized fish like cod and tilapia.

350° F = Pan-dressed Fish

Pan-dressed fish is a whole fish that’s had the head, tail, gills, fins, scales, and organs removed. If you are cooking a pan-dressed fish, the best cooking temperature is 350° F.

Baking Times for Fish

Figuring out the best baking time for fresh fish requires a clean ruler and a little math. Chefs recommend following the 10-minute rule. According to this rule, you should bake fresh fish for 10-minutes per inch of thickness. Chefs agree that following this rule is the simplest way to ensure you don’t overcook fish.

Follow these three simple steps to calculate the best bake time:

  1. Using a clean ruler, measure the thickest part of the fish. If you are making a rolled fish or stuffed fish recipe, wait to measure it until you’ve filled it.
  2. Convert the measurement to a fraction (example: 1/2 inch equals 0.5).
  3. Multiple the fraction by 10 (example: 0.5 times 10 equals 5).

The answer to the equation is the ideal baking time for the fish you are cooking. For example, if you are making fish fillets that are ½ inch thick, the ideal baking time will be 5 minutes. Since fish can fall apart easily, you should only flip it once, halfway through baking.

Exceptions to the 10-Minute Rule

There are two exceptions to the ten-minute rule: frozen fish and whole fish baked in foil.

Bake Time for Frozen Fish 

It is typically best to defrost fish overnight in the refrigerator or under cool running water before cooking it. You can still follow the 10-minute rule if you have defrosted frozen fish. However, if you bake fish when it’s frozen, it will take longer to cook. We only recommend this when baking ready-made frozen fish that’s seasoned or breaded. In that case, it’s best to follow the instructions on the package.

fish baked in foil, bristol ctBake Time for Whole Fish in Foil

Whole fish baked in foil will also take longer than 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Typically, it will require about 15 minutes per pound plus an additional 15 minutes. For example, if you are baking a 1 pound fish in foil, it would take about 30 minutes.

For an incredible selection of fresh fish for five generations, stop by our location off Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield, Connecticut, to find out why we are known as the best Fresh Fish market in Southern New England.

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