Whole Baked Fish with Lemon Herb Garlic Butter and a fresh herb salsa on a white plate.

Baked Whole Fish with Lemon, Herbs and Garlic Butter

Feel confident making a baked whole fish with these simple instructions. Serve a flavorful dinner tonight and cook up this easy stuffed fish recipe!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Nora Rusev


For the fish

  • 2 large whole fishes such as sea bream, sea bass or branzino
  • 1 heaping tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 head garlic 2 cloves minced and the rest left whole
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary plus extra sprigs for stuffing
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves plus extra sprigs for baking
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 lemon sliced and then cut into triangles
  • Olive oil

For the salsa

  • 4 large sun-dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green olives stoned and chopped
  • 1 handful parsley leaves chopped
  • Olive oil


  • If the fish hasn't been gutted and scaled, do so.
  • Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Prepare a roasting tin.
  • Mix the butter, 2 minced garlic cloves, chopped rosemary and chopped thyme very well. Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon the compound butter into the fish cavities. Stuff the inside of the fish with lemon triangles (you will probably not be able to fit all of them into your fishes) and rosemary sprigs. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You can slash the fish two to three times if you like.
  • Place the fish in the prepared tin, along with the extra thyme, garlic and remaining lemon slices. Bake for 20-25 minutes (a large sea bream takes about 25 minutes, branzino is probably ready after 20).
  • In the meantime, mix the chopped tomatoes, capers, olives and parsley. Add enough olive oil to create a nicely dispersed condiment. Serve with the hot fish.