How To Cook Seafood: Your Go-To Guide

Cooking seafood can seem like a daunting task, but fear not! Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned home cook, there are easy and more challenging ways to prepare seafood, and this guide is here to be your trusty how-to.
Whether you're grilling, baking, steaming or pan-frying, in this guide we will explore the best cooking methods for different types of seafood, as well as some essential tips for homecooked #wins.

Swordfish Souvlaki

Our Number #1 Fish Cooking Tip:

A cardinal rule when it comes to cooking fish is simple: don't overcook.
Unlike red meat or poultry, fish's delicate structure means it cooks quickly.
To avoid overcooking, remove fish from the heat just before it appears fully cooked, as the residual heat will continue the cooking process. Look for the moment when the flesh turns opaque.

How to tell when your fish is cooked?:

To test if your fish is ready, insert a fork into the thickest part of the flesh and gently separate it. If it flakes easily, it's done. When cooking whole fish or cutlets, the flesh should effortlessly come away from the backbone.
 Thin fillets should be turned when the edges turn opaque, while thicker fillets require waiting until about ¾ of the flesh has turned opaque before flipping. The second side needs only a minute or two more, depending on thickness.

Orange Roughy with wedges

Choosing the Right Cooking Method:

Our top picks: Salmon | Swordfish | Squid Tubes

Barbecuing is a fantastic choice for most fish, with one key distinction. Firm fish varieties thrive with direct contact with the grill or hotplate, allowing the heat to penetrate their thicker flesh. Delicate species, on the other hand, prefer indirect heat. You can achieve this by wrapping the fish in foil and barbecuing with the lid down, creating an outdoor oven-like effect.
Brushing the seafood with oil before cooking will help minimize smoke. 

If you're cooking straight on the BBQ plate, follow pan-frying instructions and if you're cooking with the lid closed, follow roasting and baking instructions.

For grilling or BBQing at home, we suggest firm-fleshed fish like salmon, tuna, swordfish, and barramundi. Their texture holds up well to high heat, as does whole fish like rainbow trout and bream. Green prawns, scallops in the shell and even lobster halves are also perfect, as are squid and octopus, especially when marinated.

Try our Stuffed BBQ Squid recipe.

Stuffed BBQ Squid 
Roasting or Baking
Our tops picks: Orange Roughy | Ling | Whole Snapper 

Baking is a versatile method, offering the choice between high heat for quick cooking or low heat for slower results. When cooking fish, we suggest a shorted cook time, while octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, benefit from a longer cooking time.
We suggest baking or roasting whole fish such as snapper or baby barramundi – it not only looks impressive when served up whole, the flesh of the fish remains moist and you can experiment with various flavours in the form of a rub on the skin of the fish or stuffing the fish with fresh herbs and spices.
We also love “Seafood En Papillote”, the French technique involving wrapping seafood in parchment paper before baking allowing the fish to steam inside the packet.
Virtually any type of fish fillet can be roasted or baked. Popular choices include salmon, orange roughy, trout, mackerel and dory. Whole fish, fillets, or cutlets can be baked at 180-200ºC unless your recipe specifies a different temperature. See our fish cooking tips below to know when your fish is cooked properly.
Try our Ginger & Lemongrass Whole Baked Snapper recipe.

Whole Baked Snapper

Our tops picks: Salmon | Barramundi | Flathead | Squid

When it comes to versatility, pan-frying takes the cake. There's hardly a seafood species that you can't cook in a pan with some adjustments.
Pan-frying involves cooking food in a shallow pan or skillet, with a moderate amount of oil or fat. The type of oil used can vary, with options like olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter. The goal is to create a cooking environment that promotes browning and crispiness.
We love to use fish with skin or to lightly flour skinless fillets when pan-frying.
We suggest thin fillets, such as whiting, orange roughy, dory, garfish or leather jacket for pan-frying. Oilier fish with skin on such as flathead, barramundi or salmon are also great.
Calamari rings or squid tubes are fantastic pan-fried - you can keep it simple by lightly dusting squid and calamari with seasoned flour before shallow frying. In this case, the coating mainly adds flavour and a light crispness, along with some delightful caramelization.

Pan Fried Barramundi and Mango Salsa

Our tops picks: Mussels & Clams | White Fish 

Steaming stands out as one of the gentlest ways to cook seafood, ensuring even cooking while retaining moisture and preserving delicate flavours. This method is perfect for seafood with a delicate structure or subtle taste profiles. Look for species that are lean, like snapper and orange roughy, as steaming helps prevent your fish from drying out.
To steam seafood to perfection, half-fill a pot and bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly, maintaining a gentle rolling boil. Season the fish with salt and pepper, place it in a steamer basket or colander and position over the boiling water. Securely cover it to prevent steam from escaping and cook until the flesh flakes when tested. Depending on the thickness of your fish, steam whole fish for 10-20 minutes per 500g.
Mussels, clams, and even crab are also great steamed. The gentle cooking method ensures that the shellfish open up, making them easy to eat while preserving their natural flavours. 
Try Our Thai Coconut Mussels Recipe. 

Coconut Mussels

Our tops picks: Salmon | Ling

Poaching involves submerging seafood in just enough liquid to cover it and gently heating it below boiling point until the seafood becomes tender. You can poach whole fish, fillets, or cutlets in a variety of liquids, including water, wine or stock.
We love to poach firm-fleshed fish like Ling and Salmon with Asian flavours like coconut milk and coriander. Delicate white flaky fish varieties like cod, haddock and perch also steam well.

Our tops picks: Green Prawns | Scallops | Squid & Octopus 

Originating in East Asia, particularly China, this technique involves rapidly cooking small, bite-sized pieces of ingredients in a wok over high heat. While it was initially developed for vegetables and meat, stir-frying has seamlessly adapted to seafood.
The wok, a versatile round-bottomed cooking pan, is central to stir-frying. Its unique shape allows for the constant movement of ingredients, ensuring even cooking.
Stir-frying is excellent for green prawns and scallops creating a caramelized exterior while keeping the inside tender. The fast-paced nature of stir-frying is also great for squid and octopus, preventing them from becoming rubbery.
Try our Stir-fried Garlic Prawn Udon recipe.

Stir-fried Garlic Prawn Udon

Our tops picks: Kingfish | Snapper | Flathead | Scallop Meat

Ceviche, with its roots deeply embedded in the coastal regions of Latin America, is the ancient technique of "cooking" fish and seafood with citrus juice. Seafood is typically raw or semi-cooked, relying on the acid in citrus juice to complete the "cooking" process.
Firm, mild-flavoured fish like flathead, kingfish, tuna or snapper work perfectly for ceviche. Sashimi grade scallop meat, thinly sliced is also a great way to try this type of seafood preparation.
Try our Snapper Ceviche recipe.