Pesce al Sale (Salt-Crusted Fish)

Salt crusted fish is an Italian classic and is ready in 30 minutes! Redfish is crusted in coarse sea salt and baked, making it tender and flavorful.

A red fish is stuffed with lemons and fresh herbs to make Salt Crusted Fish.

Salt baked fish

I love dinners that feel like they are straight out of a five star kitchen. This salt crusted red fish has every quality of a fancy, gourmet Italian dinner, without the cost!

This fish is crusted in a combination of egg whites and coarse sea salt. Next, the fish is baked in the oven for a quick 20 minutes. The fun of this dinner is taking a mallet (or a meat tenderizer) and cracking the crust off of the fish.

The skin comes off the meat effortlessly, and the herbs that were stuffed in the fish’s cavity give the meat a delicate and fresh flavor. This is my favorite way of cooking a whole fish, and I can’t wait for you to experience it’s unmatched flavor!

Salt Crusted Fish ingredients are displayed individually.

Salt baked fish recipe ingredients

  • Whole red snapper- Any kind of white fish will work great for this recipe. White fish is mild in flavor and cooks easily.
  • Coarse sea salt- You can use coarse sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Egg whites- Using egg whites helps bind the salt together to create the perfect salt crust.
  • Fresh herbs- Use fresh herbs to stuff the fish’s cavity. You will be able to taste the flavor in every bite!
  • Lemon- Fish and lemon is a no brainer!
  • Olive oil- Typically, this fish is drizzled in olive oil just before eating, but that’s up to you!
Salt and egg whites are mixed together to make the salt crust.
Herbs and lemon wedges are stuffed in a red fish, then the fish is placed on the salt.
Salt Crusted Fish is displayed on a baking sheet before its baked.

Chef’s tips

  • Buy a whole fish. Ask your local seafood department to gut and clean the fish. Leave everything else intact!
  • Pick out a few fresh herbs. This part is up to you! You can pick out as many or as few herbs as you would like for your fish. The fresh herbs will be stuffed in the cavity of the fish and you’ll be able to taste them in every single bite. Dill is must try!
  • Don’t overcook the fish. This whole fish will only take about 20 minutes to cook. If you leave it in for longer, you run the risk of drying your fish out! Let the fish rest for 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven, this will help continue to cook it.
  • Use a mallet, rolling pin, or meat tenderizer to crack the crust. If you don’t have a mallet on hand, get creative and use whatever heavy object to carefully crack the crust on the fish.
Salt Crusted Fish is baked on a baking sheet for 20 minutes until the edges are golden.
A mallet is uses to crack the crust off the Salt Crusted Fish.

What is salt crusted fish

Salt crusted fish is a Sicilian and southern Italian method of cooking fish. A whole fish is covered in a salt and egg mixture, then baked. This results in a super tender and juicy piece of fish. The skin peels off easily and comes off the meat with ease. The crust is fun to put on the fish and even more fun to crack it!

Salt Crusted Fish is baked, then the crust is cracked off of it.

Is salt crusted fish salty tasting?

No! The salt crust encases the fish when you bake it, but it is cracked and removed before you eat the fish. The salt helps absorb the moisture from the fish skin so it peels off easily, but also helps keep the fish meat moist and tender. The salt crust is cracked with a mallet and removed, then you can dig in!

The fish skin is peeled back to expose the Salt Crusted Fish meat.

How to make a salt crusted fish

  1. Make the salt crust. Combine the egg whites and salt, then stir until everything is well mixed.
  2. Stuff your fish. Place a few lemon slices and some fresh herbs in the fish’s cavity.
  3. Crust the fish with salt. Lay 1/3 of the salt mixture directly on the baking sheet (use tin foil if you want to avoid a mess). Lay the fish on top of the salt, then put the remaining salt over the fish. Pat the salt mixture down on the fish to make sure it holds.
  4. Bake the fish. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the fish for 20 minutes, then let it rest for 5 minutes (optional).
  5. Crack the crust. Use a mallet or some kind of heavy kitchen tool to gently crack the crust. Peel the skin away from the meat and eat it right off the baking sheet!
Salt Crusted Fish is baked on a baking sheet and served with lemon wedges.

More seafood recipes

  • Creamy garlic shrimp scampi is topped with fresh broccoli florets and crispy bacon. This easy 30 minute meal is effortlessly delicious!
  • Take a bite out New England with these Maine Lobster rolls! These buttered buns are stuffed with fresh lobster, celery, and mayo- then served cold!
  • This easy one-pot low country boil is packed with fresh Gulf shrimp, blue crab, crawfish, cajun sausage, potatoes, sweet corn, beer, and loads of seasoning! Grab a cold one and start cracking those craw daddies open!
  • White wine, parmesan cheese, fresh lemon, and Italian seasoning make the best stuffing for this Florida pompano fish! In under 20 minutes, you’ll have the most tender, flaky and delicious fish dinner!
  • Every good dish starts with butter, which is why this tortellini with shrimp and beurre blanc sauce is delicious!
Salt Crusted Fish is displayed with lemon wedges and forks.
Salt Crusted Fish is served with lemon wedges to add more flavor.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay in touch! I love to see your creations! Tag me at #SeaSaltSavorings to show me what you’ve made!

The fish skin is peeled back to expose the Salt Crusted Fish meat.

Salt Crusted Fish

Sea Salt Savorings
Salt crusted fish is an Italian classic and is ready in 30 minutes! Redfish is crusted in coarse sea salt and baked, making it tender and flavorful.
5 from 32 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2


  • baking sheet
  • Mixing Bowl


  • 1-2 lb whole white fish gutted and cleaned
  • 2-3 lbs coarse sea salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • handful of parsely, dill, or thyme
  • 1 lemon sliced into wedges
  • olive oil optional


  • Make the crust. Combine the egg whites and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Stuff the fish. Stuff the cavity of the fish with a few slices of lemon and a handful of fresh herbs.
  • Crust the fish and bake. Place 1/3 of the salt mixture on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Spread the mixture out so it is as long as the fish. Place the fish direcrtly on top of the salt mixture. Apply the rest of the salt on top of the fish and pat it down so it sticks well. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Crack the crust. Use a mallet, rolling pin, or meat tenderizer to gently crack the crust off of the fish. Peel the skin off the fish and serve the fish on the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on the fish meat and serve with more lemon. Mangia!

Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.

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