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Whole Baked Rockfish

Rockfish Recipe (Baked with Lemon)

Valentina K. Wein
This Rockfish recipe is easy to prepare, incredibly delicious with just a few simple fresh ingredients, and the presentation is stunning!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 97 kcal


  • 1 whole (approximately 3 pound) Rockfish (I used Vermilion)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon slices and thyme sprigs for garnish


  • Preheat the oven and prep the pan. Preheat the oven to 425°F, adjust a rack to the top third of the oven, and line a sheet pan with foil.
  • Prep the fish. Your fish should already be gutted and cleaned. If it's not already scaled, use a fish scaler brush or the back of a knife by rubbing it in the opposite direction of the scales. This might be a bit messy, as the scales tend to “pop” off, but it’s quite easy. Rinse the fish and then pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Season the fish. Place the fish on the foil-lined sheet pan. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the oil on the fish and gently rub it in. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully turn the fish over and repeat this process. Then season the inside cavity with salt and pepper.
  • Score the fish if desired. Use the tip of a very sharp knife to cut three slits, about two inches apart, diagonally across the top of the fish. The slits should only cut through the skin — try not to cut into the flesh.
  • Add the lemon and herbs. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice with the remaining tablespoon of oil, thyme and paprika. Drizzle this all over the top of the fish.
  • Bake the fish. Place the sheet pan in the preheated 425°F oven and bake just until the fish is cooked through, about 15 minutes. (You can test this by checking the internal temperature which should be about 140°F, and/or use a sharp knife or fork to peek into the flesh near the center. The flesh should flake easily and be opaque. (If it’s slightly translucent near the center, that’s okay.)
  • Broil the fish if necessary. If the skin doesn't become crisp and golden by the time it’s cooked, remove it from the oven, turn on the broiler and adjust a rack so the fish will be a couple of inches below it. Place the fish beneath the broiler just until it’s golden brown and sizzling. Watch it carefully as it could just take seconds.
  • Serve! Serve the finished fish immediately.


Calorie count is only an estimate.
* To bake rockfish fillets rather than the whole fish: Fillets can be skinned or not. On a foil-lined sheet pan, drizzle the lemon-herb mixture on the fillets and season with salt and pepper. (Skin side down, if it's on.) Bake in a 375°F oven for about 10 minutes, maybe less.
Keywords whole fish recipes, fish for dinner party, rockfish recipes
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