Grilled Whole Branzino

How To Grill Branzino? Grilled Whole Branzino on an outside grill is one of the easiest ways to cook the whole fish!  This grilled whole branzino is stuffed with 4 simple ingredients. Then it’s grilled on the barbecue for a few minutes per side until fully cooked. It’s perfect every time!

This is a quick and easy seafood recipe for grilling whole fish, and it always turns out SO delicious every time. 


How Many Ways To Cook Whole Branzino…

There are a few different ways to cook a whole branzino:

  • Baking or Roasting – you can bake branzino in the oven, like our recipe for bake or roast branzino with lemon, and our roasted red snapper- Italian style.
  • Broiling – you will need to put the oven rack 4-inches from the top heating element, and broil the whole fish ( in a pan) will cook it in less time, but you will need to keep an eye on it.
  • Poaching – using a large deep pan, the fish cooks with liquid, either water, broth, or wine and it boils until the fish is fully cooked.
  • Grilling – outside grill over moderate heat, with a grill basket, basting the fish often with marinade, if preferred.

But today, this recipe is about grilling outdoors and making dinner super easy!  We’ll show you how easy is it to grill whole fish, especially our favorite fish, branzino.

What is Branzino?

Branzino is a white ocean fish that thrives in the Mediterranean Sea and can be found in most seafood markets.

Its white meat is soft, flaky, and very mild in flavor.

Branzino is usually sold in seafood markets for around $12.00 to $14.00 per pound. 

That is not too expensive, considering they charge about $38.00 dollars or more per dish in an “upscale” restaurant.

one whole branzino fish on the table by



What to look for when buying branzino?

  • clear bright eyes, not sunken
  • bright red gills
  • firm fresh, and it springs back when pressed
  • the belly cavity is clean
  • and it has to smell like the ocean, which is a sign of its freshness

What to ask when buying the whole branzino?

  • Just ask the guy behind the seafood counter to clean out the guts, and have it scaled and the fins removed.  

What to do when you bring it home?

  • Keep the whole fish in the sealed bag in the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill them outside.

What does branzino taste like?

  • Branzino is a very light and moist fish with a mildly sweet flavor, different from sea bass or halibut.  The flavor will depend on the ingredients you stuff, bake, or mix with it.

How to Make Grilled Whole Branzino? (Step-by-Step, or full recipe below!)

First, gather up all the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 4 Whole Branzino, (at least 1 pound each) guts were cleaned out and scaled
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 6 to 8 cloves of garlic
  • few sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 3 lemons – divided
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • some lemon wedges, for serving

Directions to Grilled Whole Branzino:

1.  First, rinse the fish.

2.  Then simply place the branzino into a wire basket, similar to a portable stainless steel grilling fish basket, and lay it over a baking pan to work on ( do this to keep your counter clean).

Grilled Whole Branzino by

3.  Next, season each fish with salt and pepper inside the cavity and on the outside of the whole fish.

4.  Stuff each cavity with a few slices of lemon, some cloves of garlic, and sprigs of fresh parsley, then drizzle with some olive oil inside the cavity.  The olive oil will help keep the fish moist while grilling.

Stuffed Branzino by

5.  Grill branzino until the fish is fully cooked, usually about 5 to 10 minutes per side for the smaller ones and 15 minutes or more for the larger ones (over a pound each). You can tell if the fish is fully cooked when you poke it with a fork and the meat is firm to the touch.

6.  Then remove from grill, and let it rest for a few minutes before preparing for serving.

Cook’s Notes and Tips for Success!

  • Branzino is a fish with bones.  Before serving, you will have to remove the spine and large bones and discard them.  Then use a spatula to transfer the meat to a serving dish or platter. 

  • Because of the bones, branzino is a fish I would not recommend serving to small children. 

  • Outdoors grills will vary, so with that said, you may need more or less time grilling depending on how thick the fish is.   

  • Also, Branzino’s will vary in weight and in thickness, and you will need to check on the fish to see if it’s fully cooked near the end of cooking time.

  • How Can We Tell When The Fish is Fully Cooked?  One easy way you can tell when the fish is cooked is when you touch it or press it down on the body – it should feel firm. 

  • Always use a good quality of extra virgin olive oil for serving with this recipe.

  • Branzino is available all year long in most supermarkets that have a fish department, like Whole Foods. 

  • Best to serve branzino with freshly squeezed lemon juice on top, or on the side. Then drizzle lightly over the fish with some extra virgin olive oil to give it the final touch and more flavor.  Garnish with freshly chopped parsley sprinkled on top. 

How To Fillet The Whole Fish Before Serving?

I prefer to fillet the whole fish, removing all the bones before serving, which takes about 5 to 8 minutes to fillet.

1.  The First Step: use a fork or a spatula – place it in the middle of the fish and flip it open.

2.  Then remove the spine and any large visible bones you may find.

Filleting Branzino by

3.  Once you remove the spine and fillet each one, transfer all the white meat to a serving plate, add a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and fresh lemon juice on top, and serve.  

This makes it easier and more enjoyable to eat fish.

Grilled Whole Branzino by

QUICK NOTE:  You will need a little patience to fillet it, but it’s worth it.  This is a fish that everyone needs to be told to eat slowly, due to possibly some bones could be left behind.

Nutrition and Benefits… 

  • One-pound branzino is less than 300 calories, making it a healthy choice. 
  • Branzino is high in omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil. 
  • This fish is also packed with protein, and vitamin D, and is rich in antioxidant selenium.

Grilled Whole Branzino is a real seafood treat. 

If you never made this before, we highly recommend you try it!

It’s a delicate white fish that doesn’t need a lot of seasonings to enhance its flavor.  A little lemon, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper are all it needs!

The outcome is always perfect and consistent every time you make it, tender, super moist, and delicious tasting!

Grilled Whole Branzino by

Branzino is a very light and moist fish and it’s exquisite when served with a great bottle of white wine!

Everyone always asks us what kind of wine to pair with seafood dishes.  We like to recommend a chilled Pinot Grigio. It has a vibrant citrus flavor and would complement this dish.

Also, you can serve it with a few delicious sides like our perfectly grilled asparagus, and favorite greek salad to complete your dinner.

We hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Finally,  More Delicious and Easy Seafood Recipes!   

… Thanks for PINNING! 

Grilled Whole Branzino by

Looking for additional WHOLE fish Recipes? …check these out!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Grilled Whole Branzino

Grilled Whole Branzino

This recipe for Grilled Whole Branzino is a quick and easy way to cook up whole fish. It is perfect for any weekend and ready to serve in under 30 minutes! A simple Mediterranian recipe that always turns out amazing!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 4 Whole Branzino, ( at least 1 pound each) guts were cleaned out and scaled
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 6 to 8 cloves of garlic
  • few sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 3 lemons - divided
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Place the whole branzino into a fish basket and lay it over a baking sheet (for easy clean-up). Season each fish with salt and pepper inside the cavity and outside.
  2. Stuff each one with a few slices of lemon, some cloves of garlic, and sprigs of fresh parsley. Drizzle with olive oil inside the cavity and on the outside of each fish. Close the latch of the basket.
  3. Place fish basket onto a hot grill and grill the fish for about 10 minutes per side, turning the basket over after 5 minutes or so, until the skins are browned and charred. Remove from the grill, and set it aside to cool down a bit.
  4. Open the latch of the fish basket and take out one branzino at a time and place it onto a plate. Using a fork, peel back the charred skins, and push them aside while working to filet the fish.
  5. Gently place the fork in the middle of the fish and flip the cavity open. Remove and discard all large bones, and even some of the smaller bones ( especially if you are serving to small children) You may want to use your hands to best feel for smaller bones.
  6. When filleting the fish, use a spoon and a fork together to transfer all the white meat to a serving platter.
  7. Do the same with the other branzino. Next, drizzle on top with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges around the platter and serve.
  8. Serves 4 to 6


The amount of time to grill branzino will vary depending on how thick, large or small they come It's best to filet them while they are still warm but not too hot to handle with your hands, in case you need to. Not recommended for children under 5 yrs of age.

Nutrition Information:


4 to 6 servings

Serving Size:

4 ounces (112g)

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 129.5Total Fat: 2.5gCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 21g

Did you make this recipe?

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Hope you are having a great day, and thanks for stopping by!  Ciao!

Happy Grilling!  🙂

xo Anna and Liz

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Welcome! From Anna and Liz

We believe the kitchen is the center and the heart of the home. It is where we cook, eat, and unwind with family and friends, creating memorable traditions! Read more…

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  1. I order this a lot at one of our favorite restaurants, but never thought of making it at home! You made it look easy–and branzino would be a delicious change of pace for dinner!

    1. Thanks, Liz, we agree 100% Grilling branzino at home is a nice change for dinner. Enjoy!!

  2. i’ve never heard of branzino but perhaps we either don’t have it here or it has a different name. i’m sure other fish would do in its place:) Tasty i’m sure, either way. cheers S

    1. Yes, Branzino has many names, like capemouth and sea perch, but most of the time it’s called Branzino or European sea bass. I’m sure you can find it at your local fish market. ENJOY!

  3. I’ve often been tempted to try Branzino in restaurants and would love to try it at home without the hefty price tag 🙂 It looks so fresh and tasty! Have a great weekend.

    1. Thanks Tricia! We eat more seafood during the summer months, and we have so many more to post. Hopefully, soon! Have a great day!