Red Snapper Flavor Profile

Red Snapper Flavor Scale

Red Snapper is a lean, moist fish with a firm texture and a distinctive sweet, nutty flavor wich makes it versatile for many flavor components from mild to intense seasoning. Many other fish are marketed as “Red Snapper” but are not the real thing so check your sources, and buy it with the skin on so you can verify the skin color.

The raw flesh of Red Snapper is pinkish with yellow streaks, turning lighter (but not white) when cooked. The skin is deep red along the back which fades to a lighter pinkish-red on the on the belly.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

American Red Snapper, Snapper, Caribbean Red Snapper, Mexican Snapper

Description (Lutjanus campechanus)

Red Snapper

Red Snapper can grow to about 35 pounds, but average market size is 4 to 6 pounds. Red Snapper under 4 pounds have pink, metallic colored skin. Older fish have red skin and red eyes. They are called “snapper” because of their large, animal-like teeth. The only species that can be legally marketed as Red Snapper is the American Red Snapper, Lutjanus campechanus. Red Snapper have trademark red skin and red eyes and come from waters off the Southeast Atlantic and Gulf states and Mexico.

Gillneting is illegal for Red Snapper so most of them are caught by longline, and sometimes by trawls and traps.

Fresh Red Snapper Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec


Red Snapper Yield Percentage and Recovery

Item To Skin/On Fillets To Skin/Off Fillets Notes
Whole Head/On ungutted 52% 48%
Whole Head/On gutted 40% – 44% 36% – 40%
Skin/On Fillets 92% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Red Snapper Range and LocationAquaMaps Data sources: GBIF

Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) is found from Brazil to the Gulf of Mexico and northward to the Western Atlantic coast of Massachusetts, but it is rare to find above North Carolina.

The Pacific Red Snapper (Lutjanus peru) is found in the Eastern Pacific from Mexico to Peru.

Typical Wholesale Products

Whole, Dressed, H&G, Fillets (skn/on)

Additional Culinary Notes

Snappers are a reef dwelling fish so there is the possibility of Ciguatera poisoning. Ciguatera is caused by eating certain reef fishes whose flesh is contaminated with toxins originally produced by dinoflagellates associated with red tide. Ciguatera cannot be destroyed by cooking. Check with your vendor to avoid fish harvested from known hot spots.

Red Snapper Sustainability Info

Name Alternate Names Catch Method Catch
Red Snapper American Red Snapper, Northern Red Snapper Wild US Gulf of Mexico, Brazil Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png Moderate
US South Atlantic Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Moderate
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.
Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended Updated
January 2015

Worldwide stocks of Red Snapper are declining, it is considered to be excessively over-fished and unable to reproduce fast enough to keep up with demand.


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.

* Calories/Calories from fat 171/21
* Protein grams 35
* Fat grams 2.2
* Saturated fat grams .5
* Sodium milligrams 110
* Cholesterol milligrams 63
* Omega-3 grams .7
more Snapper nutrition info


Comments from before Site Migration

Add a Comment!

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Jul 08, 2015 ]

ALEXALBERTO – “Avoid” is used by Seafood Watch to indicate that a specific species of fish is having sustainability issues, either due to over-fishing, or due to damage to the habitat by the type of fishing gear used. It means that if you are concerned about sustainable fishing then you should not eat this fish. But it does not mean that there is anything wrong with the fish, or that it is unsafe to eat.

ALEXALBERTO []    [ Jul 08, 2015 ]

I downloaded the fishmonger app and was reading the descriptions on a fish. Now on the page it says “Sea food watch rating” and under that it said “Avoid”. What does that mean? What does “Avoid” mean?


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