Pan-Fried Butter Snapper

In honor of my favorite fish, this most-simple pan-fried butter snapper takes 2 ingredients to prepare and just 10 minutes to cook.

Pan Fried Butter Snapper Fed and Fit-4

I've recently unearthed a real love for snapper. A few months ago, I resolved to bring home a different piece of fresh fish each week. I'm ALWAYS game for a fun culinary adventure and making my way over to the fish counter felt like a thrill! I look forward to standing in front of the ice-filled chests, taking in all the fresh fish, making note of which are the most sustainable sources, and then inquiring with the fish counter clerk as to which is the most fresh.

Side note: if you'd like some help navigating the “best” and most sustainability-friendly fish choices according to YOUR location, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has us covered! They crafted a wonderfully thorough and regularly-updated “Seafood Watch” that does the thinking for you. Simply click HERE to open the page, choose your state, and review the document for your “best,” “good,” and “avoid” seafood choices.

In this weekly adventure, I've tasted and tested a LOT of fish! They all have their own unique signature, but snapper (turns out) has won my heart. It's not too firm, not too flaky, is hardly ever “fishy,” and holds up incredibly well while cooked.

Pan Fried Butter Snapper Fed and Fit-3

Pan Fried Butter Snapper Fed and Fit-2

Today's pan-fried butter snapper recipe is an ode to my favorite fish! In honor of its natural awesomeness, we're going to prepare it as simply as possible. Just a little sea salt and just a little butter. THAT'S IT! We don't need the oven or a marinade. Just some fresh snapper, a hot skillet, and about 10 minutes.

Once the fish is done, you can enjoy it as-is (just with salt & butter), OR you can add a few drizzles of my most recent Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce! It is a wonderful addition to the fish. A quick garnish of fresh cilantro makes it a wow-worthy protein.

Pan Fried Butter Snapper Fed and Fit

What to serve it with? I suggest some of these Caramelized Carrots, maybe some Cauliflower Rice, Roasted Potatoes, or even Sauteed Spinach (killer recipe in my ‘Fed & Fit' book).

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have some fun experimenting at the fish counter!


Pan-Fried Butter Snapper

  • Author: Cassy
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 3 servings


  • 2 tablespoons butter from grass-fed cows (like Kerrygolds) or ghee
  • 1 pound fresh snapper filet, skin on (or off, your call)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt



  1. Melt the butter or ghee in a cast-iron or other large skillet over medium/high heat. Liberally season the snapper with the sea salt. Once the butter is melted, lay the snapper non-skin-side face-down in the hot skillet. Cook on this side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the snapper develops a slight golden brown color.
  2. Carefully flip the fish over using a large spatula and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
  3. If desired, drizzle with the Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce and then garnish with the fresh cilantro and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!



6 Responses to “Pan-Fried Butter Snapper”

  1. #
    Zposted February 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    I’ve never cooked snapper, but I’m trying it tonight on your recommendation! Do you mean skin side down when you say face top-side face down?

    • #
      Cassyposted February 7, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      GOOD question. I’ll update the post to clarify. I mean non-skin-side (top) face-down.

  2. #
    Bethany @ Athletic Avocadoposted February 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best! This snapper looks insanely delicious and easy to make! Skin on all the way 🙂

    • #
      Cassyposted February 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm


  3. #
    lucaposted July 30, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I really liked the cooking tips.

  4. #
    Ronda Corkhillposted February 9, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    I followed the directions to the T except I used my all clad. The fish doubled in height in the pan and only cooked on the outside. I left it in the pan for another 5 minutes on low to cook the interior after cutting the piece in half. Maybe next time I’ll try making snapper nuggets….

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