Blackened Redfish

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If you love seafood, and if you enjoy Cajun food, you won’t believe the greatness of this dish.

Blackening was a technique that originated with New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme in the 1980s. It soon swept the culinary world, and for good reason. The fish isn’t burnt, it just darkens and caramelizes to deliver an unmatched flavor profile. When served with plenty of melted butter over a bed of herbed rice pilaf, it’s about as a seafood dish as you will ever prepare.

A straight-on view of a blackened redfish filet resting against a bed rice pilaf with two lemon wedges and a small vessel of melted butter nearby.

How To Make Blackened Redfish


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The Ingredients You Will Need

Making the blackening rub from scratch is easy and makes all the difference in the world. Don’t forget the butter for this amazing dish! Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

For the Blackening Rub

Paprika – Sweet (or regular) is best. Smoked is nice, but imparts a stronger flavor.
Onion Powder and Garlic Powder – Granulated.
Cayenne Pepper – Double the amount for extra heat.
Pepper – Both white and black.
Salt – We prefer coarse Kosher or sea salt.
Herbs – Dried oregano and thyme.

For the Fish

Redfish – You’ll want four 8 oz filets. If you can’t find redfish, you can substitute red snapper (though it’s not the same as redfish), cod, or halibut. We love leaving the skin on, which is often called “redfish on the half shell.”
Butter – Unsalted, have extra on hand. Guests will want to have their own vessel of melted butter to plunge their redfish into.

EXPERT TIP: Wait until you are ready to add the rub to the fish to melt the butter. If you melt the butter too soon, it will start to harden again and become difficult to work with.

A person dredging two filets of redfish through melted butter in a baking dish.

Tips for Making Perfect Blackened Redfish

Leave the Skin On for Tender Meat – This is a matter of taste, but if you leave the skin on the filets, the flesh won’t dry out and will stay moist. Cook until crisp and the correct internal temperature is reached.

Heat Cast-Iron Skillet Over High Heat – This is critical to achieve the proper searing temperature, ensuring a beautifully charred exterior while keeping the fish moist and tender inside. Let the skillet heat for about 10 minutes.

Ensure Internal Temperature is Done – Blackening requires high heat, which can make it difficult to know if you’ve reached the recommended internal temperature of 140 to 145°F. A Digital Instant-Read Thermometer is the way to go. (click for the best).

EXPERT TIP: Use your fingers to press the rub into the flesh of the fish. If you are leaving the skin on, no need to add the rub to it. If you have the skin removed, then add the rub all over. Be sure to wash your hands before proceeding.

A person using his fingers to press a blackening rub into an uncooked filet of redfish.

How To Serve

We can’t express the importance of making sure your redfish is sufficiently cooked throughout. Blackening can be deceiving because it feels like the fish is cooking very quickly, but it still takes up to 5 minutes (once flipped) over to reach the recommended internal temperature of 145°F. The tool that will ensure that your redfish is perfectly cooked is a ThermoPro Lightning Digital Thermometer.

The fish is definitely best when served piping hot and fresh out of the skillet. If serving a group, you can keep fillets warm on a baking sheet covered with foil in a 250°F oven until ready to serve.

Our favorite way to serve the redfish is over a bed of homemade herbed rice pilaf with toasted pecans. Adding a drizzle of melted butter over guests redfish is always impressive. Be sure to have small little vessels filled with melted butter for folks to dunk their bites of fish into, if they desire.

A person using a spoon to drizzle melted butter over a blackened redfish that is being cooked in a large black cast-iron skillet.

Other Amazing Seafood Recipes To Try

We love seafood for so many reasons. It can be prepared utilizing so many various types of techniques and is wonderful in practically every type of cuisine. Here are some of our all-time favorites that we are certain you and your family will love, too:

Crawfish Étouffée
Blackened Salmon
Fish en Papillote (Cod in Parchment)
Poached Salmon with Capers and Hollandaise
Mahi Mahi Tacos
Pan-Seared Halibut with Vegetables
Seared Haddock with Mushroom Agrodolce
Mediterranean Baked Red Snapper
Baked Tilapia with Lemon Butter
Seared Tuna Steaks with Olives and Tomatoes
Almond-Crusted Cod with Orange Sauce
Parmesan Cod with Romesco Sauce
Classic Fish and Chips

These incredible seafood dishes are all absolutely amazing in their own way, but, in the meantime, isn’t this dish catching your eye?

A close-up view of a blackened redfish filet resting on a bed of rice pilaf on a black dinner plate.

If we were forced to choose our favorite seafood dish on the blog, this would be an absolute contender.

Even non-seafood lovers find this dish amazing. It’s not fishy tasting, but is exploding with flavor, and the melted butter doesn’t hurt either.

Leave the skin on for a crispy texture on the bottom of the filet, or leave it off for flakey fish through and through. No matter how you do it, you and your family will not be disappointed.

A close-up view of a half-eaten blackened redfish sitting on a black dinner plate also filled with rice pilaf and small vessel of melted butter.

Ready to make the best seafood dish this side of the Bayou? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A straight-on view of a blackened redfish filet resting against a bed rice pilaf with two lemon wedges and a small vessel of melted butter nearby.

Blackened Redfish

This is truly a seafood lover's dream come true. The blackening process doesn't actually burn the fish but creates a deeply flavorful caramelized crust. Keep the skin on the bottom of the filet for an extra moist fish and a crispy bottom, or, if desired, leave it off. Either way, this dish is a revelation. Just be sure to have your hood vent on and maybe open the door, it does get a little smokey. But, it's so worth it!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Cajun, Creole / Louisiana
Keyword: blackened redfish recipe, how to blacken fish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 316kcal


  • 1 Large (12") cast-iron skillet
  • ThermoPro Instant-Read Thermometer


For the Rub

  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder more for extra heat
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme dried
  • ½ tsp oregano dried

For the Fish

  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter melted, divided
  • 4 8 oz redfish aka: red drum
  • 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped, for garnish (optional)


  • Place your cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove for 8 to 10 minutes while you prep the rub and fish. Preheat oven to 200°F.
  • Add all of the blackening rub ingredients to a small bowl and stir together with a fork until fully combined.
    1 tbsp paprika, 2 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cayenne powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp white pepper, ½ tsp thyme, ½ tsp oregano
  • Pour 8 tbsps (1 stick) of the melted butter into a 9x13" dish. Place the fish filets in the butter and turn them over until fully coated.
    12 tbsp unsalted butter, 4 8 oz redfish
  • Use your fingers to press the rub into the flesh of the fish. If the skin has been removed, add the rub all over. If the skin is in place, no need to add rub to it.
  • Turn on your oven ventilation system and if possible, open a window or door to the outside (you may need to briefly disable your smoke alarm). Working in batches, add two of the filets, flesh-side down, on the very hot skillet.
  • Use a metal spatula to press the fish into the hot skillet (the edges may curl up a little, just use your spatula to press them back down). After a couple of minutes, use a pair of tongs to lift up the end of one of the filets. The color should be charred and reddish in places. Flip onto the skin side. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the tops of the blackened filets.
  • Continue cooking until the internal temperature ranges from 140 to 150°F. Place on a baking sheet, loosely cover with foil, and place in the preheated oven. Continue cooking the remaining fish.
  • Meanwhile, divide the remaining melted butter into small serving vessels.
  • Plate the blackened fish along with the melted butter. If desired, drizzle a little more melted butter over the filets and then garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve at once.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked this video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
Redfish can be found in well-stocked seafood departments and markets. If you can't find it, you can substitute red snapper, cod, or sea bass. They won't be the same as redfish, but will still be delicious. 
An instant-read digital thermometer is an essential cooking tool and ensures your blackened redfish will be cooked to the proper (and perfect) internal temperature. (The ThermoPro Lightning One-Second Instant Read Thermometer is what we recommend). 
This dish pairs perfectly with our Herbed Rice Pilaf (which can be made and kept warm a couple of hours in advance of serving). 


Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 1171mg | Potassium: 90mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 2101IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!


  • 5 stars
    Have prepared this TWICE! First time with Redfish and second with Mahi Mahi! Both were great. The blackening seasoning was sooo good. Don’t think twice…you must try this recipe! Don’t forget to open your windows!

    • This makes us over-the-moon happy! We love this blackened fish so much and we are THRILLED you made it (TWICE!!) and had such great success with is! Thank you so so much for sharing and for the wonderful review. That truly means the world to us! Please stay in touch! xoxo Kris & Wesley

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