Marinating Seafood/Fish– Tips, Tricks, Recipes & more

Are you looking for tips on how to marinate seafood at home?

If so, then you have come to the right place.

Here I will be discussing some tips and tricks on how to marinate seafood (fish and more) at home. I will also be providing some recipes that you can use when marinating seafood.

Advantages of Marinating Seafood

There are several reasons you should marinate seafood –

  1. Marinating helps to tenderize the seafood and infuse it with flavor. These flavors are impossible to achieve without marination.
  2. Thanks to the oil in the marinade, marinating also helps to keep fish moist and prevent it from drying out during cooking.
  3. Fish that has been marinated is also less likely to stick to the grill or pan, making for an easy and hassle-free cooking experience.

Most Common Problems While Marinating Seafood

Here are some of the most common mistakes and issues while marinating seafood –

  1. Not using enough acid: This is a common mistake when marinating seafood. If you do not use enough acid, the seafood will not be properly seasoned and will lack flavor. As a thumb rule, many chefs suggest – using a minimum of 1/4 cup of acid per pound of seafood.
  2. Not using herbs/seasonings/salt: Another common mistake when marinating seafood is not using the right herbs/seasonings/salt etc. If you do not use these, the seafood will be bland and will not have much flavor. (check out the list of best herbs/seasonings/spices to use in marinades here>)
  3. Not using enough fat: A third common mistake when marinating seafood is not using enough fat. If you do not use enough fat, the seafood will dry out and will not be as moist. The easiest way to include fat is by adding oil (check out the list of best oils to use in marinades here>)
  4. Over-marinating: A fourth and a HUGE mistake with seafood (especially fish) that people make when marinating is over-marinating. If you over-marinate, the seafood can become too salty or acidic and can become tough. For example, in the case of delicate fish, stick to a marination duration of 15 min to 30 minutes. Here is a detailed guide on marinating duration for fish>

What flavors Work Best with Seafood?

tilapia marination

When it comes to marinating seafood, it’s best to keep the flavors subtle.

This is because seafood absorbs flavor quickly, so using strong flavors can overpower the dish.

The type of fish you're cooking will also affect the flavors you use. For example, denser, fattier fish like tuna or salmon can handle stronger flavors, whereas delicate fish like red snapper benefit from more subtle seasonings.

As for shellfish, shrimp are great for grilling and can stand up to most marinades.

Scallops, on the other hand, require a light touch when it comes to marinating so as not to overpower their delicate flavor.

Subtle flavors are best matched with delicate fish (like trout, tipalia, etc).

Delicate fish have a lower fat content, which means they cannot withstand strong flavors as well as fattier fish can. When cooking delicate fish, use subtle flavors that will not overwhelm the fish.

Some good choices for delicate fish include milder herbs and spices, citrus juices, and light sauces.

Can you Use Citrus for Marinating Seafood / Fish?

Citrus juices and olive oil are safe and delicious ways to marinate fish.

The acidity in the citrus juice will help to break down the fish, while the olive oil will add flavor and moisture.

Black or white pepper, paprika, or a smidge of crushed red pepper can be added to the marinade for additional flavor.

To use, simply combine all ingredients in a ziplock bag or container, add the fish, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 2-3 hours.

When ready to cook, remove the fish from the marinade and cook as desired.

Other Tips and Tricks to Marinate Seafood

fish in buttermilk

There are other things to take care of while marinating seafood, for example, which marinades are good and how long to marinate.

Like, is buttermilk a good marinade for fish?