On busy weeknights, a bag of frozen barramundi is our dinnertime secret weapon. This hearty, flakey white fish cooks up in a snap (you can even bake it straight from the freezer!) and holds up well to just about any sauce. We're sharing our favorite ways to use it in this collection of barramundi recipes!
What is Barramundi?
Barramundi (sometimes called Asian sea bass) is a meaty white fish with a buttery texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It's similar to halibut, grouper, or mahi-mahi in texture, and barramundi fillets are quite sturdy: You can throw this fish on the grill or smother it in a heavy sauce and it will still hold its shape quite well.
Raw barramundi is a light, almost translucent white, sometimes with a dark red line on one side of the fillet (this red line is called a "bloodline", although there isn't actually any blood in it - it's just a dark muscle that runs down the center of the fish, and it's perfectly safe to eat).
Once cooked, barramundi turns a bright, opaque white. Cooked barramundi flakes apart into relatively large pieces that hold their shape quite well, giving it a meatier texture than a lot of more delicate fish.
As fish goes, barramundi is also not very "fishy" - which makes it a perfect introduction to seafood that will satisfy even your pickiest eaters! That light flavor makes this fish really versatile, since it won't overpower a rich sauce.
Where to Buy Barramundi
A well-stocked fish counter will sometimes have fresh barramundi in the seafood case, but we actually prefer to buy frozen barramundi! We use and recommend The Better Fish®, a sustainably-farmed barramundi that's available at Whole Foods and many other grocery stores nationwide (find a retailer near you with their store locator!)
Frozen barramundi is also available at many Trader Joe's and Costco locations: Look for it in the freezer section next to other seafood items (like frozen shrimp or salmon).
Note: This post is not sponsored, but we do work with The Better Fish from time to time!
Our Favorite Barramundi Recipes
Barramundi is so versatile: It really is excellent in just about any sauce or preparation. But if we had to pick just one favorite recipe? It would probably be our garlic white wine barramundi. It's ready in under half an hour with just a few ingredients, and it pairs well with everything from pasta to rice to a quick lemon arugula salad. Just whisk a quick sauce together, dump everything in a baking dish, and you're off to the races!
This collection features the best barramundi recipes from our archives, plus a few delicious ideas from other recipe developers!
Easy White Wine Fish Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes
This summery pasta features a quick lemon white wine sauce and burst tomatoes! Poach the fish right in the sauce for a fall-apart texture and tons of flavor.
Hoisin Glazed Barramundi Sandwiches
This fish sandwich - loosely inspired by Vietnamese bánh mì - is PACKED with flavor (and it gets a few gorgeous pops of color from fresh veggies and cilantro!) With hoisin sauce and a quick spicy mayo drizzle.
Spicy Barramundi with Corn Salsa
Roast a few barramundi fillets in the oven with an easy honey spice rub, then stir together a quick avocado corn salsa for the topping. Serve this recipe as-is or turn it into tacos!
Barramundi Sheet Pan Fajitas
This one pan dinner is a lifesaver on busy weeknights! Roast a barramundi fillet on a sheet pan with a few spices and some sliced veggies, then serve with tortillas and plenty of fresh cilantro.
Roasted Tomato Barramundi
We developed this one-pan recipe for our friends at The Better Fish, and it's been in my regular dinner rotation ever since. Serve it with plenty of crusty bread or over some fresh pasta.
Easy Garlic White Wine Baked Fish
This easy baked barramundi recipe *might* be our favorite of the bunch. Ready in half an hour with a quick lemon juice and white wine sauce (plus plenty of garlic and capers!)
Grilled Barramundi with Radishes
This easy grilled fish recipe is perfect for summertime! Served with grilled radishes and an easy radish top pesto (it's also great with fresh basil pesto!)
Herb Roasted Barramundi
This elegant (but easy!) roasted barramundi is ready in 20 minutes with bright lemon, good olive oil, and plenty of fresh herbs.
Barramundi Corn Chowder
This easy, creamy barramundi corn chowder is ready in under an hour with a handful of ingredients from the freezer.
Barramundi Lemon Garlic Pasta
Sear barramundi in a hot pan with a bit of oil until it's nice and crispy, then build a quick lemon butter sauce in the same skillet with red pepper flakes and plenty of herbs. Toss it up with some spaghetti for a cozy dinner.
A Few FAQs
Barramundi has a hearty texture but a very mild, almost buttery flavor. It's not "fishy" at all - perfect for friends or family who don't always love seafood - and it won't leave a lingering fish smell in your kitchen. Because barramundi is a meaty fish with a light flavor, it holds up really well with heavier sauces and won't compete with bigger flavors. If you like cod, halibut, or mahi mahi, you'll love barramundi!
Both salmon and barramundi are hearty, meaty fish. Salmon has a more pronounced, unique flavor; barramundi is relatively mild, with a smooth, not-very-fishy flavor. While salmon is a deep pink color, cooked barramundi is bright white with the occasional flecks of silver or grey. Salmon also encompasses several different species (like King salmon, sockeye, coho, and more), while barramundi is just one species of fish (Lates calcarifer). Salmon and barramundi are both high in omega-3 fatty acids (which are important for heart and brain health!) and are great sources of protein. Learn more: Barramundi vs. Salmon.
Sustainability can vary from brand to brand, but in general, yes: Barramundi eat low on the food chain, which means they're efficient and low-impact to raise. Frozen barramundi (our favorite!) also has a lower carbon footprint than fresh fish, since it's more efficient to ship (see the FAQ below for more info on this!)
We buy and recommend The Better Fish Barramundi, which is sustainably farmed in Vietnam. The Better Fish is a globally-recognized leader in sustainable aquaculture: Their barramundi was the first ocean-farmed fish to receive a Best Choice rating from Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch program, and they're also a 4-star BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certified producer, ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) certified, AND Fair Trade certified. Basically, they work with a variety of industry stakeholders to make the fish farming industry as a whole better for the fish, the environment, their workers, and their customers.
Fun fact: We've personally known and worked with The Better Fish team for almost a decade, which means we've been able to ask them a TON of questions about their sustainability practices (CEO Josh Goldman even made an appearance on our podcast!) We're consistently blown away by their commitment not just to raising and harvesting THEIR fish with the environment in mind, but to improving their industry as a whole. We'd recommend them even if we didn't work together.
Frozen fish is highly underrated - but when it comes to barramundi, frozen is our #1 choice. For starters, it's more efficient to ship frozen fish (which means a lower carbon footprint, yay sustainability) and it's much cheaper, which is why frozen fish is often more budget-friendly than fresh fish at the seafood counter. Frozen fish also means less food waste, because you aren't rushing to use it or forgetting about it at the back of your fridge!
Much of the frozen fish we see in stores is flash frozen (frozen very quickly and at a much lower temperature than our standard kitchen freezers) immediately after it's caught or harvested. That quick, deep freeze helps lock all of the nutrients into the fish and preserve its texture, which is what keeps fish tasting fresh once you defrost it.
We buy The Better Fish Barramundi, which is always flash frozen; if you grab barramundi from another supplier, you can usually ask your fishmonger or check the brand's website to learn about their freezing process!
Not at all - it's very affordable! I can pick up a family pack of frozen fillets at our local bulk store for under $20 - enough for three or four different meals - and it keeps in the freezer for a long time.
Like most fish, barramundi can be cooked in a variety of ways! We love grilling it, roasting it in the oven (you can also broil it!) or searing it in a hot skillet. Each of the above recipes includes full cooking instructions - click through to those recipe posts to see exactly how to make each recipe!
Like most fish, the mercury content of barramundi depends a lot on where it was caught or harvested. Large, wild-caught barramundi may have higher levels of mercury due to their diets, but sustainably farmed barramundi typically contain minimal traces of mercury. It's always good to double-check whether the brand you're buying does any independent testing to verify their mercury content (The Better Fish, for example, routinely tests their fish and has consistently demonstrated "below detectable levels" of mercury).
That's a wrap on our barramundi recipe roundup! We hope this collection was helpful. If you have any lingering questions about barramundi, leave a comment below or on any of the recipes posts we've linked above!
Hungry for more? Be sure to check out our full seafood recipe collection!