Easy Recipe to Learn How To Cook Sheepshead Fish

What is Sheepshead fish?

Sheepshead or Archosargus probatocephalus is a saltwater fish found mainly in the coastal areas of the Atlantic Ocean. It has a compressed structure with dark bars on its gray body. These fish can easily be identified with their peculiar stubby teeth. Fishermen generally find them in jetties, piers, reefs, and rocky piles.

The taste of Sheepshead is similar to clams, oysters, crabs and other crustaceans that it feeds on. The firm, moist flesh of the Sheepshead can be used to make a variety of preparations. I thought, if you love shell fish just like me, then the shell-fish like flavor of the Sheepshead will surely entice your taste buds.

Sheephead Fish

Source: takemefishing.org

Sheepsheads come in various sizes ranging from 1.4 kg to as high as 6.8 kg. Bake it, boil it, grill it, or cook it as a whole. What’s more, you can even prepare soups with sheepshead fish. I like the baked version which is full of flavors. The best part is I find it really easy to cook it.

Baked Sheepshead with Lemon – Serves 5

Before we go in-depth on this guide, let us consider what you will need?

  • Sheepshead Fish Fillets: It’s better to get fresh fillets from your local fishmonger. Use the Sheepshead fillets to enjoy boneless and juicy morsels without bothering about the bones. Anyways, when you can get fillets, you can save the time to work on the difficult part of filleting, de-boning and skinning the whole fish. For five servings, 2 lbs. of fish fillet should be sufficient.
  • Parsley: A fresh, bright flavor of parsley will balance the taste of other ingredients in the dish.
  • Dried Oregano: Bring in some intensity to your taste buds with the flavor of Oregano. Use as much as you want to flavor the dish.
  • Butter: Ideally, 2-3 tablespoons should be good enough to give that much-desired creaminess to your dish.
  • Olive oil: Add some bitter vibes to the flavor of the fish with some good olive oil.
  • Lemon: For the citrus hues that are the highlight of the dish, use lemon juice as much as you prefer. 2-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice is a good start.
  • Sea salt: Flavor-rich sea salt is used to add more taste to the fish. Saltiness in the food is a personal preference so use as much as you need.
  • Black pepper: Make it mildly spicy or very spicy with the desired amount of black pepper to give a sharp edge of hotness to the fish.
  • Onion: The pungent flavor of onions transforms with cooking. It adds more taste to the dish. If you do not like onions much, you need not use it. The dish works wonderfully without onions too.
  • Choice of dressing Olive oil or sauce of your choice: If you want you can add a sauce of your choice to further enhance the taste of the dish. Again, this is not necessary but is a matter of your choice. If I use a dressing, I prefer an oyster dressing that I create separately. You can be creative here by creating your home-made sauce for dressing.

Step by Step: “How To Cook Sheepshead Fish”

Carefully follow the steps and you will be on your way, to cook on your own a nice sheepshead meal.

Step 1# – Prepare the fish

Rinse the fish thoroughly to clean it up well.

Step 2 – Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven between 375 to 450 degrees. Preheating will set the right temperature for the fish to start cooking beautifully.

Step 3 – Season the fillet

Meanwhile, add lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to prepare the fish. If you have the time marinate the fish for an hour for a better flavor.

Step 4 – Prepare the baking dish

Choose a small or large dish as per your choice. It should have enough space to place your fish. Grease the dish nicely with olive oil.

Step 5 – Add butter and herbs

Make your fish mouth-watering with a generous amount of butter. If you are a fitness freak, you can use low-fat butter. Give the fish some fresh overtones by adding oregano and freshly chopped parsley.

Step 6 – Add onions

If you like the taste of onions, add finely chopped onions to the dish. Use it as sparingly or as much as you desire.

Step 7 – Citric flavor addition

Based on your preference, squeeze at least 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice on the fillet before baking in the oven or before serving.

Step 8 – Finishing touches before baking

Sprinkle some freshly ground pepper on top of the fish.

Step -9 Bake the dish

Reduce the oven temperature by about 50 degrees and let the fish cook for 12-15 minutes. You need to check whether the fish is tender and flaky for it to be cooked well.

Garnish the fish with sliced lemon and fresh parsley. Serve it with your choice of bread. I enjoyed my sheepshead fish with boiled vegetables and mashed potatoes. You should definitely go ahead and try this deliciously simple Sheepshead recipe.


No matter what your level of cooking expertise was, I am sure that cooking sheepshead fish will no longer be a big task for you. Getting the right taste is all about using the right amount of ingredients that suits your taste buds. This is a simple way of how to prepare sheepshead fish that you can start with.

You can come up with innovative ideas to create your version of this dish. If you are more adventurous, you can try oyster sauce stuffing or any other variations to elevate the taste of this recipe.

Krystian Szastok

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