Cooking with seafood can be intimidating, but with a few simple tips, you can ensure that your dishes come out perfect every time. Seafood is a versatile ingredient that can be prepared in many different ways, from grilling to frying. Here are some tips to get the best results when cooking with seafood.

Choose fresh seafood

According to expert chefs at Milwalky Trace, the most important aspect of cooking with seafood is starting with fresh, high-quality fish or shellfish. Look for firm and shiny seafood with a mild ocean smell. If the fish smells overly fishy or has a slimy texture, it is not fresh and should be avoided.

You should also properly store your seafood to keep it fresh. Fresh seafood should be refrigerated immediately and cooked within a day or two. For more extended storage, you can freeze seafood for up to six months. Be sure to wrap it tightly to prevent freezer burn.

Know the cooking times.

Seafood cooks quickly, so it’s important to know the appropriate cooking times for different types of fish and shellfish. Overcooked seafood can become tough and rubbery, while undercooked seafood can be unsafe to eat. A general rule of thumb is to cook fish for about 10 minutes per inch of thickness and shellfish for 3-5 minutes.

The most important thing is to cook at the right temperature. Seafood is best cooked at a high temperature to quickly sear the outside and lock in the moisture. For fish, use a hot grill or a pan over high heat. For shellfish, steam or sauté them in a hot pan.

Don’t overseason

Seafood has a delicate flavor that can easily be overwhelmed by strong seasonings. Keep it simple by using just a few herbs and spices or a squeeze of lemon or lime. Avoid heavy sauces or marinades that can mask the fish’s natural flavors.

Add flavor with aromatics like garlic, onion, and ginger, as they can add depth of flavor to seafood dishes. Sauté them in a pan before adding the fish or shellfish for extra flavor.

Experiment with different preparations

Seafood is incredibly versatile, and there are many different ways to prepare it. Try grilling, baking, poaching, frying fish, or steaming or sautéing shellfish. You may discover a new favorite way to cook seafood.

Also, ensure you use the right tools when cooking seafood to prevent it from sticking or falling apart. Use a non-stick pan or a well-oiled grill grate. A fish spatula with a thin, flexible blade is perfect for flipping delicate fish fillets.

Let it rest

After cooking seafood, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the fish, making it more tender and flavorful.


Whether grilling a whole fish or making a shrimp stir-fry, cooking with seafood is a great way to enjoy healthy, flavorful meals. Also, it’s important to be mindful of sustainability. Choose fish and shellfish harvested responsibly and sustainably, and avoid overfished species.