Perfect Blackened Grouper Recipe

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This 15-minute blackened grouper recipe is effortless for a weeknight and perfect for guests. Savor flaky grouper fillets coated in a blend of spices and masterfully seared in a cast iron skillet.

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What is Blackened Grouper?

Grilled Fillet Blackened Grouper by Authentic Food Quest
Juicy blackened grouper with a flavorful charred crust

Grouper is a popular fish found in temperate waters from the Mid-Atlantic States and Florida to South America. 

The name grouper describes a diverse family of fish with red and black grouper being the most popular.

Raw grouper meat is white, mild, and flaky and cooked in a variety of ways including grilling, blackening, in fish sandwiches, and more.

What Does Grouper Taste Like?

Seasoned Grouper Blackened Grouper Recipes by Authentic Food Quest
Grouper’s mild meat offers versatile culinary delight

Grouper fish has a mild taste and is slightly sweet. Its flesh is tender and flaky, and it easily absorbs seasonings and marinades becoming even tastier when cooked.

In this blackened grouper recipe, we blacken it in a hot cast iron skillet. It creates a charred and flavorful crust on the outside, while remaining tender and juicy within.

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Blackened Grouper Origins

Grilled Fillets Blackened Grouper Recipes by Authentic Food Quest
Chef Paul Prudhomme invented the iconic technique that flavors fish to perfection

The origins of blackened grouper can be traced back to chef Paul Prudhomme. He was the owner of K-Paul`s Louisiana Kitchen in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans. 

In the 1980s, he developed the “blackening” cooking technique. It consists of dredging a fish fillet in a spice blend, butter, or oil, and cooked it in a very hot cast iron skillet.

The spices impart flavors without overwhelming the fish and the high heat quickly seals the flavor. 

Timing is everything with this deceptively simple recipe. Just a few seconds separates blackened from burnt.

In his famous cookbook, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen, he offers the following advice for blackening fish

 “Because this method is simple, any variation will make a dramatic difference. Be sure the skillet is hot enough and absolutely dry. Be sure not to over season – – the herbs and spices should highlight the taste rather than hide or overpower it. You don’t want to overcook the filet – – there’s a big difference between blackened and burned. Avoid a burned, bitter taste by wiping out the skillet between batches.”

Discovering Blackened Grouper in Florida

Blackened Grouper Floribbean by Authentic Food Quest
Taste blackened grouper fusion flavors in Florida

While in Florida exploring the local food specialties, we learned about Florribean cuisine and its connection to blackened grouper.

Florribean cuisine is a fusion of flavors and ingredients incorporating elements from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

A favorite fish amongst chefs, grouper is prepared with varying styles. The blackened grouper is often made with a spice mixture rub consisting of paprika, onion, garlic, oregano, thyme, and cayenne pepper.

Finished with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, the blackened grouper can be accompanied by a delicious mango salsa.

RELATED: 10 Best Floribbean Seafood, Meat and Dessert You’ll Crave to Try

Blackened Grouper Recipe – How To Make Blackened Grouper

Ingredients Blackened Grouper by Authentic Food Quest
Blackened grouper recipe ingredients
  • Grouper fillets (6 oz each)
  • Butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil
  • Lemon, cut into wedges

Blackened Grouper Seasoning Ingredients

Perfect Blackened Grouper Recipe 1
A harmonious blend of spices for an unforgettable taste

Blackened Grouper Recipe Tips

How To Cook Blackened Grouper

Cast Iron Blackened Grouper Recipe by Authentic Food Quest
Make sure the pan is hot before adding grouper
  • Use of Oil – For this blackened grouper recipe, you want to use a high-heat cooking oil. Avocado oil is popular due to its high smoke point and neutral flavors. Other options are vegetable oil or canola oil, which we use in this grouper recipe.
  • Use of Butter – Butter coats the fish, which helps the blackening seasoning stay put while cooking. In this recipe, we melt two tablespoons of butter to coat both sides of the grouper fillet. For a healthier version, you can use clarified butter or Ghee which doesn’t contain lactose and has a higher smoke point.
  • Grill – Cooking blackened grouper on the grill can add delicious and smoky flavors. Make sure your grill is preheated to high heat before placing the grouper on the grates.

To prevent the delicate grouper fillets from falling apart on the grill, consider using a fish basket or a grill pan.

  • Cast-Iron – This is the style we use for this blackened grouper recipe to ensure a hot sear and beautiful crust on the grouper fillets.
  • Oven Baked – An alternative way to make this blackened grouper recipe is in the oven. In this case, preheat the oven to 400°F (about 200°C) and bake the groper fillets for about 10-12 minutes. You can also  use the papillote method by wrapping the fillets in aluminum foil and baking them at the same temperature and time. 
  • Grouper sandwich version – In many towns in Florida and throughout the Gulf Coast, you’ll find blackened grouper sandwiches. The blackened grouper is prepared in the same way, topped with a mayonnaise based sauce and stuffed in a buttery bun. This sandwich version is another delicious way of eating the grouper fish.

How Long To Cook Blackened Grouper

Cooking Blackened Grouper Cast Iron by Authentic Food Quest
Be careful not to burn the fish

The cooking time for blackened grouper depends on the thickness of your grouper fillets. As a general guideline, cook each side for about 3-4 minutes. 

To ensure your fish is well cooked, we recommend using an instant read ThermoPro meat thermometer.

Insert into the thickest part of the fillet and once it registers 145 °F (about 62°C), your grouper is ready. 

Keep an eye on the fish and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

What Goes With Blackened Grouper

Grouper Fillets Blackened Grilled Grouper by Authentic Food Quest
Blackened grouper with mango salad

Creamy mashed potatoes or a refreshing coleslaw salad can complement the spicy kick of the blackened grouper.

Other traditional dishes that go well with blackened are rice and asparagus.

For a Florribean style dish, you can have it with plantain fritters or Moros, a traditional Latin rice and bean dish.

In Miami, you find blackened grouper prepared with a delicious mango salad. This adds a tropical twist and bursts of sweetness to the fish. 

Feel free to experiment with different tropical fruits like pineapple or papaya to provide an exotic touch.

How Spicy is Blackened Grouper?

Seasoning Fillet Blackened Grouper On The Grill by Authentic Food Quest
The amount of cayenne pepper sets grouper’s spiciness

Blackened Grouper can have different levels of spiciness, depending on how much cayenne pepper you use in the blackened seasoning. 

Cayenne pepper is the main source of heat in the seasoning, and its spiciness can range from mild to very hot. 

If you prefer a mild spice level, you can reduce the amount of cayenne pepper in the blackened seasoning. 

If you enjoy some heat, you can use the recommended amount of cayenne pepper indicated in the ingredients list. This amount adds a kick without being overpowering.

Blackened Grouper Recipe Substitutes

Ingredients Blackened Grilled Grouper by Authentic Food Quest
Easily find suitable substitutes for some ingredients
  • Blackened grouper seasonings – If you don’t have paprika, you can substitute with chili powder, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Grouper – If you cannot find grouper, you can use another fresh fish like mahi mahi or red snapper with firm white fish fillets. The key is to make sure the substitute fish is flaky and firm.

Blackened Grouper Step by Step Instructions

Prepare the Blackened Seasoning

Prepare the homemade blackened seasoning by combining the dry spices in a small bow. Mix well.

Prepare and Season the Grouper Fillets

Pat dry the grouper fillets using paper towels. Brush both sides of the fillets with the melted butter. Sprinkle a generous amount of the homemade blackened seasoning over both sides of each grouper fillet.

Heat Cast Iron Skillet and Cook Grouper Fish

Heat cast-iron skillet with oil and add the seasoned grouper fillets. Grill on both sides. Once cooked and the fish flakes easily, serve with a slice of lemon wedge.

Grouper Fillets Blackened Grilled Grouper by Authentic Food Quest

Blackened Grouper Recipe

This 15-minute blackened grouper recipe is effortless for a weeknight and perfect for guests. Savor flaky grouper fillets coated in a blend of spices and masterfully seared in a cast iron skillet.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 1006kcal
Author: Authentic Food Quest


Blackened Grouper Ingredients

  • 2 grouper fillets 6 oz each
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ lemon cut into wedges

Blackened Grouper Seasoning Ingredients

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp  cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp oregano dried
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • Pinch sea salt


  • Start by making the blackened seasoning. In a small bowl combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, dried oregano, ground cumin, garlic powder and brown sugar. Mix well. Set the seasoning aside.
  • Pat dry the grouper fillets using paper towels. This helps to ensure a crispy crust. Brush both sides of the fillets with the melted butter.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of the homemade blackened seasoning over both sides of each grouper fillet. Use your fingers to gently press the spice mix into the fillets.
  • Place a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and let it heat up for a few minutes. A cast- iron pan is ideal for achieving that perfect blackened crust.
  • Add the vegetable oil to the preheated skillet and carefully place the seasoned grouper fillets in the skillet.
  • Cook the fillets undisturbed for about 3 minutes on each side. The spice blend will create a golden colored flavorful crust and turns to a beautifully blackened fish.
  • Use a fork to check the doneness of the grouper fillets. The fish should flake easily and the internal temperature on the meat thermometer should be 145 °F (about 62°C)
  • Once the blackened grouper fillets are cooked, remove them from the skillet.
  • Serve the lemon wedges and a refreshing mango salsa on the side.


  • Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to your level of spiciness.
  • Make sure the cast-iron skillet is properly preheated before adding the fillets, to ensure a good sear and crust.
  • Make sure not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook the fillets in batches if your skillet is too small.
  • Before cooking, be sure to turn on your kitchen exhaust fan or open a window. 
  • Store any leftover blackening seasoning in an airtight container for future use. 


Serving: 2 | Calories: 1006kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 175g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 363mg | Sodium: 569mg | Potassium: 4427mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2144IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 264mg | Iron: 9mg
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