Can you eat grouper?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat grouper?” with an in-depth analysis of grouper, the nutritional composition of grouper and some ways to cook and prepare grouper. We will also discuss the buying, storing and handling methods for grouper. 

Can you eat grouper?

Yes, you can eat grouper. The most popular types of grouper are black, red, and gag grouper which are all safe to consume. However, almost all species of grouper should only be consumed one time a week due to their fair amount of mercury.


All groupers belong to the sea bass family, Serranidae, and are located in tropical and warm temperate regions all around the world. The Serranidae family has above 400 species which are found nearby coral reefs and rock outcroppings of the coastal shelf. Due to their preferred habitat, groupers and other family members are obtainable by hook-and-line fishing and less exposed to trawl fishery.

The grouper is a bottom-eating fish with healthful, but light, meat. It is a large fish that can grow to be 800 pounds and over eight feet long and prefers to swallow its prey (that include fish, octopi, and crustaceans) whole. Because of its high mercury levels, it is better to eat this fish less frequently.

Two genera of groupers are most commonly eaten worldwide including Mycteroperca and Epinephelus. They range in size and weight but are usually sold at five to twenty pounds. The large, white-flaked meat comprises no intramuscular bones. They are strongly flavoured and have hard skin which needs to be removed while cleaning.

The nutritional profile of grouper 

A 3 ounce serving of grouper provides: 

  • Calories: 78 Kcal
  • Fats: 0.9 g 
  • Saturated fats: 0.2 g 
  • Sodium: 45 mg 
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g 
  • Fibre: 0 g 
  • Sugar: 0 g 
  • Protein: 16.5 g 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 210
  • Mercury levels: 417 parts per billion

Buying, storage and handling grouper

Always make sure to purchase fish last and keep it cold during the trip home.

Raw whole grouper should have a shiny exterior with tightly adhering scales. The gills are dark red or pink, with no slime, mucus and bad smell. The belly cavity should be clean and bright with no nicks or projecting bones. It has a mild odour, just like the ocean.

Raw steaks, fillets and loins should have a clear appearance. The meat should be firm and not separate. They should have a mild odour, similar to the ocean and should have no discolouration. Package them properly to keep them from being bent in an unnatural position.

How to prepare grouper?

  • Do not keep raw and cooked grouper together to prevent cross-contamination of bacteria.
  • After handling raw grouper, properly clean utensils, kitchen counters, and your hands with hot water and soap.
  • Never forget to marinate the grouper in the fridge.
  • Drain marinade; it comprises raw juices which may contain bacteria.
  • When marinade is required for basting, store a portion prior to adding raw grouper.

How to cook grouper? 

Grouper adjusts itself well to every kind of cooking. Because it is lean meat, some basting is required during broiling or baking to keep the meat moist. Their heads have a cartilaginous nature and produce a rich base for stock.

The most common practice is ten minutes per inch of thickness, at the thickest part of the grouper fillet or steak, at 400 to 450℉.

If the grouper is cooked in parchment paper, foil or a sauce, add five mins to the overall cooking period.

Fillets less than half-inch thick do not require to be converted while cooking. Like all other fishes, grouper cooks quickly, so be cautious to avoid overcooking.

Grouper is prepared when the meat becomes opaque and slices smoothly when separated with a fork.

Whether you poach, steam, roast, grill, sautée, or microwave the grouper, it is all up to you, these are all great low-fat cooking methods for grouper if you do not want to add extraordinary fat elements.

Marinate the grouper in your favourite salad dressing before proceeding.

Broil, roast, steam or microwave the grouper, then slice and add to pasta or salad for a tasty meal.

You can even broil or grill the grouper with lime-butter and seasoned salt. Apply oil to the grill to restrict the grouper from clinging.

The whole grouper can be baked including crab or shrimp stuffing.

Add leftover grouper in separate pieces to salads, soups or sauces.

Can you eat raw grouper?  

No, you should avoid eating raw grouper as there is a risk of bacterial contamination that could lead to severe food poisoning. They should be cooked thoroughly before consumption to ensure that all pathogens have been killed.  


In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat grouper?” with an in-depth analysis of grouper, the nutritional composition of grouper and some ways to cook and prepare grouper. We have also discussed the buying, storing and handling methods for grouper. 


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