Preparing Fish in a Salt Crust – Recipes Ideas and Tips from Star Chefs

Fish in a salt crust
Fish cooked in salt, served with pumpkin and fried mushrooms.

Hi, I am a German Chef and Food Photographer. The imparting of cooking knowledge is my great passion. Everyone can cook for himself and with this website I would like to contribute to its success. Cooking questions I answer you gladly at the end of the articles. Have fun and good luck!

Here I show you my recipe fish in salt crust. The whole fish goes into the oven, this is a simple preparation, practical, with little effort and delicious.

Branzino al sale I had eaten with great pleasure in Italy, that was before Corona. So today I am adding to this preparation so that we can enjoy the fine Italian cuisine at home.

In the following article you will get a lot of tips and ideas from the star kitchen. I wish you good luck and would be happy if you would cook it. Share this article with your friends!

Whole fish, prepared for the oven, here an Alfonsino.
Fish in oven I will show you how to prepare it in its entirety in another post with cooking video instructions.

1. Which fish is ideal for this preparation?

Ideally you prepare this dish with a saltwater fish. You can put portioned fish up to 45 cm or a larger fish in the salt, but the fish should still fit on your baking tray.

Sea bream on ice
Sea bream on ice, den Fisch bitte vor dem Zubereiten gründlich Schuppen!
Sea bass on ice.
Sea bass on ice.

Portioned fish can be wrapped with baking paper. This way you can easily put the fish on your plate later.

Sea bass (Branzino) is for me the best fish for the salt coat!

Recommended to you by cook Thomas Sixt
Sea bass
Sea bass fresh from the market, also known as Branzino.
Branzino al Sale
The sea bass should still fit on your baking tray! The standard width of baking trays is about 48 cm. I have measured it for you. Fill the fish belly with herbs, the aroma can develop magnificently!

How can you recognize fresh fish:
1. The fish does not smell
2. Bright red gills
3. Undamaged and shiny scale dress
4. Clear eyes, exception perch-like fish always have cloudy eyes

Chef Thomas Sixt on fresh fish and its characteristics
Freshly caught trout
I caught this trout a long time ago near Salzburg. By the way, you could also prepare trout in a salt coat. You can see the beautiful scale dress, the red gills and the clear eyes.

Let’s take a look at the salt mantle next, I can already tell you, it’s really easy!

2. Prepare salt crust

I can still remember my cursing stepfather, he had packed a fish in “his salt crust” and in the end he had to recover the remains with hammer and chisel.

The biggest mistake in this preparation is the addition of water. Water and salt in combination with heat creates a very firm crust, which you can only open with Black & Decker.

To keep the hammer drill in the basement, I reveal the first secret: Please use only salt and protein for your coat.

Salt crust
Egg whites with salt in a bowl. I had chosen the consistency a little too firm, a little more beaten egg white makes it easier to form a nice crust.

Make salt coat with beaten egg white and salt, please do not add water!

Salt cooking tip from cook Thomas Sixt

3. Supplements ideas

Since we almost have the sea creature in the oven and I have already worked my way through the recipe section below step by step, I would like to introduce you to some suitable side dishes. My “Favoriti” are marked with a star…

3.2 Saturation supplements

I tend to the Mediterranean classics when it comes to side dishes with this fish, so in the case of saltwater fish. I would also like to combine trout in a salt coat with mashed potatoes and peas.

Pumpkin and baked potatoes are practical side dishes. You can cook them with the fish in the oven!

Tip for easy cooking from chef Thomas Sixt
Salmon fillet prepared for cooking in the oven.
A simple recipe is salmon in the oven. Have a look at this variant of fish preparation at your leisure!

4. Recipe fish in salt crust

Made it this far? Wonderful, now it’s about to start and your fish will surely be put into the oven right away!

Fish in Salt Crust

Classics of Italian Cuisine Branzino al sale prepared step by step with new recommendations for fish variations and side dishes.

Servings 2 Persons
Calories 483
Total Time 42 Min.

Fish in salt crust recipe and preparation instructions with many tips from a professional chef. The new article answers all relevant tricks and shows the preparation steps with photos. Variations for the fish, top side dishes recommendations and ideas for original Branzino al sale from the Italian kitchen.

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Fish in a salt crust
Fish cooked in salt, served with pumpkin and fried mushrooms.

Preparation Time

22 Min.

Cook Time

30 Min.



2 pc sea bass
1/2 bunch thyme
1/2 bunch Rosemary
1 pc Garlic clove

Salt crust

6 pc egg white
1,5 kg coarse sea salt


1 tbs oliv oil
4-6 pinches Pepper (I use black pepper)


Hinweis zu den Beilagen

Pumpkin from the oven recipe picture
Baked pumpkin with goat cheese and fresh figs

I have not added the side dishes in this recipe. Please take care of the side dishes first, as the cooking time is usually longer. I had selected pumpkin from the oven and mushrooms fried in butter. The recipes are linked in the article.

Preparing fish

Sea bass
Fresh Wolsbarsch also known under the name Branzino.

Scale the fish in the water, using a knife (back of the knife) against the direction of growth along the fish. By diving under water the scales stay in the sink and do not fly through the whole kitchen. You can leave the fish in the water for a short time until it is wrapped in the salt or store it temporarily.

Prepare salt mantle

Beat the cold egg whites, freshly separated from the egg yolk, in a clean and fat-free bowl with a hand mixer/ whisk until stiff.

Add salt to the egg whites
Add the coarse sea salt to the beaten egg white.

Add the coarse sea salt to the beaten egg white.

Salt crust
Egg whites with salt in a bowl. I had chosen the consistency a little too firm, a little more egg whites facilitates the formation of a nice crust.

Mix the beaten egg white with the salt. Preheat oven at 220°C hot air.

Cover fish

Branzino al Sale
The sea bass should still fit on your baking sheet! The usual width of baking trays is approx. 48 cm. I measured it for you.

Put part of the salt crust on the baking tray. If you would put the fish directly on the baking tray, the fish would be cooked too fast. You can put baking paper under the salt bed, so that you can clean the baking tray easier later. Brush the dry spotted fish with olive oil, fill the abdomen with herbs and garlic, put the fish into the salt bed.

Wrap the fish in the salt coat
Cover the fish with the prepared salt crust mixture.

Spread the rest of the salt mixture evenly over the fish and seal it. Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and cook for 25-35 minutes. —> Recommended temperature 200°C

Fish cooked in a salt coat
Fish in the salt crust when it comes out of the oven.

Remove the baking tray from the oven. When is the fish ready? Open the salt coat on the head and check the eyes of the fish. If the eyes are all white, the fish is cooked. Warm up the side dishes and the plates. Season and arrange the side dishes.

Fish in salt coat open
Carefully remove the salt coat from the fish.

Carefully remove the salt coat on the upper side of the fish.

Remove the skin from the fish
Peel the skin off the fish.

Carefully remove the skin from the fish.

Remove the top fish fillet
Fillet the fish and remove it from the fish coat.

Remove the upper fish fillet and arrange, then remove the bones and remove the lower fillet.

Fish in a salt crust
Fish cooked in salt, served with pumpkin and fried mushrooms.

Serve the fish as a side dish, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with pepper. Bon appetite!

Note on cooking time – when is the fish ready?

As a guideline: oven temperature 200°C, a sea bass weight 700g needs about 25-30 minutes.

Depending on the oven, it may take a little longer, the thicker the salt crust, the longer the fish needs. 

5. Calories fish in the oven, the nutritional values at a glance

6. More recipes for fish


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