Red Emperor

The red emperor is a superb finfish to eat and its white, juicy flesh is delicious served either hot or cold. It is a stunning finfish for display, both for its bright red head and skin and its impressive size.

It can be cooked whole (gilled and gutted) by baking, steaming, or deep frying, but is also ideal in fillet form for grilling, barbecuing, steaming and frying. If deep frying or grilling whole larger varieties, score the flesh first.

The flavours of teriyaki complement this species and it can be marinated in similar flavours. Try poaching in coconut milk or apple cider for a refreshing change.

The gut cavity can be filled with a mixture of herbs, rice, breadcrumbs and nuts before baking.

The skeleton and head are excellent for use in stocks, sauce bases, soups and bouillabaisse. The wings are superb crispy deep fried.

Flavour: Medium

Oiliness: Low

Moisture: Moist

Texture: Medium

Flesh Colour: White

Bones: Few large bones, which are easily removed

Price: Red emperor is a high-priced finfish.

Suggested Wines

This spectacular-looking species has a medium flavour that lends itself to young, lemony rieslings from the cool climate regions, such as Tasmania, Coonawarra and Mt Barker.




Deep Fry




Shallow Fry




When Caught Year round

Wild/Farmed Wild

Habitat Saltwater Found on shallow to deep rocky bottoms

Recovery Rate Fillets: 38% from whole red emperor

Red Emperor Research

FRDC provides a comprehensive search of the latest research papers and images on Red Emperor


Red emperor is a very highly regarded and immensely popular species.

When buying to bake whole, make sure the fish you select will fit in your oven!

Common Size >70cm