Baked sea bream with herbs and lemon

Whenever Kipper and I buy fish, she always wants to get “the one with a head on!” (I’m not entirely convinced that this is normal for a pre-schooler, but then, I’m fairly convinced she’s not entirely normal, so hey ho.) Typically, I don’t get the one with a head on, because they’re a pest to serve, requiring a reasonably competent dissection job to get them onto plates looking edible (hence the absence of any ‘plated’ photos below!). I prefer fish to come ready filleted, if at all possible. But, this time I did get “the one with a head on” – in fact, I got two with heads on – and jolly delicious they were too. 

Sea bream is a really tasty, sweet-fleshed fish, so it doesn’t need much mucking about with. I opted to stuff the fish with plenty of fresh herbs and lemon, and leave it at that. The herbs and lemon imparted a lovely freshness into the fish, without masking its delicate flavour. You can use this method with other whole fish too – sea bass, trout, even sardines. Yum. Vary the herbs to your preference.

I forced myself to leave this fish in the oven longer than usual, because I always make the same mistake when I cook whole fish, which is to think they’ll cook as quickly as fillets. They won’t. Sea bream (and the like) are quite thick, and need at good 25+ minutes to cook through. Otherwise, the flesh won’t come away from the bone, it will look a proper mess, and the middle of the fish will be raw and cold. Yuk. Just leave it in the oven longer, OK?

The herb and lemon stuffing is best discarded before serving, but you can use some more (uncooked) herbs and lemon for a garnish, if you like. I wish I had a photo of this to show you, but I don’t, sorry. I’m sure you have a good imagination.

Two sea bream served two adults and a small person adequately. I’d say serves 2-3 adults without any problem.

Sea bream with herbs and lemon

Baked sea bream with herbs and lemon.

Baked sea bream with herbs and lemon
Serves 2
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
312 calories
4 g
0 g
34 g
1 g
5 g
80 g
4 g
1 g
0 g
29 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 312
Calories from Fat 300
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g
Saturated Fat 5g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 25g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 4mg
Total Carbohydrates 4g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  2. 2 whole sea bream
  3. 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  4. 3-4 sprigs fresh sage
  5. 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
  6. 6-8 sprigs fresh parsley
  7. 1 lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with foil and brush with olive oil.
  2. Thoroughly wash the fish inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Cut off the fins and discard. Place on the oiled foil.
  3. Put a sprig of rosemary, a sprig of sage and 2 sprigs each of thyme and parsley, into the body cavity of each fish. Tuck 2-3 halved lemon slices around the herbs.
  4. Arrange any remaining herbs and lemon around/over the fish. Drizzle the fish with a little more oil.
  5. Brush another piece of foil with olive oil and place over the fish. Scrunch the edges of the top and bottom foil sheets together to seal and create a foil parcel around the fish.
  6. Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until the fish is cooked through and comes away from the bone easily.
  7. Discard the skin, bones, herbs and lemon, and serve.
Sea bream with herbs and lemon

Sea bream with herbs and lemon – before baking.

The sea bream for this recipe came from the fab fish counter at Morrisons – it was on special offer so two fish were £5. I also got a lovely bunch of mixed fresh herbs for the stuffing for 79p, and 2 lemons and 2 limes were 99p (the rest will go in G&T this weekend!). 

Morrisons lemons and limes Morrisons herbs

Morrisons sent me shopping vouchers to buy ingredients. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Pingback: Handy Herbs kit review - Family-Friends-Food

  2. Another lovely recipe and trying to eat more fish so will be giving it a go. Commenting for myself @kateonthinice and on behalf of BritMums and thaning you for taking part

  3. Fab dish! That’s the best way to cook sea bream. I wish our local Morrisons had a fish counter, we only have a tiny selection of pre-packed fillets.

    • Thanks! Our fish counter is great. I know someone who drives 20 minutes to get there every week, just to buy fish!

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