Baked Mackerel with Lemon

Baked Mackerel Recipe

What about baked mackerel with lemon and herbs for dinner tonight? Mackerel has to be one of the most delicious fish ever. It tastes great and you can make all kinds of dishes with it. Besides, it’s pretty cheap compared to many other types of fish. And a sustainable choice too!

This baked mackerel with lemon recipe is just one idea for you. I’ve made this a few times and always love it.

Mackerel Baked Recipe: How to Cook It

Mackerel is a versatile protein that can be sautéed, grilled, baked, barbecued, roasted or pan-fried. This saltwater fish comes from the same family as tuna and it is dark pink when raw.

Saba and caballa are other names for mackerel. King mackerel and Spanish mackerel are varieties of this tasty fish, although Atlantic (also called Boston) mackerel is probably the most common.

Mackerel is nearly always in season and highly sustainable. It is rich in omega-3 oils which can lower blood pressure and raise good cholesterol levels. This is yet another reason to try out this baked mackerel with lemon recipe. It’s not only flavorful but heart-healthy too!

Baked Mackerel with Lemon: Try Citrus with Your Fish

Because mackerel is an oily fish, it benefits from citrus to cut through the slick oil taste and add a zesty touch. You can add lime or grapefruit, or even orange. Here I am opting for fresh lemon to add a bright kick to the flavor – this baked saba recipe with lemon can also be prepared with lime but lemon and oily fish have a special affinity.

I make this recipe about half the time and the rest I like to make soused mackerel, using vinegar for the bright tang. Being from England, that’s a common way to enjoy this nutritious fish.

You can add lemon slices to the fish, then bake the fish with them in there. I like to serve extra lemon wedges on the side, mainly for looks as a garnish, but some people might want to add extra lemon.

This simple recipe can be made with whole mackerel. Simply get your fishmonger to filet them for you, removing those inside parts you don’t want.

After that you can accompany the fish with some broccoli or bell peppers and onions. Roast them all together in this baked mackerel with lemon dish and your meal will be ready to serve as soon as it is out of the oven.

Now you know how to cook Spanish mackerel you can also try the same technique with other kinds of fish like snapper or roughy perhaps.

How Long Should Mackerel be Cooked for?

For a mackerel baked recipe, give a whole fish 20 minutes or separate filets 8 to 10 minutes in the oven. When the fish flakes and the skin is crisp, it’s done. So, when finding out how to cook fresh mackerel, a lot of it is comparable to other kinds of fish. Wait until it flakes (only just flakes, I mean) it’s ready.

Baked Saba Recipe with Lemon: Side Dish Ideas

Baked Mackerel RecipeMackerel in the OvenThis is an oily fish, brightened up with the lemon, so to be honest any side dish will go. You have a nice balance of oil and acidity. So, for this reason, perhaps consider a starch plus a vegetable.

What about serving the mackerel on a bed of pearl couscous accompanied by a tomato and onion salad?

Another idea would be some fries and a simple green salad for a comfort food style dish. Consider some roasted broccoli or cauliflower cheese. Yet another option is this couscous salad recipe.

You will find that anything goes with this baked mackerel with lemon recipe, so use your imagination and pick out some family favorites, or consider tossing root vegetables with oil and roasting them until tender and slightly crisp. You can’t go wrong no matter what you pick!


Baked Mackerel with Lemon

Fresh lemon brightens this tasty fish dish, cutting through the natural oiliness of the mackerel. This is a simple recipe which boasts exquisite flavor, and goes with pretty much any side dish you want.

  • Author: Victoria Haneveer
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Main Dish


  • 2 cleaned and gutted whole mackerel
  • 1 lengthwise halved then thinly sliced lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Large dried bay leaves (optional)
  • Fresh thyme, oregano and/or rosemary (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).
  2. Put the mackerel on a lightly greased baking tray.
  3. I like to lay mine on a bed of bay leaves.
  4. Make several shallow diagonal cuts in one side, using a sharp chef’s knife.
  5. Stuff the cuts and inside the fish with lemon slices and add salt and black pepper.
  6. You can also add fresh herbs if you like (I suggest fresh rosemary).
  7. Drizzle oil on top then roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden.
  8. Serve this baked mackerel with lemon slices hot from the oven, with your preferred choice of sides.

Surprising Mackerel Facts

  • Did you know that mackerel can reach 22 inches in length and 10 pounds in weight?
  • These carnivorous fish eat shrimp, squid, small fish and copepods, and they are active during the day and rest during the night.
  • They swim in big schools which can be 20 miles long!
  • These quick swimmers can cover 18 feet (5.5) meters a second.
  • Dolphins, tuna, sea lions, whales, pelicans, turtles and sharks like to eat them.
  • Mackerel in the wild can live up to 25 years.

Now you know all about this interesting fish, it’s time to make baked mackerel with lemon!