Grilled Trout

Whole grilled trout cooked over a fire is not only incredibly tasty, but if you’ve caught it yourself, it’s also madly rewarding. A few simple ingredients and an uncomplicated method make supper a snap after a day fishing up a storm.

Two whole grilled trout on a grate over an ope fire with a dish of mushrooms and two grilled lemon halves on the side.

Adapted from Pascale Naessens | Natural Food That Makes You Happy | Lannoo Publishers, 2014

Nothing is more romantic than cooking grilled trout in the open air surrounded by Mother Nature. Years ago, our waterways were packed with river trout, the salmo trutta. By now, of course, we all know that the fish sold to us by the fishmonger and in supermarkets is farmed. Trout farmed in special fish hatcheries are fattened with meal and other concentrates. This means that they can’t be compared with trout that have spent their life fighting their way upstream, living off insects and small shrimp-like creatures that they catch along the way. Farmed trout is often tasteless and the flesh is soft. But wild fish have firm, white meat and a real trout taste—and there’s no better taste in the world. Unfortunately, there are now very few wild trout swimming in our rivers. So if you want to eat a real wild trout, you need to have a few days of patience—and a lot of persistence.–Pascale Naessens


Just out of curiosity, how many of you fixing to make this grilled trout recipe are fishermen and fisherwomen? We’d simply like to know if there are more recipes we can provide you for your catch. Kindly let us know in a comment below.

☞ Contents

Grilled Trout

Two whole grilled trout on a grate over an ope fire with a dish of mushrooms and two grilled lemon halves on the side.
Nothing is more romantic than cooking fish in the open air, surrounded by Mother Nature.

Prep 20 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 40 minutes
2 to 4 servings
401 kcal
5 / 2 votes
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  • Two (1-to 1 1/4-pound) wild trout* cleaned
  • 4 stalks rosemary
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small lemons thinly sliced


  • Prepare the grill for indirect cooking and preheat it to about 375°F (191°C).
  • Stuff the belly of each trout with some rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Rub some olive oil over the skin of the fish.
  • Place the trout over indirect heat and grill, flipping once, until cooked through, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the fish and the temperature of your grill. The fish is done when it has those lovely grill marks on the outside and the fish flakes easily when you gently tug at the inside with a fork. During the last few minutes of grilling, toss the lemon slices on the grill to warm and turn occasionally so they don't scorch. Serve right away.
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*What can I substitute for wild-caught trout?

While Pascale Naessens makes a strong point for catching your own fish dinner, he’s right about how they’re not as plentiful as they once were. However, there are other wild-caught fish that will work pretty well here, too. Something you might be surprised to learn is that rainbow trout and steelhead “salmon” are, in fact, the same fish. They’ve just made different lifestyle choices (mainly fresh vs salt water). Other flaky and tender whitefish include Atlantic cod, Alaska Pollock, brook trout, catfish, cod, flounder, grouper, halibut, and white sea bass.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1half troutCalories: 401kcal (20%)Carbohydrates: 11g (4%)Protein: 48g (96%)Fat: 19g (29%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Cholesterol: 134mg (45%)Sodium: 655mg (28%)Potassium: 1259mg (36%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 227IU (5%)Vitamin C: 64mg (78%)Calcium: 206mg (21%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This dish is very easy to prepare and has great flavor from the lemon and rosemary. I used a fish-shaped grill basket which held the fish together very well and produced attractive grill marks on the fish. The trout took 8 minutes over direct heat on each side. My trout weighed just over 1 pound and was enough to serve 2.

This is a simple and effective recipe to make grilled trout. My trout were 670 grams (1.17 pounds) and 629 grams (1.13 pounds) and were approximately 13 to 15 inches in length. I used 3 small lemons, and I sliced 2 to grill. Grilling the trout took a good 40 minutes over indirect heat. The result was pleasantly mild and tasty, but we all thought it could use a little something and we weren’t sure what—parsley or another herb perhaps?

We all liked the grilled lemon with the fish. The lemon seemed to get a little sweeter when grilled. This is a great recipe for a simple grilled fish dinner. Next time I make this, I might add a few other herbs to the belly of the fish before grilling.

I didn’t have any whole trout, but I did have a couple of beautiful whole fillets, so I took two of them, totaling 13 ounces, sprinkled them with salt and pepper and a sprig of rosemary, and placed them together, securing them with some kitchen twine and mimicking a whole fish. I cooked it entirely over indirect heat with the grill at around 375°F. This yielded lovely grill marks and took exactly 20 minutes. I added lemon slices to the grill for the last 4 minutes of cooking and served them alongside the grilled trout. The fish had a nice flavor, and the aroma and subtle flavor of the rosemary was really good.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 5 stars
    We live in NW Oregon, where fresh wild trout and salmon are abundant (if you have the patience and skill). My husband is teaching our son just those skills. I’m lucky enough to get freshly caught fish on a regular basis. PLEASE keep on sharing these great recipes for the catch. BTW, perfect timing on this recipe- the two of them went fishing this morning and came home with 3 big rainbow trout. I’m thrilled to try something new.

    1. What a lovely note to find waiting for us, Claire! Thank you. Rest assured, I’m keeping watch for more fresh fish recipes. Stay tuned!

  2. I used to buy small frozen trout & cook them in the microwave. I learned after the first attempt to remove the head – the eyes exploded. 🙂

  3. Yes, please! I bring my catch – saltwater and fresh – to my tiny Manhattan kitchen, so there are no grill marks, but always a tender, flaky treat.

    1. Wonderful, Dee B.! I cooked in a Manhattan kitchen for a decade and yes, we lack the grill marks yet the taste is most definitely there. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next!

  4. A bit of fishy discourse: Salmo trutta is Brown Trout, a European species introduced to the US, and commonly stocked in our streams. They do very well here, being a little more tolerant of warmer water than our native trouts. I’ll spare you all the piscine Latin, but the main native species are Brook Trout (actually a char) and Rainbow Trout (closely related to Pacific salmon). Virtually all farm-raised trout are Rainbows. I’ve never seen Brown Trout in a store, but have caught and eaten lots of them (in NY and Wyoming).

    Out west, there are other species (such as Cutthroat—which I’ve caught and released—and Golden trout) as well. In the east, we also have Lake Trout and Landlocked Salmon, and farther north, Arctic Char… but they’re something else altogether.

    I agree that farm-raised trout are but a pale imitation of wild trout, culinarily speaking. Trout flesh is quite lean… when camping, I like to butter them thickly, wrap in foil, and bake them in the ashes of a campfire.

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