Veracruz-Style Red Snapper Recipe

Background and History

Veracruz-Style Red Snapper, known as “Huachinango a la Veracruzana,” is a traditional Mexican dish originating from the coastal city of Veracruz. This dish is a perfect representation of the region’s culinary fusion, influenced by Spanish, Caribbean, and indigenous Mexican flavors. It typically features fresh red snapper cooked in a rich tomato sauce with olives, capers, and aromatic herbs, reflecting the area’s abundant seafood and vibrant culture.


  • 4 servings


  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 4 red snapper fillets (about 6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green), finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup fish stock or water
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon or lime wedges, for garnish


Prepare the Sauce

  • Heat the olive oiin a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeño pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the chopped tomatoes, olives, capers, and fish stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Add the chopped cilantro, dried oregano, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Cook the Red Snapper

  • While the sauce is simmering, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Place the red snapper fillets in a baking dish.
  • Pour the sauce over the fish, ensuring they are well-covered.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


  • Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
  • Serve the red snapper with the Veracruz sauce over rice or with warm tortillas.
  • Garnish with lemon or lime wedges.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Sodium: 820mg
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 6g



Use the freshest red snapper available for the best flavor. If red snapper is not available, you can substitute with another firm white fish such as tilapia or cod.

Spice Level

Adjust the amount of jalapeño to control the spiciness of the dish. For a milder version, use less jalapeño or remove it entirely.


Fresh tomatoes offer the best flavor, but canned diced tomatoes can be used when fresh tomatoes are not in season.

Allergy Warning

  • This dish contains fish and capers. Ensure that guests with fish allergies or sensitivities to capers are aware or served an alternative dish.

What is Veracruz sauce made of?

Veracruz sauce is made of a combination of tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, garlic, green olives, capers, and sometimes jalapeño peppers, all simmered together with herbs like oregano and cilantro.

What is Veracruz style food?

Veracruz style food is a culinary tradition from the Mexican state of Veracruz, characterized by the use of fresh seafood, tomatoes, olives, capers, and aromatic herbs, reflecting Spanish, Caribbean, and indigenous influences.

What kind of fish is Veracruz?

Veracruz style typically refers to red snapper, known as “huachinango” in Spanish, but other firm white fish like tilapia or cod can also be used.

Do you soak red snapper before cooking?

It is not necessary to soak red snapper before cooking. However, rinsing and patting it dry ensures it is clean and ready for seasoning and cooking.

What’s the best way to eat red snapper?

The best way to eat red snapper is to cook it until it flakes easily with a fork, then serve it with a flavorful sauce like Veracruz sauce, or simply grilled with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.

What are the cooking methods of snapper?

Snapper can be cooked using various methods including baking, grilling, pan-frying, or steaming, each bringing out different flavors and textures in the fish.

What makes Veracruz unique?

Veracruz is unique due to its rich history as a major port city, blending indigenous, Spanish, and Caribbean influences in its cuisine, music, and culture, creating a vibrant and diverse heritage.

What are the features of Veracruz?

Veracruz features include beautiful coastal landscapes, bustling ports, historical architecture, vibrant music and dance traditions like Son Jarocho, and a diverse culinary scene emphasizing seafood.

What does Veracruz taste like?

Veracruz cuisine tastes fresh and flavorful, often combining the sweetness of tomatoes and bell peppers with the briny tang of olives and capers, and the mild heat of jalapeños.

Is Veracruz in Tabasco?

No, Veracruz is not in Tabasco. Veracruz is a separate state in Mexico, located on the eastern coast along the Gulf of Mexico.

What body of water is Veracruz on?

Veracruz is on the Gulf of Mexico, which provides an abundant source of fresh seafood central to its cuisine.

Lysander Rothwell
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Lysander Rothwell, a passionate Food Enthusiast, shares his culinary adventures and expertise on his website. With a flair for exploring diverse cuisines and flavors, Lysander offers insights, recipes, and tips to inspire fellow food lovers. Through his engaging content, he aims to celebrate the joy of cooking and eating, inviting readers to embark on delightful culinary journeys with him.