Are you looking for a comprehensive guide on the best fish for meal prep? We all know flavor and moisture easily disappear when fish is cooked ahead of time.
As a professional chef and total food junkie, I’ve spent years experimenting to find the ideal fish and best practices for meal-prepping success. After extensive trial and error right in my own kitchen, I’ve nailed down the very best fish and tips for keeping seafood delicious all week long.
In this post, I’m spilling all my secrets. You’ll get my proven tips for choosing tender, flavorful fish, locking in moisture, and storing seafood correctly so it stays yummy for days.
Get ready for my top meal prep-friendly fish picks, from budget-friendly tilapia to rich seafood options. I’ll provide all my best expert pointers on cooking methods, marinades, storage, and reheating for maximum taste and texture.
With these tips in your back pocket, you’ll be enjoying delicious meal creations anytime.
What is the best fish for meal prep?
My top choice is salmon fillets! However, when it comes to meal-prepping fresh fish, I’ve found that several types work very well. So, I thought it would be helpful to categorize them into three main groups: white fish, oily fish, and shellfish.
Best White fish for meal prep
Let’s start with delicate, mild white fish. These lean, quick-cooking options are perfect for everything from easy weeknight meals to meal-prepped lunches. Their tender flakes and neutral taste make them very versatile.
Tilapia is da bomb for meal preppin’ on a budget. It’s got a mild, kinda sweet flavor that plays well with all sorts of seasonings. When cooked right, tilapia flakes up into the perfect lil’ bites of fishy goodness. Pop some cumin-lime tilapia on a taco, dice it up for a zesty fish salad, or get crazy with a cheesy tilapia chowder. So many options with this affordable frozen fish!
Benefits of using tilapia in meal prep
- Affordable, mild flavor
- Flakes beautifully when cooked right
- Perfect for fish meal prep great in tacos, salads, chowders
Pro tips for cooking tilapia:
- Cook tilapia through until flaky, about 4-6 mins per side
- Allow tilapia fillets to cool fully before packing them into containers
- Store in an airtight food container in the fridge for up to 4 days
- Reheat gently in the microwave or oven and use in fish tacos and salads
Can’t go wrong with a classic like cod for meal prep magic. That flaky, velvety texture is off the charts. Cod stays so moist when you bake or grill it – doesn’t dry out into a sad fish jerky situation, ya know?
Slap some minced garlic or homemade pesto on the cod and toss it on a baking sheet together with some fresh veggies and 15 minutes later you will have a perfectly cooked meal. Or spice it up with some Cajun seasoning and soy sauce – cod can hang with all the flavors!
Benefits of cod for meal prep:
- Delicate white flesh that flakes apart
- Cooked fish stays moist for days
- Mild taste complements any seasonings
- Very easy to cook and defrost cooked fish
Pro tips and tricks when cooking cod:
- Bake, grill, or pan-sear cod fillets until opaque and flaky, how long will depend on the thickness of the fish fillets
- Let cod cool completely before refrigerating in meal prep containers
- Store cod for 3-4 days maximum in the refrigerator
- Reheat cod gently or use it in fish sandwiches and tacos
I recommend marinade before cooking. And baking cod fillets at 360°F (180°C) for 10-12 minutes depending on thickness. Serve with cauliflower rice and green beans.
If you’re looking to treat yourself, halibut is totally worth it! This firm, mild fish has a slightly richer taste than tilapia or cod. Get that pan-sizzling hot and sear some wild-caught fish for a restaurant-worthy meal.
Grilled halibut steaks with a sweet mango salsa? Uh, yes, please! Even an easy recipe of lemon butter halibut will get you excited about the week ahead. Halibut is fancy but approachable. Definitely a winner.
Benefits of halibut for meal prep:
- Substantial fillets with tender flakes
- Richer taste can handle strong flavors
- Grills or broils to perfection in 10 mins
- Holds integrity when sliced
Tips and tricks to cook and store halibut
- Cook halibut fillets until just opaque in the center, about 6-8 mins per side
- Allow halibut to cool fully before storing in an airtight container
- Refrigerate for up to 4 days
- Reheat halibut gently in the microwave, oven or in a pan with a splash of water.
- I marinate halibut in chimichurri or dry Italian herb rubs before cooking.
Best Oily Fish for Meal Prep
The next category is oily fish sometimes called red fish meat. Their rich flavor and fatty acid content make them perfect for cooking ahead. They usually are packed with omega-3 and vitamin D. The added fats keep these fish extra moist and satisfying.
Meal prep salmon is like the MVP heavy-hitter on every cook’s starting lineup. This all-star fish has an unstoppable buttery, smooth, crave-able flavor. Whenever you can, go for the wild-caught salmon, it’s clutch! Wild salmon has lean protein, less fat, and way more good-for-you nutrients.
When you bake or grill up a big batch of wild salmon fillets for meal prep, they come out juicy, moist, and tender every time. Salmon loves chilling with sweet glazes, fresh herbs, citrusy marinades, and bold spices – all those flavors just level up its superpowers. Even if you just opt for salt and pepper it is a winner.
Serve your meal prep salmon over some brown rice or sweet potatoes and you’ve got yourself a championship-worthy dinner! This A-list ingredient definitely deserves its spotlight in any healthy meal prep game plan. Salmon for the win!
Benefits of salmon for meal prep:
- Rich flavor and healthy fats
- Stays very moist when cooked properly
- Absorbs any marinades or seasonings
Tips and tricks for meal prep salmon
- Cook salmon to proper doneness, flaky and opaque in the center
- Let salmon cool completely before packing it into airtight containers
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days
- Reheat gently in the microwave or add to salads and grain bowls
To get the best meal prep salmon – I recommend baking salmon at 360°F (180°C) for 10-12 minutes depending on thickness. Brush salmon with honey-dijon or teriyaki glaze before cooking.
For killer meal prep, fresh tuna steaks are a total rockstar move. Skip the canned stuff and go for searing up some rare-cooked fresh tuna fillets. The gorgeous red center and melt-in-your-mouth texture just sings! Grilled or seared tuna makes the perfect protein topping for grain bowls, salads, and more all week. I love saucing my tuna with zingy citrus salsas and vinaigrettes – the flavors totally pop.
Benefits of fresh tuna for meal prep:
- Beautiful color and tender texture
- Cooks quickly and works well rare
- Delicious bold flavors like ginger-soy
Tips and tricks
- Cook tuna to the desired doneness, from rare to medium
- Let seared or grilled tuna cool before refrigerating
- Store tuna in meal prep containers for up to 4 days
- Use in salads, sushi bowls, sandwiches
I quickly sear seasoned tuna steaks for 2-3 mins per side. Let cool before storing in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Trout is a meal prep all-star thanks to its delicate, mild flavor. It takes well to all kinds of prep – baked in foil, grilled, or with a crispy cornmeal crust. Trout cooks fast so it’s awesome for getting a fresh fish fix even on busy weeknights. The best part is it stays so moist and flaky when you reheat it during the week. A squeeze of lemon or dill butter sauce keeps your meal prep trout next level. This fish hits it out of the park any night of the week!
Benefits of trout for meal prep:
- Delicate flavor pairs well with sauces
- Cooks quickly under the broiler or on the grill
- Juicy texture great for tacos or bowls
Tips and tricks:
- Cook trout through until flaky, about 3-4 mins per side
- Allow cooked trout fillets to cool fully before storing
- Refrigerate in meal prep containers for 3-4 days max
- Reheat trout gently to add to tacos, bowls, and more
Best Shellfish for Meal Prep
Shellfish can add variety and quick cooking options for meal prepping. Their versatility makes shellfish an easy and lean protein to cook in batches.
Shrimp cooks extremely fast, making it perfect for meal prepping. I like to buy raw, peeled shrimp and cook up a few pounds at once. Shrimp absorbs any marinades and turns juicy and tender in just 2-3 minutes.
Some of my favorite shrimp meal prep recipes include:
- Cajun shrimp – coat with Cajun seasoning, sauté in olive oil for 2-3 mins
- Coconut shrimp – toss in coconut milk + spices, bake 8 mins at 425F
- Lemon garlic shrimp – sauté in olive oil and top with lemon garlic sauce
Tips for storing and reheating shrimp:
- Let shrimp cool completely before packing into airtight containers
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days
- Reheat gently in the microwave or add to salads and rice bowls
Don’t overcook shrimp or it can become rubbery. Cook just until pink and opaque throughout.
Sea scallops make an elegant and satisfying meal prep protein. They caramelize up beautifully in a hot pan or under the broiler in just 2-4 minutes per side.
Some of my favorite scallop marinades include:
- Lemon-dill – fresh lemon juice, olive oil, dill
- Chile lime – lime juice, olive oil, cayenne, cilantro
- Chimichurri – parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar
Tips for cooking and storing scallops:
- Pat dry before cooking for the best sear
- Broil or pan sear for 2-4 mins per side
- Let cool completely before packing into food containers
- Keeps 2-3 days refrigerated
Get a nice crust on the scallops, then use them in salads, grain bowls, tacos, and more throughout the week.
Cooking up a big batch of mussels is perfect for having seafood ready for all week. The mussels steam quickly right in a flavorful broth. Sometimes all you need is some salt and pepper, fresh parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Some of my favorite cooking liquids for mussels:
- Tomato garlic broth – tomato, white wine, garlic
- Coconut curry – coconut milk, red curry paste, cilantro
- Mediterranean – white wine, lemon, garlic, tomato
Tips for prepping and storing mussels:
- Scrub and debeard mussels before cooking
- Steam just until shells open, about 5 minutes
- Drain mussels and reserve flavorful broth
- Store mussels and broth separately for up to 3 days
Reheat mussels in the reserved broth or incorporate them into brown rice, and pasta dishes.
Meal Prep Cooking Tips for Fish
When meal-prepping fish, start by patting the fillets dry and seasoning them however you like – this helps get a nice sear and infuse flavor. Cook the fish using your preferred method (baking, grilling, searing) just until it’s opaque and flaky in the center. Be careful not to overcook it or the fish will dry out.
Once cooked, let the fish cool completely before packing it into airtight containers to store in the fridge. Portion the fish into individual servings so they’re ready to grab for meals later on. Following these steps – drying, seasoning, cooking properly, cooling completely, and storing in sealed containers – will keep your meal-prepped fish tasting fresh and flavorful all week long.
The keys are controlling moisture, cooking gently to perfect doneness, and not letting the fish sit warm too long before refrigerating. With these simple tips, you’ll get delicious, healthy fish meals from your meal prep with no fuss.
Storing and Reheating Fish
Once your fish is cooked to tender, flaky perfection, it’s time to let it chill out! Letting it cool completely before storage is clutch for keeping that fresh-from-the-sea flavor locked in. I like to divide my fish up into individual portions in meal prep containers so they’re ready to grab and go.
In the fridge, your fish will keep for 3-4 days max. Any longer and you risk it getting stinky and weirdly textured – yuck! When you’re ready to eat, there are a few good ways to reheat it: gently in the microwave, in a low oven, or sautéed in a pan with some oil or sauce. The key is not to overcook it when reheating or it’ll get dry and lame.
And that’s it! Follow my tips for cooling, storing, and reheating and you’ll be meal-picking fish like a boss. Your tasty seafood dishes will be waiting for you all week thanks to your fish handling skills. Get meal preppin’ those fillets and have a fantastic week!
We did it, friends! We made it through this entire meal prep fish extravaganza together. High-fives all around!
Let’s recap the key points for being a meal preppin’ pro with fish:
- Choose your faves! Pick fish that sounds good to YOU all week – salmon, tuna, halibut, whatever!
- Prep it right. Dry off that fish and season it up however you like best. Yum!
- Cook mindfully. Don’t overcook or undercook – flaky and opaque in the center is the goal.
- Let it chill. Let that fish cool completely before packing it into your storage containers.
- Store with care. Keep your meal prep fish chilled in the fridge for just 3-4 days max.
- Reheat gently. Microwave, low oven, or sautéed – just don’t overdo it!
Stick to these tips and you’ll be a fish meal prep master in no time. Your fridge will be stocked with crave-able, fresh fish dishes ready to grab for healthy meals all week long. Way to go, fish pro!
Keep it easy – one bite at a time!