Seafood’s tasty and flavorful but it’s got a reputation for being difficult to prepare and delicate to cook. It doesn’t help that there are so many varieties of seafood with so many ways to enjoy it so there are plenty of learning curves to overcome.
But for those up to the challenge, learning how to cook seafood can be pleasurable activity. The different textures and flavor can stimulate your culinary creativity and once you become skilled in the basic techniques, you can easily create dishes that would rival any restaurant-curated cuisine.
So instead of settling for your usual fried or steamed fish fillets, grab a seafood cookbook and explore the many ways that seafood can be prepared. A good seafood cookbook offers tons of comprehensive information, ranging from how to choose seafood, along with how to buy and how to prepare the seafood you're interested in.
It’ll also give you a lot of options for substituting types of seafood with each recipe. Some will also offer suggestions for side dishes that go well with a particular type of seafood.
Other cookbooks will give you a window into the culinary culture behind some classic fish recipes. They provide an interesting read into how the fishing industry has developed and influenced most of our modern seafood cuisine.
In this list, I’ve picked the ones that showcase the best of seafood recipes. Whether you’re a newbie or a professional, these books will teach you skills and expand your knowledge of seafood cuisine for any kind of meal or occasion. Here are my top 10 seafood cookbooks on Amazon.
If you're only interested in fish, then you could check out a fish cookbook instead. Also, don't forget that you can buy fresh seafood online. This is often easier than trying to source your seafood locally.
Best Seafood Cookbooks
- The Joy of Seafood: The All-Purpose Seafood Cookbook with more than 900 Recipes Hardcover – Illustrated
- The Big 10 Fish & Seafood Cookbook: 10 Seafood, 80 Recipes, 240 Variations Paperback – Illustrated
- Foolproof Fish: Modern Recipes for Everyone, Everywhere Hardcover – Illustrated
- Provincetown Seafood Cookbook Paperback
- Essential Seafood Cookbook: Classic Recipes Made Simple Paperback – Illustrated
- Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion Hardcover – Illustrated
- Roy's Fish and Seafood: Recipes from the Pacific Rim [A Cookbook] Hardcover
- Fish: Recipes from the Sea Hardcover
- Fresh Fish: A Fearless Guide to Grilling, Shucking, Searing, Poaching, and Roasting Seafood Hardcover
- Seafood Basics: 86 Recipes Illustrated Step by Step (My Cooking Class) Paperback
1. The Joy of Seafood: The All-Purpose Seafood Cookbook with more than 900 Recipes Hardcover – Illustrated
This is a comprehensive resource for anyone who loves to eat and cook seafood. Drawing from American regional cuisine and classic dishes, these modern recipes have been selected for use in home kitchens using a wide variety of seafood. Samples of dishes include Citrus-Crusted Fried Halibut, Clam Risotto, Cod Cakes to Smoked Trout Quiche, and New Orleans BBQ Shrimp.
It includes sections on how to prepare seafood and how to master culinary techniques like broiling, poaching, and roasting. It also features a wide selection of flavored butters, sauces, and spice mixes.
The book is organized by species; each entry lists its aliases and offers multiple recipes for each fish, along with a guide to preparing the fish in traditional or innovative ways.
Readers liked that it provides a ton of information about 100 species of seafood that’s familiar to the American palate. One said it took the guesswork and intimidation out of shopping for and storing fish. Recommended for anyone looking for a reference cookbook on American seafood.
2. The Big 10 Fish & Seafood Cookbook: 10 Seafood, 80 Recipes, 240 Variations Paperback – Illustrated
This cookbook focuses on 10 of the most essential types of seafood which also happens to be the best seafood to eat if you’re concerned about the sustainability of the fisheries and the ocean. These are salmon, trout, clams & mussels, shrimp, mackerel, crab, tuna, catfish, sardines, and tilapia.
The recipe selection is a good mix of classic and modern dishes with a wide range of preparation techniques from easy to advanced. Recipes are easy to follow and use common pantry ingredients. The cookbook also features a lot of options for tweaking the ingredients so that these 80 recipes can be easily expanded to 240. Samples of the featured dishes include Spicy Tuna Poke, Fire Roasted Salmon with Herbs, Shrimp and Pineapple Thai Curry, Manhattan Clam Chowder, and Campfire Trout.
Readers loved the easy adaptability of the recipes and their flavor profiles. Another liked the fact that it doesn’t shy away from using frozen and canned fish. One noted that there are no photos and nutritional information about the finished dishes. Recommended for anyone looking to add more recipes to their culinary repertoire.
3. Foolproof Fish: Modern Recipes for Everyone, Everywhere Hardcover – Illustrated
This cookbook features 198 seafood recipes that have been tested by the America’s Test Kitchen. They range from practical everyday meals to globally-influenced weekend night specials. Samples of the recipes include Lemon-Herb Roasted Cod with Crispy Garlic Potatoes; Tuscan Shrimp and Beans, Thai Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp and Rice Vermicelli, and Fennel and Apple Salad with Smoked Mackerel.
It also features a buying guide, a classification table of fish types and how to substitute them in a recipe, and sections on the important cooking techniques for fish. The chapters are divided by type of fish and seafood.
The recipes start with useful tips before presenting the steps. Directions are clear, straightforward, and written in a narrative format. Each recipe comes with a delicious color photo of the dish.
Readers like the user-friendly format of the cookbook. One recommended its “fabulous” section sauce recipes that can be adapted for more than just fish recipes. Another liked that the recipes are fool-proof and easy to do. Recommended for newbie cooks and fans of the American Test Kitchen.
4. Provincetown Seafood Cookbook Paperback
This is a New England seafood cookbook written by Provincetown’s best-known chef. It collects classic recipes, folk history, and original drawings of the author. Recipes include Cape Cod Gumbo, Provincetown Paella, Portuguese Clam Chowder, Lobster Fra Diavolo, and Zarzuela, among others.
Many of the recipes focus on clams, mussels, the storied Wellfleet oysters, snails, and familiar Cape Cod fishes but there’s a list of fresh and frozen substitutes so that anyone can use the recipes anywhere in the country. This book will also teach you the right way to eat broiled crab and the safe way to open oysters.
Readers enjoyed the book for its colorful look at Provincetown history and culture. One found its menu planning section useful. Another said that the food tips and advice are “spot-on”. Those who tried the recipes said that it turned out well. Recommended for experienced cooks, lovers of Provincetown cuisine and fans of Chef Howard Mitcham.
5. Essential Seafood Cookbook: Classic Recipes Made Simple Paperback – Illustrated
This is an entry level cookbook that features 75 seafood recipes inspired by food from all over the world. There are also tips for prepping, cooking and serving fish, with beautiful illustrations all through out.
Recipes are easy to follow, with step-by-step instructions and use ingredients that can be found in local store. The cookbook also includes suggestions on how to substitute a couple of less-familiar ingredients. There are also practical tips, such as one for eliminating the fishy smell. Each recipe comes with nutritional info.
Readers found this a useful cookbook for beginners. One said that the buying guide for purchasing sustainable seafood took the stress out of shopping for fish. Another liked how the author took time to explain any ‘new' or unfamiliar vocabulary, ingredients, or kitchen tools in each recipe. Recommended for beginner home cooks.
6. Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion Hardcover – Illustrated
This book contains more than 250 recipes that range from classic favorites to modern culinary creations. Samples of these include Trout Almondine, Linguine with Clams, Steamed Black Bass with Sizzling Ginger, Tuna Burgers with Cucumber Relish, and Thai-Style Mussels.
This is a book that focuses on fish sustainability so there are no endangered fish species in this book. Its first chapter lists all the fishes used in the recipes along with info on how to cook it and the state of its population.
Recipes are organized by cooking method. The selection is diverse, with recipes for chowders, fish cakes, salads, and side dishes such as coleslaw.
Readers found its substitution list for fishes helpful. One liked its side dish section for its delicious recipes. Another liked its “how-to” photos on prepping techiques useful. Recommended for beginner cooks everywhere.
7. Roy's Fish and Seafood: Recipes from the Pacific Rim [A Cookbook] Hardcover
This is a full-color cookbook that highlights 100 fish and seafood recipes written by a chef known for reinventing Hawaiian cuisine. It explains the uses, flavors, and cooking qualities of 25 major types of seafood, which include tuna, mahi-mahi, ehu, opah, sea bass, lobster, squid, and scallops.
Recipes make use of the chef’s French cuisine background but are fairly easy to follow. Most use some French bases and combine them with Asian ingredients to create a delicious East meets West flavor. Samples of these include Roy’s Signature Blackened Ahi with Soy-Mustard Sauce, Crab and Potato-Crusted Ono with Creamed Spinach and Bacon, Pan-Seared Butterfish with Coconut Sauce and Kalua Pork Miso, and Spicy Tempura Shrimp with Mango-Avocado Salad.
Readers liked the creativity of the recipes and the beautiful food photography. One found this book useful for getting ideas on what flavorings go with which fish. Recommended for experienced cooks, lovers of Asian-Hawaiian-French fusion cuisine, and patrons of the chef’s restaurants.
8. Fish: Recipes from the Sea, Hardcover
This cookbook collects over 200 authentic Italian fish and seafood recipes from the Silver Spoon kitchen. It also shows the reader how to adopt an Italian approach to cooking seafood with useful tips on how to choose, prepare and cook local sustainable fish produce. It comes with an illustrated guide for recognizing and choosing fresh fish.
Recipes are written with clear step-by-step instructions and are accompanied with beautiful color photos of the dish. Most of them also come with suggestions on how to substitute fish varieties.
Those who tried the recipes said that they all turned out well although most will require some time on prepping and cooking them. Recommended for skilled cooks and fans of the Silver Spoon cookbook.
9. Fresh Fish: A Fearless Guide to Grilling, Shucking, Searing, Poaching, and Roasting Seafood, Hardcover
Another entry-level seafood cookbook, this one features 175 recipes that focus on fish fillets and whole fish to shrimp, mussels, lobster, clams, calamari, and more. It also includes step-by-step instructions of the important techniques for cooking seafood, as well as an index for choosing specific recipes for the type of fish you have on hand.
The recipes are divided by course and ingredients, with handy tips on how to prep them for cooking. The directions are very detailed and are accompanied with color photos. Samples of the featured dishes include Roasted Cod with Basil and Tomatoes on Garlic Toasts, Seaweed Sushi Roll, Wood-Roasted Native Striped Bass, Cedar Planked Salmon, and Pan Fried Bay Scallops.
Readers liked that the recipes are accessible and flavorful. One noted that the book’s selection of salad and vegetable recipes were delicious. Another said that this has become her go-to cookbook for reliable and practical recipes. Recommended for beginner cooks.
10. Seafood Basics: 86 Recipes Illustrated Step by Step (My Cooking Class) Paperback
This book will appeal to beginner cooks looking for an idiot’s-style guide to cooking seafood. It features a series of stripped down pictorials that show you how to prepare and cook seafood the way chefs do.
The book begins by illustrating key cooking techniques like how to steam, pan-fry, cook en papillote, and how to fillet a round or flat fish. It then presents the recipes that use these techniques so that the reader can practice the techniques on them.
The recipes are written with simple instructions and are accompanied with a lot of photos that show every detail of the cooking process. Sample of the recipes include salmon gravlax, sole à la meunière, tuna niçoise, creamy seafood risotto, and bouillabaisse. Recommended for beginners.
FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT: THE COOK'S ESSENTIAL COMPANION HARDCOVER – ILLUSTRATED by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore
For quality of recipes alone, this book is my top pick. Some experienced cooks might find most of the recipes repetitive but for beginner cooks, it’s a great way to hone up the required skills and expand their knowledge of seafood dishes.
All the basics are covered. It’s also not dumbed down and gives tons of useful information for the home cook. It’s user-friendly for urban home kitchens as there are recipes for stovetop grilling and tips on how to get rid of fish smells from apartments and kitchen spaces.
Readers who have tried the recipes have found them not too hard or complex to cook. And they all had successes with recreating the flavor of the dish. If there’s one seafood cookbook you should read, it’s this one.