Sea Bass Substitutes: Mild, Sweet and Buttery Flavors in One Place

Sea bass is an edible variety of fish native to the Pacific waters near Mexico and California. There are several types of sea bass and they are generally bony and flaky, the bones and scales of which are removed before cooking. 

You can make many delicious dishes with this fish and thanks to their moisty texture, they become very tender, mouthwatering and smell so good when cooked properly. You can bake, boil, grill, roast or pan-fry sea bass fish with matching seasonings. 

Now, let’s see what you can use in place of sea bass in case it’s out of stock in your local stores. Sea bass is not always available and you may wait for it for months to appear in markets. 

So, the best sea bass substitutes are sea bream, grouper, halibut, red snapper, branzino, salmon, patagonian toothfish, and striped bass

1. Sea Bream

Sea bream, also known as Sparidae, is a medium-sized fish popular in the Eastern Mediterranean and UK. This fish has gained popularity in Europe and is served in many restaurants. 

You can use it in place of sea bass as it comes with similar features. Both sea bream and sea bass are juicy, meaty and packed with flavor. However, compared to sea bass, sea bream is firmer in texture. 

Sea bream has a mild sweet flavor and you can grill, roast, marinate and cook it the same way as sea bass. Note, that sea bream belongs to the group of seafood that can be eaten raw as well. 

2. Grouper

Grouper comes from tropical waters of the US, the Bahamas, Caribbean and Brazilian coasts. It has a firm texture and large flakes which should be removed before cooking. 

It has a subtle flavor and tends to absorb other flavors and seasonings. You can broil it, grill or just pan-fry with or without flour depending on your method of preparation. You may add the same seasonings as in the case of sea bass and serve it the way you like. 

3. Halibut 

Halibut is a large fatfish coming from the North Pacific, North Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans. There are 3 varieties of this fish: Pacific, Atlantic, and Greenland halibut. You can use the one that’s available in your stores. 

Halibut is a mild sweet tasting fish and is thicker and firmer compared to sea bass. It has a similar taste to sea bass but can be a bit sweeter. On the other hand, sea bass comes with a more delicate texture. 

You can bake it, deep-fry, steam, grill or serve with sushi. Since it’s quite flavorful, you don’t need to add too much seasonings. Just a pinch of matching condiments and it will taste awesome. 

4. Red Snapper

Red snapper comes with a  firm texture and has a pinkish-red color. It is another good substitute to sea bass as it tastes mild and slightly sweet, however, you may even notice some nutty flavor. 

Compared to many other types of fish, red snapper doesn’t taste too fishy and doesn’t come with a strong flavor making it a good choice for people who avoid flavorful fish. 

It allows you to play with a bunch of seasonings and herbs to get the desired taste. You can grill it, broil, roast or bake the way you like. Add the seasonings you basically add to sea bass to get a similar result. Serve with lemon. 

5. Branzino

Many restaurants offer branzino instead of sea bass. It’s the Italian-style sea bass and tastes similar to other types of sea bass. It has a light flaky texture and mild sweet flavor. 

You can grill it, boil, pan-fry or roast just like sea bass. It also works well with pastas, casseroles, stews and soups. 

Branzino tastes better with lemons like sea bass and goes well with the same seasonings as sea bass. It is a low-calorie fish and quite easy to digest. 

6. Salmon

Salmon is one of the easy-to-find substitutes for sea bass fish. It has a meaty and tender texture and becomes even more delicate when cooked. Salmon is served in a number of ways and it’s eaten raw too. 

You can replace sea bass with salmon and the taste will be mild, fishy and tender. You can treat it like beef and cook in different ways as well as add to salads, sandwiches, bake and cook the way you do with sea bass. 

7. Patagonian Toothfish / Chilean Sea Bass

Coming from the southeastern Pacific and southwestern Atlantic Oceans, patagonian toothfish, also called Chilean sea bass, comes with similar properties to sea bass.

If you are looking for one of the most delicate fish then you’ll definitely love this fish. 

It has a delicate, buttery and succulent texture and tastes mild and sweet. You can use it  in almost all recipes calling for sea bass. As for seasonings, you can again choose any condiment you use for sea bass. 

8. Striped Bass

Here comes striped bass with its buttery and mild flavor. Striped bass is native to Canada, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. 

It’s an easy-to-find alternative to sea bass and can be used instead of it in many recipes. You can use the same condiments and cooking techniques as for sea bass. Striped bass also comes with a less fishy flavor and is easily recognizable due to its horizontal strips. 

FAQs on Sea Bass

Can I eat sea bass raw?

Yes, sea bass belongs to the varieties of fish that can be eaten raw. It is lean, mild and tender. 

Why is sea bass so expensive?

It’s because it’s low in fat and high in protein, it’s easy to cook, it has a great demand all over the world and it sometimes becomes hard to find it from local stores. 

Can I substitute sea bass for mahi mahi? 

Compared to sea bass, mahi mahi is fattier. In terms of taste, it’s mildly sweet with a buttery and moist texture and you can use it in place of sea bass. 


Although the majority of fish offer similar taste and flavor, there are varieties that are unique and can’t be replaced with another fish.

Luckily sea bass doesn’t belong to those unique types but it’s becoming more and more popular. We hope you found the best sea bass substitute to prepare the dish you want. 

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