Hate Cooking Seafood? This Grocery Store Will Cook It For You

We honestly can't believe it took us this long to learn this weeknight time-saving hack.

Overhead view of seafood with sauce served in tray on table
Photo: Dotdash Meredith

I have a confession. I've worked in food in some capacity for nearly a decade, and I still dread cooking seafood. It's expensive and it's fickle, making for a frustrating combination for those less-than-confident cooks. The margin between under-cooked, perfectly cooked, and over-cooked is unnervingly thin, so I usually just leave it to the professionals and only order it at restaurants.

But poultry and meat are both increasingly expensive and seafood is often the more sustainable choice, not to mention it's a staple of the Mediterranean diet and other popular eating styles. Seafood is a fast-cooking, readily-available option for weeknight dinners, and luckily, I just discovered a way to get perfectly cooked seafood, no actual cooking required.

Whole Foods, home to sneaky savings on cheese boards and budget-friendly white-label products, has some secrets hiding behind its seafood counter. A blog post from the brand reveals that the seafood counter can actually season and cook your seafood for you, all while you do the rest of your shopping. A recent TikTok video by user @lucystylezz confirmed this frankly mind-blowing weeknight hack. Here's how to do it.

How to Get Cooked-to-Order Seafood at Whole Foods

To order customizable cooked seafood, simply go up to the counter and pick from the raw seafood options they have. You can get an idea of the seasonings and preparation options the store offers by looking at the cooked options in the case.

In the aforementioned video, the counter had the ability to steam or smoke, and had a huge selection of different seasoning and flavoring options ranging from Cajun and Tequila-Lime to Maryland-style Old Bay. Both of these options may depend on your location, according to Whole Foods.

In that video, the fishmonger says it's free of charge and all they have to pay for is the per-pound price of whichever seafood they pick. However, according to Whole Foods' blog, there may be a "small fee" to cook your seafood, so it seems location-dependent.

And it's likely not just Whole Foods that will go the extra mile. Many other grocery stores (including H.E.B. according to that same TikTok user) and local fishmongers will season and/or steam fish and shellfish for you, upon request. Personally, I always have our local grocery store steam lobsters for summer BBQs; it saves me time and stove-top space when entertaining in the summertime, not to mention having to buy a giant specialty lobster pot.

Not sure if your store cooks seafood? If you see cooked seafood in the case, it's more than likely they're cooking on the premises. All you have to do is ask, and ask nicely! Additionally, going shopping during off-peak hours will probably help your case—the last thing you want to do is ask for special treatment in the middle of a rush.

More Secrets of the Whole Foods Seafood Counter

That Whole Foods blog post revealed several other hot tips for getting the most out of your local seafood counter. If you prefer to cook your seafood at home, the fishmongers working the counter can still prep it for you. From deveining shrimp to scaling or deboning fish, they're not only happy to help you prep your seafood but are also specially trained to do so.

Don't see what you need at the counter? Looking for a specialty fish or rare seafood for that heirloom family recipe? Whole Foods seafood counters can order specialty items for you for no extra charge, so long as they abide by the store's sustainability standards.

And if you're looking to celebrate with a specialty item, that same TikTok user @lucystylezz shared yet another hot tip: Whole Foods has a $1 oyster deal every Friday. Yep, every Friday you can get a dozen oysters for just $12 at all participating Whole Foods locations. And not only do they have an amazing selection of oysters, but they will also shuck them for you. How cool is that?!

Now you've got all the makings of an extra special Friday night (or really any night) dinner, no shucking, scaling, or cooking required. So long seafood cooking fears!

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love