Whitefish with Cherry Salsa

Broiled Whitefish with Cherry Salsa and lemons on a baking sheet

Whitefish with Cherry Salsa ~ whether you grill your fish over charcoal or pop it under the broiler, my juicy cherry salsa makes it a spectacular 30 minute meal.

Broiled Whitefish with Cherry Salsa and lemons on a baking sheet

The idea of pairing fish with salsa isn’t new on tvfgi ~ I’ve matched fish and seafood with salsas for years, just check the recipe index! It’s always been one of my favorite ways to cook, especially in spring and summer. It’s light, colorful, fresh, and unexpected. So healthy, too.

if you’re curious about trying a reduced calorie diet to lose a few pounds salsa is your bff. Salsa offers up so much flavor and excitement, but racks up minimal calories at just 4-15 calories per tablespoon. No fat, no sugar,  just tons of pretty, zesty, flavor. When you load up on the salsa, you can cut down on the protein portion of your plate, so it not only saves calories, but money too.

Grilled Whitefish with cherry jalapeño salsa

Why cherry salsa?

Salsa ~ ‘sauce‘ in Spanish ~ it livens up so many Mediterranean recipes, and it’s spilled over into every cuisine on the planet. Sometimes silky, sometimes chunky…almost always vibrant and explosive in flavor. Fruit (remember tomatoes and peppers are fruits!) makes the best salsa because it’s naturally sweet and juicy. When you pair it with red onions, herbs, and something acidic like citrus or vinegar,  you’ve got a combo that livens up so many foods (think grilled chicken, fish, steak, pork, tacos, even eggs…)  I chose cherries for this salsa because they hold their shape well, and have a strong sweet flavor that holds up to the heat of the jalapeño.



A bowl of fresh cherries with a cherry pitter

Every year the Washington State Fruit Commission sends me the motherlode of fresh Northwest cherries as they come into season. Like all stone fruit, you don’t see cherries except when they’re in season, so it’s use ’em or lose ’em until next year. I’m making sure to use every last one of mine…

Note about tools: A cherry pitter makes all the difference when you’re trying to eat as many cherries as you can during the short season! It took only minutes for me to pit a bowl of fruit for my salsa.

alligator chopper chopping cherries for cherry salsa

For salsa I like to chop the cherries in a small dice which helps the juices release and the flavors mingle. I like my stainless steel Alligator Chopper for the job, it’s one of my favorite kitchen tools and I talk about it a lot. The stainless steel version is a bit pricier than the plastic one they advertise on tv, but it’s so much sturdier (the plastic one broke on me after a few months use.)  I even mince the jalapeño with it.


fresh cherries for whitefish with cherry salsa

Cherries are sturdier than many other fruits, so you can make your salsa up to a day ahead of time, just keep it airtight in the refrigerator. It’s great with grilled chicken, steak, and tacos, too. I’ve been known to polish off leftovers with a bag of chips.

A bowl of fresh cherry jalapeño salsa

I chose whitefish for this dish because I think the cherry jalapeño salsa works best with a mild fish. Cherries are one of the most assertiveSalmon or other strong fish might compete with the flavor. Cod, halibut, or tilapia would all be good choices, plus the bright white fish looks so pretty against the brilliant salsa. Grilled shrimp, maybe skewered for the barbecue, would work great too.

whitefish fillets topped with cherry salsa on a baking sheet with lemons


don’t lose this whitefish with cherry salsa ~ pin it!

Whitefish with Cherry Salsa ~ grill your fish over charcoal, or pop it under the broiler, my juicy cherry salsa makes it a spectacular 30 minute meal.  #fish #salsa #cherries #grilled #broiled #healthy #fruit #stonefruit #dinner #whitefish #salmon #cod #tilapia #halibut #weightwatchers #glutenfree #whole30 #paleo


If you’re lucky enough to be in possesion of great fresh cherries, here are some other ideas for how to put them to use ~


Cherry Lemonade PopsiclesCherry Lemonade Bars --- one of the joys of summer! | theviewfromgreatisland.com

Sweet Cherry Almond Bars

Sweet Cherry Almond Bars made with the first cherries of the season! | theviewfromgreatisland.com


Easy Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Cherry Frozen Yogurt 3

whitefish with cherry salsa
4.28 from 11 votes

Whitefish with Cherry Salsa

A deliciously light grilled fish with a spicy fresh cherry salsa.
Course 30 minute dinner, dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Sue Moran



  • 2 cups finely chopped cherries
  • 1/2 jalapeno seeded, and finely minced (leaves seeds in for more heat)
  • 3 Tbsp finely minced red onion
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • fresh chopped cilantro to taste about 2-3 Tbsp


  • 2 lbs whitefish fillets 4
  • 2 lemons
  • butter or olive oil


  • Combine the salsa ingredients in a bowl and toss. Taste to adjust the lime juice, cilantro, or jalapeño. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Arrange the whitefish in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, and then either dot with butter or drizzle with olive oil. Tuck the lemon slices around the edges of the fish. When the oven has reached temperature, bake the fish just until it is opaque and flakes with a fork, about 10-12 minutes. Put the pan under the broiler briefly to get some charring on the surface.
  • Serve the fish with the lemon slices topped with a generous amount of the cherry salsa.

Cook's notes

Use tilapia, halibut, cod, trout, or sea bass in place of the whitefish.


Serving: 1
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make this whitefish with cherry salsa your own ~

  • Make it with blueberries, strawberries, or even raspberries!
  • Make it with tilapia, trout, halibut, or cod.


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  • Reply
    Elisabeth Creel
    June 28, 2021 at 9:10 am

    5 stars
    I love this cherry salsa with white fish! I’m making again tonight. I do wish your blog ads (walgreens specifically) would not cover up the recipe info. Had to go to the recipe on my phone to find the oven temperature.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 28, 2021 at 9:48 am

      Glad you liked this and I’m sorry about the ad, I’m always trying to fine tune them and get rid of the bad apples!

  • Reply
    August 20, 2020 at 7:29 am

    5 stars
    I’m glad I found this in my email this morning.- I was planning a grilled fish and now I have base to work from. I’m cooking for 2, so I’ll have some salsa left over, which is the starting point of my question. How long will the salsa keep in the fridge? I ask because my wife and I are going camping in an area of Michigan that has some of the best and freshest whitefish I’ve ever had. I make it every year we go there (20+ years at this point). Since we won’t be going out for dinner this year, we’re planning our cooking in advance. We’re both avid home cooks and it doesn’t seem too daunting to throw together camp-side, just need to remember my cherrypitter.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2019 at 6:53 am

    Hello, is it possible or even worth the effort to make the cherry salsa with frozen cherries?

    • Reply
      October 12, 2019 at 8:45 am

      I’ve never tried, but I think you should be able to do it, they would have to thaw partially to be able to dice them up, and then you could drain off any excess liquid, if necessary.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I am considering the alligator chopper. How does it do with carrots? Does it chop celery also?

    • Reply
      October 29, 2018 at 9:21 am

      It does great with carrots, beets, butternut squash, celery, etc. I have even used it to cut cooked chicken into perfect cubes (it comes with different sized grids) The reason I recommend this sturdy steel model is that it holds up to things like carrots. The plastic one breaks after a while, in my experience.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Hello Sue!

    This recipe looks great and I’m glad I found it. I would love to try it, but I’m a baby when it comes to anything spicy, so the jalapeño scares me! Is this a very spicy salsa? If so, do you have any recommendations to replace the jalapeño?


    • Reply
      August 2, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      Hey Melissa ~ jalapeños aren’t that hot when it comes to the spectrum of hot peppers, but you have a few choices… you can leave the jalapeño out, you can remove all the veins and seeds from the pepper, and that will make it milder, or you can substitute a green bell pepper, which will provide a little flavor, color, and crunch without the heat.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    July 14, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Loving this pairing of cherries with fish! Can’t get enough cherries right now 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    July 13, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    What an amazing combo of flavours! Cherry salsa is definitely a keeper.

  • Reply
    Lynn A
    July 13, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    That looks almost too pretty to eat! But, it also looks like a delicious and refreshingly light summer dinner! I bought both cherries and tilapia this morning, but never dreamed they end up in the same recipe! They will now!! Thank you!

    • Reply
      July 13, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      I love that Lynn, tilapia will work perfectly with this salsa 🙂

  • Reply
    July 13, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Loved this take ! Cherry salsa is such a perfect summertime spin ! Well done!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    July 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    This is spectacular! We’ve been eating cherries like they’re going out of style. I need to hide a little stash to make this wonderful looking salsa!

  • Reply
    July 13, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Like this one since we are surrounded with fish and it does not require any special kind. Paired with cherries ? Interesting ! Love to experiment 🙂

    • Reply
      July 13, 2018 at 8:27 am

      My ‘taste testers’ gave this a resounding thumbs up, the cherries work perfectly with the fish, and if you have access to many varieties I bet you’ll find a great match.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    July 13, 2018 at 4:54 am

    Oh my goodness, this is the most beautiful pan of fish I’ve ever seen. LOVE cherries and have all my life. I cannot wait to try this recipe! Thanks Sue 😉

    • Reply
      July 13, 2018 at 7:11 am

      Thanks Tricia ~ I think fruit that you can only get for a short time each year is always special, thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend 🙂

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