Easy Lemon Butter Fish in 20 Minutes


This Easy Lemon Butter Fish only takes 20 minutes and a handful of ingredients. It’s a delicious and nutritious white fish recipe. Pair with rice and vegetables for a healthy weeknight dinner.

This Easy Lemon Butter Fish is fabulous with any tender, flaky, mild flavored white fish. A firmer white fish works better than soft textured fish. A nice fresh cod, halibut, or mahi mahi would work beautifully. You’ll want 4 good-sized, firm white fish fillets that are about 6 inches long and 1 inch thickness. Definitely look for that 1-inch thickness, as thinner fish fillets don’t cook up as nicely. 
Just be sure your fillets are about 1-inch thick, to ensure that nice thick texture. Go for pieces that are about 6″ x 3″ in length and width. We want nice-sized pieces. Besides that, a heavy, large and even-cooking skillet is your kitchen essential. For flipping delicate food like fish, I use an extra wide stainless steel turner with a smooth/narrow edge to get underneath the food and flip it easily.
You likely have the remaining ingredients in your kitchen already:
  • 3 TB melted butter (I use salted, but unsalted is fine) — real butter makes a huge difference in flavor
  • Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon — avoid bottled lemon juice. If your lemon is on the larger size, use less of it.
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste (here’s why we always use kosher salt in our cooking)
  • 1 tsp paprika, for a bit of smoky flavor and natural color
  • 1 tsp garlic powder; it serves as your weeknight time-saving aromatic
  • 1 tsp onion powder, same as above. 
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper; always use fresh peppercorns and grind your black pepper fresh. It makes a huge flavor difference. 
  • 3 TB olive oil; we use olive oil for most of our cooking, which feels healthier to me, as well as works really well with most recipes. We even use it in chocolate cake — ridiculously moist. 
  • freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
  • extra lemon slices for serving – kind of a vanity thing, but fish always looks prettier with freshly sliced lemon slivers on top 🙂
This isn’t the typical white-wine reduction situation. We’ve designed it for managing the midweek meal crisis, in order to provide the family a dish that’s super easy, quick, and we feel great about. 
This Easy Lemon butter Fish is tender, lemony, buttery, and delish for the whole family.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 good-sized firm white fish fillets, about 6 inches long, 1-inch thickness (cod, halibut, or mahi would work well.)
  • 3 TB melted butter (I use salted, but unsalted is fine)
  • Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
  • extra lemon slices for serving

DESCRIPTION

This Easy Lemon Butter Fish only takes 15 minutes and a handful of ingredients. It’s a delicious and nutritious. Pair with rice and vegetables for a healthy weeknight dinner.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Use paper towels to thoroughly pat-dry excess moisture from fish fillets – this step is crucial for fish to brown nicely in pan. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine melted butter, lemon juice and zest, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Stir to combine well. Taste and add a bit more kosher salt, if desired.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 tsp kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Evenly press spice mixture onto all sides of fish fillets.
  4. In a large, heavy pan over medium high heat, heat up the olive oil until hot. Once your oil is sizzling,  Cook 2 fish fillets at a time to avoid overcrowding (allows for even browning.) Cook each side just until fish becomes opaque, feels somewhat firm in the center, and is browned – lightly drizzle some of the lemon butter sauce as you cook, reserving the rest for serving. Take care not to over-cook, as that will result in a tougher texture. Season with extra kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Serve fish with with remaining lemon butter sauce, basil or parsley, and lemon wedges.

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