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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.

easy lemon butter fish recipe, easy fish recipe

Easy Lemon Butter Fish Recipe

Lemon Butter Fish may be more frequently ordered at restaurants than made at home. It’s not your typical Tuesday night, in-between carpool fare.

But it can be. And it is. This Easy Lemon Butter Fish goes from stovetop to table top in just 20 minutes.

Grab ‘n go DIY Lara Bars and Fruity Chia Puddings are fantastic for breakfast or lunch…but we shoot for one real-food meal a day, which typically happens at dinner time.

Not that Chicago style deep dish pizza isn’t all fab at 6pm, but Lemon Butter Fish is a nice and light fish recip that makes you feel pretty good about what you had for dinner.

You guys may know we’re wild about seafood here (some of our faves are rounded up at the bottom of this post for you.) But often, those dishes get reserved for the weekends. I don’t even know why, since they’re just as easy as Quick Lemon-Basil Chicken.

So. I’m improving our Tuesday night dinner game with this 20-minute Lemon Butter Fish recipe…

easy lemon butter fish recipe, easy fish recipe

Use tender, flaky, mild flavored white fish fillets 

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.

We’re saving pizza night for Friday. 😉

easy lemon butter fish recipe, easy fish recipe

Watch us make this easy Lemon Butter Fish:

15-Minute Lemon Butter Fish ⭐️

How to Make Easy Lemon Butter Fish: 

easy fish recipes

Easy Lemon Butter Fish in 15 Minutes

4.82 from 80 ratings
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.
Prep Time: 7 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Total Time: 19 mins
Servings: 4


  • 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
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
  • extra lemon slices for serving


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serve fish with with remaining lemon butter sauce, basil or parsley, and lemon wedges.


** Be sure to use coarse kosher salt, not fine table salt. Kosher salt is much milder and less salty. ** The actual cook time varies, depending on type, cut, and starting temp of fish. I typically cook about 3-4 minutes per side. I check for doneness by lightly pressing fillet centers for firmness. Once it feels somewhat firm, it's usually done. ** Serve with Perfect Instant Pot Brown Rice or Best Easy Roasted Vegetables Recipe for a healthy meal that happens to be gluten-free.
If you enjoyed this recipe, we'd love for you to come back and give it a rating 🙂 


Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.9g | Protein: 25.7g | Fat: 19.8g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 88.1mg | Sodium: 158.1mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 3.2g
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Method: Skillet

Did you make this?

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Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Kate
    • 5 stars

    Made it for my French in-laws today, they loved itAs did my son, who had seconds and thirds

    • Chandra

    I’m going to make this for dinner tonight, but I’m gonna switch around some things. I’m going to add done salted butter and add a Cajun seasoning. Cajun seasoning tends to be on the saltier side, so I don’t think I would need any additional salt. In addition to any and on my fish rub I will add a little bit it in my lemon butter garlic seasoning as well. i’m going to pair it with pasta with store brought parmesan sauce and added a little bit of the Cajun seasoning to that and butter. For veggies I Will slice some green beans or asparagus and add them to the Alfredo sauce to cook. Also if I have any cherry tomatoes I’ll slice them and add them into my Alfredo sauce.

    • Traveler
    • 5 stars

    This was marvelous! I used rockfish (snapper). Next time I will double both the sauce and the rub, except for the paprika. So easy and tasty.

    • Elizabeth

    Is the protein content incorrect on the nutritional panel?

      • Amy Dong

      Updated, thank you!

    • Angelica DeLaGarza

    This was an amazing recipe. I loved it and enjoyed the marriage of the seasonings. I loved the lemon buttered flavored sauce.

    • Pam Woods
    • 5 stars

    Delicious easy lemon butter fish dish. So easy and quick to prepare. Thank you

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