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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

4.9 from 28 reviews

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

Yield: 4 1x


  • 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


  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.


** 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 🙂 


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 302
  • Sugar: 3.2 g
  • Sodium: 158.1 mg
  • Fat: 19.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.9 g
  • Fiber: 0.8 g
  • Protein: 25.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 88.1 mg
  • Category: dinner, main dish
  • Method: skillet
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: lemon butter fish recipe

Did you make this?

Leave a comment below and tag @chewoutloud on Instagram

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Recipe rating


    • phx cooks

    That’s so great!!! Your share is very awesome. I really love cooking. I hope you will share more recipe like these. Thank you for sharing.

      • chewoutloud

      So glad you enjoyed this, thank you!

    • James

    Tried this recipe and it was great! Now I’m wondering if this could be used with different kinds of fish. I guess most would only vary with the cooking time. I actually got it done a bit more than 15 minutes because I added my own twists with it haha.

      • chewoutloud

      James, you can definitely use another firm, white fish fillet. Adjust cook time according to thickness, yes! And cooking is all about personal twists 🙂

    • Francesca

    I don’t really like cooking but this was really easy to make and husband said it was the best fish he’s ever tried! Thank you for sharing!

    • Ellen Jacobs

    My motto is usually, ‘if it has to be cooked, it doesn’t get bought’. None-the-less, hubby bought some frozen nice thick cod fillets and has been working long hours, so I sucked it up and did a search. Decided to try this based on reviews and ease. It was EASY and DELISh. I will say, that because I don’t cook, I sort of didn’t calc that I needed 2 lemons not really one: so without one to slice, re reading the notes and understanding the topping with lemon was to help keep moisture, I sliced a zucchini and scatter them around the fish with a couple on top.. When I turned, I switched the ones surrounding the fish with the top ones… I am certain it would be wonderful as written but this small necessary modification since I didn’t have another lemon was wonderful.
    I just hope he doesn’t think this is a new me.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you guys enjoyed this, Ellen! 🙂 🙂

    • Zapoteca

    Easy Lemon Butter Fish recipe is great! I made it according to your recipe and the taste is great! Everyone in the family likes it, it makes me happy. thank you

      • chewoutloud

      So glad your family loved this!

    • Joycelyn

    Hi Amy
    Am eager to try your recipe so am wondering if you could let me know what brand fry pan you used in your video to cook the fish as it’s different than the fry pan on the amazon link you provided. Of the two, I would prefer to find and purchase the brand in the video you used over the Cuisinart, as I’m not much of a fan of Cuisinart.

      • chewoutloud

      It looks like Stone Earth is the pan featured in the video, which we do like to use for various nonstick recipes. That said, your best browning (or searing) will come from either a well-oiled cast iron skillet or heavy stainless steel like All Clad (if you don’t like Cuisinart.)

    • Janice Miersma

    This was excellent. I used walleye fillets. Thank you.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you enjoyed this dish, Janice! 🙂

    • Thomas James

    Look yummy! One of my favorite Lemon Butter Fish, nice to see your recipe, easy to follow, will cook this for family this weekend.Thanks you!

    • Ana

    This is the most successful salmon recipe I have ever done. Husband can’t stop talking about it! thank you

      • chewoutloud

      Awesome, Ana!! So very happy to hear you guys loved this dish 🙂

    • Jami

    This can’t be the correct nutritional information. White fish is much higher in protein. Perhaps 17 grams??

    • Thea

    This simple and quick recipe gives fabulous results! Cooked this for New Year’s Eve dinner and all the guests felt like they ate in a 5 star restaurant. Delicious!

      • chewoutloud

      Fantastic, Thea! So glad everyone loved this fish dish! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Liz

    Loved it. Struggle to cook fish but this was super easy & great amount of flavour.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy this recipe works well for you! 🙂

    • Allie

    This was my first attempt at cooking fish. While searching for something easy yet delicious I came across this recipe to make for a date night. It did not disappoint – was delicious and easy!!! I used tilapia since it was fresh and available and served alongside with roasted asparagus and red potatoes. I think next go round I will add in some more garlic since the garlic powder seemed a little mild.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you enjoyed this so much, Allie! Thanks for letting us know 🙂 🙂

    • Ashley

    Fast, easy recipe – makes cooking fish less intimidating! I used Alaskan cod and it was a great, light meal.

      • chewoutloud

      So so happy you guys enjoyed this dish, Ashley! 🙂 Happy continued cooking!

    • Andrea

    I made this lemon butter fish dish the other night with cod. It was delicious. Flavorful, moist, and tender. My teenage boys ate it and asked for more! I only did 2 filets instead of 4, and that caused a little too much oil in the pan, which caused (I think) the filets to crumble instead of stay firm and in one piece like the picture. But it was delicious anyway! Thanks!

      • chewoutloud

      So so happy you liked this dish (and your teens, too!)… thank you for coming over to let us know. Happy continued cooking!

    • Brittaney

    This was amazing! I’m always afraid of messing up white fish, or having it turn out bland and boring. This recipe was fantastic, easy, and the whole family devoured the fish (I used Pickerel….fantastic). There were hardly any leftovers! I’ll definitely be using this recipe again, thank so much!

      • chewoutloud

      Yippee!!! So so happy you guys loved this dish, Brittaney! 🙂 And thanks for coming back to let us know. Happy continued cooking!

    • Dj

    I am a horrible cook, but I found this to be easy and delicious. I will definitely be adding it to the few dishes that I have actually successfully accomplished. LOL. I’ll have to look through your site and find more!!!

      • chewoutloud

      So happy to hear that, Dj! 🙂 It truly makes my day. We have tons of easy/quick/delicious dinner recipes here, so hope you find more to add to your rotation 🙂

    • Scott

    Printed this one out because I use it all the time.

      • chewoutloud

      That’s awesome, Scott! So happy this recipe is a regular 🙂

    • Williams

    I love to cook and I’m always looking for new recipes for my menu, which makes me always interested in my work. Today’s my lucky day, Lemon Butter Fish is great, just follow the instructions and everything is easy, I like it. Thanks for your sharing

      • chewoutloud

      So glad you liked the dish!

    • steak grills

    Oh just 15 minutes for great dish, amazing. I will try it soon. Thanks for sharing.

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