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

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.

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.

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.
  • 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.

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.

NOTES

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.

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