This baked fish is our absolute favorite baked white fish recipe. It's cooked in a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce until tender and flaky. It's a 20 minute dinner recipe you don't want to miss!

This baked fish recipe is delicious served with some mashed potatoes (or low-carb cauliflower rice!) and some roasted broccoli on the side.

Baked Fish with Lemon Garlic Butter in a white baking dish with parsley on the top.

This is a recipe for making baked white fish. There are several kinds you can choose from: cod, lingcod, grouper, snapper, tilapia. White fish are mild-flavored so it's a good choice if you're unsure about eating fish.

Bonus that they tend to be very inexpensive!

We love this recipe as it is full of bright lemon flavor that goes so well with the mild-tasting fish.

4 pictures showing how to make baked fish.

How to bake fish

This is a very easy recipe. Here's what you're going to do:

  1. Lay some lemon slices in a baking dish.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper and put it on top of the lemons.
  3. Melt some butter and add garlic and lemon zest to it before spooning or brushing it onto the fish.
  4. Now pop the fish into the oven for 10 minutes and dinner will be ready!

Full instructions in the recipe card below.

How long to bake fish?

One of the great things about making baked fish is that it cooks quickly so you can get a healthy dinner on the table fast.

The exact cooking time varies a little, depending on the thickness of the fish fillets. In a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven the fish will be cooked in 10-12 minutes.

Because white fish is pretty thin, it can be a little tricky to use an instant-read meat thermometer. If you want to try, fish is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees.

How can I tell when the fish is finished cooking

When cooked, the fish will become completely opaque – rather than the slightly translucent color it has when raw. And it will flake easily with a fork.

A spatula lifting a piece of baked fish with lemons out of a baking dish.

Seasonings for oven baked fish

Lemon is a classic flavor with baked white fish. In this recipe, we add some garlic to the mix. But other flavors work well, too. To switch it up, try sprinkling on 1 teaspoon of any of the spices below when you season the fish with salt and pepper. Keep the rest of the recipe the same!

  • Italian seasoning
  • Dill
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Smoked paprika

What is the best kind of fish to bake

This recipe works best with a mild-flavored white fish. Some of our favorite kinds of white fish are:

  • Cod
  • Lingcod (pictured)
  • Tilapia
  • Haddock
  • Grouper
  • Rockfish
  • Sole

Does the fish need to be flipped part way through baking?

Nope! White fish is very delicate and would fall apart if you tried to flip it. Simply leave it to bake on one side.

Baked fish with lemon sides and a salad on a dinner plate.
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Baked Fish with Lemon Garlic Butter in a white baking dish with parsley on the top.

Lemon Garlic Butter Baked Fish

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: North American

Description

This baked fish is our absolute favorite baked white fish recipe. It's cooked in a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce until tender and flaky. It's a 20-minute dinner recipe you don't want to miss! 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ lb. white fish fillets (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
  • Minced parsley, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute. Zest the lemon (preferably with a Microplane) and add it to the butter. 
  3. Thinly slice the zested lemon and place the slices in the bottom of a baking dish. If there are extras, save them for the top of the fish. 
  4. Dry the fish with paper towels, season both sides with salt and pepper, then lay the fish on top of the lemon slices. Spoon or brush the garlic butter over the fish.
  5. Bake the fish for 10-12 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Serve with a little parsley sprinkled over the top for color.

Notes

White fish is the generic term for many different kinds of fish. A few to look for are cod, lingcod, grouper, snapper, whitefish, haddock, grouper, rockfish, or sole. 

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Baked Fish with Lemon Garlic Butter in a white baking dish with the recipe title on top of the picture.