Perfect Poached Fish

Perfect Poached Fish

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American


Perfectly Poached Fish should be unbelievably tender and melt in your mouth. With this easy technique, you can make sure that every time you poach fish it turns out perfect.



  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Fish, of your choice (see notes)


  1. Put all the ingredients, except the fish, in a large skillet with high sides and add at least 2 inches of water. Heat the water over medium heat until it reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or until it is steaming, the water is moving around but not bubbling at all. You should be able to dip your finger into the water very briefly without burning it. (Be careful if you do this, though. I don’t want you to hurt yourself!) Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  2. Once the water is at 140 degrees, slide the fish into the pot. If there is not enough water to cover the fish, add a little more. The trick here is that you want the water to remain at a fairly constant 140 degrees so that the fish doesn’t overcook.
  3. The fish is ready once it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Without a thermometer, you can test for doneness by seeing if the flesh flakes easily from the fish. A salmon fillet will take approximately 10 minutes to poach. The poaching time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. Remember though, that as long as the water does not rise above 140 degrees you will not overcook your fish.
  4. Carefully remove the fish from the poaching liquid using a slotted spatula and serve it immediately.


Thicker, meatier fish such as salmon, trout, halibut and arctic char are best for poaching.