Flaky, savory, zesty, and buttery Parmesan Lemon-Herb Baked Halibut is the perfect weeknight dish. Takes only 15 minutes to cook and takes even less time to prep. Saving you time and energy during your busy week.
(Original post date March 29, 2017 / Links and post updated September. 26, 2021)
Halibut, the yummy delightful white fish that some consider being the steak of the fish world. You can find it, nowadays, at any local grocery store, but let’s be honest fish can be tricky to cook.
When I first splurged and bought halibut, I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I placed it in the oven and it smelled great couldn’t wait to dig in. We sat down to eat it was super dry… it felt like a mouth full of sandpaper. Money Wasted!! Kitchen Fail!!
How to Cook Melt in Your Mouth Fish
Fish, like any protein, depends on size, thickness, and type. If it is a thicker filet it will take longer than a thinner filet. If it is cut into smaller pieces it will cook faster than a big chunk. It is important to note if you are making more than one filet you want them to be roughly the same size and thickness.
Fish is like any other protein thickness, size and type do matter when it comes to cooking time.
The first step to making a flaky tender fish is to make sure the fish is fresh. If you buy it in the frozen food section make sure to check the expiration date. When buy it fresh from the meat department here are a few things to check to make sure the fish is fresh:
Raw fish is only good in your fridge for 2 days. When thawing out frozen fish remove it from the packaging (the main pack and the individual wrappings) set them flat on a plate, cover, and allow them to thaw in your fridge for 24 hours.
There are several ways to cook your fish and each one of these have different cooking times:
- Bake: This process takes approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Heat oven to 450°F. Spray a shallow baking dish or baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Season your fish as you desire, and bake.
- Pan Fry: This process takes approximately 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish (4-5 minutes per side). Heat 1/4-inch of oil or butter in a skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Fry fish on one side then flip and fry on the other.
- Pan Broil: Best method for thicker fish. This process takes approximately 8 minutes per inch of thickness. Spray a shallow baking dish or baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Season your fish as you desire, and bake.
- Grill: Best method for thicker fish. This process takes approximately 8-16 minutes per inch of thickness (4-8 minutes per side). Prepare your grill. Brush grill grate generously with oil. Lay fish on the grill rack in a single layer and grill.
- Poach: This process takes approximately 8-10 minutes for fillets or 15-20 minutes for a whole fish. Lay fish in a pot or pan, pour just enough liquid in the pot to cover the fish. Cover the pot or pan tightly and cook the fish just below the boiling point.
- Deep Fry: Best method for 1/2 inch thick fish. This process takes approximately 3-5 minutes per inch of thickness. Heat enough oil to 350-375°F to allow the fish to float once it’s done. Cut thicker fish into smaller chunks so fish will cook in the time it takes to brown. After frying drain the fish on a paper towel before serving.
Testing if the fish is done is something most of us overthink. It is as easy as taking a fork poking the fish and if need be giving it a little twist.
- If it doesn’t flake apart easily then it needs to cook a little longer
- If it flakes easily and is still glistening then it is, melt in your mouth ready.
- If it is flaky and dry sorry to say you overcooked it. That is why I always recommend, despite the cooking directions, is to check your fish every few minutes.
How to Make Lemon-Herb Baked Halibut
- In a medium mixing dish combine mayonnaise, butter, salt, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, parmesan cheese, and pepper. I know mayo sounds weird, but it gives it some moisture and the acids in the mayo help keep it tender. Plus it is a binder for all the other flavor goodies.
- Lay Halibut fillet in cast iron skillet. Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the top of each halibut fillet.
- Place Halibut in the oven and turn oven to broil. I never turn on the broiler before I put the fish in the oven. I want it to gradually warm up so I don’t get that white foamy stuff on the fish (that occurs when the fish is cooked too fast and too hot)
- Allow halibut to cook under broiler for 10-12 minutes, or until halibut flakes easily with a fork, and the top is golden brown. I recommend testing the fish starting at the 5-minute mark and every 2 minutes after that to ensure you don’t overcook your fillets.
Fish can be a very intermitting thing to cook. Many fear overcooking it or undercooking it. Others fear that their house will smell for days. But the truth is a healthy fish dinner can be simple and smell-free as long as you remember the tips and tricks in this post.
So next time you want to serve up a healthy flaky, savory, zesty, and buttery fish dinner. Face your fears and grab this quick 15 minute Parmesan Lemon-Herb Baked Halibut and wow your family!
More Weeknight Dinner
FAQ and Tips
Common Questions that get asked about the recipe, and tips to save you time and money.
- Is there a better time to buy halibut?
Here in the lower 48, there is no good or bad time to buy halibut. Most of the halibut you will buy here in the lower United States comes in frozen from Alaska. However, the peak fishing season for halibut up in Alaska is mid-May through mid-September.
- Can you prep and freeze Lemon Herb Halibut for a later date?
It is never a good idea to thaw out fish to prep it just to refreeze it. There is a risk of food poisoning due to extra bacteria that could form.
- How do I heat up the leftovers?
Heating up leftover fish is always tricky. I recommend heating it up in the microwave 30 seconds at a time just until it is lukewarm, but keep in mind that the fish will have a drier texture than the first time you cooked it (there is no way to avoid it unless you eat it cold).
Recipe for Buttery Parmesan Lemon-Herb Baked Halibut
Buttery Parmesan Lemon Herb Baked Halibut
- 2 lb skinless halibut fillets
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- In a medium mixing dish combine mayonnaise, butter, salt, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, parmesan cheese, and pepper.
- Lay Halibut fillet in cast iron skillet. Spread the mixture from the mixing bowl over the top of the halibut.
- Place Halibut in the oven and turn oven to broil. If you are able to choose between high and low broil it really depends on the thickness of your halibut fillet. If it is smaller than 1 inch I recommend low broil, if it is 1 inch thick or more then use high broil.
- Allow halibut to cook for 10-12 minutes, or until halibut flakes easily with a fork, and the top is golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly (1 minute) serve and enjoy!
Let’s Get Social
Pin Parmesan Lemon-Herb Baked Halibut for Later
Looking For More Recipes
Be sure to head over to The Messy Cutting Boards Recipe Box where you will find family-friendly meals no matter what the season.