3 Tips for Cooking Fish

3 Tips for Cooking Fish

What is the easiest way to cook fish? Our 3 anyone-can-do-it tips will show you how to cook fish fast without any stress so you can make fish at home any day of the week!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • March 9, 2021

Did you know that most of the seafood that Americans consume is done at restaurants? That means that not only have fisheries been hard hit by the pandemic, but people also haven’t been getting the health benefits that come with eating fish — like iodine, vitamins, minerals, and those brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. (1

In fact, a survey among U.S. shoppers showed that less than 30% percent of customers felt knowledgeable about buying seafood and only 28% felt confident about how to cook, prepare, or flavor seafood. (2) So, if the thing that has been holding you back from eating fish at home the past year is that you think buying and cooking fish is complicated, we’re here to help you get past that (f)intimidation! Fish really is one of the easiest proteins to make.

But before we get into our 3 easy tips for cooking fish at home, let’s start by reducing the anxiety around fish.

Fish is easier than meat and poultry.

Something you may not know is that fish is so much more forgiving than other animal proteins. Overcooked chicken is like choking down parched rubber. Undercooked chicken or pork can give you food poisoning. Luckily, overcooked fish doesn’t dry out in the same way that chicken does — it often still maintains a level of tenderness — and sushi proves that uncooked fish is not going to send you to the hospital.

So even if you get distracted by a math problem your kid needs help with or pause a little too long to add an adorable video of your pet to Stories, you won’t have to throw dinner in the garbage.

Additionally, fish is hands down the perfect protein when you’re short on time. It cooks quickly, it defrosts quickly if it’s frozen, it’s delicious even without marinating.

Fresh fish is easy to get.

Eating fatty fish at least once or twice a week is recommended by the American Heart Association. However, if you aren’t cooking fish at home, it is unlikely you meet that recommendation on a regular basis.(3) So, let’s remove this big barrier for cooking fish –> how to shop for fish.

Instead of feeling like you have to acquire all of the knowledge of a fishmonger, you can enjoy the benefits of a fresh fish delivery service like Real Good Fish. This company’s packaging has the name of the fisherperson and the method that was used to catch the fish right on the label. Talk about connecting our meals to their sources! 

With a weekly delivery (or pickup) of locally caught fish, you don’t need to spend an hour debating between fish at the grocery store, only to walk away because you just aren’t sure. And, don’t worry, you can definitely opt out of seafood species that you don’t like or that you are allergic to.

If Real Good Fish doesn’t deliver to your area or you aren’t living outside the U.S., there are many other companies out there like Skipper Otto in Canada.

Now that you have a painless way to get fresh fish into your kitchen each week, let’s dive (yes, pun intended) into our tips for the easiest way to cook fish!

3 Stress-Free Tips for Cooking Fish

Just follow these simple tips to make fish at home and you can’t go wrong!

1. Save time by grilling or broiling

From deep frying to poaching, there are many ways to cook fish. But not all cooking methods are equal time-wise. To cook fish fast, we turn to the grill and sheet pan. 

If you have a grill at home, simply lay some foil down and plop the fish right on top. If you don’t have a grill or the weather isn’t friendly, all you have to do is put your fish on a sheet pan and pop it in the oven to broil on high. A good rule of thumb is that for every ½ inch of thickness that a fish has, you need 3 to 6 minutes of broiling.

Both of these ways of cooking fish are especially amazing if you are preparing dinner for 3 or more people and don’t have time to stand over the stove and sear fish in multiple batches.

2. A little fat and salt can change everything

Between rich salmon and mild halibut, there is an exciting variety of flavors when it comes to fish. However, what all fish can benefit from is a bit of fat and salt. 

Fat will add flavor and moisture as your tender fish cooks. If you don’t already have a favorite fat that you use for cooking fish, we suggest starting out with a good olive oil or compound butter. 

Now if alarm bells just went off in your head when you read “compound butter,” don’t be intimidated! Compound butter just means butter that is mixed with something else. If you’ve ever heard of honey lemon butter or herb-garlic butter, those are compound butters. All you have to do is pick your flavorful add-on and mash / whip it into your butter.

Here are a few compound ideas:

  • If you want to go with herbs or spices, give fresh dill, parsley, chives, thyme, smoked paprika, or lemon pepper a try.
  • You can mix up capers and lemon zest.
  • You can mash some pesto in.
  • You can go bold by trying something like the North African harissa paste and mint to bring a burst of flavor to a mild white fish.
  • You can pick other ingredients that are complementary to seafood like white miso or white wine. 
  • And garlic. Always consider garlic.

Then don’t forget to add a pinch of sea salt. I mean, come on, it even has ‘sea’ in the name!

3. A simple lemon wedge goes a long way

Our final tip for cooking fish is all about the citrus. Whenever you get fish in a restaurant, it will be served with a lemon wedge. That’s because a squeeze of lemon balances the fishy flavors and brightens up the entire meal. So bring that restaurant practice to your dinner table! Since cutting a wedge of lemon is so easy to do and takes all of about ten seconds, there is really no need to skip this final step. Trust us, it really will elevate your dinner from good to great.

That’s all there really is to cooking a delectable fish. It’s so much easier than you thought, right?

And, although we love the fun and flare that a compound butter can add to a fish dinner, just go with olive oil if you are running short on time. You can still have an absolutely delicious and tender seafood meal by literally doing nothing more than taking a thin fish like sole, rubbing some olive oil on, sprinkling a little salt over, broiling it for about 5 minutes, and enjoying it with a splash of fresh lemon juice.

It is that simple.

If you were looking for the easiest way to cook fish, you found it! You don’t need to be scared of cooking fish anymore, or even cooking it without a recipe. But if you still want some recipes for cooking fish or adding a bit more finesse once you’ve tried out the basics, our Meal Plan Recipe Archives have tons of fabulous fish recipes, or you can explore more fish recipes and ideas here.

If you often make fish at home, leave us a comment below with your favorite compound butter or seasoning! And, if you know someone who could use a little more fish in their life, help them out by sending over these tips for cooking fish at home.


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