When simplicity, speed, and straightforward goodness are what you need on your dinner table, this tender, buttery oven baked fish recipe is an exceptional solution. Use the freshest fillets you can find and savor the elegant yet unpretentious glaze. (We are talking about butter, after all!)

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Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers slurped down buttery fish fillets. And for good reasons. In addition to the fish being “perfectly roasted,” they loved the simplicity of the recipe and that it was ready in just 15 minutes.

Sarah H. was particularly impressed: “I was blown away by how easy it was to make an elegant and different dinner.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

The ingredients for butter baked fish in glass bowls -- butter, pepper, fish fillets, and salt.
  • Fish fillets–Any firm white fish will work for this recipe. Cod, pollack, haddock, and halibut are all great choices. When purchasing the fish, look for fillets of a similar size and uniform thickness so they’ll cook evenly.
  • Butter–Use the best-quality butter you can find. Unsalted butter is best here, but if you need to substitute salted butter, exercise some restraint when seasoning the fish to avoid over-salting.

How to Make This Recipe

A baking sheet with four white fish fillets on it, and a baking sheet with the same fish fillets topped with salt, pepper, and butter cubes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the fish, skin side down, in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Scatter the butter cubes over the fish and season with salt and pepper. Bake until opaque.
  1. Serve the fish drizzled with a spoonful of melted butter from the baking sheet.

Common Questions

Do I need to flip the fish while it’s baking?

No. There’s no need to flip the fish while it’s cooking. Fish fillets are often delicate, and flipping may cause them to break.

What should I serve with this fish?

The testers suggest serving this easy-baked fish with a fresh spring vegetable, such as pea puree, asparagus salad, or oven-roasted radishes. Be sure to include something to sop up any extra butter sauce, such as crusty bread or creamy mashed potatoes.

How can I tell when fish is done?

Even if you follow the timing in a recipe, you might still have doubts about how to know if your baked white fish is ready to devour. Fresh cod has a slightly transparent look when raw. When cooked, it will turn white and opaque.

The best way to know when it’s cooked through is to insert a fork or the tip of a table knife at an angle in the thickest part of the fillet and twist gently. If it flakes and looks opaque throughout, it’s ready to eat. If you prefer to check the internal temperature, the USDA recommends that fish is cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F.

Helpful Tips

  • If you’re starting with frozen fish fillets, defrost them thoroughly in the fridge or in cold water, and then pat them completely dry before baking.
  • Leftover oven baked fish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven until warmed through.
  • This recipe is suitable for a gluten-free diet.

More great baked fish recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A piece of baked fish on a plate with butter sauce, a lemon wedge, and some asparagus spears.

Butter Baked Fish

5 from 1 vote
Our butter baked fish is an incredibly simple, yet utterly satisfying dinner. Just 3 ingredients make it a cinch to serve anytime.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories219 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • Four (6-ounce) chunky, white fish fillets (such as cod or pollack), preferably sustainably caught, skinless if desired
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  • In a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, arrange the fish fillets, skin side down.
  • Scatter the butter on top of the fish. Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Roast until the fish is cooked through and a knife inserted into the thickest part of the fillet reveals completely opaque flesh, about 10 minutes.
  • Serve each piece of fish with a little drizzle of the butter from the roasting pan.


    1. Using frozen fish–If you’re starting with frozen fish fillets, defrost them thoroughly in the fridge or in cold water, and then pat them completely dry before baking.
    1. Storage and reheating–Leftover oven baked fish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven until warmed through.
    1. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for a gluten-free diet.
Everyday Easy Cookbook

Adapted From

Everyday Easy

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 219 kcalCarbohydrates: 0.01 gProtein: 30 gFat: 10 gSaturated Fat: 6 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 0.4 gCholesterol: 97 mgSodium: 93 mgSugar: 0.01 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Lorraine Pascale. Photos © 2023 Angie Zoobkoff. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is a simple way to prepare fish. The cod fillets took about 10 minutes to cook. I used an instant-read thermometer and removed them from the oven when they reached 140°F. This fish would be lovely accompanied by a fresh snap pea side dish.

What a lovely recipe for butter-baked fish. I used trout fillets as our fish of choice, and they were perfectly roasted at the suggested 10 minutes because they were thin fish fillets.

The fish didn’t need anything besides salt, pepper and butter, but I could see adding thinly sliced lemon and maybe some fresh herbs to the fish if you were feeling fancy. I added peas with fresh mint, which was tasty as well.

I was blown away by how easy it was to make an elegant and different dinner. I cook almost every night, but like most of us, I rely on old standbys for weeknight dinners. Honestly, I’ve made a fish dish similar to this one before and have always been pleased with the results.

The fish was tender and buttery without being over-the-top decadent. I served this with squash that was nicely caramelized and delightfully herby.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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