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Basic Cooking Tips for Fish

Fish and Seafood is one of the easiest meats to prepare. These basic cooking tips will get you on your way to becoming a expert in no time.

Don't be afraid of experimenting with different herbs, spices and seasonings when cooking fish or seafood. Flavored butters are also great to use.

Let your imagination roll and soon you will be creating dishes that are darn right tasty.

Remember no matter what basic fish cooking method you are doing, always rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.


Baking is one the easiest ways to prepare fish. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a shallow baking dish or use a non-stick spray, place the fish fillet skin side down. Season the top of the fillet with your desired herbs, seasonings and if desired any butter or margarine.

Measure your fish at the thickest point. Bake it for 6 to 12 minutes per inch of thickness, when done the fish fillet will be opaque and moist.

If you are baking a fillet in a sauce or you have it wrapped in tin foil you will need to add about 5 minutes to the total cooking time.
Click here for some great baked fish recipes.


You can use a broiler pan or a cookie sheet pan when broiling. I prefer the broiler pan when cooking whole fish and the cookie sheet for my fillets.

Preheat your broiler; lightly grease your pan with oil or non stick spray.

For fish fillets arrange your fillets skin side down, take the thinner tail piece and fold it under for more even cooking.

Baste your fillet with butter, margarine or oil, season with your favorite spices. Place the pan about 4 to 5 inches from the heat and cook for 6 to 12 minutes per inch. Fillets do not need to be turned while broiling.

For whole fish use the same method as with fish fillets but make cuts along the fish in the thicker parts for a more even cooking. Turn your whole fish once halfway through the broiling.


When grilling fish you have a few variables that will affect the cooking time. Your grilling time will depend on the thickness of the fish, the type of fire you have (wood, charcoal gas), the distance the fish is from the heat source and whether you cover the grill or not.

If you are using some type of wood to add flavor to your fish I would suggest you cover the grill to capture the smoky flavor.

For more delicate fish I would suggest you use a grill basket, for easier grilling.
or place foil on your grill.(If foiling the grill makes slits through out to allow better air flow and flavor. Make sure to oil the basket or pre oil the foiled grilled.

Grill over a medium high heat, I like to figure about 10 minutes a inch for grilling, turning the fish half way through the cooking time.


Sautéing is great for smaller fish fillets and small whole fish. Using a non stick pan you can add your preferred oil or use a non stick spray. Season your fish with your favorite seasoning

Heat your pan over a medium high heat and add your fish, don't overcrowd the fish, this can reduce the cooking temperature and make your fish soggy. Turn the fish over half way through the cooking time. Once done place your fish on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil, re-season and serve.


Using a heavy-duty skillet, add oil to a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch and preheat to 350 degrees(you can use a thermometer to determine the correct temperature). Place your coated fish in the pan in a single layer, don't overcrowd as you will quickly reduce the heat of the oil and your fish will absorb it.

Turn your fish half way through and finish cooking, when done place on paper towels and re-season. If cooking for a large crowd, transfer to a oven proof platter and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven for a short time.

Clean out any crumbs in the skillet; add more cooking oil if needed and reheat the oil before you start to fry again.

Coating Tip: After you have coated your fish for frying, place them back in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes this will set the breading and you will have less chance of the breading coming off during frying.


Poaching fish is when you simmer the fish in some type of seasoned liquid. The seasoned liquid should compliment the fish and not over power the fish itself.

Place your seasoned liquid in a pan and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add your fish in single layer, add more liquid to cover your fish by at least one inch. Cook for about 6 to 12 minutes per inch, you do not have to turn the fish.

If you are poaching a whole fish, wrap it cheesecloth before you start to cook. This way you can remove it, without it falling apart.

Read about Basic Shellfish Cooking Tips


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