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Cooking Halibut

Halibut is one of the most versatile fish you can cook. It can be baked, broiled, fried, grilled, pan sautéed and poached. I have seen some people even smoke it, although I think it is much to lean of a fish for smoking, but some people might have a trick for smoking it.

The firm white meat of halibut steaks and the mild flavor makes this a great fish for any recipe calling for whitefish. The main thing to remember when cooking halibut is that it will dry out on you fast, because it contains very little oil.

So if you are baking, broiling or grilling it, make sure you have marinated it or brushed it with olive oil or butter to help retain the moisture.

If you are using a marinade choose one that will not over power the delicate flavor of halibut. Marinades with strong acidic will breakdown the meat, making it become soft or mushy. Before you start to cook your halibut make sure to wash it thoroughly under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

One of the handiest kitchen tools you can have is a cooking thermometer , this takes all the guess work out of cooking halibut. You want the fish to have an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

How to Cook Halibut

Grilling Halibut

The low oil content will make it stick to the grill so make sure you start with a clean grill grate and make sure to oil your grate before you start cooking. Apply a generous amount of olive oil, butter or marinade to your steak or fillet. The 10 minute a inch rule applies here. So a 1 inch steak should take about 10 minutes to grill over a medium high heat.

Make sure you only turn the fish one time while grilling. Thinner steaks or halibut fillets could cook in around 6 minutes. If you are not comfortable with placing the fish directly on the grill I would suggest that to invest in a wired fish basket and especially if you are grilling fillets.


Baking halibut is probably the easiest way you will find to cook halibut. Pre-oil a casserole dish (oven safe) with olive oil or butter. Seasoned your fish and apply a generous amount of olive oil to the top side or just add a pat of butter to the top. In a preheated 400 degree oven, bake for approximately 15 minutes. About halfway through you should baste with butter or olive oil.

Broiled Halibut

Preheat the broiler make sure to coat the broiler pan with some type of oil, also brush the halibut with some type of oil. Place the broiler pan about 3 to 4 inches away from the top and broil for about 10 minutes. I like to turn my halibut after 5 minutes and baste with more olive oil or butter.

Deep Fried Halibut

Halibut makes some great fish and chips. You can use a beer batter, or a seasoned flour mix for deep frying. Cut the halibut into small chunks, not to thin and not to thick. Deep fry at 375 until golden brown. I would also recommend that you get a thermometer for checking the oil temperture of your fry. Some fryers do not maintain the right temperature.

Pan Seared

Pan searing adds a nice crust to the outside of the halibut. You can cook the halibut all the way in the pan or you can partial cook it on the stove top and finish it off in the oven.

For complete searing in the pan. Use a non stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium high heat. Add the halibut and sear for 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the fish and add 2 tablespoons of butter, spoon the butter over the halibut as they cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Your time might very depending on the thickness of the steak or fillet.

Pan searing and finish cooking in the oven. Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a sauté pan that is oven safe heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat, sear steaks or fillets for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the pan to the oven and finish cooking for about another 5 to 6 minutes.

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