Cooking pan-seared halibut is easy. . If you're new to cooking fish, t buttery halibut with a lemon and white wine marinade is a good place to start. (gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free option)
I don’t have any problems eating the recommended 2 servings of seafood per week, but I know many of you (80-90%, according to the USDA!) struggle with it. .
Here’s a halibut recipe that I’ve used throughout my life.
Time and Temperature For Pan Seared Halibut:
Pan seared halibut over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side, or until a golden crust forms on the bottom and the center is opaque but no longer glossy or pink (about 130-135°F internal temperature).
Why You'll Love Pan-Seared Halibut
Halibut is my favorite fish. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients to make.
All you need is a marinade and garlic. The halibut is pan-seared in olive oil for a crispy outside and finished with a drizzle of melted butter to take it from good to amazing while still keeping it light.
Tips For Picking Out Halibut
Fresh halibut season runs from March through mid-November, when you'll find it fresh in markets. Delicious fish is always fresh.
It should be mild-smelling with no strong odors. The flesh should be firm and vibrant in color, not dull, milky, or mushy.
Alaska halibut is my first choice. Most US halibut is sourced from Alaska.
Now that you've pick out (or caught yourself, if you're lucky!) your fish, here's everything you'll need to make the perfect pan-seared halibut:
- Garlic - fresh is always best
- White wine - something dry and light, such as pinto grigio or sauvignon blanc
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
How To Make Pan Seared Halibut
- Marinate the fish. In a shallow dish, whisk the minced garlic, lemon juice, white wine and lemon juice.
- Cut the halibut into filets.t. Place the filets in the marinade, turning to coat it. Marinate the fish in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Once you're ready to cook, discard the marinade and season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a little olive oil to coat the pan.
- Sear halibut for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.Press lightly using a fish spatula so the esurface touches the pan.. It should release easily once it has a crust and is ready to flip. Halibut is done when the internal temperature reaches 130 to 135°F (for medium).
- Lower the heat and add the butter to the pan. Once melted, spoon butter over the top of each filet before serving.
Is Marinade Necessary?
If you want to keep it simple, skip the marinade. y Squeeze lemon over the filets before seasoning with salt and pepper.
What Goes With Pan-Seared Halibut
- Easy Oven Broiled Asparagus, Simple Sautéed Green Beans, or a green salad.
- For a heartier meal, add some Basic Mashed Potatoes, Simple Oven Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, or Instant Pot Brown Rice Risotto.
- For a wine pairing, I suggest drinking what you used for the marinade - so make sure it's a wine you enjoy! I like a light, crisp Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Grenache Blanc.
Pan Seared Halibut Conclusion
Impress your friends and family with pan-seared halibut. Restaurants charge an arm and a leg for pan-fried halibut, so you’re better off cooking it at home.
Halibut steak is a delicacy. The halibut taste is unique. When prepared just right, you won’t believe you cooked it yourself.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating in the comments!Print
Easy Pan Seared Halibut
This easy pan-seared halibut recipe is healthy and so simple to pull off! If you're new to cooking fish, this buttery halibut with a lemon and white wine marinade is a great place to start. (gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free option)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Marinating Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 3-4 servings 1x
- Category: main dish
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: seafood
- 1 lb Alaska halibut
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- juice from 1 large lemon
- ½ cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp butter
- lemon slices, for serving
- In a large, shallow dish, combine minced garlic, lemon juice, wine and olive oil.
- Use a sharp knife to cut halibut into 4 equal portions. Place portions into the dish with the marinade, turning to coat. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- When you're ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Remove halibut from the marinade and season with salt and pepper.
- Place halibut filets in the hot pan and cook, pressing down gently with a fish spatula, until a golden crust forms on the bottom of the fish, about 3-5 minutes. Try not to move the fish around the pan a lot until the crust forms to decrease sticking.
- Flip fish and cook in the other side until cooked through, another 3-5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 130-135°F (for medium).
- Add butter to the pan and let it melt, then spoon it over the top of the fish.
- Serve halibut with lemon (optional).
- Omit butter for dairy-free version.
- If you're using frozen fish, make sure it's completely thawed before cooking in order to ensure the center gets cooked.
- Careful not to leave the fish in the marinade for too long. The acid in the marinade can end up "cooking" the fish if left too long, and it might get tough. A little over 30 minutes is probably fine, but don't go much longer.
- If you want to keep things extra simple, you can skip the marinating step. Simply squeeze a little lemon on each filet before seasoning with salt and pepper and carry on with the recipe as written. I often do this on extra busy nights!
- If you want to keep the marinade to serve as a sauce, place it in a saucepan and bring it to a boil to make sure it's safe and the cook off the alcohol from the wine. Add some capers and/or a pat of butter if you'd like!
Keywords: simple pan seared halibut, pan seared Alaska halibut, easy pan seared halibut, wine marinated halibut
This post was originally published October 2018 and has been updated.
John C says
Made this dish last night. I didn't use the marinade. I went light on the lemon juice. After searing the fish and removing from the pan I added a little more wine, butter and added capers to deglaze the pan and used the pan sauce over the fish. Serves with steamed butternut squash and a garden salad. Great meal. I will cook this again. One thing I missed was the Nutrition information.
Malcolm McLaren says
Thanks Kayleigh, this is my go to recipe, I have tried others however I will always use this one when entertaining...I can't improve upon it. ; -)
I'm so glad you love it!
This was excellent! I took the advice of heating up the leftover marinade and serving it as a sauce - wonderful idea. I forgot to add the butter, but I didn’t miss it. Halibut is very expensive here n Southern California - $20+ a pound, so I won’t be making this often. Bt when I can get halibut on sale, this will be my go to.
Glad you enjoyed it! It's expensive here in Texas, too but I can usually find it for a good price at Costco when it's in season.
Mary Gemba says
I had a thick piece of halibut and I might have let it set too long in the marinade (20 minutes each side). It was tough and dried out a bit. I should have read all the other comments beforehand. Live and learn.
My cousin and her husband had a layover here in my town after fishing in Alaska. As a gift, they gave me a couple filet from the (several) halibut they caught.. I'm not a big cook but I didn't want to be rude so I gladly took them, googled this recipe and then sent my cousin a photo of the finished plate.
I know this is going to sound silly, but I added more butter to the pan (I *love* butter and feel like you can never have enough.) Then, when I plated it with some brightly blanched asparagus on a white plate, I thought the picture needed more 'color.' So I sprinkled some warm capers over the fish and added a dollop of raspberry preserves on the side, mostly for the "instagram shot."
But that weird mix of flavors actually worked really well for me. This was awesome! Thanks for the simple recipe!
What an amazing gift! My husband would say you can never go wrong with more butter 🙂 Thanks for sharing your tips!
Jessica K says
Excellent, easily executed recipe.
I used halibut steaks that I deboned and halved, making 4 uniform pieces.
No lemon on hand, used the bottled juice, approx 1.5 oz with .5 oz liquid dijon mustard.
Only let the the fish marinade for about 10 minutes, being paranoid of a "ceviche" effect (I'm sure a misplaced worry), but the flavors of the marinade were still detectable.
Per the recommendation of other reviewers, I also reduced the marinade into a pan sauce, with added butter and a smattering of capers.
The fish was delightfully tender and didn't need the sauce, though they went together great. Definitely will come back to this method.
Delicious! I didn't have time to marinade the fish, so I heated it in a sauce pan and then poured it over the halibut while it was cooking. Served it with pineapple salsa and steamed spinach. A definite winner tonight!
SORRY KAYLEIGH. BLAND ROOKIE RECIPE.
Emily olson says
In the intro of the post, it was states that 80-90% of US americans according to USDA do not consume their share of weekly seafood, in my head which is absurd simply because most people would need to change their eating habits to afford to do so or cannot do so regardless (probably playing a large variable in that statistic, if i could eat salmon every night i would). However my opinion is honestly besides the point, if a vast majority don't typically eat seafood, most probably don't eat Halibut either especially since it is roughly 8 dollars a lb. So, that being said a simple recipe can be beneficial to those who wouldn't normally find themselves cooking Halibut—which is different than other fish to cook— like this one, is awesome.
What isn't awesome is the lack of creative constructive criticism, like from R.F.CRAIG, whose statement lacks flavor, unlike this Halibut recipe, which calls for no butter, which doesn't mask the flavor of the fish.
Good work, Kayleigh. Keep it up!
You sound stupid,I live in florida which has an abundance of fish and it’s extremely expensive. Granted halibut isn’t in our waters but it’s about 20$/pound here! And all of our fish is extremely expensive even though we have tons in our waters. Most people can’t afford to eat it it’s sickening the price of food these days
I'm failing to see how the price of fish in your area makes me stupid. Thanks for your very meaningful contribution to the conversation, Chris.
Chef Douche, recipe named ‘SIMPLE pan seared Alaska Halibut’ not ‘How to ruin a great piece of fish with overwhelming and pretentious recipe' you low tide cook
I find I dont have any wine. What can I use as a substitute?
You can use a little extra lemon juice and just leave the wine out.
This was delicious! I didn’t want to just throw the marinade out so I reduced it down and added a little butter and drizzled it over the halibut. Also zested the lemon into the marinade and resulting pan sauce. So good! Don’t throw that marinade out!
What a great idea. Thanks for sharing your tip!
MICHELLE MACMILLAN says
That was a great idea! I plan on trying this my husband and boys bring home 100 lbs of Alaskan Halibut every year and I love it. I plan on trying this. Its simple and easy.
That's amazing! Enjoy!
This was a great recipe for my first time searing fish 🙂
So glad you enjoyed it!
Lesa Pasquale says
This was amazing. Halibut was moist and perfectly cooked. I added fresh dill to the butter. Will share this recipe with friends and definitely make it again. Thank you for sharing.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Lesa. Thanks for stopping by!
I added right before placing it the heated non stick pan, a very, very light flour dusting with fresh ground pepper. Wow! I made your recipe before as written but with the dusting of the flour? The freshness of the ingredients were sealed in even more! Simple addition and I know it "breaks the law" of pan seared, but it was fantastic!
Thanks for sharing your modification, it sounds great!
making this for dinner tonight.... thanks for sharing
Just made this tonight! The key to the goodness was to let the fish get that nice crust and then basting with butter with lemon juice squeezed in so was a lemon butter baste! Loved it!
Michael Marrone says
Making this for dinner tonight. Purchased a nice halibut from Whole Foods Market. Halibut is enjoying the marinade right now.
Thanks for post receipt!
LOVE that recipe do easy and perfect the changes I made used 1/2 lemon and cooked a little longer. It came out great thanks u
I'm so glad you loved the recipe! Thanks for stopping by!
Jeff O'Donnell says
Skipped the olive oil in the marinade, turned the heat up just a bit past medium not burning the OO. After removing the cooked halibut to the plate, add a few teaspoons of marinade to the hot pan, deglaze,add three pats of butter,melt and drizzle over the fish on the plates instead of basting the fish as it cooks. Keeps the crispness of the browning, but brings the lemon and garlic flavor lightly to the meal. Enjoyed!!
I'll have to try that method next time, sounds great!
Julie @ Running in a Skirt says
I tend to grill or bake my fish but I'm totally trying this! I think this would be the perfect way to make halibut because you'd seal in the moisture with that sear!
Jenny Shea Rawn says
This is beautiful! We love halibut, but I always forget to get it. Now that's going to change.
Thanks Jenny! I hope you try it! 🙂
Brynn at The Domestic Dietitian says
I love halibut too but have never cooked it at home either. Adding this to my meals for next week! Looks delicious
I don't know why it took me so long. It's one of our favorite meals now!
Ahh, this looks so good! *-* I haven't prepared fish in a while, but that needs to change soon!
Thanks Farrah! This is a great one to get you started!