Easy Pan Seared Halibut

piece of pan seared halibut on a plate with green beans and a gold fork.

4.8 from 12 reviews

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)


  • 1 lb Alaska halibut
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp for the pan
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • lemon slices, for serving


  1. In a large, shallow dish, combine minced garlic, lemon juice, wine and olive oil.
  2. 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.
  3. When you're ready to cook, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  4. Remove halibut from the marinade and season with salt and pepper.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. Add butter to the pan and let it melt, then spoon it over the top of the fish.
  8. 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