How to Cook Fish

Try our simple 3-step method to cook fish, plus fish recipes and fish sauces.

First, ask your local fish market or the fish counter at your favorite store what's fresh and what's sustainably caught. Depending on where you live, what's freshest might actually be fish that was frozen at sea and kept frozen until it arrived at your market (just defrost it overnight in your refrigerator before using). We like to use thinner white-fish fillets like catfish, tilapia and haddock, because they only take a few minutes to cook, but really you can use any kind of fish.

Next, follow our simple 3-step method to cook the fish. The technique is the same no matter what type of fish you have. Jazz it up with an easy no-cook sauce and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time.

—Carolyn Malcoun, Contributing Food Editor for EatingWell

Watch: See how to make healthy fish tacos


Choose Sustainable Fish

Pictured Recipe: Catfish Amandine

Choose Sustainable Fish

Download handy wallet-size guides for the best seafood choices from Blue Ocean Institute (blueocean.org) or Monterey Bay Aquarium (seafoodwatch.org). Or look for fish with the Marine Stewardship Council seal.

Catfish: Look for U.S. farmed catfish—it's sustainably raised in nonpolluting in­land ponds, fed a mostly vegetarian diet.

Tilapia: U.S. farmed tilapia is considered the best choice—it's raised in closed farming systems that protect nearby ecosystems. Central and South American tilapia is considered a good alternative. Avoid farmed tilapia from China and Taiwan, where the fish farming pollutes the surrounding environment.

Haddock (Scrod): To get the best choice, ask for U.S. Atlantic "hook-and-line-caught" haddock—this method causes the least damage to the sea floor and has the least bycatch.

Must Read: Fish and Shellfish: 6 to Eat, 6 to Avoid »


Step 1: Divide Fish Into Equal Portions

Step 1: Divide Fish Into Equal Portions

Cut a 1-pound fish fillet into 4 roughly equal portions or buy 4 small fillets, such as tilapia (about 5 ounces each), and cook one fillet per person.


Step 2: Season the Fish

Step 2: Season the Fish

Dredge both sides of each piece of fish in seasoned flour. For a crispy crust with a delicate corn flavor, try dredging the fish in fine stone-ground cornmeal instead of flour.


Cook the Fish

Pictured Recipe: Easy Sautéed Fish Fillets

Cook the Fish

Cook fish, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. A plastic fish spatula or other flexible heatproof spatula is the best tool to help you turn the delicate fish fillets without breaking them.

Get the Recipe: Easy Sautéed Fish Fillets »


Black-Bean Scallion Sauce

This Asian-inspired sauce is a combination of black bean-garlic sauce, scallion, rice vinegar and crushed red pepper. It's a salty-spicy sauce to drizzle on sautéed fish or chicken, or use it as a dipping sauce for grilled vegetables.

Get the Recipe: Black-Bean Scallion Sauce »


Cucumber Raita

Pictured Recipe: Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita

Raita is cucumber-yogurt sauce used in Indian cuisine as a cooling balance for spicy dishes. Try it with curries or as a condiment for grilled meat or poultry.

Get the Recipe: Cucumber Raita »


Pineapple & Jalape?o Salsa

Pictured Recipe: Pineapple & Jalapeño Salsa

Pineapple & Jalapeño Salsa

Try this spicy pineapple salsa with grilled or broiled tuna, sautéed scallops, or chicken, turkey or ham.

Get the Recipe: Pineapple & Jalapeño Salsa »


Tartar Sauce

Pictured Recipe: Tartar Sauce

Tartar Sauce

Lower in fat and higher in flavor than the bottled kind, this tartar sauce is well worth the 10 minutes it takes to make.

Get the Recipe: Tartar Sauce »