This pan-seared halibut recipe is sponsored by Copper River Seafoods, a brand I love. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Stem and Spoon!
Pan-seared halibut. Brown butter. Fresh sage. It creates a wonderful and exquisite halibut dish with rich, nutty flavor (a given, really, whenever there is brown butter involved). The wild Alaska halibut is flaky and tender and cooked to perfection, while the brown butter and sage makes a warm, buttery, earthy "sauce" of sorts that begs to be mopped up with each meaty bite of fish.
about wild-caught halibut
Before we moved to Arizona, we spent 12 years (ahem, 12 winters) in Alaska. And because of this, I feel I've been spoiled with amazing, wild-caught Alaska seafood.
I miss the incredible local restaurant scene of Anchorage (please shoot me an email if you need any reccs!) and the ability to spend the entire day fishing and come home with enough wild Alaska salmon or halibut fillets to stock your freezer for a good, long while.
My point: there's really nothing comparable to Alaska seafood, and Copper River Seafoods is the gold standard.
Every product is wild-caught seafood harvested from Alaska waters. And every purchase not only supports Alaska's local fishing industry but also sustainable fishing practices.
The best part? You can order Copper River Seafoods products and have them delivered to your doorstep. It's a wonderful way to enjoy Alaska seafood, and a great gift idea too!
I've previously mentioned how much I love wild-caught seafood (better taste and nutritional profile over farm-raised), which is why I'm thrilled to partner with Copper River Seafoods to bring you this pan-seared halibut recipe.
Alaska halibut is a delicious white fish with a subtly sweet and mild flavor.I do hope you try them out and get to taste for yourself how amazing their seafood is!
why you will love pan-seared halibut
This is perhaps the most straightforward and easiest way to prepare halibut. The halibut steaks cook up beautifully in a hot pan and I personally think this is the best way to prepare them.
It takes all of 15 minutes to create this easy weeknight dinner that can double as a fabulous, special-occasion-worthy meal. (And the truth is, whenever you have Copper River Seafoods halibut in-hand, that is, in itself, a special occasion).
Even better, this pan-seared halibut recipe only requires seven ingredients.
- tender and buttery, with an incredible flavor
- the perfect special occasion meal that comes together quickly
- a simple recipe that is gluten-free, low-carb and keto-friendly
- quick and easy to make with a very basic (and super short!) ingredient list
While you can't go wrong pairing halibut filets with a white wine sauce or a lemon butter sauce, I find that brown butter cooked with fresh herbs to make a simple pan sauce is an easy way to get maximum flavor in the dish with minimum steps required.
To make pan-seared halibut with brown butter, you will need:
- avocado oil or olive oil
- Copper River Seafoods halibut, fresh or thawed from frozen
- finely-ground sea salt
- ground black pepper
- butter, at room temperature (I like to use salted, grass-fed butter but unsalted is fine too)
- fresh sage leaves, chopped
- lemon juice
And that is it. So simple to make and it results in a moist and tender piece of halibut with the most amazing sage/brown butter sauce.
an easy pan seared halibut recipe
Pan-searing halibut is easiest to prepare in a large skillet (a non-stick pan is best) but a cast iron skillet will work well too. The cooking time is super quick so make sure you don't walk away from it.
Here's a quick summary of this pan seared halibut recipe but be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card.
- Pat dry the fish with a paper towel and season the halibut fillets with salt and pepper. Patting the fish dry will help it sear and get a nice, golden brown color.
- Cook the halibut. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, add the oil, then let it get hot for a couple of minutes. Place each piece of fish into the pan and let it cook, undisturbed, for about 3-4 minutes to allow that first side to get a good sear.
- Add the butter and sage. Flip each piece of halibut, then add the butter and sage to the pan. Cook another 1-2 minutes, frequently stirring the butter in the pan (you want it to brown but not burn) and basting the halibut with the sage/butter sauce.
- Serve. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer each piece of pan-seared fish to a plate. Stir lemon juice into the remaining sage-brown butter sauce, then transfer the sauce to a small dish. To serve, drizzle the halibut with spoonfuls of the brown butter sauce. You can garnish the dish with lemon slices, if you'd like.
tips for pan-seared halibut
- Recipe yield: This recipe makes enough for four, 8-oz. halibut servings but it's simple enough to scale as needed. If you're doubling the recipe to cook for eight, I recommend preparing the halibut in two batches and tenting the first batch with aluminum foil so it stays warm while you pan-sear the second batch of halibut. Since the fish cooks in just a few minutes, this should be fine.
- Pat dry the fish: Don't skip this step! Removing any excess moisture will help the halibut brown. I pat each piece dry with a paper towel and it only takes about a minute.
- How to know when halibut is done: You can tell when halibut is done by breaking off a piece with a fork- it will be flaky, tender, and break off easily. You can use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the halibut. It's ready when it's in the 125°F-130°F range. The residual heat will continue to cook the fish even after you remove it from the pan, so it's best to err on the side of "under-done."
- For the brown butter: If the butter appears to be simmering too much in the pan, reduce the temperature slightly. Make sure to continue stirring the butter in the pan to prevent it from burning. Brown butter will turn a light golden color and have the slightest nutty, toasty aroma- that's how you know it's done!
- Uses for excess brown butter: There will be at least ¼ cup of brown butter in the pan. If you do not expect to use up all of that on top of the fish, you can take 1-2 tablespoons and use it too cook veggies (which is what I did with that sautéed spinach pictured).
- How to store leftover halibut: Keep the leftover halibut in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to four days.
frequently asked questions
How long does halibut take to sear? With the simple technique of pan-searing halibut, the fish cook quickly. If you're using Copper River Seafoods halibut, the 8-ounce pieces are about 1-inch to 1-½ inches in thickness. They will require about 4 minutes on one side and 1-2 minutes on the other side.
What is the best cooking method for halibut? Although this is completely based on personal preference, I love pan-fried halibut because it's quick, easy to make, and it results in a moist and tender piece of fish.
what to serve with halibut
Oh the many different ways you can go with this! Keep it simple and sauté some greens or roast asparagus or serve it with a cozy side dish. Here are a few ideas for what to serve with halibut:
- crispy air fryer broccoli
- low-carb zucchini gratin
- cauliflower risotto
- keto stuffed mushrooms with sausage and sage
- Brussels sprouts and kale salad with maple bacon vinaigrette
This pan seared halibut recipe with brown butter and sage makes one incredible dinner that is simple to make and is also family-friendly!
Whether you're looking for more quick and healthy weeknight dinners or a special date-night-in meal, this easy halibut recipe is certain to impress.
Did I mention my seven-year-old son devoured his piece and then proceeded to steal bites off everyone else's plate? 😉 He gave it two thumbs up- literally, right there at the table- and I know you will too.
you might also love...
- Air Fryer Halibut (an easy halibut en papillote recipe)
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- Low-carb cranberry orange bundt cake
- Keto Shepherd's pie
- Air fryer salmon with coffee rub
- 4, 8-oz. Copper River Seafoods wild Alaska halibut pieces (thawed if frozen)
- ½ teaspoon finely-ground sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
- 5 tablespoons salted butter (preferably grass-fed), cut into large pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped sage, fresh (about 15-20 leaves)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Rinse and pat-dry each halibut piece, removing any excess moisture with paper towels.
- Place the halibut pieces on a plate and sprinkle both sides of each piece with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large, non-stick (or cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the avocado oil to the pan.
- When the oil glistens, place each piece of halibut into the pan, spread out evenly. They should be close but not crowded. Let the halibut cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes to allow for a good sear. If the oil is splashing too much, turn down the heat a tad.
- After 4 minutes, flip each piece of halibut. Add the butter and sage to the pan, stirring them around the fish as the butter melts.
- Cook the fish another 1-2 minutes, frequently stirring the butter in the pan (this will prevent it from burning). Every so often, tilt the pan and spoon the sage-butter onto the fish to baste the halibut.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer each piece of halibut to a plate.
- Stir the lemon juice into the remaining sage-brown butter sauce. Carefully spoon the brown butter into a small serving dish.
- Serve the halibut with spoonfuls of the brown butter sauce on top (and/or with the remaining butter sauce on the side).
- Make sure to pat-dry the raw halibut to remove any excess moisture. This helps the fish sear and turn a nice golden brown.
- My pieces of halibut were about 1 to 1-½ inches at the thickest part. If using thinner pieces, reduce the cook time for the first side to 3 minutes (instead of 4). The fish will continue to cook from the residual heat even after you remove it from the pan, so it's best to err on the side of "under-done."
- This recipe makes enough for four, 8-oz. halibut servings but it's simple to scale as needed. If you're doubling the recipe to cook for eight, I recommend preparing the halibut in two batches and tenting the first batch with aluminum foil so it stays warm while you pan-sear the second batch of halibut.
- Make sure to continue stirring the butter in the pan to prevent it from burning. Brown butter will turn a light golden color and have the slightest nutty, toasty aroma- an indicator it is done.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 473Total Fat: 26gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 122mgCarbohydrates: 1gNet Carbohydrates: .5gFiber: .5gSugar: 0gProtein: 47g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.