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A lemon butter cod fish in a browned butter sauce.

Lemon Butter Fish

This lemon butter fish cooked in an herby lemon butter sauce tastes like something you'd get at a restaurant but is incredibly easy to make and only takes 15 minutes from start to finish.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Lindsey Jenkins


  • 1 pound white fish, about 1-inch thickness such as cod, halibut, snapper, etc.,
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour regular or gluten-free
  • fresh lemon slices, for garnish

Lemon Butter Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter dairy-free or regular unsalted
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin removed and lightly smashed
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste


  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the butter, smashed garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs. Cook while continuously stirring for about 3 minutes or until the butter starts to turn golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from the stove.
  • Pour into a small bowl, discard the thyme sprigs and garlic, and add the lemon juice, kosher salt, and pepper, to taste. Add more lemon juice if desired. Set aside.
  • Pat your fillet(s) dry with a paper towel and season both sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Sprinkle on the flour and use your hands to lightly spread it over each side.
  • Put the skillet back on the stove over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the fish and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. If your fish is thinner than 1-inch, cook it for less time. It's done cooking when it's opaque and feels somewhat firm to the touch.
  • Pour the lemon butter sauce over before serving. Garnish with fresh thyme and lemon if desired.


No thyme? – use another woody hard stemmed herb such as rosemary, oregano, or sage.
No garlic? – just leave it out.
Variations - use other spices along with salt and pepper to season the fish such as blends like za'atar or Italian, or individual spices like smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and so on.