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How to Pan-Sear Trout: Easy Pan-Seared Trout Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 1 min read

Crispy-skinned, pan-fried trout fillets cook in minutes, making them a great option for weeknight dinners.



What Does Trout Taste Like?

Rainbow trout are the most commonly available type of trout, and they have a slightly nutty flavor and delicate texture. Large lake trout are less common commercially, so you may have to fish for them yourself; they have a mild, slightly gamey flavor and succulent texture. Arctic char, a type of trout farmed in Iceland and Canada, can have just as much fat as salmon, giving it a richer flavor that’s perfect with a little salt and lemon juice.

What to Serve With Pan-Seared Trout

Pan-seared trout makes for an excellent main course that goes well with a variety of sauces and side dishes. Drizzle seared trout with Argentinian chimichurri sauce, Italian salsa verde, Mexican salsa verde, or Greek tzatziki sauce. Or, if you cook trout with a few fresh herb sprigs and thinly sliced garlic cloves, you can make a quick butter sauce: Deglaze the pan with white wine, let the wine reduce by about half and then swirl in a few tablespoons of butter off the heat. Garnish your trout with fresh lemon slices or lemon wedges and maybe a parmesan crisp. Round out the meal with vegetables—a parsnip purée, pomme purée, arugula avocado salad, or sautéed asparagus.

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Easy Pan-Seared Trout Recipe

Prep Time
3 min
Total Time
10 min
Cook Time
7 min


  • 4 rainbow trout fillets, about 6 ounces each
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 fresh herb sprigs such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon capers (optional)
  1. Pat fish fillets dry with paper towels. Arrange fillets on a rimmed baking sheet and season both sides of each fillet with salt and black pepper.
  2. In a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and butter until shimmering and butter has melted. Add fillets to the melted butter and oil mixture skin side down, along with herb sprigs, garlic, and capers (if using).
  3. Cook fish until skin is light golden brown around the edges, about 2–3 minutes. Use a spoon to baste trout with melted butter and olive oil and continue to cook until the flesh is opaque and fish flakes when pressed with a fork, about 4–5 more minutes. The skin should be crispy and deep golden brown.
  4. Use a fish spatula to carefully transfer the cooked trout to the plate skin side up to keep the skin crispy.

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