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pan-seared halibut on a plate
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5 from 5 votes

How to Pan-Sear Halibut

This easy seafood tutorial will show you how to pan-sear halibut for juicy fish with golden edges. Plus, check out our tips for seasoning, topping and sauces!
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time12 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 296kcal


  • 8 ounces halibut (2 fillets)
  • 1 tablespoon flour Use gluten-free AP flour if needed
  • pinch salt, pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • small handful fresh herbs (such as fresh rosemary, chives, or oregano)


  • Pat halibut fillets dry.  Dust with flour, and shake off any excess.  Sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper.
    Prepare a heavy pan with the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Heat on medium-high until butter is melted but not browned; then turn the heat down to medium.
    Heat Butter + Oil + Add Fish
  • Place the fillets in the pan and cook about 4 minutes. Don't touch the fillets until they're ready to flip.
    Use a thin metal spatula to test the fish.  If you can slide the spatula under the fish without the fish sticking to the pan, it's ready to flip. If the fillets won't release, give them another 30 seconds. They'll release when they've finished cooking.
    After flipping, divide the remaining 1 TB butter over both fillets.
    Flip Halibut + Add More Butter
  • Cook fish another 3-4 minutes until done. Fish will be golden on both the top and bottom and opaque all the way through when finished cooking.
    Transfer the fish to plates, leaving the excess butter in the pan. Cover fish to keep warm, or set fish in a 200ºF oven.
    Cook Halibut Until Golden + Flaky
  • Reduce heat to medium.  Add the lemon juice and stir with a wooden spoon. Add half the herbs and stir again. 
    Serve fish hot with pan sauce and remaining herbs.
    Add Lemon Juice, Capers, + Herbs to Pan


Cooking Tips:
  • Make sure to pat the fish dry.  Wet fish won’t develop a golden sear.
  • Make sure to let the fish rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.  Cold fish tends to stick to the pan.
  • Test the fish with a thin metal spatula before attempting to flip.  If the fish doesn’t release, give it another 30 seconds and try again.
  • If your butter and oil begin to smoke, lower the heat slightly.
  • Have all your ingredients prepared before beginning so that you can watch the fish carefully while it cooks.  I prep everything while the fish rests at room temperature.
Recipe Variations: Try adapting this recipe by adding more seasoning!
  • Season the fish lightly with garlic powder before cooking.
  • Top the fish with buttery, toasted almonds.
  • Add capers to the pan sauce.


Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 568mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 426IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg