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Baked Trout With Lemon, Butter & Herbs

I love this lemon butter herb baked trout made with just a few simple fresh ingredients in less than 20 minutes. Succulent, melt-in-your-mouth and delish.

Rainbow trout has a mild, delicate flavor. The pale orange-pink flesh is moist, soft and tender when cooked well.  

pieces of trout topped with herb lemon mixture on plate

I make these baked trout fillets often because they are quick and easy to prepare and you can cook vegetables in the same pan at the same time to make a one pan meal. See how to do that below.

Bottom line: Treat yourself to a fresh trout low-carb dinner with just a few minutes prep. It’s a delicious way to serve fresh trout. The lemon and fresh herbs flavors pair beautifully with this delicate fish.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

two large raw salmon fillets with bunch of herbs beside it on cutting board,
PLUS lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper

Here are a few variations and substitutions to try.

Trout: Instead of rainbow trout fillets, use different types of fish like Arctic Char, Bluefish, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Steelhead Trout. Or try salmon with this similar recipe for roasted salmon stuffed with herbs.

Herbs:

  • I use a combination of fresh dill and parsley with green onions (not a herb). Other good options are basil, tarragon and chives – along with green onions.
  • Fresh thyme is good too, but use less because too much would overwhelm the delicate fish flavor.
  • If you don’t have all fresh herbs, you can mix in some Italian seasoning or other dried herbs. I would at least use fresh parsley and the green onions.

Butter adds a wonderful richness to the fish. You can use all butter or all olive oil or a combination of the two.

Other variations:

  • Add a glug of white wine to the bottom of the pan before baking for extra flavor.
  • Chop fresh peak-of-the-season tomatoes and sprinkle them on top before serving.
  • Drizzle on a little extra virgin olive oil on the baked fish if you like.
  • Sprinkle chopped roasted walnuts, pecans or pistachios over the trout fillets once cooked.

Step by step instructions

herb lemon chopped up on cutting board
Chop herbs and green onions finely.
2 trout fillets stuffed with herb mixtures on parchment on pan before baking.
Cut a few horizontal slits in the trout fillets and stuff half the herb mixture into the slits. Season and drizzle some of melted butter/oil and lemon juice over the fillets.
2 trout fillets stuffed with herb mixtures on parchment on pan after baking
Bake for 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the trout. Don’t over cook.
baked trout with herbs on parchment on pan
Garnish with the remaining herb mixture, melted butter and lemon zest.
8 pieces of trout topped with herb lemon mixture on plate
Portion the cooked trout fillets and transfer to a plate to serve.

Shortcut dinner with a one-pan meal

Create a one complete one-pan meal by placing veggies beside the trout fillets while the fish cooks. You need quick cooking veggies for this like asparagus, snap peas or bok choy.

For other veggies like cauliflower or broccoli, give them a head start in the pan for 10, then add the fish and bake for the remaining time.

In all cases, toss the veggies first with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting.

Make ahead

You can make this rainbow trout recipe an hour or two ahead if you are serving the trout at room temperature for a buffet or brunch.

Otherwise, I suggest stuffing the fillets with the chopped herbs several hours or even a day ahead. Just before serving, add the butter, oil, salt and pepper, then bake.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe FAQs

How do I choose the best trout?

Buy trout fillets that are as fresh as possible. Fresh trout should have a mild scent and moist flesh. If you buy farm raised, the flesh should feel slippery and slimy. That’s a good thing. A sign of freshness.

According to Healthline on best types of fish to eat, farmed rainbow trout is a safer option than wild because it’s raised protected from contaminants.

How much trout do I need per person?

I calculate about 1/2 pound per person as a nice generous portion. If you have a lot of side dishes, you can serve less.

How do you know when trout is cooked?

That depends on how you like it. For moist and tender trout, cook it to a medium or medium-rare. The flesh will just turn opaque and it will be a warm pink in the middle. It should not be pale, dry and flaky.

Is rainbow trout healthy?

Yes. Like salmon, rainbow trout is one of the most healthy fish to eat. It’s packed with protein, niacin, vitamin B12, and omega 3. 

What to serve with trout

There are so many options. Here are a few of my faves:

pieces of trout topped with herb lemon mixture on plate

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piece of lemon herb baked trout on plate
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Baked Trout With Lemon, Butter & Herbs

I love this lemon butter herb baked trout made with just a few simple fresh ingredients in less than 20 minutes. Succulent, melt-in-your-mouth and delish.
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time18 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Servings: 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh trout fillets (preferably 2-3 larger size fillets)
  • 1 cup (20g) finely chopped herbs Note 1 I use fresh parsley and dill mixed with green onions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon 2 tbsp lemon juice plus zest of whole lemon
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

  • HEAT OVEN TO 400F/204C. Line a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with oil for easy clean up.
  • PREPARE TROUT FILLETS: Place trout on pan, flesh side of the fish up. Microwave butter and oil for 20-30 seconds until butter is melted. Using a sharp knife, cut slits horizontally every 2 inches/5 cm on each fillet (about 3-4 slits per fillet). Stuff half of mixed herbs into slits. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper. Drizzle HALF of butter oil mixture (about 2 tbsp) and the lemon juice over trout .
  • BAKE TROUT in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes. Cooking time will depend on thickness of fillets, or until cooked. Ideally, trout will be moist and warm pink – not dry, pale and flaky.
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Sprinkle remaining herbs and lemon zest over top of fish fillets. Drizzle on remaining 2 tablespoons of butter (or butter-oil mixture). Sprinkle lightly with sea salt or kosher salt.
    Serve: To serve without fish skin, slip spatula between flesh and skin, then lift up. I cut trout into portions first (just down to the skin) to make this easier. Garnish with slices of lemon if you like. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Herbs: I suggest using fresh herbs for this dish (well green onion isn’t a herb but I always use it in my herb combination). Another option is green onion, one fresh herb and 1- 2 teaspoons of a dried herb such as basil or thyme. Or just use two herbs – whatever you like best.
  2. Make Ahead: You can make this ahead if you are serving the trout at room temperature, say for a buffet or brunch. Otherwise, I suggest stuffing the fillets with chopped herbs several hours or even a day ahead. Then add the butter, oil, salt and pepper and bake just before serving. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates based on 1/2 lb/227g of trout per portion which is considered a large portion.  

Nutrition

Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 941mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1574IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 5mg
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4 Comments

  1. Would this recipe work well using Cod instead of Trout? I have Cod in the fridge so thought this would be a great recipe to use it with. thank you!

    1. Hi Janis,
      Like trout, cod has a mild taste and delicate texture like trout, so I don’t see why not. The flavors would go perfectly too. You can bake it at the same temperature (400F), but you may need to bake it for longer as it’s usually much thicker than trout. The rule of thumb for fish is 10 minutes per inch thickness. It may take 15-18 minutes or until an instant thermometer reads 140-145F. Good luck. Hope it works well. Let us know!