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Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout

This moist, flaky, flavorful maple balsamic rainbow trout is a perfect weeknight meal, ready in 20 minutes. Just six ingredients. One of our top 3 most popular recipes – simple and delicious.

Rainbow trout is a freshwater river fish native to North America. It’s one of my go-to recipes for weeknights.  I can have it on the table from start to finish – with sides – in about 20-30 minutes. 

Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout

As oven baked trout recipes go, this rainbow trout recipe is quick and easy, super tasty and only has a few ingredients. 

Clean up is also easy. Wrap up the tin foil or parchment paper from the pan that the trout lays on, toss it in the garbage and put the pan back in the cupboard. 🙂

And how does it taste?  Good!  The sweetness and depth of the maple and balsamic glaze work really well together. And the rainbow trout is mild and succulent. For me, one of the best quick meals of the week. 

The only tricks to this recipe are to buy fresh trout fillets and figure out portion size.

What to serve with this trout recipe

I love to serve this rainbow trout fillet recipe with Cauliflower Rice with Pesto, Quinoa and Butternut Squash Salad, Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Baby Cauliflower, Grilled Corn Salad (which you can make with frozen niblets), Oven Roasted Vegetables Recipe or Savory Rice and Roasted Veggies.

For dessert, I’d go with super moist whole orange cake or a gluten-free orange polenta cake

Tailor To Your Taste

  • Use lime juice instead of lemon juice and add some zest when serving.
  • Substitute the maple syrup with honey.
  • Vary the heat with as much sriracha (or red pepper flakes) as you like.
  • See below for substitutes you can use for rainbow trout fillets.

Rainbow trout tips and information

What does rainbow trout taste like?

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

How to buy trout

  • Buy trout fillets that are as fresh as possible. Fresh trout should have a mild scent and moist flesh. I buy fillets (bones removed) as seen the the pictures.
  • Wild trout is best. If you buy farm raised, the flesh should feel slippery and slimy. That’s a good thing. A sign of freshness
  • There are several types of freshwater trout including rainbow trout. Saltwater trout like Arctic Char and Steelhead are typically farm raised.

What type of fish can I substitute for rainbow trout fillets in this recipe?

  • Instead of trout, try different types of fish with this rainbow trout recipe like Arctic Char, Bluefish, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Steelhead Trout, Salmon. 

How much rainbow trout should I estimate per serving?

  • Figure 1/2 pound, 8 ounces or 220g per person. This is more than the 3 oz./90g serving suggested by caterers which I find too small for an adult serving. 
  • My husband eats a lot, so I buy 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of fish for the two of us. This sounds like a lot, but we remove the skin which takes up considerable weight on trout.
  • For “normal” eaters, I estimate 1 1/2 pounds for 3 people. Of course portion size will also depend how substantial your side dishes are.

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. 

How long to cook trout fillets

  • The general rule of thumb for fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Start checking a minute or two earlier.  Peek in the center to check if it’s done. If the flesh is just turning opaque, it’s done. It should be moist and warm pink, not dry, pale and flaky.

How to make a complete trout meal in one pan

  • Roast the trout in the same pan with bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus (cut the veggies into small pieces). Here’s our Roasted Bok Choy and Broccoli recipe that will work perfectly. Just heat the oven to 425F and roast for 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness) or just until the rainbow trout is opaque.

Make Ahead

  • The glaze/marinade can be made a couple of days ahead, but it’s best to cook the trout just before serving.
  • Alternatively, make the rainbow trout recipe the day before. Cool it completely, refrigerate, then serve it cold the next day. Delish!

Other easy fish recipes you might like

How to make maple balsamic baked trout

Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout
Sprinkle trout fillets with salt, pepper, green onions
Maple Balsamic sauce
Make the glaze
Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout
Spoon on enough glaze (trout marinade) to cover the fish, about 1/2 the glaze.
Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout
Bake trout for 9-11 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
piece of Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout on plate with parsley
Slip spatula between skin and flesh of trout to lift and transfer to a plate.
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4.57 from 143 votes

Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout

This moist, flaky, flavorful maple balsamic rainbow trout is a perfect weeknight meal, ready in 20 minutes. Just six ingredients. Simple and delicious.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3 (or 4 smaller portions)
Author: Cheryl


  • 1.5 pounds (0.68kg) rainbow trout fillets (2 large or 3-4 smaller)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Maple Balsamic Sauce/Glaze

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha or more (optional) (or use a pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)


  • HEAT OVEN to 400F/204C. Line a baking sheet, large enough to fit the trout, with parchment or disposable foil, sprayed with cooking oil (for easy clean up).
  • MAKE SAUCE/GLAZE: Whisk together all ingredients in a small glass measuring cup or bowl. If you want a slightly thicker glaze, whisk in the cornstarch and microwave sauce for 45-60 seconds. I do this. If you prefer a thin glaze, don't use the cornstarch.
  • PREPARE TROUT FILLETS: Generously sprinkle trout with salt and pepper. Sprinkle chopped green onions over fish. Drizzle on enough glaze to cover the fish, about half the sauce/glaze, reserving the rest for serving. Place fish, skin side down, on pan.
  • ROAST/BAKE TROUT: for 8-11 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Note 1. Remove from oven to a large flat dish and cut into portions. If you want to remove skin, slip a spatula between the bottom of the flesh and skin, then lift trout off. Drizzle on the remaining sauce and sprinkle parsley, green onions or other fresh herbs on maple balsamic trout if desired.

Recipe Notes

  1. How to tell of trout is cooked: The general rule of thumb for fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Start checking a minute or two earlier. Peek in the center. If the flesh is just turning opaque, it's done. It should be moist and warm pink, not dry, pale and flaky.
  2. Make Ahead: 
    • The glaze/marinade can be made a couple of days ahead, but it's best to cook the trout just before serving. 
    • Alternatively, make the trout the day before. Cool it completely, refrigerate, then serve it cold the next day. Delish!
This recipe, originally published in 2016, has been updated to increase the amount of sauce  and thicken the glaze so that it stays on the fish better. Original Sauce/Glaze (from 2016): 1 tablespoon each: good balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice; 1/2 teaspoon sriracha; 2 teaspoons oil. 


Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 1150mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Can you do this recipe if you don’t have any lemon? That’s the only thing I’m missing but fear it will be totally wrong without it. I’ll experiment and cross fingers and toes!

    1. About 3/4 of a tablespoon of white wine or white vinegar or the same amount of lime juice or orange juice would work fine too. Hope that helps.

  2. 5 stars
    This is my favorite rainbow trout recipe! During trout season, my husband and FIL come home with many trout for me to cook and this recipe is always a hit. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Not enough “E”s in DEEEEEEEEEELISH to describe how it is! I also read below about a dash of sesame oil (which I love!) so I’ll be testing that, as well as the flavored balsamic vinegars! 😉

    One question, though: I’ve done this recipe half a dozen times already, and only once did the glaze slip OFF the fish, and I was wondering what is the “X factor” regarding the slipping-off?

    1. Hi David, Thanks for letting us know how much you liked the trout and the tweaks you will try. Much appreciated.

      As for the glaze slipping off, good question. I find the cornstarch helps with that pretty well. I use that trick with sauces on chicken too. It might also be helpful to pat the fish dry before applying the glaze due to the natural slippery oils on the fish. And, after baking, I always find you have to reglaze the fish with the remaining glaze as some of it will undoubtedly slip off or get absorbed while baking. Hope that helps 🙂

      1. …patting the fish, hunh? I do that already, since it’s ALWAYS oily… (!) Oh, I think I have a suspicion of why it slipped – that time it slipped, I think I didn’t have any green onions (that would have stuck to the surface of the meat), so that could explain the slipping… (that and the “mountainous surface” of that particular fillet)… 😉 I should have substituted with fresh cilantro or chives, maybe…?

        Thanks again!!!

  4. We’ve been using this recipe since early last year. I frequently use it with salmon instead of trout, and use whatever type of hot sauce I have available.
    Half the family likes it and half doesn’t. However the half that does is the half that is hard to get to eat fish, so it’s worth the irritation to bake two recipes to get the hubby and oldest girl to eat it.

    1. Hmm. Hard to please everyone. I’m very familiar with making two different meals at a time. I guess I should tell readers that it might be a good recipe for non fish lovers 🙂 Thanks for leaving a comment Laurie.

  5. 5 stars
    I knew this would be good as soon as I read the recipe. I have made it twice and the whole family loved it. I am looking forward to trying some of your other recipes. Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    So delishious. Cooks in no time and the sauce was a perfect pairing with Rainbow trout. My entire family ate every bite!! No left overs that night!

  7. Fantastic recipe and what flavor!!! It turned out perfect. I served it with a combination of broccoli/carrots. I also served it with rice and poured some of the sauce on it. I will definitely be making it again. Thanks

  8. 5 stars
    A delicious combination of flavors! Trout isn’t my favorite fish, but the flavors in this quick and easy recipe have me adding this dish to our regular dinner rotation. The one teaspoon of cornstarch was a bit much and turned the glaze into more of a jelly/jam consistency. Next time I will either halve the cornstarch or leave it out to get the consistency to our liking. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad you liked it Courtney. Thanks for leaving a comment. The thickness of the glaze is certainly a matter of preference, so you can cut it back or leave it out as you suggested. Or, add a splash of water to thin it out.

  9. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe. The glaze is perfect with the fish. The whole family loved it. Served it with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.

  10. 5 stars
    Made this last night as I’d got some rainbow trout extremely cheaply and glancing through recipes I had come across this one and had most of the ingredients in the cupboard except sriracha (used a touch of cayenne pepper instead). I can honestly say this is one of the best fish recipes we’ve had. The ingredients balanced each other perfectly and it was so easy to make. I served it with couscous and green beans. It really was delicious and will be keeping all the stuff in for this to become a regular dish. I’ve some octopus in the freezer and I’m going to try it with that!

    1. Thank you Tristan! So glad you liked the trout recipe. Let me know if you try the glaze with octopus and how it turns out!

  11. 4 stars
    Was looking for a different way to cook trout, and this popped up. Love the simplicity, the flavours and the ease of making a nice dinner on a weeknight. Family approved, will be making this again! 😋

  12. We are so eager to make this, but have a question: The cauliflower look like a great accompaniment? Is there are recipe for that as well?

  13. 5 stars
    Today was the first day of Trout Season, I caught my limit of 5, so tonight was fresh trout dinner. We were tired of the way we always cooked it, so tonight we looked for a new recipe. This was the recipe we found. It was the best trout we ever had, easy to make and it came out great. We used a maple balsamic vinegar and truffle infused olive oil plus the maple syrup and the lemon.

    Try it, you’ll love it!

    1. Lucky you John – freshly caught trout! I’m honored you chose our recipe and liked it! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

    2. Hey John, glad you were succesful fishing today!! I too decided to look for a new recipe, for my own fresh caught trout today, and its ready to go in to the oven…. can’t wait..Im using Speckled trout… what did you catch today?

  14. 4 stars
    I made this fir my large family and loved it! However I think the sauce in the double batch wasn’t very thick so I will make it again and add a tablespoon of corn starch for a single batch and 2 tablespoons for a double , I have never made fish with the skin on and was a bit sceptical of it but was pleased it turned out ! I will make it again and experiment with it a bit . Thanks

    1. Glad it worked out well Tami. Thickness of the sauce is a personal preference and it sounds like you’ve found the right formula for you and your family.