This chilean sea bass recipe is incredibly rich in flavor and surprisingly easy to make! It comes together in about 20 minutes with just a handful of simple ingredients. You’ll pan-sear this fish and add a lemon, aromatic herb and garlic topping to bring out the rich flavor in this recipe. This will easily become one of your favorite fish recipes.
Why It Works
- Chilean sea bass is incredibly rich and has a buttery flavor. Every bite melts in your mouth!
- Pan searing is the best method when cooking sea bass. It gives you perfectly tender, moist fish every single time, without drying it out.
The beauty of this dish is that it’s not only incredibly simple to make, but it’s totally delicious and impressive dish. Once you learn to pan sear sea bass, you’ll never make it any other way!
And while sea bass isn’t the most budget-friendly food, I like to buy it when it’s on sale at Costco or your local grocery store, like Kroger. You can also check your local fish market for this white fish.
It’s great for a special occasion or date night because it’s sure to impress but has simple steps and a short list of ingredients.
- Chilean Sea Bass. Sea bass is available year round in many grocery stores, but you can also use black cod in this recipe. The flavor and texture is very similar!
- Lemon. A bit of acid brightens the dish and perfectly balances the rich the fish and butter.
- Butter, ghee, and/or olive oil. It adds rich, lush flavor and keeps the fish from sticking.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Prepare the fish.
Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel. Dab a few paper towels all along the fish fillets to make sure they’re totally dry.
Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides.
Step 2: Preheat the pan.
Get the pan good and hot over a medium-high burner. Test to see if the pan is hot by sprinkling a little drip of water onto the pan. When it’s ready, the water should sizzle immediately!
Add the butter and oil to the hot skillet. Swirl so the entire bottom of the pan is lightly coated.
Step 3: Sear the fish.
Carefully set the fish fillets and garlic on the pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Once the fish releases from the pan, carefully flip the fish and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
👉 Tip: Using a fish turner (fish spatula) will make this job a lot easier!
Sea bass is done cooking when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, per USDA. Remove it and serve garnished with parsley and lemon slices.
What does sea bass taste like? Sea bass is rich, moist, and tender, because it has a moderately high fat content. That means searing it will keep it moist and flakey during cooking, and each bite will melt in your mouth!
- Thaw the fish properly. If you buy frozen sea bass, it’s best to defrost it slowly. Remove the fish from the packaging, set it on a plate or in a shallow rimmed dish, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Use plenty of butter or olive oil. Sea bass is infamous for sticking to the pan, so don’t skimp on using butter or oil. It will help keep it from sticking!
- Season lightly with fresh, simple ingredients. Allow the flavor of chilean sea bass to shine by pairing it with light, bright, ingredients like lemon, garlic, and herbs. You can adjust to taste by substituting using Italian or Greek seasoning blends.
- Use a fish turner (fish spatula). This will make flipping sea bass in the pan a much easier job.
- Avoid overcooking the fish. Overcooked sea bass is dry and rubbery. To prevent this, remove the fish from the heat as soon as it is cooked through.
If you love seafood, be sure to check out our Air Fryer Tilapia as well.
What to Serve with Chilean Sea Bass
There are many side dishes that work well with sea bass. A vegetable side dish like Air Fryer Roasted Green Beans or Roasted Tomatoes pairs nicely. You could also include a grain side like Jasmine Rice or Quinoa.
Chilean sea bass is a specific species of fish, also known as Patagonian toothfish or Antarctic toothfish. Its taste is mild, buttery and has a sweet finish! It comes from the cold waters waters around South America and the Antarctic.
Aromatic herbs like parsley, rosemary are great for added flavor, but flaky sea salt and black pepper are all Chilean sea bass needs because of its beautiful flavor.
Cook the Chilean sea bass over medium high heat to avoid overcooking.
Pair sea bass with bright, fresh flavors like garlic, lemon, and onion. Because it’s so mild, butter adds a lot of richness. Serve it with sides like rice and roasted vegetables.
Cooked sea bass is extremely tender and flakey!
Sea bass is done cooking when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, per USDA. It will be flakey and opaque.
More Healthy Seafood Recipes
I’d love to hear about your experience making this recipe!
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Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
- 2 oz butter divided
- 3 Chilean sea bass fillets about 5 to 6 ounces each
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley for serving
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 lemon slices for serving
- Place a skillet over medium heat and add 1oz butter in the skillet and allow to melt.
- Add the sea bass fillets to the skillet, skin side down, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Fry the sea bass for 3-6 minutes per side or until opaque.
- Add the remaining butter, dried parsley, garlic and lemon juice and allow to cook for another 4 minutes or until butter has melted.
- Top with lemon slices and serve with fresh parsley.