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How to Cook Fish on the Stovetop

Fish and Cancer How to Cook Fish on the Stovetop


  • 1 6-8 ounce white fish fillet per person, such as tilapia (pictured), cod, bass, grouper, haddock, catfish or snapper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • To serve: lemon wedges, dill (optional)


  1. Pat the fish dry: Use a paper towel to pat the fish dry on both sides.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper: Sprinkle the top of the fish generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Warm the oil in the skillet: Heat the olive oil or butter in a skillet over medium-high heat (number 7) for 1 minute.
  4. Lay the fish in the hot pan: Lay the fish, seasoned-side down, in the pan.
  5. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes: Cook the fish for 2 to 3 minutes without moving it. When ready to flip, the underside should look golden and crispy. It should also release fairly easily from the pan using a fish spatula. (Not a problem in a non-stick skillet!)
  6. Season the other side of the fish: While the first side cooks, season the other side with salt and pepper.
  7. Flip the fish and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes: Flip the fish to the second side and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. When ready, the fish will be opaque all the way through and flake apart easily.
  8. Serve immediately: Serve the fish while still hot from the pan with any finishing garnishes. White fish can often be very flaky after cooking; don’t worry if it flakes apart a bit as you serve it.


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