10 Tips for Cooking Fish

Hoping to prepare a tasty fish dish? Make fish better than you ever could before with these tips that will teach you how to freshen up frozen fish, steam fish in the microwave, and more!

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read
The Quick And Dirty

It's easy to whip up a quick fish dinner with these tips: thaw frozen fish in milk, plan 10 mins of cooking for each inch of meat, use butter and lemon juice to freshen up dry fish, and more. 

Frozen Fish Fix

Pining for fresh fish but stuck with frozen? Try this: Cover the frozen fish in milk until it thaws, then cook. It will taste fresher and your family will never know it was frozen.

Quick Fish Trick

If you’re grilling or broiling thick fish steaks, marinate them for 15 minutes in lemon or lime juice before cooking. The acid from the juice “cooks” the fish a bit, cutting down on the time it needs to stay on the heat—so your steaks are less likely to dry out.

Cornflake Your Fish

For added crunch with fewer calories, use cornflakes instead of breadcrumbs to coat fish fillets. Not only do cornflakes contain fewer calories than breadcrumbs, they are less absorbent and give a lighter covering, so the fish will soak up less oil.

Quick and Easy Fish

Our favorite way to prepare fish is also super quick and tasty. Wrap your fillets individually in foil, adding a bit of chopped onion, salt and pepper, and a sprig of dill. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350°F oven, then unwrap for a tender, flavorful fish.

Freshen Up Burnt Fish

You went a bit overboard with the blackened catfish, and now it’s a little too black. Freshen up burnt fish with some chopped parsley. It will help neutralize the burnt flavor and may just save dinner!

The Measure of Your Fish

It can be tricky to figure out the proper cooking time for fish. If you’ve ever overcooked an expensive piece of halibut, you know what we mean! To avoid this problem, measure the fish at its thickest part. You can estimate 10 minutes of cooking time for every inch of thickness.

How to Steam Fish in the Microwave

To steam fish fillets in the microwave, place them in a shallow microwavable dish (a glass pie plate is ideal) with the thinner parts overlapping at the center of the dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice or herbs, if you like, season with salt and pepper, then cover the dish with plastic wrap (making sure it doesn’t touch the fish) and cook for three minutes per pound. If your microwave doesn’t have a turntable, rotate the dish about halfway through the cooking time.

Testing Fish for Doneness

To test fish for doneness, insert a thin-bladed knife into the flesh at the thickest part. If it’s done, it will be just barely translucent in the center. Even though it might look not quite done, the fish will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat, so make sure not to overcook it.

Fish Fix

If you’re cooking fish and it comes out too dry, brush it with a mixture of equal parts melted butter and lemon juice and some dried or fresh herbs. The butter will help make it moister, while the lemon juice will help it hold together and cause your diners to salivate—perhaps making them less likely to notice your cooking error.

Sear Skin-Side Down

Always cook fish skin-side down first. Not only will it produce a crisp exterior, but you’ll also avoid overcooking. A good rule of thumb is to leave the fish skin-side down for three-quarters of the cooking time, and only flip it over for a few minutes to finish.

For more food-related tips, check out our In the Kitchen board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day!

Photo by Shutterstock.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.

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