How to Cook Trout 4 Ways

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cooked, ready to eat trout
Photo by jetalone is marked with CC BY 2.0

Mild in flavor, with a delicate flaky texture, trout is a delicious fish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Closely related to salmon, this freshwater fish boasts a milder flavor profile, making it an easy fish option for a variety of taste buds. 

Trout can typically be found in fillets, making them easy to smoke, bake, grill, or pan-fry. Here we’ll review each of those preparations, giving you a variety of methods to add to your cooking repertoire.  

Smoked Trout 

Smoked trout is the first preparation that we’ll cover. This incredibly popular dish is great served hot or cold, making it a versatile and delicious preparation. 

Begin with fillets that are deboned and ready to cook. If frozen, defrost before cooking. 

Once ready to cook, you only need a few ingredients for a delicious smoked trout. 


  • 2 lbs. of trout fillets (serves 4) 
  • 1 cup of kosher salt
  • 5 cups of brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons of garlic powder 
  • 2 teaspoons of black pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  1. To begin, prepare a dry brine in a large dish by combining kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar. Make sure it is well mixed. 
  2. Next, place your fillets in the container with the brine, pressing the fish into the mixture. Be sure to thoroughly coat each fillet. 
  3. Once covered in the dry brine, cover and refrigerate. Let brine for at least 2 hours, and up to 6 hours max. 
  4. After brining for desired time, remove fillets from the container and rinse with water. Pat dry. 
  5. Place fish back in the refrigerator for 3 hours. This step allows the pellicle (or tacky film) to develop. This results in a more flavorful, smoky fish. 
  6. Next, place your fish in the smoker at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  7. Smoke for 2 hours to start, checking the internal temperature of the fish with a food thermometer. Fully cooked trout will have an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  8. If more cooking is required, raise the smoker by 20 degrees and cook for another 2 hours. Repeat as needed until fully cooked. 
  9. Once fully cooked, serve as desired (fresh from the smoker or chilled). Enjoy! 

Baked Trout  

The next preparation for cooking trout Is fast and easy, making it a great weeknight meal option. Baked trout comes together with few ingredients in around 30 minutes for a simple and satisfying dinner. 


  • 4 trout fillets 
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 1-2 lemons (for lemon slices and fresh lemon juice) 
  • 4 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • Salt (to taste) 
  • Black Pepper (to taste) 
  1. To start, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. While the oven is heating, line a baking sheet with foil. 
  3. Place trout fillets on the baking sheet skin side down. Drizzle each fillet with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired. 
  4. Finish with garlic powder and the juice of half a lemon. 
  5. Next, slice the other half of lemon and place on top of the fillets. (1-2 slices per fillet) 
  6. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through. Fully cooked trout will flake easily with a fork. You can also check that the internal temperature of the fish is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  7. Remove from the sheet pan, discard lemon slices and serve. 
  8. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice, if desired. Enjoy! 

Grilled Trout

For warm-weather months when the grill is fired up, grilled trout is an excellent go-to dish. Fast and easy, this preparation is also ideal for weeknight dinners or last minute get togethers. 

You’ll need the following ingredients to get started: 


  • 4 trout fillets
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • Salt & black pepper (to taste) 
  • Seasonings of choice (such as garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, etc.) 
  • Lemon (for serving) 
  1. To begin, preheat your grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. While the grill is heating, prepare your trout fillets by drizzling each with olive oil and seasoning with salt, black pepper and desired seasonings. 
  3. If available, place fillets in a fish grilling basket for easy handling. If not, when grill is heated, place the fillets, skin-side down directly on the grill grates.
  4. Cook trout on each side for about 3-5 minutes. Cooked trout will have an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and will flake easily with a fork. 
  5. Once fully cooked, remove from the grill and serve. 
  6. Garnish with fresh lemon wedges (if desired) and enjoy! 

This simple meal is fast, easy and delicious, making it a great dish to keep in your meal rotation. 

Pan-Fried Trout 

The last preparation that we’ll cover is pan-frying. This cooking method works well any time of year, and is also quick and easy like grilling and baking. Master this method for another fast and easy dinner option. 


  • 4 trout fillets
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • Salt & Black Pepper (to taste) 
  • Desired seasonings (such as garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, etc.) 
  • Fresh herbs (such as parsley) for serving
  • Lemon Wedges (for serving) 
  1. To begin, season your trout fillets with salt, black pepper, and any desired seasonings. 
  2. Next, heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. 
  3. Once hot, add the olive oil to the pan. 
  4. Carefully place trout fillets in the pan, leaving space between the fillets to allow for browning. (Cook in batches if necessary. Do not overcrowd the pan.) 
  5. Cook trout for about 3 minutes on each side. 
  6. Check for doneness by inserting an instant read thermometer into the center. Internal temperature should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  7. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and lemon wedges. Enjoy! 

This quick and simple meal is equally easy and delicious. 

Whether you smoke, bake, grill or pan-fry trout, the natural flavor of the fish is sure to shine through. Give these recipes a try, or for more cooking inspiration browse our Seafood University for recipes like grilled salmon, blackened shrimp and more!