How to Cook Halibut

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halibut on lentils with chard

“Halibut on lentils with chard” by sporkist is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Halibut is a delicate cut of fish that’s popular with people who prefer mild, sweet fish flavors. It’s also a lean fish that’s packed with protein and potassium. Because the halibut fish can retain its texture and shape regardless of how it’s cooked, it’s highly versatile in the kitchen. Toss it on the grill, deep-fry it, poach it, or pan-fry it to easily make a delicious meal using fresh halibut. 

Follow along with this guide to discover the many ways to cook this fresh fish favorite.

How to Cook Halibut: 7 Easy Methods

Before you decide whether you’d like to make baked halibut or grilled halibut, let’s talk seasoning. Before cooking it, some cooks prefer to season halibut with their favorite herbs and spices, like salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, or parsley, regardless of the cooking method. Others like using a marinade to add some flavor to halibut, which is generally mild in taste to start with. 

Either option works, but we do want to point out that using a marinade can prevent the fish from crisping up when grilling, broiling, baking, or searing if you don’t pat the fish dry first. Before cooking, use a paper towel to pat excess liquid off the fish. Then, it should brown up nicely when you use a method that allows for crisped edges.

The following cooking methods are some of the most common and easy ways to cook halibut at home.


Baked halibut is one of those no-fuss ways to cook the fish. Put it in the oven preheated to 425 degrees, and it cooks for about 15-20 minutes. There are no messy, oily pans to warm up; you just need a baking dish with the halibut filet set on a rack inside the dish. Plus, baked halibut is a healthy cooking method that doesn’t require any oil to cook. Instead, you can just spice up the fish with some salt and pepper and bake it until it gets lightly crisp on the outer edges.


Broiled halibut is a cooking method you can use to get a crisper crust on your fish. However, using only the broiler could lead to a dried-out fish, as it cooks very fast under intense heat. Instead, consider baking this delicate seafood for about 10 minutes first. Then, turn on the broiler and finish off the halibut for another 3-5 minutes until crisp. 


Grilling fish turns people away because fish can be so delicate. It’s true. Grilling halibut can take a little practice to perfect, but it’s worth it to get the flavors of the grill. If you’re going to use this method, we suggest using a grill pan to cook the halibut steak or filet rather than placing it directly on the grill grate. In turn, you’ll still get the grilled flavor but without the risk of having the fish stick to your grill. 

Pan Frying

Pan-frying halibut is also referred to as pan-searing halibut. Regardless of what you call it, one thing is for sure: This cooking method is quick, easy, and leads to some yummy fish. To sear halibut, start by heating a pan with a bit of butter or olive oil. Once thoroughly heated up, add the halibut filet. Sear for 3-4 minutes on one side. Then, flip to the other side and sear for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the halibut from the pan and tent with foil for 2-3 minutes to keep it warm.

Deep Frying

Although not necessarily the healthiest way to enjoy halibut, deep-fried halibut is another option you have. You can use your favorite type of batter or breading seasoned with choice spices to bring out the flavor. Opt for the air fryer rather than the deep fryer if you want the fried taste without as much fat or calories. 


Steaming halibut is a healthy way to cook this fish, as it doesn’t require anything but a little bit of water to cook through. The result is a moist, thoroughly cooked halibut that’s ready in a few minutes. Unfortunately, the outside of the halibut won’t get seared, so this isn’t the best option for people who prefer a crisper outside.


Poaching can give halibut a similar result as steaming, but you can cook it in a liquid of your choice for a little extra flavor. For example, you can poach halibut in vegetable stock with a splash of lemon and sprinkle of thyme to infuse the flavors into the fish.

What Is the Best Way to Cook Halibut?

Although you can’t go wrong with any method of cooking halibut, we prefer pan-searing a halibut fillet. Pan seared halibut is a typical restaurant staple, too. That’s because this method, when used correctly, gives the fish an excellent sear without drying it out or overcooking it, which can happen easily with other methods. It’s also easy to get the hang of, unlike broiled halibut or grilled halibut, which can take some guesswork to get cooking times right.