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pan seared rockfish with a lemon caper sauce on a white plate
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5 from 25 votes

Pan Seared Rockfish Recipe

My pan-seared rockfish recipe couldn't be easier to make. The cooking method and light sauce let the delicate flavors of that mild white fish shine through. Making it the perfect date night meal or when guests come over to dinner.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time14 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, French
Servings: 2
Calories: 715kcal



  • 14 ounce rockfish 2 fillets
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter

Lemon Butter Sauce

  • 1 tbsp shallots finely chopped - optional
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 ounces white wine or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp flour to roll butter in
  • 1 tsp Italian parsley finely chopped


  • Pat rockfish fillets dry with paper towels and season them liberally with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge the rockfish filets in all-purpose flour, getting a good coating on both sides.
    *Gluten-free flour can be substituted.
  • In a large saute pan (or cast iron pan) add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Heat over medium-high until the butter is melted. Lower the heat to medium.
    *Don't let the butter get brown.
  • Place the floured rockfish in the hot pan, cooking on the first side for 3-4 minutes. Don’t be tempted to turn it over too soon, you want that delicious crunch and golden brown color that comes from not moving the fillets around.
  • Turn the rockfish over and continue to saute for another 3-4 minutes. When the pan-seared rockfish is fully cooked, place it on a baking sheet and into a preheated 250-degree oven while you make the lemon caper sauce.
  • Add the butter, shallots and capers, to a saute pan or medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Don’t let the butter burn!
  • Add the lemon juice and either an ounce of white wine or chicken stock to the pan.
  • When the liquids are hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter rolled in flour (beurre manie) to the pan. This will thicken the sauce.
  • Serve the lemon caper sauce over the pan-seared rockfish. garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy!


*You can also season the rockfish with lemon pepper, cajun seasoning, or your favorite spices.
*If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water, chicken stock or if you want to take the sauce to the next level, a little heavy cream. You can even add your favorite fresh herbs to the sauce for extra flavor.
How do you pan-sear fish without it sticking to the pan?
Make sure the pan is hot before you add the fish to the pan will ensure that the fish will not stick and will give you a perfect flavorful crust. Heat your pan on medium-high heat, then add a small amount of oil and butter. When the oil and butter start to shimmer add the fish to the pan.
Can I pan-sear fish without using flour?
Yes, you can.
While flour is generally the first choice for pan-searing fish, you can use finely ground cornmeal instead. To create that crunchy exterior we love, dip the fish in milk or beaten eggs before dredging the fillets in cornmeal.
What does rockfish taste like?
Rockfish is a mild whitefish that is somewhere between Cod and Halibut. Like most whitefish, rockfish has a flaky texture and mild flavor. It’s perfect fried, broiled, grilled or pan sauteed. It also makes delicious rockfish tacos!


Calories: 715kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 78g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 259mg | Sodium: 2847mg | Potassium: 1741mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 808IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 4mg