Pan-seared Branzino


Last Updated on January 3, 2024

Deliciously flaky pan-seared branzino cooked in a few simple spices, butter and lemon juice. It’s a 20-minute meal to serve with some grilled veggies, a fresh salad, and roasted potatoes.

pan fried branzino

Pan-seared Branzino

I picked up some frozen branzino fillets from Trader Joes a couple of weeks back and was craving a simple, lemony pan-seared fish. I seasoned the fish with some salt, pepper, garlic powder and cajun spice, and pan-seared them in a little butter.

They turned out so flakey and flavorful, and paired perfectly with a fresh kale salad.


Pan-seared fish is one of my favorite methods of preparing white fish. Most white fish are pretty mild in flavor, but after a little seasoning and searing, you’re left with delicious, melt-in-your mouth fish.

How to make simple pan-seared branzino

This dish comes together in just a few simple steps, and in just under 20 minutes!

  1. Season the fish– start by seasoning the branzino fillets with cajun spice, garlic powder, salt & pepper
  2. Heat your pan– heat a skillet on medium heat with some butter. You can use vegan butter to make this dairy-free
  3. Pan-sear the fish– after heating your pan, pan-sear the fish fillets for about 3 minutes per side, starting with the skin side down
  4. Garnish with lemon juice and parsley– Once the fish is ready, add some fresh lemon juice on top, chopped parsley, and a pinch of salt

I love serving this with a kale salad and my favorite smashed potatoes. It’s a simple weeknight meal that the whole family with love!

Pan-seared Branzino

You guys are going to love this easy recipe. I can’t wait for you to try it!

What to serve with your branzino:

Za’atar Smashed Potatoes with Chipotle Tahini

Green Goddess Pasta

Balsamic Date Kale Salad with Fried Halloumi 

Pan-seared Branzino

4 from 18 votes
Course: Main


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • 4 4 branzino fillets

  • 2 tbsp 2 butter, dairy or vegan

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 parsley, chopped

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

  • 1 tsp 1 garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 cajun spice


  • Pat the branzino dry with a paper towel. Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder and cajun spice together and rub the mixture over the fish.
  • Heat a skillet on medium heat/low, then add in the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the branzino skin side down. Depending on how big your pan is, you may want to cook two fillets at a time.
  • Cook the fish on medium heat for about 3 minutes, then flip the fish over and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • Once ready, garnish with chopped parsley, lemon juice and a pinch of salt

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @somethingnutritious on Instagram- I’d love to see your creations!


  1. Jill Deuel

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was superb! So flavorful.

  2. Loved this recipe. So simple, yet classic and beautiful tasting. The only change I made was to exchange thyme with the canon spice.

  3. It’s sinful to put garlic and Cajun spice on such a delicate delicious fish. I just pan seared it in the butter with a little salt and pepper and parsley. why add flavoring to an already great tasting delicate fish?

    • What’s sinful is calling other people’s food choices “sinful.” I see your point, but taste is subjective and perhaps the blogger prefers the way it’s presented. You can certainly say you like yours your way, but for heaven’s sake, lose the judgmental attitude.

    • This is your personal taste preference, obviously, but if you already knew that this was a light fish that you believed only needed salt and pepper, why would you go on the internet looking for a recipe and then, finding one that requires more than salt and pepper, give it a negative review? This isn’t helpful to other readers since you seem to have known going in that you wouldn’t like the combination of flavors,

  4. Shella Mapili

    This is my first time eating and cooking Branzino and your recipe made our dinner so delicious! I did a couple of different things 1) substituted cajun seasoning for jerk seasoning. I didn’t have enough cajun 2) I squeezed 1/2 a lemon after seasoning the fillet 3) used cilantro to top as I was out of parsley. I think what’s most successful about your recipe the simplicity and the right amount of cook on the fish! So juicy and crispy skin is perfect Thank you

  5. My go-to Branzino recipe! Simple yet restaurant quality taste! What I love the most is all the recipe ingredients are usually stocked at home no need to go buy fancy ingredients! Gal thank you and keep the great recipes coming!

  6. So simple and delicious. The whole family enjoyed.

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