Oven Backed Rockfish With Lemon Butter in Baking Dish

Oven Baked Rockfish With Lemon Butter

This recipe for oven baked rockfish with lemon butter is so incredibly quick and easy you’ll wonder why you never made it before! You will love the delicate, flaky, and mild flavor of Rockfish and the simple lemon butter topping adds just the right amount of citrus. It is incredibly delicious!

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I’ve always been intimated by fish – afraid I couldn’t cook it exactly right.

But the fact is that fish, especially a light and flaky fish like Rockfish, is very simple to cook.

I had to bake these two rockfish fillets for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Done. Super. Simple.

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What Is Rockfish?

According to Wikipedia’s Rockfish Page, Rockfish is a common term that is used to describe several different species of fish.

It can refer to their tendency to hide among rocks, which is done for shelter as well as to ambush prey.

Since this is a FOOD BLOG, the term Rockfish is a generic culinary term used to describe many different types of fish that can be consumed.

The culinary version of Rockfish generally refers to any type of white, flaky fish and can include Cod, Hake, Red Snapper, as well as several other species.

But…I’m From New Jersey

To make this even more confusing, folks like me who live in New Jersey and several other East Coast states call Striped Bass, Rockfish due to their tendency to hide among the rocks.

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And on the Pacific Coast, when people say ‘Rockfish‘, they are generally talking about the Pacific Rockfish, which again can be several species of fish, including Rock Cod, Red Snapper or Pacific Snapper.

The Culinary Term Rockfish

The key distinction when viewing rockfish recipes, whether it is this version of Oven Baked Rockfish With Lemon Butter or Clove & Cumin’s Easy Rockfish Fillet Recipe, is that when referred to in culinary terms, Rockfish is any white, mild, delicate and flaky fish.

For the remainder of this recipe post, please just think: white, flaky, fish, with mild taste anytime you read the word ‘rockfish’.

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Is Rockfish Ever Served Whole?

Yes, sometimes Rockfish is served whole, but I prefer all of my fish filleted.

Whole fish can contain bones, skin that may be tough to chew and/or swallow and parts such as the tail that are inedible.

When a fish, such as Rockfish, is filleted, all the bones are removed leaving just the white, flaky, delicious part of the fish for us to bake in the oven and enjoy as a healthy summertime meal.

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The filleting process makes cooking any fish much faster, as well, and we don’t have to worry about bones or parts of the fish that can’t be eaten and may just go to waste.

What Fish Can Be Substituted For Rockfish?

  • Cod (Pacific or Atlantic)
  • Haddock
  • Red Snapper
  • Tilapia
  • Hake
  • Black Sea Bass
  • Striped Bass

Some other sites will also include fish such as Trout, Catfish, and Skate, but I am leaving these out for a specific reason.

The fish in my bulleted list above can all be filleted into white, flaky, boneless pieces of fish.

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Trout, Catfish, and Skate all have different vertebrate structures that make those species harder to fillet.

So, while being able to fillet into boneless pieces of fish is not, technically, a requirement for a fish to be called a Rockfish, it’s a distinction I prefer to use when discussing any Rockfish fillet recipe on SeasonalCookbook.com.

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So What Type Of Fish Did I Use In This Oven Baked Rockfish Recipe?

Rockfish, of course!

Just kidding – the fish market where I purchased these fillets said they typically use Cod or Red Snapper and normally just present them under the generic term ‘Rockfish’ since they are often intermixed when delivered.

So, the fish I used in this recipe is, either, Cod or Red Snapper.

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I am pretty certain it was Cod.

It Takes Longer To Define Rockfish Than Cook It!

That is sooooooo true!

The recipe (below) is really easy to prepare.

Rockfish bakes quickly due to its delicate nature and making this dish will probably take you less time than it did to read the above section about all you ever wanted to know about Rockfish.

Don’t be intimated by fish!

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****Then SKIP THE GROCERY STORE and Get all The Ingredients You Need to Make Healthy Meals At Home Delivered Directly to your Door!*****

The good thing about this excellent fish recipe is that it doesn’t use many ingredients, but please check out the link above if you prefer to just have your meals pre-planned and dislike shopping for ingredients as much as I do.

Oven Baked Rockfish Is A Great Summer Recipe!

Frequent visitors will know that I try to share simple, seasonally-inspired recipes on SeasonalCookbook.com and this Baked Rockfish recipe is perfect for summer.

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It’s light, flaky, mild, and delicious. The lemon butter is fragrant and refreshing.

Fish – especially light, flaky fish like Rockfish or Flounder – is easy to digest.

You can get right back to your summertime activities without feeling lethargic after having a nice, light, fish meal like this one!

Looking For Other Summer Seafood Recipes By SeasonalCookbook.com?

If so, please check out my Easy Shrimp Kabobs (With Pineapple), these kabobs are perfect for your next summer barbecue and are a great way to use grilled shrimp!

You may also like my Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls – these are light and refreshing for the summer, but I make and eat these year-round!

Now that we got all that background information out of the way, let’s start talking about what you need for this Easy Oven Baked Rockfish recipe.

Oven Baked Rockfish With Lemon Butter – The Ingredients

Ingredients Needed for Oven Baked Rockfish with Lemon Butter
This Oven Baked Rockfish Recipe Requires Very FEW Ingredients

I like to keep my recipes simple. I made this recipe using:

I find that the fewer ingredients any recipe requires the more likely YOU will be to make it!

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And, ultimately, I want to share simple, healthy recipes that you will make for yourselves and your families, too.

These are ingredients – except for the fish fillets – that most of us already have at home.

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Don’t forget to check out the Recipe Card below for the exact ingredient measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions.

Recipe Equipment Needed

My Oven Baked Rockfish Recipe Requires Very Few Pieces of Cookware

This recipe requires very few pieces of cookware!

Any traditional casserole or Pyrex baking dish like this one will do the trick.

Rockfish fillets are very delicate and can easily stick to your baking dish so you’ll want to line the bottom of your casserole or Pyrex dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

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I didn’t have parchment, so aluminum foil was an adequate substitute.

You can also drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil on top of your parchment or foil BEFORE placing your fillets in the pan to prevent the fish from sticking to those surfaces, as well.

I was out of olive oil, too, which is why it’s not in this recipe!

Yes, I could have run to the store or ordered my favorite Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Amazon, but…

…have I said how much I hate shopping for ingredients, yet? LOL!

Preparing The Lemon Butter Sauce

Squeezing lemon juice into melted butter in pot

The first thing I did for this recipe was prepare the lemon butter.

I took 1/3 stick of Vegan Butter and placed it in a small sauce pot like the one I am going to buy and set it on the stove top over Medium/Low heat.

I then cut a whole lemon in half and squeezed the juice from half a lemon into the melting butter in the pot.

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Next, I prepared my fillets before baking in the oven.

Preparing My Rockfish Fillets For Baking

Rockfish fillets in baking dish with aluminum foil
First Step in Preparing Rockfish Fillets for Baking

As my lemon butter mixture sat cooling on the stove, I lined my casserole dish with some aluminum foil and carefully placed each fillet in my baking dish.

I then seasoned each fillet with 3 pinches of sea salt and 3 pinches of black pepper.

Adding The Lemon Butter

Pouring Lemon Butter Over Seasoned Rockfish Fillets Before Baking

Next, I took my slightly cooled ( and now melted and drawn) lemon butter and gently poured it over each seasoned Rockfish fillet.

Make sure that each fillet is covered completed with lemon butter!

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How Do I Keep My Rockfish Fish Fillets From Drying Out While Cooking?

Rockfish fillets in baking dish after seasoning and lemon butter added
Rockfish fillets in baking dish after seasoning and adding lemon butter

Make sure that the drawn lemon butter covers each fillet entirely – I even let my fillets sit for about 3 minutes after applying the lemon butter and before baking.

What Is The Best Temperature For Baking Rockfish Fillets?

Rockfish – or any delicate, flaky fish – should usually be baked at no higher than 400 degrees.

There may be some fish recipes online that suggest 425, but the fillets turn out better when cooked a bit longer at a slightly lower temperature, in my opinion.

How Long To Bake Rockfish at 400 Degrees?

In general, you want to get each fillet to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, but measuring the internal temperature of each fillet with a food thermometer is unrealistic for such a thin, delicate fish.

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As a rule, fillets 1/8 in. thick or less, cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

The key here is that the thicker your rockfish fillets are, the longer you should cook them.

How Do I Know When My Oven Baked Rockfish Is Done?

A simple visual inspection is all you need!

Break into the fish using a small fork and make sure that the inside of the fillet is as opaque as the outside – this indicates that the fish is cooked all the way through.

Baked Rockfish Fillets With Lemon Butter Plated
Oven Baked Rockfish Fillets with Lemon Butter and Lemon Wedges Plated

Rockfish is extremely delicate and you can see from the photo above that my fillets broke apart a bit as I removed them from the aluminum foil after they were done cooking.

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***I highly recommend coating your aluminum foil or parchment paper with some olive oil before baking to minimize the chances your fillets will stick.

Oven Baked Rockfish With Lemon Butter

Recipe by Bill
4.1 from 55 votes
Course: Fish, SeafoodCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

2

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

286

kcal

Rockfish is a light, flaky fish with a mild taste that you will love. Oven baked rockfish with lemon butter is a great summer recipe that is quick and easy to prepare. The lemon butter imparts a nice, subtle flavor into the fillets and keeps them moist throughout the cooking process.

I’ve added Amazon links to each ingredient used in this recipe to make it easy for you to buy these ingredients online.

Ingredients

Directions

  • Below is an overview of how each step looked as I prepared this recipe.
  • Begin by preparing the lemon butter. Add 1/3 stick of Vegan Butter to a small sauce pot like this one and set over Low/Medium heat. You want the butter to melt slowly without burning.
  • Once your 1/3 stick of butter is almost completely melted, chop one whole lemon in half and squeeze the juice from the half-lemon into the pot with the melted butter. Mix thoroughly.Squeezing lemon juice into melted butter in pot
  • Once the butter is completely melted and mixed with the juice from a half-lemon, take the lemon butter mixture off any heat and set aside.
  • Line a casserole dish or Pyrex baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper. I used foil, but parchment is probably the better option when baking a delicate fish like Rockfish.
  • (OPTIONAL STEP) Coat the aluminum foil or parchment with extra-virgin olive oil before placing your fish fillets in the baking dish. I was out of olive oil, but I recommend doing this to prevent the fish from sticking.
  • Place rockfish fillets in baking dish and season each fillet with 3 pinches of sea salt and 3 pinches of black pepper.
  • Now that the lemon butter has cooled slightly, pour the lemon butter sauce over each fillet making sure that each fillet is totally coated with sauce. I let these sit for 2-3 minutes here to absorb the lemon butter sauce.
  • Take the unused lemon half and slice into wedges. Place two small lemon wedges on each fillet. These will release some juices while cooking and provide a nice garnishment, as well.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (if you have a very powerful oven, check fillets after 7-8 minutes). Each fillet should be opaque all the way through and flake apart gently when tested with a small cocktail fork.
  • Carefully remove from the oven wearing very cute oven mitts and let sit for about 1 minute to continue to absorb the flavors of the lemon butter.
  • Garnish with about 8 shakes of parsley flakes or 2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley if you have it.Oven Backed Rockfish With Lemon Butter in Baking Dish
  • Carefully remove each fillet by inserting a wide, thin spatula between the bottom of the fillet and the foil or parchment and place on a plate (I tried to be fancy by spreading some Dijon mustard around the edge of the plate, but I recommend NOT doing this. Dijon is too spicy for such a delicate fish and works much better with a fish like salmon.)

Notes

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What To Serve With Oven Baked Rockfish Fillets?

Yes, I probably could have, SHOULD HAVE, made a side to go with my fillets! I always think about side-dishes…check out some of my side-dish articles:

But, I was so anxious to share this easy baked rockfish recipe with you that I did not even make a side here!

If I were to make this dish again, I would serve my fillets over wild rice or a nice risotto. I think either of these would make a perfect complement to this type of fish due to their subtle flavor.

Don’t Be Intimidated By Fish

Fish – especially fillets – is very easy to cook. This Oven Baked Rockfish With Lemon Butter Recipe, seriously, has to be one of the quickest recipes I’ve shared on SeasonalCookbook.com.

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With very few ingredients and not much time spent cooking, you can have yourself a healthy fish dinner that tastes great.

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What Did You Think About This Oven Baked Rockfish Recipe?

Do you have any tips or suggestions on what, maybe, I could have done better? Have you tried this recipe or a similar fish recipe?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the Comments Section below!

Happy Cooking!

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10 Comments

  1. I don’t use a lot of internet recipes, since most of my cooking and baking consists of tried-and-true recipes from people I know. I do look at recipes on the internet from time to time and have used a few in the past but have never felt the need to leave a comment. After using Bill’s recipe, I HAD to leave a comment!

    I was given 2 pounds of frozen Pacific Rockfish and had no idea what to do with it. I am one of those intimidated by fish if it can’t be battered and fried. I didn’t want to cook it on top of the stove, so I searched for an oven-baked method and THANK GOODNESS Bill’s recipe came up in the search!!

    I took a leap of faith in Bill’s recipe and baked the entire 2 pounds in 2 glass casserole dishes. After letting the fish thaw in the fridge, I increased the butter to 1 stick and used the bottled lemon juice I had in the fridge. I had parchment paper, so I used it to line both dishes. It worked beautifully! I did spray the paper with a little olive oil, and I also crushed some pink Himalayan salt onto the paper before placing the filets on top. I baked the 2 pounds of fillets just as the recipe stated. There was no sticking at all, and I was able to use rubber tipped tongs to handle each fillet after baking. Everything came out just as Bill said! I turned each fillet over in the butter before serving.
    After baking, I garnished with the crushed parsley and also used a seasoning we make and use on everything (salt, pepper and garlic powder.) We had enough for leftovers the next night, so I placed the glass casserole dish (that the fillets baked in the night before and stored in the fridge overnight.) I placed the dish, directly from the fridge and covered with foil, into the cold oven and turned it on to 250 degrees and, by the time the oven came to temp, the fish was warm and ready to eat. It was just as tasty as the previous night – maybe a little more buttery – yum!! (I kept the fillets on the same parchment paper they baked on originally and still no sticking and clean up was a breeze.)
    My husband and 13-year-old son said it was awesome, which is a huge compliment because I don’t think my son has had any fish that wasn’t deep fried! He didn’t even use any kind of sauce – he ate it just as I served it! (My husband put Louisiana Hot Sauce on his, but just to season, not to smother.) I was also very pleased with the recipe and have already printed it out and put in my binder of “Favorites.”
    One last note: I did have a side dish with our fish. Since we’re in the Deep South, the only side dish that goes with any fish is, you guessed it, GRITS! (Not instant – that’s sacrilegious!)
    😉 Easy to make in my countertop ricer- just throw everything in and let it cook. Bill’s fish recipe is so easy and so fast that this is the first time the meat was ready before the grits!
    Thanks Bill! I’ve been cooking for over 40 years and can cook or bake just about anything – except fish. Now I can finally say I CAN BAKE GOOD FISH!! The win goes to Bill 🏆

  2. Hi Amy!

    I think the award should go to your comment for Comment Of The Year! I am so happy that my baked rockfish recipe inspired you to try cooking fish another way (besides deep frying – LOL!). Not that there is anything wrong with fried fish – I love it, too. I really appreciate the details you provided and the feedback and a few of the tweaks you made like using parchment paper and the rubber tipped tongs. It’s funny because I use a seasoning similar to your salt, pepper, garlic powder on pizza but I do salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder. I bet it tasted good on the rockfish…

    Anyway, I was so happy to read your comment and thank you so much for taking the time to explain how you used my recipe and all of the positive feedback!

    Thank you so much,
    Bill

    PS I love, Grits too! (and NOT THE INSTANT KIND)

  3. Very nice, The crunch on the fish is insanely good! And I love how quick this is to make—will definitely be making again soon.

  4. Hi Joyce,

    Thank you for the kind words about my recipe! I also love how quick this fish is to make. Please stop by again, soon!

    Bill

  5. Sorry, I’m from south Louisiana, So we catch plenty of fresh water perch and bass
    But gulf fishing is our pride and joy Ya”ll just to have to come here to taste the things we can not describe the fresh flavors, etc

  6. Hi Brigid,

    I appreciate your comment but noticed yo only gave this recipe 1 star. That is totally okay, but I’m not sure if it was because you thought there was something wrong with the recipe OR you are just more of a fan of the fresh fish you catch down in the Gulf?

    I also love South Louisiana and look forward to hearing if you had any suggestions for improving this recipe!

    Thank you for the comment!
    Bill

    PS I also updated your comment to read ‘perch and bass’ – as I believe that is what you meant.

  7. Hello! I made this dish with wild-caught Pacific rockfish. I used real butter, then followed the rest of the recipe as written. I loved how fast and easy the recipe is!

    I think next time I will up the lemon and decrease the amount of butter. It was pretty buttery. The texture and taste of the fish was great! I recommend not substituting bottled lemon juice; the taste won’t be as zesty and fresh.

  8. Hi Nan!

    Thanks for letting me know what you did and how this recipe turned out. I am glad you found this recipe fast and easy – it’s one of the things I strive for when sharing recipes on the site.

    Real butter is totally fine, but I also noticed that the fish fillets can get a bit buttery if I use too much as well. Finally, I couldn’t agree more that everyone should try to use freshly-squeezed lemon juice. It’s just better than bottled!

    Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment and share your thoughts.

    Bill

  9. Hi Bill
    I am curious as to why you recommend vegan butter for cooking rockfish?

  10. Hi James,

    This is really just a personal preference. Vegan butter is not required for this rockfish recipe and regular butter may be substituted without changing the flavor.

    Thank you for stopping by – I always appreciate the comments!

    Bill

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