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This Chilean sea bass recipe is succulent and flavorful! The buttery white fish is pan seared and paired with garlic, lemon, and herbs.

Chilean Sea Bass Recipe
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Chilean sea bass is one of the most expensive fish dishes on a restaurant menu, and one bite tells you why! The tender fillet has a succulent, buttery texture that tastes positively glamorous. If you’re lucky enough to score yourself a fillet or two, here’s the recipe for them. Lightly season and pan fry the fillets until the exterior is golden and crisp, then season with garlic, butter, lemon, and herbs. This simple treatment lets the rich texture of this luxurious fish shine through! Pair it with a few sides and it’s a restaurant-quality dinner recipe with little effort.

What is Chilean sea bass?

Chilean sea bass is a large fish that’s native to cold waters of the Pacific and Antarctic. Despite its name, it is not primarily from Chile nor is it a bass. Originally called the Patagonian toothfish, it’s a type of cod. It got its new name from a clever marketing ploy in the 1970’s to try to start selling more of the fish (read more about it here). By the 1990’s, it was served at the Four Seasons hotel as high-end entrée.

Chilean sea bass has a buttery mouthfeel and a clean, sweet finish. The high fat content makes it taste almost like a cross between a white fish and a scallop. It’s a good reason the secrets of this under-the-radar fish got discovered: this is a true flavor treat!

Ingredients in this Chilean sea bass recipe

There are lots of ways to cook Chilean sea bass, but the most popular is seared. Pan searing makes a nice brown crust on the exterior of the fish, leaving the inside smooth and buttery like a seared scallop. You don’t need much in the way of ingredients to really make the flavors sing here! You can get a little fancier by adding a sauce, which adds a punch to this Chilean sea bass recipe. The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • Chilean sea bass
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Fresh thyme or parsley
  • Lemon juice
Chilean sea bass recipe

Tips for cooking Chilean sea bass

This fish is quick and easy to cook: there are just a few things to note about cooking time and temperature! Here are a few tips for cooking Chilean sea bass:

  1. Allow the sea bass to stand at room temperature while preparing the recipe. This allows it to cook as evenly as possible.
  2. Pan sear for 2 to 4 minutes per side. Use a large skillet and medium high heat.
  3. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 140°F to 145°F. The exterior should become crisp with a golden brown color.
  4. If desired, make the pan sauce. Remove the fish. Add butter, minced garlic and finely chopped herbs and heat for 30 seconds. Then add the fish back and spoon over the juices.
Chilean sea bass

Variation: grill it!

Chilean sea bass also works grilled! You can use the same basic principles as pan searing the fish. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450°F). Grill the fillets skin side up over indirect heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until it releases from the grates. Flip and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until the fish is tender and just cooked through and the internal temperature is 130 to 140°F.

Sauces for serving

This Chilean sea bass recipe is bursting with flavor as is! But if you’d like, you can also serve with a sauce to really enhance the flavors. Here are a few of our favorite sauce ideas for fish:

Tips for buying this fish

Chilean sea bass can be found at grocery stores at the fish counter. It is sometimes available frozen, but it’s worth seeking out this fish. There are a few things to note about the sustainability around Chilean sea bass (per this source):

  • The lines used to catch Chilean sea bass were infamous for drowning seabirds, but the industry has made strides in reducing bycatch.
  • Best options for Chilean sea bass are options from Heard and McDonald, the Falklands or Macquarie as Eco-Best. Chilean seabass from the Ross Sea, South Georgia or Kerguelen qualify as an Eco-OK.
  • Avoid Chilean seabass from Chile, which has management and bycatch problems.
  • Where possible, look for the blue eco-label of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for certified sustainable Chilean seabass products.
Chilean sea bass recipe

Ways to serve it

Want to make a stunning meal out of Chilean sea bass? Here are a few stunning sides we’d pair with it for a show-stopping, restaurant style meal:

This Chilean sea bass recipe is…

Gluten-free and pescatarian.

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Chilean Sea Bass Recipe

Seared Chilean Sea Bass

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This Chilean sea bass recipe is succulent and flavorful! The buttery white fish is pan seared and paired with garlic, lemon, and herbs.


  • 1 1/2 pounds Chilean sea bass (4 filets)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme or parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. (Allow the sea bass to stand at room temperature while preparing the recipe.) In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and kosher salt. Pat the Chilean sea bass fillets dry and sprinkle all sides with the seasoning.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the sea bass and cook for 2 to 4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness), until the exterior is browned and the internal temperature reaches 140°F to 145°F.
  3. Remove the filets to a plate and reduce the temperature to very low. Add the butter, garlic and parsley or thyme and cook until garlic is lightly browned, scraping the bottom of the pan while it cooks, about 30 seconds. 
  4. Turn off the heat, stir in lemon juice and add the fish back to the pan, spooning the juices over the fish until basted. Serve immediately with a fresh spritz of lemon and a garnish of parsley or thyme. 
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Gluten Free

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Patty Cook says:

    This was delicious! I had a pound of fish cut really thick, so had to cook the portions on all sides, and finish in the oven (checking the temp with a meat thermometer).
    My husband was bowled over by the excellent flavor of the fish.
    While making the fish I roasted purple cauliflower, adding asparagus, then halved grape tomatoes (all drizzled with olive oil and herbs, topped with Parmesan bread crumbs the last few minutes). A very easy and lovely meal!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the comment

  2. Jes Edward says:

    Awesome site for recipes. The ads are not over the edge and I actually get your great recipes without being hijacked.
    Thank You

  3. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!