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Quick Pan Fried Grouper Recipe (with Lemon Butter Sauce)

This super easy Pan Fried Grouper Recipe makes a fast and healthy dinner that you can have on the table in just 15 minutes! It’s served with a rich and savory lemon thyme butter sauce over a fresh arugula salad! Similar to the Pan Seared Grouper with Lime, it’s the perfect dish for serving dinner guests or just for a busy weeknight meal. 

Quick Pan Fried Grouper Recipe (with Lemon Butter Sauce)

Fried Grouper with Lemon Butter Sauce

Grouper is such a wonderful and easy fish to cook. The most common type you see is red grouper. It’s a cold water fish that’s caught off shore about 1,000 feet below sea level and is available year round in the grocery store or fish market.

It’s a fatty and flakey fish that’s great prepared several different ways. From grilling, baking, broiling, to deep frying or like this fish recipe that’s pan seared, it’s a super versatile and tasty fish. Because it has a slightly firm texture it is an ideal fish for Fish Tacos, grouper sandwiches, rice bowls or other recipes that require the fish to hold together well.

Another awesome thing about grouper is because of its mild flavor, you can serve it with countless side dishes. Anything from a simple Caprese Salad to something a little heartier like these Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes all work well to compliment the flavors of this fish.

Why We Love This Pan Seared Grouper Recipe

  • Quick and easy recipe with minimal prep time
  • Has a homemade butter and lime sauce that’s a tasty way to add flavor to the fish
  • Super versatile recipe that works well with most any mild white fish
  • Pan searing gives the fillets a nice crust without having to bread them like most fried fish recipes
pan fried grouper and salad on white plate

Ingredients:

  • Baby arugula
  • Avocado, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved- or you can grape tomatoes
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Grouper fillets- or other white fish fillets
  • White wine
  • Butter-we used unsalted
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • Feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

Substitutions and Additions

  • Choose your fish: If you’re unable to find grouper, you can use halibut, cod, sea bass, red snapper or other firm white fish
  • Sauce options: For additional sauce options you can always serve this grouper cocktail sauce or tartar sauce.
  • Spices: If you like a little spice, you season the fillets with a little old bay seasoning, Cajun seasoning cayenne pepper. You can also add a little hot sauce to the pan sauce.
  • Topping: Instead topping this dish of the arugula salad, this Spicy Peach Mango Salsa is so good with grouper.
  • Liquid: If you prefer, you can use chicken broth or stock to deglaze the pan in place of the white wine.

Recommended Tools

4 pieces of fried grouper in a cast iron skillet

How to Pan Sear Grouper Fillets

  • Prepare the salad: Start by combining the baby arugula, diced avocado, tomatoes in a large salad bowl. Toss with balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. 
  • Cook the grouper: Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a little olive oil. You need less than a inch of the oil. Just enough coat the bottom good. Add the fish to the hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown and it releases easily from the bottom of the skillet. Turn the heat down to medium and flip each filet. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Make the pan sauce: Transfer to a wire rack or a platter lined with paper towels and set aside.  Deglaze your skillet by adding the white wine and gently scraping the bottom with a plastic spatula to release the browned bits. Add the butter, lemon juice, zest, and thyme sprigs. Generously season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from heat and discard the thyme stems in the sauce.
  • Finish the dish: Add the fish back to the skillet just long enough to absorb some of the warm butter sauce. Transfer fillets to individual serving plates and spoon some the pan sauce on top.
  • Serve immediately: Top with the avocado, tomato salad and some crumbled Feta cheese, if desired. Enjoy! 

Tips for Buying Grouper

  • If buying a whole fish, take a look at the eyes. Fresh fish will have eyes that are clear, plump and wet looking. If the eyes are sunk in or dried out, it would be best to avoid it.
  • Inspect the flesh of the fish. You want to avoid fillets that have discolored, or dry spots and it should feel firm to the touch. Soft or mushy spots means the fish is past its prime.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most places are happy to tell you where and when the fish was caught.
  • The smell test is the best test. Cold water fish should not smell fishy. Instead, it should smell sort of like cucumbers or seaweed.
bite of fried grouper with lemon on fork

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Pan Seared Grouper Taste Like

Grouper taste fairly mild with a subtle underlying sweet flavor, that will easily picks up the seasonings you use to prepare it. 

What Type Grouper is Best for Pan Frying?

There are a dozen different types of grouper. Black grouper and red grouper are going to be the common types used in grouper recipes because they are available year round.

How Long Does Cooked Fish Last?

When stored in an airtight container, pan fried grouper will last 3-4 days in the fridge.

Can I Freeze Leftover Fried Grouper?

If you have leftover pan fried grouper, place it in a shallow container with a lid and cover it with the leftover pan sauce. You want a shallow dish that will allows you to spread the fish out so that it freezes more quickly. Be sure and label it with the date it was cooked. For best results, you’ll want to eat it within a month.

Want More Quick and Easy Recipes?

piece of crispy fried grouper on plate

Pan Fried Grouper with Lemon Butter Sauce

Published By Stephanie
This super easy Pan Fried Grouper Recipe makes a fast and healthy dinner that you can have on the table in just 15 minutes! It’s served with a rich and savory lemon thyme butter sauce over a fresh arugula salad! It’s the perfect dish for serving dinner guests or just for a busy weeknight meal. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 333 kcal

Equipment

  • cast iron skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 lg avocado chopped
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 2-3 T balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lb grouper or white fish cut into 4 pieces
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T lemon zest
  • 4-6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbled, optional

Instructions
 

  • Start by combining the baby arugula, diced avocado, tomatoes in a large salad bowl. Toss with balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. 
  • Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a little olive oil. You need less than a inch of the oil. Just enough coat the bottom good.
  • Add the fish to the hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown and it releases easily from the bottom of the skillet. Turn the heat down to medium and flip each filet. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Transfer to a wire rack or a platter lined with paper towels and set aside.  Deglaze your skillet by adding the white wine and gently scraping the bottom with a plastic spatula to release the browned bits.
  • Add the butter, lemon juice, zest, and thyme sprigs. Generously season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from heat and discard the thyme stems in the sauce.
  • Add the fish back to the skillet just long enough to absorb some of the warm butter sauce. Transfer fillets to individual serving plates and spoon some the pan sauce on top.
  • Top with the avocado, tomato salad and some crumbled Feta cheese, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 26gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 292mgPotassium: 835mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1392IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 176mgIron: 2mg
Keyword fish
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