Garlic Butter Baked Halibut comes together quickly and easily and results in an impressive main dish. The garlic and butter flavors lend beautiful flavor to the otherwise subtle flavor of halibut.

Two cooked halibut filets with butter, fresh garlic, and lemon on top

I’m going to give it to you straight.

When halibut is good, it’s great! It can be perfectly flaky, nice and moist and buttery with amazing texture and great flavor.

However, the second halibut becomes overcooked, it becomes very firm and dry.

We have the leanness of the fish to thank for that. 

In this sense, halibut is not as forgiving as a fattier fish like salmon, as it doesn’t have the fat content locked in to ensure the muscle stays moist. 

Well, the good news is this easy recipe was designed to bring life to your halibut in a very simple, yet very delicious way.

The key is adding classic objectively delicious flavors like butter and garlic and using a meat thermometer to make sure it doesn’t become overcooked.

With my simple tips and tricks, you’ll end up with yummy halibut every time.

Halibut is an excellent source of protein and is a lean fish with some omega 3 fatty acids. This firm white fish makes for a healthy dinner that happens to be low carb.

Blue plate with two freshly baked halibut filets on top, ready to be served with side dishes.

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for this easy baked halibut recipe! The best part is you can find them at any grocery store.

Baked Halibut Ingredients:

Halibut: Pick up 1 to 2 pounds of halibut. If it isn’t already cut into individual portions, you can cut a larger piece of halibut into smaller filets to serve your guests accordingly. 

For the best result, use fresh halibut. If you’re using frozen halibut, just be sure to thaw it completely before you start making the recipe. 

Do note that the size of the halibut fillets plays a crucial role in how quickly the fish cooks. If you have smaller, thinner filets, adjust the baking time accordingly (specifics later on in this post).

This recipe works for any type of white fish, including cod, tilapia, or sea bass.

Unsalted Butter: Melted butter brings moisture and luscious creamy flavor to the halibut. Both salted or unsalted butter work. If you’re using salted butter, add salt to your personal taste or omit it entirely.

Garlic: Fresh garlic goes the distance in bringing fresh bold flavor to the otherwise bland fish.

Onion Powder: A sprinkle of onion powder brings yummy flavor to the halibut and also creates a light crust on top of the fish.

Salt: Add sea salt and black pepper to your personal taste. 

Lemon garlic butter baked halibut fresh out of the oven in a baking dish, ready to serve.

Optional Additions:

Be sure to pick up some fresh lemons to serve the flaky white fish with lemon slices!

If you love a little spice, consider adding Cajun seasoning. You can also add some lemon juice, soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to your garlic butter mixture. Dijon mustard, fresh dill, fresh herbs, and garlic powder are also great additions.

Serve your halibut Greek style by adding kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, green onion, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and/or capers to the halibut. Delicious options for topping your halibut.

Make breaded and pan-fried halibut for your next adventure using bread crumbs.

If you love halibut, try my Orange Ginger Baked Halibut with Blueberry Salsa for an exotic fish recipe.

Final Cooking Temperature for Halibut:

What temperature should you cook halibut to? 

The FDA considers halibut to be fully cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. 

Most people find they prefer their halibut when it is cooked to 130 to 135 degrees F. This ensures the halibut stays fairly moist and doesn’t dry out. 

For medium-rare halibut, cook the fish until it reaches a temperature of 125 degrees F. But do note if you go this route, the halibut is not considered fully cooked. 

How Long To Bake Halibut:

The amount of time it takes to bake halibut depends on two factors: the temperature of the fish going into the oven, and the size of the filets. The thickness of your fillet plays a big role in how long it will take to be considered fully cooked.

For this reason, the exact baking time can be somewhat of a challenge to nail down.

For smaller filets, bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. For larger filets, bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

For large halibut filet, I like to bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then change the oven setting to High Broil and broil for 2 to 5 minutes to get a slight crisp on top. 

Regardless, the key to perfect halibut every time is using a thermometer to check its internal temperature.

Now that we’re familiar with some basics, let’s bake some halibut!

How to Make Garlic Butter Baked Halibut:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Microwave the butter in a small bowl until melted, then immediately add the freshly minced garlic. Note: you can melt the butter in a small saucepan or skillet on the stove top and sauté the garlic if you would like.

melted butter and garlic in a small bowl

Lightly spray a casserole dish or sheet pan with cooking oil. Remove the filets from their packaging and pat them dry with a paper towel. Place halibut into the baking dish.

Two large raw halibut filets in a large casserole dish.

Drizzle part of the garlic butter over the halibut filets. Use about 1 tablespoon of garlic butter for each half pound of halibut (so if you’re making 1 pound of halibut, use two tablespoons of the garlic butter). Reserve the remaining garlic butter for drizzling when the halibut is fully cooked.

Hand pouring a tablespoon of garlic butter mixture over raw halibut filets

Sprinkle halibut with sea salt, onion powder, and black pepper.

Halibut smothered in butter and sprinkled with salt, onion powder and black pepper.

Bake at 400 for 8 minutes for smaller filets and 10 minutes for large filets. Check the internal temperature of the fish by using a thermometer. If the halibut isn’t fully cooked yet, broil on high for 2 to 6 minutes, depending on the size of the filet for a crispy top.

The FDA considers halibut to be fully cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. However, many individuals find halibut tastes best and has the best texture when cooked to 130 to 135 degrees F.

You can gauge the level of doneness you’re aiming for depending on your personal preference. Note: for an accurate temperature read, insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thickest halibut filet. 

Hand holding a tablespoon of butter, ready to pour on cooked halibut.

Remove the halibut from the oven. Drizzle the halibut with the remaining garlic butter mixture (or serve the halibut with the garlic butter for dipping). I like sprinkling a little lemon zest and parmesan cheese over halibut. Serve halibut with choice of side dishes and white wine, and enjoy!

Finished baked halibut in a large baking dish, fresh out of the oven.

Halibut is best when served fresh out of the oven (or skillet), but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

What to Serve With Halibut:

My top side dish suggestions for serving halibut are my Crowd-Pleasing Roasted Vegetables, Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan and Lemon, my Mushroom Risotto and my Air Fryer Lemon Garlic Shrimp.

A simple side salad and a loaf of yummy bread is also advisable.

Two baked halibut filets in a black baking dish with slices of lemon on top.

Can I Marinate Halibut?:

Yes! Feel free to use your favorite fish marinade to marinate halibut. 

One of my favorite marinades for white fish is soy sauce (or liquid aminos), avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, a little pure maple syrup, and a little sriracha. 

You can also marinate halibut using a basic store-bought teriyaki sauce.

Avoid using a lot of lemon juice or lime juice in the marinade, as it will begin to cook the fish after a certain period of time.

If you’re looking for more delicious recipes for fish or seafood, also check these out!

More Fish & Seafood Recipes:

Garlic and butter makes everything better!

Two cooked halibut filets with butter, fresh garlic, and lemon on top

Garlic Butter Baked Halibut

4.24 from 13 votes
Perfectly cooked Baked Halibut with garlic and butter is an instant win for an impressive main dish! This goof-proof method of cooking halibut results in tender, juicy halibut every time!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs halibut cut into individual filets
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp butter*
  • 4 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Microwave the butter in a small bowl until melted, then immediately add the freshly minced garlic. Note: you can melt the butter in a small saucepan or skillet on the stove top and sauté the garlic if you would like.
    melted butter and garlic in a small bowl
  • Lightly spray a casserole dish or sheet pan with cooking oil. Remove the filets from their packaging and pat them dry with a paper towel. Place halibut into the baking dish.
    Two large raw halibut filets in a large casserole dish.
  • Drizzle part of the garlic butter over the halibut filets.
    Hand pouring a tablespoon of garlic butter mixture over raw halibut filets
  • Use about 1 tablespoon of garlic butter for each half pound of halibut (so if you’re making 1 pound of halibut, use two tablespoons of the garlic butter). Reserve the remaining garlic butter for drizzling when the halibut is fully cooked.
  • Spread the butter over the full filets (I do this using my hands) so that all of the flesh is coated with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with sea salt, onion powder, and black pepper.
    Halibut smothered in butter and sprinkled with salt, onion powder and black pepper.
  • Bake at 400 for 8 minutes for smaller filets and 10 minutes for large filets. Check the internal temperature of the fish by using a thermometer (see temperature guide below). If the halibut isn’t fully cooked yet, broil on high for 2 to 6 minutes, depending on the size of the filet for a crispy top.
    Hand holding a tablespoon of butter, ready to pour on cooked halibut.
  • Remove the halibut from the oven. Drizzle the halibut with the remaining garlic butter mixture (or serve the halibut with the garlic butter for dipping). I like sprinkling a little lemon zest and parmesan cheese over halibut. Serve halibut with choice of side dishes and white wine, and enjoy!
    Finished baked halibut in a large baking dish, fresh out of the oven.

Notes

*Use 4 tablespoons if you’re preparing one pound of halibut, 5 if you’re making 1.25 lbs, and 6 if you’re making about 1.5 lbs. You can increase the butter as necessary depending on hoe much fish you're baking.
The FDA considers halibut to be fully cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. However, many individuals find halibut tastes best and has the best texture when cooked to 130 to 135 degrees F. You can gauge the level of doneness you’re aiming for depending on your personal preference. Note: for an accurate temperature read, insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thickest halibut filet. 
Halibut is best when served fresh out of the oven (or skillet), but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 6ounces · Calories: 247kcal · Protein: 29g · Fat: 14g · Saturated Fat: 8g · Cholesterol: 110mg · Sodium: 776mg
Author: Julia
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked halibut recipe, easy halibut recipe, fish and seafood, fish recipes, garlic butter baked halibut, halibut recipes, healthy dinner recipes, the best halibut recipe
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

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Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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