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Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass (with herb butter sauce)

5 from 14 votes
This Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass recipe is such a simple, easy to make dish, but it's amazing enough for special occasions! This mild, flakey fish is topped with a decadent herbed lemon butter sauce that's restaurant-quality, but comes together so quickly!
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
Total Time:20 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chilean sea bass, fish, herb butter sauce
Servings: 4
Calories: 817kcal
Author: Casey Rooney


  • 1 lb. Chilean Sea Bass, cut into 4 filets
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided salted or unsalted
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp EACH: chives, parsley and basil, finely chopped See Note 1
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lemon (1 tsp zest + more for garnish and to squeeze over the top)


  • Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt. Pro tip (optional): Let the fish sit out of the fridge about 15 minutes and come to room temperature before cooking. This makes it easier to get the fish cooked all the way through, quickly!
  • Over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter + 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet (If you are new to cooking fish, I recommend a non stick skillet. If you are a seasoned pro, use your favorite pan!).
  • To the hot pan, add fish, skin side down. Do not disturb fish for 3-4 minutes. This will ensure crispy skin (See Note 2).
  • Flip fish and cook 2-4 minutes on the other side. Note that cooking times will vary depending on how thick and large your filets are. If your fish filets are thick like mine, you can also turn them to get the sides of the fish seared as well.
    The fish is done when it's opaque in the middle and flakes easily with a fork. You can also use a thermometer and look for an internal temperature of 135°F.
  • When fish is done, transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • In a small saucepan, melt remaining 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add garlic powder and herbs and cook 15-30 seconds, stirring to ensure butter doesn't burn. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon zest.
  • Drizzle herb butter over fish, squeeze lemon juice over the top (if you like) and serve immediately! (It's great served over mashed potatoes!)


Note 1: You can mix up your fresh herbs! Cilantro, thyme and scallions also work great!
Note 2: It's perfectly safe to eat the skin on Chilean sea bass. Keeping the skin on, also helps keep the fish nice and juicy. It you start cooking skin side down, it's easier to turn the fish, too! However, you can also choose to remove the skin and cook the fish that way too. 


Calories: 817kcal | Protein: 52g | Fat: 67g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 223mg | Sodium: 863mg | Potassium: 7mg | Vitamin D: 6µg | Calcium: 4mg