How to pan fry fish at

Pan-Fried Cod with Brown Butter Sauce

Use this stove top technique for any fin fish, including cod or haddock, sole or flounder, trout or steelhead, snapper or bass. I also highly recommend skate wing. All of these fish taste terrific with the easy brown butter and lemon sauce you make in the very same pan. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Lynne Curry


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or other cooking oil
  • 4 5-ounce cod fillets, fresh or frozen (fully defrosted)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. Whisk the flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and cayenne in a shallow dish. Dredge the fillets in the flour to lightly coat on all sides, shake off the excess and put them on a small sheet pan. 

  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Set aside onto dinner plates and keep in a warm place.

  3. Add the butter to the pan and swirl the pan until the butter turns nutmeg colored and smells nutty, about 3 minutes. 

  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice, which will cause it to foam. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour a portion of the brown butter over each cod fillet and serve immediately.