Easy, tender baked fish infused with garlic and basil. The secret to this juicy fish is in the quick fish marinade with a few spices, garlic, fresh basil, a little citrus and extra virgin olive oil. A few tips make all the difference, so be sure to read on.
Serve it with lemon rice and my big white bean salad or any bright salad you love!
We often forget that, just like chicken and meat, delicate foods like fish can benefit from a little time in a tasty marinade.
As long as you keep the acid low and the marinating time short, marinating a firm fish or a fish fillet like halibut or cod can do some good.
The marinade will infuse the fish with all sorts of mouthwatering flavors. It will also keep the fish juicy while protecting it from sticking or drying out during grilling or baking.
So if you're wondering, "what's the best way to bake fish without drying it out?" One way is to bake your fish in foil, which I know can be a controversial method. But another way is to simply marinate your fish!
About this recipe
Today's tender baked fish recipe could not be any easier to make.
I used halibut fillet (but another white fish of your choosing will work). The fillets sat in the fridge in a slightly lemony marinade with garlic, basil, and a few spices. I let it marinade in the fridge for only 30 minutes.
To bake, I added the fish and the marinade over a bed of colorful bell peppers and shallots and baked for about 15 minutes. Easy!
My family loved this fish served with lemon rice and a big bowl of Greek salad.
What's in the fish marinade?
You'll notice that I kept the citrus portion low using juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons of citrus) to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Here's what is in my fish marinade:
- Spices- a trio of dry oregano, coriander, and paprika.
- Garlic- 10 fresh garlic cloves. I like to mince the garlic as finely as I can for maximum flavor.
- Fresh basil- 15 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons. The combination of fragrant fresh basil with the warm spices pack this fish marinade with great flavor. If you don't have basil, you can use parsley, cilantro, dill, or thyme to your liking.
- Citrus- juice of 1 lemon, which is about 2 tablespoons of citrus. If you like, you can switch it out for lime, white wine, or a mild-tasting vinegar.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- I used 6 tablespoons of Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil. Because the fish bakes with the marinade, it's important to use a tasty oil that will enhance the fish.
How long to marinate fish?
Like I mentioned earlier, when it comes to marinating fish, it's important to keep the acid low and the marinating time short. I used juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons of citrus) to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
As far as how long you should marinate your fish can depend a bit on the kind of fish and how firm it is. In general, it's safe to marinate a fish fillet like halibut or even a flaky fish like cod for 30 minutes or so refrigerated.
If you're marinating a fairly thick fish steak like a tuna fish steak or a swordfish steak, you may go for 1 to 2 hours of marinating.
Always keep your marinated fish in the fridge.
How to Make this Baked Fish Recipe
There really are two steps to this fish fillet recipe
1. Season and Marinate Fish
Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper.
Place the fish in a large zip-top bag and add spices, garlic, basil ribbons, olive oil and lemon juice. Seal shut. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Tip: Be sure to squeeze the air out of the zip-top bag before sealing. Place the bag flat on a plate and refrigerate. Turn the bag occasionally to keep the marinade distributed evenly.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Slice shallots and bell peppers into rounds and arrange them on the bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish. Add the fish on top. Pour all the marinade all over the fish. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the halibut is fully cooked and flakes easily (start checking at 10 minutes or so).
To be sure your halibut (or fish fillet) is cooked, use an instant read thermometer to check at the thickest part of the fish. Internal temperature should register 145 degrees F and your fish should be opaque and should flake easily with a fork.
Serve baked fish immediately with your favorite grain or lemon rice and a side of Greek salad, white bean salad, or herbed zucchini.
Browse our fish and seafood collection. And be sure to view our collection of Mediterranean diet recipes. For all recipes, visit us here.
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Easy Baked Fish with Garlic and Basil
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6
Easy, tender baked fish infused with garlic and basil. The secret to this juicy fish is in the quick fish marinade with a few spices, garlic, fresh basil, a little citrus and extra virgin olive oil.
Serve it with lemon rice and my big white bean salad or any bright salad you love!
- 2 lb fish fillet like halibut
- Salt and pepper
- 1 ½ tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 15 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek EVOO)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 bell peppers any color, sliced (I used 1 red and 1 green bell pepper)
- 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
- Pat fish fillet dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place the fish in a large zip-top bag. Add the oregano, coriander, paprika, minced garlic, basil, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Zip the bag shut and massage to be sure the fish is evenly coated in the marinade. Marinated for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour in the fridge (see notes).
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Arrange bell peppers and shallots in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Place the fish on top and pour the marinade over it.
- Bake in heated oven for 15 minutes or until fish is done and flakes easily.
- Tip for how long to marinade fish: I used halibut fillet in this recipe and I typically marinate it about 30 minutes. Thicker fish steaks like tuna or swordfish could be marinated for 1 to 2 hours, but that is not the kind of fish I would recommend for this recipe.
- How to know if your fish is cooked? To be sure your halibut (or fish fillet) is cooked, use an instant read thermometer to check at the thickest part of the fish. Internal temperature should register 145 degrees F and your fish should be opaque and should flake easily with a fork.
- Visit our Online Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including Private Reserve Greek EVOO and all natural and organic spices used in this recipe!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Fish and Seafood
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Baked Fish, Baked Fish Fillet, Halibut Recipe
Looks delicious! Can this recipe be made with haddock?
Sure! Hope you enjoy it!
Not enough marinade and therefore the veggies did not have enough liquid to cook in. I recommend doubling the marinade amount if you are making this. Also perhaps cover it for 10 minutes of the baking time so the peppers and shallots can steam and soften. Otherwise with no marinade and only 15 minutes baking they are still hard/crunchy.
Alternatively stir fry them first in olive oil before placing the fish on top.
We have not had this issue, but sure appreciate you sharing.
I am from the south where we fry fish. I am trying to make a change health-wise and I love FISH! I made this today using whole butterflied whiting. It was sooooooooo good. I was even sucking the bones ?. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Cheryl!!
Wow! I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was! I followed the recipe and was surprised how much flavor it had from a quick 30 minute marinade. The basil and oregano gave it great depth and it came out perfectly moist. I used Monchong which is a white flaky fish like mahi mahi. It was about an inch and a half thick and didn't think it would cook in 15 mins but it really did. I rarely leave reviews and this recipe I will keep as a frequent go to.
Yay! So glad you loved it!!
What sauce is best paired with this fish??
Hi Hadley, you can try a dollop of Tzatziki sauce https://www.themediterraneandish.com/tzatziki-sauce-recipe/
I used thawed cod fillet and everything turned out wonderful. A very easy to prepare and tasty meal.
So glad, Brian! Thanks for sharing
Can you use Mahi Mahi instead of halibut?
That can work, Julie. I think Mahi Mahi does have a different texture though.
Hi! I made this with tuna slices and it was delicious! I'm from a part of the Philippines where using herbs is not widely practised and neither is baking the fish ( it's mostly fried). But I'm going to share this with friends so they will also know that basil is not just for chicken in coconut milk?. Thank you for this, and all the other recipes that I'm going to try❤️
I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! Hope you find many more recipes you like here!
Wow! I had some basil and some flounder fillets and didn’t know what to make with it. I’m so glad to have stumbled upon this recipe. I didn’t have time to marinate my fish, so we just pan fried the fish and put the marinade into another pan, cooked it on low until the garlic was browned. Then just topped the fish with this marinade. It was soooo good! What a pleasant surprise, so full of flavor. I’m definitely using this recipe again and next time I’ll be marinating my fish. I can only imagine it would be so so good. Thanks for the recipe!!!
Thanks so much, Marti!
Thanks, Lisa! Hope you give it a try!
Awesome! Thanks for sharing
I cooked this tonight. Simple and so good . Followed advice and got the fish out of the oven at the right time. Herbs and spice did not overwhelm the fish. Left with fragrance in my nose and mouth
So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Rosie!
Made this tonight, it was really good. I changed the recipe slightly and pan fried the marinated fish then tipped the marinade into the pan for a couple of minutes to finish off. I used frozen Pollack fillets and let them defrost first. Lovely flavours.
Sounds great! Thank you for sharing!
Made this last night. It was ABSOLUTELY delicious! Perfect dinner for a warm summer night!
Awesome! Thanks, Susan!
Can you use salmon.. how to make sure it’s not dry .?
Hi Shar, you can use salmon. We have many salmon recipes here that can provide a guide for how to cook it without drying. Here is one that works very well for us: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/lemon-garlic-salmon-recipe/
Really tasty! Used button mushrooms on bottom. There was not a bite leftover! Will definitely make this again. Thank you for the recipe.
My pleasure! So glad you enjoyed it, Melinda!
Can you make this dish with frozen fish (if defrosted first)? I live in an area where fresh fish is unfortunately difficult to come by but this looks delicious
Sure, Ashley. Properly defrosted fish will work here.
Made this tonight. My husband loved it. With just 2 of us, 2 lbs. of fish was too much. I cut in half everything. The flavor was delicious but it was dry. When I make this again, I will use 1 lbs. of fish but keep the sauce for the whole amount. Any suggestions for it not being so dry?
Hi Susan! I would say, like you suggested, if you do keep the liquid amount for the sauce, it should help
Can I use sea bass or do you have another good recipe for that?
Sure! Sea bass would work. I also have a great Pan Seared Sea Bass Recipe: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/mediterranean-pan-seared-sea-bass-recipe/
Can I make this dish with red snapper ?
Sure, Simone! Red snapper fillets would work well here. Adjust cooking time depending on the thickness (Snapper fillet may be a bit on the thinner side).