The easiest baked fish recipe that will have the whole family asking for seconds! This simple baked white fish dish can be made with asparagus or green beans in the same pan with the lemon butter sauce, giving you a one-pan dinner in 15 minutes!
If you've been around very long, you know we're big fans of a quick and tasty walleye dish here at Weekday Pescatarian. But one of the best things about this fish is how it can be used interchangeably with some of the most popular and widely-available fish in the world!
So if you can't find walleye in your local grocery store, grab a pack of cod, grouper or haddock and you're just a few minutes away from a rockstar fish dinner.
More About Walleye:
Walleye is a freshwater fish originating in the upper Midwest of the United States (in the Lake Erie / Lake Michigan region) and in Canada. It is a mild-flavored white fish with a flaky texture. Walleye fillets are generally fairly thick and even, making them ideal for a wide variety of fish recipes.
Other names for walleye include walleye pike or blue pike (not related to pike fish), dory, sauger and yellow pickerel.
If you can’t find walleye in your local grocery store’s fish counter, freezer or seafood market, substitute cod, hake, grouper or haddock in this recipe. Keep in mind walleye is a lake fish, so it will have a slightly milder flavor than the fish caught in sea water.
What Temperature Should Walleye Be Cooked To?
Most flaky white fish, including walleye, is best cooked to 145℉.
Do You Take the Skin Off Walleye Before Cooking?
Walleye skin can be eaten, so you don't have to remove it before cooking. Even if you prefer not to eat fish skin, this baked recipe makes it easy to cook the fish, then use a fish spatula or other thin spatula to simply lift the cooked fillet off the skin. So you can serve skinless walleye fillets, with the skin left on the baking sheet.
How to Make This Baked Walleye Recipe:
Walleye fillets (fresh, or frozen and thawed): walleye is plentiful in the upper midwest, but keep in mind if you don't have easy access, you can substitute your favorite white fish fillets in this recipe.
Butter: salted butter is my preference, but use what you have and adjust seasoning to your taste!
Fresh garlic cloves: the ingredient list is so simple, so fresh is best! Spring for garlic cloves instead of pre-minced or garlic paste here.
Fresh lemon juice and sliced lemon: fish loves lemon, and for this recipe we're using both the juice and then slicing up citrus for the top.
Seasoning: our walleye fish is seasoned simply with sea salt, black pepper and sweet paprika. You can substitute an all-purpose seasoning or Old Bay, if you'd like!
Garnish: flat leaf parsley adds a note of freshness and a pop of color to our finished fish dish. Substitute diced chives or even fresh basil, if that's what you have on hand.
Full ingredient measurements and directions included in the printable recipe card below.
How to Make Baked Walleye with Lemon Butter:
- To begin, preheat oven to 400℉. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine butter and minced garlic in a heat-safe bowl or measuring cup in the microwave for about 45 seconds, until the butter is fully melted.
3. To the melted butter and garlic add fresh lemon juice. Stir to combine well.
4. Next, dry walleye fillets well using paper towels or a tea towel. Place fillets of walleye fish on the prepared baking sheet or shallow baking pan. (If cooking green beans or asparagus as a side dish, add the fresh veggies around the edges of the pan).
5. Pour the lemon butter garlic sauce over the fish and veggies, Then sprinkle each fillet with paprika, salt and pepper. Finally, top fillets with lemon slices.
6. Transfer your pan of fish to the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until fillets reach 145℉ and fish flakes easily.
7. Remove from the oven, top with diced fresh parsley and spoon lemon butter garlic sauce over fillets.
8. Serve baked walleye with lemon wedges and Mediterranean lemon dill rice.
Note: Cook times will vary based on the thickness of your fish fillets. For precision, monitor as the fish cooks using a meat thermometer, or test for flaky fish factor at 12 minutes and add a few minutes baking time, as needed.
FAQ's, Variations and Serving Suggestions :
I used frozen and thawed walleye fillets in this recipe and the final dish was perfectly tender and delicious. When thawing any flaky white fish, I like to put the frozen fillets on a rack over a baking pan in the refrigerator overnight, allowing excess water to drain from the fillets as they thaw. Before covering in the lemon butter garlic sauce, dry well to remove any last bits of water.
Fresh dill, fresh basil or fresh chives would all be lovely in this baked fish dish.
Absolutely. To modify this delicious recipe for stovetop cooking, make the garlic butter sauce, as described in the directions. Start a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Cook the seasoned walleye fillets for 2-3 minutes on the first side, then flip and add the lemon butter garlic sauce to the pan. Reduce to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Remove from heat, top with fresh herb and serve with lemon wedges.
To store, transfer leftover cooked walleye fillets and vegetables to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Check out some of our other delicious fish recipes:
- Potato Crusted Sea Bass with Herb Butter Sauce
- 6 Ingredient Miso Marinated Sea Bass
- Yellowtail Flounder Piccata
- Baked Steelhead Trout with Everything Bagel Seasoning