6 Healthy Ways to Cook Fish

The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish each week. But, it's important that your fish be prepared in a way that lets your fish maintain its innate health benefits.

Stay away from heavy breading and high-fat sauces because they add more calories than you probably need. Instead, choose preparation methods that don't add many extra calories and select recipes that feature additional healthy ingredients, like veggies and herbs.

Here are our six favorite ways to prepare and serve fish.


Baked Fish

Fillet of Salmon
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Baking fish is easy, but it takes longer than other cooking methods; maybe 15 to 20 minutes of total cooking time. The fattier fish such as salmon and tuna don't require any extra liquid or fat, but the lean white fish tend to dry out if you're not careful. To get started, try this oven-baked salmon with herbs or almond crusted tilapia.


Grilled Fish

Grilled fish on a salad
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Fish is great for the grill because it cooks fast without becoming dry—just be sure the grates are non-stick or coated with oil. Grilling works best with whole fish, but a thick steak works well, too. The more delicate filets can be grilled in foil packets.

Remember that fish cooks quickly on the grill—once the flesh is flaky, it's ready to be served. Grill up some catfish tacos with a spicy cabbage slaw.


Sautéed Fish

Sauteed fish on a plate with spinach and orange slices
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Sautéing, or pan frying is another speedy way to cook fish. It's best for white fish that is low in fat—you can add a little butter or oil to the pan if necessary. This is also a good way to get the flavor of fried fish, but with fewer calories. Use a light coating of crumbs or flour instead of a thick batter that soaks up fat.

Use a medium heat with just enough oil to coat the pan.


As a Soup

Fish shoup in a bowl
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Soups, stews, and chowders are all healthy ways to enjoy fish—and a good reason to use your slow cooker. Choose fish soups and chowders made with clear broth or use low-fat recipes. You can serve fish soup as an appetizer, or just add a green salad and a whole grain roll and you've got a meal.

To get started, try this recipe for fish chowder or make tomato fennel stew with cod.


Start With Canned Fish


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Both tuna and salmon are available in cans and pouches, which are perfect for making a quick sandwich. Use whole grain bread, a little bit of mayonnaise, and some lettuce and tomato.

Canned tuna and salmon can be used in a variety of main dish recipes, as well. Look for recipes that are lower in fat; stay away from casseroles that have too many ingredients and are high in fat or sodium.

Sardines and anchovies are also available in cans. They're great served as appetizers with whole-grain crackers. Try this twist on tuna salad by making it with salmon instead or stick with the classic and whip up a tuna walnut salad.


Poached Fish

poached white fish on a plate with herbs and asparagus tips
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Poaching involves cooking something in a liquid that is barely simmering on the stove. You can use water, broth or wine to poach fish. It won't take long—only about 10 minutes. And best of all, poaching doesn't add any extra fat or calories and the result is delicious and tender. Try this poached fish recipe in tomato basil sauce to get started.

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  • American Heart Association. "Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids."