In this grilled halibut recipe, warm spices including paprika and cumin add an interesting layer of flavor to the mild fish.
With a prep time of about 10 minutes and a cook time of another ten, this ultra-quick recipe will be on your table in less than 20 minutes!
Although I generally prefer fatty fish such as salmon or rainbow trout, I do enjoy the mild flavor of halibut and especially its firm, meaty texture. But like most white fish, it can be a little bland.
So in this easy 20-minute recipe, I add warm spices such as paprika and cumin. They beautifully enhance the flavor of the fish without overpowering it.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this grilled halibut recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Olive oil: I love the flavor of this delicious oil. If you'd rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead.
Garlic: It's best to use freshly minced garlic.
Lemon zest: When you zest the lemon, make sure to only use the yellow part of the peel and avoid the white part, which can be bitter.
To season: I use Kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and ground cumin.
Halibut fillets: Skin-on or skin-off. Both work, although personally, I love the skin on fish.
Cooking halibut on the grill is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Your first step is to mix together olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and spices.
Next, coat the fish fillets all over with the olive oil mixture. You can use a pastry brush or your hands.
Grill the halibut over medium-high heat for 2 minutes per side, then lower the heat to medium and keep cooking until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 2 more minutes per side.
I love grilling, but it's important to remember that we should be minimizing charred foods. Two reliable ways to prevent charring are keeping the grill from getting too hot and turning the fish often while it cooks.
Frequently asked questions
Halibut fillets usually come with the skin off. But if you're fortunate enough to still have skin on your fish, keep it on! Crispy halibut skin is delicious.
Yes. To ensure even cooking, you should grill the fish for 2 minutes per side over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking until it's cooked through, about 2 more minutes per side.
Lemon zest is the outside, yellow part of its peel. The inner peel, which is white in color, is bitter, so you should avoid it when you zest the lemon.
Yes. Halibut is especially suitable for grilling because of its firm texture. But any firm-fleshed white fish will work as long as it's thick enough. Cod is a good option and should be more affordable than halibut.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- Use ghee instead of olive oil. It adds a wonderfully nutty flavor.
- Try adding more spices. Dried thyme is a good option.
- Smoked paprika is a good alternative to sweet paprika in this recipe. I love the smoky flavor it adds.
This is a very versatile main course that goes with many sides. I do like to serve it with mashed cauliflower. It's also excellent with sauteed green beans, creamed spinach, grilled broccolini, and zucchini noodles.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Reheat them very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
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20-Minute Grilled Halibut
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 (6 oz) halibut fillets ½-inch thick
- In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and ground cumin.
- Pat the halibut fillets dry with a paper towel. Coat them all over with the olive oil mixture. You can use a pastry brush or your hands.
- Preheat a grill pan to medium-high and lightly grease it.
- Grill the halibut over medium-high heat for 2 minutes per side, pressing gently on each fillet to make sure the fish has full contact with the pan.
- Lower the heat to medium and keep cooking until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 2 more minutes per side.
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