Sea bass is a popular fish among fish lovers because of its rich buttery flavor. It is a great source of protein and iodine and is low in fat. Sea bass filets, like other fish, are easy and quick to prepare and cook. We know that cooking sea bass for the first time can feel a little intimidating because of their delicate texture and mild and sweet flavor. Luckily, there are so many ways to cook them with no expert experience required. We've got everything you need to know about cooking sea bass filets. Find out the best way to cook sea bass and our favorite cooking tips for achieving perfection every time.

5 Ways to Cook Sea Bass Filets

Sea bass has a mild, somewhat delicate flavor and white flesh similar to grouper and cod. It is tender, flaky, and buttery. There are many ways to cook sea bass. Some methods require more preparation and practice to get right, while others are impossible to mess up. The best method to cook sea bass is down to you. Many people love to cook sea bass in the oven as it tastes incredibly good when it is baked and paired with lemon-garlic dressing. Others prefer pan-frying it. Whatever method you use, ensure that you pat your fish with paper towels before cooking. Learn how to cook sea bass with the following methods:

En Papillote

En papillote is a French cooking technique that uses steam to cook fish, vegetables, and chicken gently. Cooking en papillote is one of the best ways to prepare and present delicate foods. There are two main reasons to cook en papillote – the cooking method cooks food to the right degree of doneness and texture, and it requires the use of only one pan where the parchment sits on. The technique offers a self-contained and dynamic presentation, which after a little practice, is the perfect way to create a special dining experience. Delicate fish filets are some of the best foods to cook using this technique. 

Steaming your sea bass filets in a parcel is great if you've never cooked fish before. The parcel, as mentioned, seals in the steam, so even if you accidentally overcook your fish, it will remain juicy. At the same time, you can add all the flavorings you need to the paper parchment, so your fish absorbs all the flavorings with minimum effort. 

  • Take a large foil or piece of parchment and fold it in half widthways. Open it back up, so it looks like a book. If your sea bass has skin on, place the skin down. 
  • Season with salt and pepper, and then top up with a few pieces of butter. We've got you covered if you can't decide on a flavor combination for your sea bass filets. Try adding delicious flavored butter from our butter trio package that will surely add some serious flavor to your sea bass filets.
  • If you want to combine the fish with another dish and prefer it dry, add soft herbs, a dash of white wine, a little lemon juice, plus Pernod or vermouth. 
  • Fold the paper over to meet the other side, and then fold the edges over, making sure you press down well to seal the fish in completely.
  • When cooked, open the package slightly, making sure not to disturb the hot liquids, and enjoy.


Steaming sea bass filets in a pan is a straightforward technique that ensures the fish retains its flavors and juices. 

  • Line a steaming basket with parchment paper. If you are using a whole fish, add all your aromatics inside the cavity. For sea bass filets, lay them down on parchment paper. 
  • Cover your steaming basket and steam for 9 to 10 minutes for whole fish and 5 to 7 minutes for filets. 
  • When done, gently place the filets onto a serving platter, add your favorite herbs and sauces on top so they are not lost in the cooking water, and enjoy. 


Roasting is one of the best techniques to cook sea bass since it leaves the fish with a nice crispy texture. If you’re new to cooking fish, roasting is a great option, as it’s a fairly hands-off process. Roasting your sea bass filets in the oven is a gentler cooking method that delivers tasty results.  You can add other ingredients for a complete meal.

We recommend roasting any vegetables and your favorite flavorings in oil until they are well cooked. 

  • To start, brush your sea bass filets with flavored oil or a zesty marinade.
  • Put the filets on a baking tray and throw them in the oven. Cook for about 8 to 15 minutes, or longer if you are using whole fish. 

Grilled / Barbecued 

Grilling is a great cooking technique for those who prefer that char on the fish. Grilling works well for both whole fish and fish filets. If you are cooking whole fish, feel free to stuff the cavity with your favorite fillings, like lemon slices and herbs, for extra flavor. 

  • Start by firing up your BBQ and setting the grill to medium-high heat. 
  • Cook your sea bass filets for 4 minutes. If your sea bass filets have the skin on, cook the filets with the skin side facing the heat source (up for the grill and down for BBQ). You don't need to flip fish filets over as the cook. For whole fish, cook for 6 minutes on each side.  

Baste the flesh with a herby butter straightaway after cooking to add extra flavor.


Pan-fried sea bass is one of the hardest ways to cook fish filets or any fish for that matter. It's a technique that sometimes requires a little practice, but with a few simple steps, you can nail your pan-fried sea bass every time. Pan-frying is more hands-on, but when done right, it creates a beautifully tender sea bass, enough to rival even the best restaurant-cooked fish. 

To perfect your pan-frying skills when it comes to sea bass filets, it’s a good idea to understand some of the most common mistakes people make. One is cooking the fish on too low heat for too long. Others include moving the fish around too much or turning it over more than once, eventually leading to breakages and an unsightly-looking fish. 

  • To perfect the method, make sure you have all your vegetables ready, side dishes, and sauces since pan-frying cooks the fish quicker than other methods.
  • You can use either whole fish or fish filets. Pat dry your fish filets with kitchen towels. Season with plain flour if you prefer, or simply season with black pepper and salt for a tasty dish. 
  • Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry whole fish for 4 to 5 minutes and fish filets for 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Flip over carefully, add a knob of butter and fry for a further minute, continuously basting with the melted butter for a couple of minutes. 
  • Slide the fish out onto an already-warmed plate and serve immediately. 

How to Know When Sea Bass is Cooked

It feels like fish moves from cooked to overcooked pretty quickly, which can sometimes make cooking a tough endeavor. But the trick to knowing when the fish is done is gently pressing it with a cutlery knife. Another way is to look at the fish. A fish is cooked when it begins flaking or has lost the jelly-like texture and turned opaque. 

If you only notice a slight hint of transparency, your fish is nearly cooked, and you'll only need about a minute longer. At this point, avoid sizzling it for too much longer since it will continue cooking even when you remove it from the heat.  

Adding Extra Flavor

Now that you know how to cook sea bass without overcooking it, how do you add extra flavor? We find that strong Mediterranean flavors work well for sweet sea bass filets, but you can go on your own journey to discover what you love to pair with it. To add flavor, try the following: 

  • Add roasted garlic herb butter to your vegetables or a scoop when cooking.  
  • Try and cook your sea bass filets with olives or chopped tomatoes.
  • If you want a full meal, bake your sea bass filets with potatoes, tomatoes, or roasted cashews. 

Side Dishes

Sea bass filets go well with a variety of side dishes that include:

  • Green salad on a warm summer day 
  • Steamed broccoli or green beans if you want a delicious winter meal 
  • Creamy garlic cauliflower mash
  • Instant pot risotto with peas
  • Pasta
  • Mashed potatoes 
  • You can add an Italian twist to your green veggies by tossing them in lemon juice, olive oil, or chopped capers with fresh herbs.
  • Fresh crusty bread - ciabatta or crusty baguette

If you have any leftovers, store them in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Use an airtight container or wrap the pieces tightly in plastic or aluminum foil.

Ready to whip up a fish extravaganza at home? Try our classic Seafood Sampler box to try something different. It includes our South African Lobster Tails, Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Filets, Cobia Filets, citrus pepper seasoning, and lemon garlic butter to add extra flavor to your fish.