Butter Poached Fish

Poaching fish in butter is a delightful and simple way to enjoy monkfish. The technique is easy but the taste is sophisticated.  Butter Poached Fish will become a favorite of yours like it is mine!

fish poached in butter with lemon and shallots

Butter poached fish is easy to make

This is my new favorite way to make fish. I love how it captures all the spices and tastes that I use. And since I’m not frying it in a bunch of oil, this is a much healthier way to cook the fish too.

Why Poach Fish in Butter

If you have asked yourself how to poach fish, you will be excited to learn, poaching in butter is not only easy but it’s delicious. This may seem like a difficult way to cook, but I promise, this is a simple cooking technique that will give you maximum flavor. I like to season my butter with a touch of lemon juice, and a small shallot diced up. The fish cooks in the seasoned liquid and it tastes heavenly.  This has become one of my favorite ways to prepare fish.

white fish, chives, butter, lemon juice and monk fish

What is the best type of fish to serve poached

I used monkfish because it tastes so much like lobster. I also really like how easy it was to poach. The texture is light and flaky!

What is Monkfish?

Monkfish has been called “the poor man’s lobster”.  It is a tender white fish that tastes a bit like lobster.  Only the tail of the monkfish is actually edible but it’s delicious.  I have gotten monkfish at the Asian market, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute snapper, sea bass, halibut, cod, mahi-mahi or sea scallops.

How to Make Butter Poached Fish

The fish cooks very gently, and it becomes flavorful and buttery. I think it is almost a foolproof way to make fish by cooking it like this and it’s hard to overcook. Here’s what you need:

  • Monkfish
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Lemon Juice
  • Shallots
  • Fresh Herbs, chives

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and cook the shallots first.  Then add more butter and the lemon juice to the pan.  When the butter has melted, add the fish.  The cooking liquid should cover at least 2/3 up the side of the fish.

How long do you poach fish for

For the monkfish, cook it for 3 minutes while the liquid is boiling. Then, reduce the heat and cook for another minute.

What to Serve with Butter Poached Fish

When I butter poach fish I like to serve it up with a light side dish like roasted asparagus, or perhaps a salad. I think if you try butter poaching fish just once, you will be cooking it like this more often.

Butter poached fish is low carb and keto-friendly.


  • For this recipe, I like to use unsalted butter. I want to be able to control the level of salt when the fish is cooked.
  • Make sure there is enough liquid (butter or lemon juice) to cover 2/3 up the side of the fish while cooking.
  • Finish this recipe with a touch of Fleur de Sel or a touch of sea salt. I think both of these two types of salt add something extra special to the fish.

Other Delicious Fish Recipes

Are you ready to make this Butter Poached Fish? Make sure you let me know what you think in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for the latest CopyKat recipes!

white fish cooked in butter

butter poached cod

Butter Poached Fish

Butter poached fish is delightful. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Butter Poached Fish
Servings: 2
Calories: 268kcal


  • 12 ounces fish
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter (divided use)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely diced shallots
  • finely chopped fresh herbs such as chives - optional


  • Heat two tablespoons of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped shallots and cook until they are translucent. Make sure that the butter does not brown. Add lemon juice and remaining butter.
  • When the butter has melted, add the fish. Gently place the fish into the pan. The cooking liquid should cover the fish 2/3 up the side of the fish. Turn the temperature high and allow the fish to cook for three minutes once the cooking liquid begins to boil. Turn the heat down and allow to cook on low for an additional minute.
  • Finish the recipe with a touch of sea salt!

Recipe Tips for the Cook


  • For this recipe, I like to use unsalted butter. I want to be able to control the level of salt when the fish is cooked.
  • Make sure there is enough liquid (butter or lemon juice) to cover 2/3 up the side of the fish while cooking.
  • Finish this recipe with a touch of Fleur de Sel or a touch of sea salt. I think both of these two types of salt add something extra special to the fish.


Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 90mg | Potassium: 513mg | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 2.9mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

About Stephanie

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Mal

    I was going to poach a piece of monkfish, fish is 1 1/2 inches thick. Poaching liquid ( butter )
    barely comes quarter the way up the fish. Can I add water to required depth?

  2. chris

    Hi there, just a comment on your method, when melting the butter you should actually avoid bringing it to a boil as that will break the butter’s emulsification and it will separate into oil and fat, what you end up with is not butter poached but rather oil fried. To butter poach you need to start by adding a tablespoon of water to the pan bringing it to a simmer then melting the butter in the pan while keeping the temp below 190 degrees, if it boils you’ve messed up. The reason butter poaching is such a good method is because of the low heat, a boil is not low heat.

  3. Lonna

    5 stars
    Tried this recipe today. Was easy to follow. Results were delicious. Tasted a little like lobster. Will definitely file this recipe away to make again.

    Thank you.

  4. Gary

    I had no trouble following your recipe. Some people have a mission in life to find fault with everything and make us all respond. Ben’s a common troll.

  5. Benjamin

    Ben? Why are you such an asshole? She worked hard to make us this recipe with photos. Is that you justify your meaningless little life? By tearing others down? You could have asked for clarification on amounts.

  6. Stephanie

    Ben, I said 6 ounces of butter in the ingredients. I asked for the person to saute the shallots in 2 tablespoons of butter, and then add the remaining butter. I will tighten up my horribly written recipe. Let me know if you need anything else.

    • Greg

      I’ve followed you and your recipes for quite awhile. This recipe is as easy to follow as all of your others! Thank you for posting these recipes!

    • Stephanie

      If you are using salted butter, no. If you are using unsalted butter you may want to add a little. I love a touch of crunchy salt like fluer de sal sprinkled on top when it is done.

  7. kalynskitchen

    Just letting you know that I featured this in my May round-up of Deliciously Healthy Low-Carb Recipes, which was posted this morning. Love the recipe; I hope a lot of my readers will click over here and try it!

    • bastisraul

      We have settled on grilling the salmon, indirect, for 9 min per side, covered with the vents wide open. We always seem to come back to one of a handful of Asian sauces we really like. Marinate 45 min in the sauce and slap it on the grill. The Weber Grill has made many folks, like me, look like trained chef’s. We have used the cedar planks before and they are wonderful but now they cost about as much as the Salmon!

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