Healthy baked fish with lemon, Dijon and garlic

A simple healthy baked fish recipe with lemon, Dijon mustard and garlic you can easily make in a sheet pan. Baking fish fillet is one of the most delicious and healthiest ways to cook fish. Stop cooking lemon mustard fish with saturated fat like butter and cream!

4 baked fish steaks on a white plate.

Recipe overview

Trying to cook fish for the first time? Find out how to make baked fish in the oven with this simple low-calorie fish recipe. In this recipe, we brush the fish steaks (or fillets) with the lemon-mustard-garlic sauce and bake them. You’ll be wondering why you require that much butter or cream to bake fish when you can make healthy lemon mustard baked fish that doesn’t require either. Let me show you the trick to make it juicy and flavorful.

Spicy, tangy and tender, the lemon-mustard baked fish can be eaten with sides like no-mayo coleslaw for a low carb and low-calorie seafood dinner. Or save time and effort by making it a sheet pan dinner by roasting thinly sliced vegetables alongside the fish. (See instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.)

It’s also the perfect baked fish recipe to make in big batches for a hungry crowd.

If you’re getting started with fish, another easy healthy fish recipe is simple fish cakes without potato.

If you like this recipe, you’ll also love the baked fish with breadcrumb topping which is an adaptation of this recipe.

If you are a person who wants to spend less time in the kitchen but still show off some amazing dishes that look like they’re worth a million dollars, then we are in this together. This baked white fish with lemon can look like you spent hours in the kitchen when in reality you just need 10 minutes for preparing, then leave the rest to your oven.

What kind of fish is good for baking?

I used mackerel steaks (kingfish) here, but this recipe is versatile. Steaks or fillets of other oily fish like tuna or white fish like cod, sea bass, tilapia or halibut work great! However, firm white fish steaks like mackerel, bass or cod can hold their shape better and can be marinated for up to an hour. This helps the fish absorb more of the flavor, making it juicy.

If you’re worried about bones in fish steaks, you can absolutely use fillets. Increase the baking time by 5 minutes for every additional inch of thickness of the fillet. (Go by the thickest part.) I like steaks because they have uniform thickness and cook evenly. I don’t mind picking out the bones. That’s the compromise you make!

If you love salmon, try citrus glazed salmon or pan-seared salmon with mango salsa.

Cooking at a low temperature – the best way to bake fish

  • Baking at temperatures as low as 100°C/ 212°F with lemon, mustard and garlic makes the fish juicy and tender. (That’s the reason oven-baked salmon kabobs also turn out so delicious!)
  • The simple seasoning and the lemon mustard glaze give a ton of flavor to the fish, making you literally drool. You don’t have to bake fish that is swimming in high-calorie creamy sauce or butter to make it taste good.
  • Slow cooking preserves the omega-3 fats and other nutrients of the fish since you’re not subjecting it to high temperatures.

Spices required for baked fish

A good seasoning for baked fish would include chili powder and salt, along with lemon mustard glaze made with Dijon mustard, garlic, cumin, chili flakes, lemon juice and zest.

How to make baked fish

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the recipe card at the end of this page.)

Season the fish with chili powder, salt and vegetable oil. Let it marinate for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the lemon mustard sauce.

5 fish steaks seasoned with chilli powder and salt.

Lemon mustard sauce

Blend together Dijon mustard, garlic, chili flakes, ground cumin, salt, lemon peel, lemon juice into a smooth paste. A small spice blender is required here since the quantity of ingredients is quite less. If you don’t have one, it makes sense to multiply the recipe, make a big batch and freeze the leftovers. Once you make this baked fish, you may get addicted to it and the frozen stuff will be used up in no time!

Another option is to mince garlic and zest the lemon and use with the other ingredients. This way you can whip up the sauce and don’t require a blender.

Ingredients for lemon mustard sauce for fish.

Slather the lemon mustard sauce on the fish steaks (or fillets) and sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top.

5 fish steaks marinated with Dijon, lemon and garlic for baking.

Baking the fish steaks

Place the fish steaks on a sheet pan or baking dish in a single layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Check for doneness in the middle part of the steak. It should be opaque and flake apart easily. Let the baked fish stand for 5 minutes. Devour!

Fish, lemon, Dijon mustard and garlic – the combo is always a win-win situation!

Tips to make the best baked fish

  • The fish can be marinated longer, upto an hour.
  • When you blend the lemon mustard paste, add a few stalks of cilantro for added flavor.
  • Be patient. Bake the fish at 100°C/ 212°F for 20 to 25 minutes (for 1-inch thick fillet or steak) for the best results. Baking at higher temperatures tends to dry out the fish.

Baked lemon mustard fish pairs well with

Common questions

Do mustard and fish go together?

Mustard complements the flavor of a simple fish fillet very well. When you bake fish with mustard, it not only makes it more spicy, tangy and delicious, it also gives a creamy glaze to the fish.

Why is my fish chewy?

Cooking fish for too long draws out moisture and tends to dry out the fish, especially when you bake uncovered in the oven. So it is essential to follow the time specified in the recipe instructions for the fish to turn out soft and juicy.

What is the healthiest way to cook fish?

Baking is one of the healthiest ways to cook fish. In this recipe, we’re slow-baking fish at a low temperature. This ensures that the nutrients and fatty acids in the fish are preserved. You also get fish fillets that are great in texture and flavor.

Can fish be pink in the middle?

White fish has to be cooked until it is opaque throughout and flakes easily. Always check in the middle or the thickest part of the fish for doneness. Fish being pink in the middle means it is undercooked. (Salmon is an exception- white patches on cooked salmon mean it is overcooked.)

More seafood recipes you will love

4 baked fish steaks on a white plate.

Recipe for healthy baked fish with lemon, Dijon and garlic

A simple healthy baked fish recipe with lemon, mustard, and garlic you can easily make in a sheet pan! Baking fish is one of the most delicious and healthiest ways to cook fish. Stop cooking lemon mustard fish with saturated fat like butter and cream!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 132 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 5 large 1-inch thick steaks or fillets of mackerel or any fish of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • peel or zest of 1/2 lemon
  • a handful of fresh cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the seasoning with cayenne pepper, oil and 1 teaspoon salt (reserve the other 1/2 teaspoon for mustard paste). Marinate the fish steaks for 10 minutes minimum.
  • Preheat oven to 100°C/ 212°F.
  • For the mustard glaze, place the rest of the ingredients except cilantro in a small blender jar and blend until smooth. (see notes)
  • Brush fish steaks with the mustard glaze. Sprinkle cilantro on top.
  • Place on the sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the fish flakes apart easily.

Notes

 
  • Make a sheet pan dinner out of this baked fish recipe: Thinly slice mushrooms or vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower. Season with salt, pepper and cumin powder as required. (a rough estimate: for every 2 cups of sliced veggies, add 1/4 teaspoon each of pepper and cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.) Place on another sheet pan, drizzle olive oil and roast along with the fish. 
  • Though this recipe works for any fish fillet or steak, firm fish steaks like the mackerel or cod can hold their shape better and can be marinated for up to an hour. This helps the fish absorb more of the flavor, making it juicy.
  • Make-ahead option: The fish can be seasoned and refrigerated overnight. They can also be frozen and thawed overnight in the fridge before baking.
  • Leftovers: Refrigerate and use up the leftovers within a day.
  • Cooking time depends on how thick the steak or fillet is. Check if the fish flakes through easily. If not done, bake for 5 more minutes. 
  • Cilantro can be sprinkled on the fish after cooking.
  • Since the amount of mustard paste is quite small, you will need a small blender jar to get a smooth paste. Or you can make twice or thrice the amount and freeze. That gives you an excuse to eat more of this delicious lemon-mustard glazed fish.
  • Blender-less option: Use minced garlic and lemon zest, so you won’t require a blender at all! Just whip up the ingredients to make the sauce.
Healthy baked fish with lemon, Dijon and garlic
Keyword baked white fish with lemon, best baked fish recipe, healthy baked fish recipe, how to make baked fish, lemon baked fish recipe, low calorie fish recipe

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Thank you and happy cooking!

– Sheeba.

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