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How to Pan Fry Branzino

Also Called Mediterranean Sea Bass
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: branzino, pan fry
Servings: 2 people


  • 2 fillets branzino
  • flour for dredging
  • seasoning to taste, like Fisherman's Wharf seasoning
  • tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon quartered, for garnish


  • Add some flour to a shallow pan.
  • Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat until hot. I prefer nonstick pans when cooking fish because it helps prevent sticking although there are good tips for keeping fish from sticking in any pan you use.
  • While the pan is getting hot, now it's time to dredge the fillets in the seasoned flour, remembering to shake off any extra flour.
  • When the pan is hot, add the butter being careful not to let it brown or burn.
  • As soon as the butter is melted, add the branzino fillets to the pan skin side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the skin browns and crisps up a little.
    It's important you don't "play" with the fish or try moving it around the pan until the skin browns or the fillets may fall apart. When they move in the pan with a little shake, they are ready to flip.
  • Carefully turn the fish over with a large spatula and continue cooking until done.

How long will this take? It depends on the thickness of the filet, the type of pan you are using and the heat you are cooking at. Medium on my gas stove is going to be different than your gas or electric stove. This is just something you get comfortable with the more you cook.

It shouldn't be more than 2 - 3 minutes but you can check by using a knife to make sure the fish is opaque and starts to flake.

  • * Remove the fish from the pan and plate. We served our branzino over grits and topped with a quarter slice of lemon.


I like using a metal pie pan, and season it with your favorite commercial seasoning or your own special blend.

I think it's important to dredge the fish in the flour just before adding it to a hot buttered pan. If you don't, the flour starts to clump and get messy. It's also important when dredging to shake off any extra flour before adding to the pan for the same reasons.