This tender, juicy, and flavorful pan-seared Chilean Sea Bass recipe is smothered in lemon caper butter and seared to perfection. An easy, delicious meal that brings elevated dining right to your home kitchen in just 20 minutes. Tasty enough for special occasions, easy enough for a weeknight! Cooking fish has never been easier!

crispy pan seared white fish on a white plate with lemon caper sauce and a gold fork with a bit of fish on it

What is Chilean Sea Bass?

Chilean sea bass is actually a nickname for the Patagonian Toothfish. This species of fish become oil rich in the cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean, making it a delicious fish to cook and eat. It has a mild flavor, is full of rich fatty acids, and is very easy to cook.

The fish has a distinctive white, flaky flesh high in oil content, giving it a rich, buttery flavor. Chilean sea bass is considered a delicacy and popular in high-end restaurants worldwide.

One interesting fact is that while it is a white fish similar to bass, it’s not actually sea bass at all! While this fish can be quite pricey, it’s absolutely worth the splurge!

What Makes This Recipe Great

This dish is fancy and beautiful without any of the work! The brininess from the capers and the richness of the butter are the perfect complements to this mild, flaky fish. Pan-seared to create a deliciously crispy skin, every bite is melt-in-your-mouth good!

Smothered in a lemon caper butter sauce and served over a creamy garlic cauliflower mash, this low-carb, gluten-free sea bass recipe is one you won’t forget!

If you love easy, flavorful fish recipes, try my 15-Minute Air Fryer Halibut or this Blackened Mahi Mahi with Mango Habanero Salsa!

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Lemon Caper Butter on a serving dish

More Reasons to Love This Sea Bass Recipe

  • Delicious flavor: Chilean sea bass has a rich buttery flavor and a delicate texture. The accompanying lemon butter sauce makes it even more flavorful!
  • Easy preparation: This sea bass recipe is straightforward and easy to follow, making it perfect for home chefs, beginner to advanced!
  • Quick cooking time: Pan-searing the Chilean sea bass only takes about 10 minutes, making it both a quick and healthy meal.
  • Versatility: This recipe can be paired with a variety of side dishes, such as roasted vegetables, rice, salad or my cauliflower mash.
  • Nutritional benefits: Chilean sea bass is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients.
  • Sustainable sourcing: If you purchase Chilean sea bass from a sustainable source, you can enjoy this delicious fish without contributing to the negative impacts of overfishing and other environmental concerns.

Ingredient Notes

ingredients for this recipe in nesting bowls and labeled
  • Chilean Sea Bass filets:  I’ve bought sea bass filets at Whole Foods fresh and at Wegmans frozen. Either way will work! Just be sure to follow the tips below to choose the freshest fish. 
  • Ghee: If you’re not dairy-free, feel free to use regular butter. If you have a dairy allergy or don’t prefer ghee, use vegan butter like Miyokos or Earth Balance. 
  • Avocado Oil: You can also use extra-virgin olive oil, just keep in mind that it may cause some smoke in your kitchen! Avocado oil is a better choice due to the high smoke point.
  • Lemon: You’ll need the juice from ½ of a lemon. I think fresh lemon juice works best. I didn’t use any lemon zest, but you can add a teaspoon or two if you want a stronger lemon flavor.
  • Capers: You can find a small jar at the grocery store- you’ll just need 2 tbsp for the lemon caper butter recipe!
  • Salt & Black Pepper: Use to taste! You can use kosher salt and cracked black pepper if preferred.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Step-by-Step Instructions

four quadrants showing the step by step of how to make this recipe
  1. Pat your sea bass fillets dry with a paper towel and coat on both sides with 1 tbsp avocado oil. Sprinkle the fillets with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp avocado oil in a cast iron (or another oven-safe skillet) over medium-high heat. When the pan is nice and hot, add the fish fillets with the skin side down (if they have skin). Let them cook untouched for 5 mins. Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes. It helps to use a metal spatula to prevent the bottom of the fish from sticking to the pan!
  3. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes. The fish should flake easily with a fork at this point and be a beautiful golden brown.
  4. Melt the ghee (or vegan butter) in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave. Stir in the lemon juice and capers. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl. Serve the fish over some cauliflower mash and spoon some of the lemon butter sauce over top.
  5. Enjoy your delicious and healthy pan-seared Chilean sea bass!
a silver spoon drizzling lemon caper butter over a piece of Chilean sea bass on a white plate

Serving Tips

  • The best way to serve this fish is over my easy Instant Pot Risotto with Peas, rice, veggies, your favorite pasta, or mashed potatoes!
  • The lemon butter sauce is amazing on so many things, so if you have any extra sauce save it for another dish!
  • Sprinkle will fresh parsley if desired, and serve.
  • Some lemon caper sauce recipes call for white wine, but I omitted this, and it still tastes absolutely delicious!
  • I also love serving this sea bass recipe with my creamy garlic cauliflower mash. It’s a quick and easy recipe that will win you over in no time!

The Perfect Side Dish: Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients 

  • Frozen Cauliflower: I like to get the family-size pack from Wegman’s. 
  • Chicken Broth: You can also use chicken stock or bone broth- whatever you have on hand. 
  • Ghee: If you’re not dairy-free, feel free to use regular butter. If you have a dairy allergy or don’t prefer ghee, use vegan butter like Miyokos or Earth Balance. 
  • Coconut Cream: You can also use just the thick part from a can of coconut milk. I love the Thai Kitchen brand.
  • Garlic Powder: You can also use fresh minced garlic cloves if you prefer.

Steps

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the frozen cauliflower. Cook it for 10-15 minutes until you can easily pierce the florets with a fork. 
  2. Drain the cauliflower really well and return it to the pot. Add in the chicken broth, coconut milk, garlic powder, and salt. 
  3. Use an immersion blender (regular blender or food processor) to blend the cauliflower until very thick and creamy.
top view of Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Lemon Caper Butter on a serving dish

Mary’s Tips & Tricks

  • Equipment: I used a 10.25-inch Lodge cast iron skillet to make this fish! I love this pan so much and use it for everything. It effortlessly moves from stovetop to oven and cooks evenly! This fish spatula is also super helpful! Makes it super easy to flip the fish!
  • Storage: Store leftover fish in an airtight container with the lemon caper sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat and serve with garlic cauliflower mash or one of your favorite sides!
  • Dairy-Free: If you need this sea bass recipe to be completely dairy-free, use vegan butter like Miyokos, which is one of my favorites. Otherwise, feel free to use ghee or regular butter if you prefer. 
  • Fish Substitution: If you want to substitute the Chilean Sea Bass for another type of fish, I recommend using cod or a mild, flaky white fish of your choice. You can pan-sear the fish following the same instructions, and it will pair perfectly with the lemon caper sauce and garlic cauliflower mash!

Storage Tips

  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat and serve!
  • To freeze, store in an airtight container with the sauce for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat over the stove to get the outer layers crisp
closeup of pan seared fish on top of cauliflower mash

Recipe FAQs

How do I know when the sea bass is done cooking?

Chilean Sea Bass is a difficult fish to overcook. However, there’s one thing you can watch out for that will signal when the fish is done cooking. Once the fish becomes flaky, remove it from the heat immediately and serve!

How do you pick the best, freshest Chilean Sea Bass?

There are a couple of tricks to ensure you are picking the very best fish. But when in doubt, frozen sea bass fillets are an excellent option because they are frozen at peak freshness and cook very nicely.

If you’re choosing fresh fish, color, and smell are two things to look out for. The fillets should have no discoloration or spots and should not have a super fishy smell. If either of these is present, the fish is not fresh. 

Is this recipe keto-friendly?

Yes! This sea bass recipe is Dairy-Free, Whole30, Paleo, Keto, and Gluten-Free. With only 262 calories and 0 net carbs per serving, this is an excellent low-calorie, low-carb, and healthy option!

Keep in mind that the nutrition facts are for the fish and sauce only. Depending on the sides you serve, that will increase your calorie and carb counts. 

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section. Or, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram today!

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass Recipe with Lemon Butter

This pan-seared Chilean Sea Bass recipe is an easy, 20-minute meal with delicious lemon butter sauce. A tender, flaky, flavorful fish dinner!
4.98 from 101 votes
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Ingredients

  • 2 6 oz Chilean Sea Bass fillets, thawed if previously frozen
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp ghee, vegan butter, or regular butter
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp capers

Optional Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Mash

  • 32 oz frozen cauliflower, or fresh florets
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup Ghee or vegan butter
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut cream, just the thick part from a can of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Pat your sea bass fillets dry and coat on both sides with 1 tbsp avocado oil. Sprinkle the fillets with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat your oven to 425. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp avocado oil in a cast iron (or other oven-safe skillet) over medium high heat. When the pan is nice and hot, add the fillets skin side down (if they have skin). Let them cook, untouched, for 5 mins. Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes. The fish should flake easily with a fork at this point.
  • While the fish is cooking, make the cauliflower mash. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the frozen cauliflower. Cook it for 10-15 minutes until you can easily pierce the florets with a fork. Drain the cauliflower really well and return it to the pot. Add in the chicken broth, coconut milk, ghee (or vegan butter), garlic powder, and salt. Use an immersion blender (or regular blender or food processor) to blend up the cauliflower until very thick and creamy.
  • Melt the ghee (or vegan butter) for the lemon butter sauce the microwave or in a sauce pan on the stove. Stir in the lemon juice and capers. Serve the fish over some cauliflower mash and spoon some of the lemon butter caper sauce over top. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Mary’s Tips & Tricks

  • Equipment: I used a 10.25-inch Lodge cast iron skillet to make this! I love this pan so much and use it for everything. It effortlessly moves from stovetop to oven and cooks evenly!
  • Storage: Store leftover Chilean sea bass in an airtight container with the lemon caper sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat and serve with garlic cauliflower mash or one of your favorite sides!
  • Dairy-Free: If you need this sea bass recipe to be completely dairy-free, use vegan butter like Miyokos, which is one of my favorites. Otherwise, feel free to use ghee, or regular butter if you prefer. 
  • Fish Substitution: If you want to substitute the Chilean Sea Bass for another type of fish, I recommend using cod or a mild, flaky white fish of your choice. You can pan-sear the fish following the same instructions, and it will pair perfectly with the lemon caper sauce and garlic cauliflower mash!

Serving Tips

  • The best way to serve this fish is over my easy Instant Pot Risotto with Peas, rice, veggies, your favorite pasta, or mashed potatoes!
  • The lemon butter sauce is amazing on so many things, so if you have any extra sauce save it for another dish! Sprinkle will fresh parsley if desired, and serve!
  • I also love serving this sea bass recipe with my creamy garlic cauliflower mash. It’s a quick and easy recipe that will win you over in no time! 

Storage Tips

  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat and serve!
  • To freeze, store in an airtight container with the sauce for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat over the stove to get the outer layers crisp

Nutrition

Serving: 1sea bass filet + sauce, Calories: 262kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 39mg, Sodium: 222mg, Potassium: 19mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 14IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 1mg

This post was originally posted on March 6, 2021 and updated with new copy and photos on June 26, 2022.