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My husband and I keep coming back to the same restaurant for special date nights, because they have the most amazing pesto crusted baked sea bass with a dreamy beurre blanc sauce. After all these years, I decided to try to recreate a homemade baked Chilean sea bass recipe. I skipped the pesto crust to keep it simple, but felt that the beurre blanc was a must. In just 20 minutes, you can have this restaurant-quality meal at home — and it’s the best Chilean sea bass recipe I’ve had yet.
Sea bass can be an expensive fish, so it’s perfect for special occasions, like anniversaries, date nights, Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day. But you can easily make this same recipe with other types of fish, such as cod or halibut.
What Is Sea Bass?
Sea bass refers to a large family of cold water white fish species that live in the ocean, though not all of them are closely related. Chilean sea bass is not really sea bass at all — its real name is Patagonian toothfish — and comes from South American waters. Most people consider this the best sea bass variety of all.
What Does Sea Bass Taste Like?
Sea bass has a mild, delicate flavor and white flesh that is similar to cod or grouper. It’s buttery, tender, flaky, and doesn’t taste very fishy.
Why You’ll Love This Chilean Sea Bass Recipe
- Tender, buttery, and flaky sea bass with mild fish flavor
- Luxurious, surprisingly easy beurre blanc sauce
- Ready in just 20 minutes
- Easy, healthy dinner that’s naturally gluten-free
Ingredients You’ll Need
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for oven baked Chilean sea bass, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
For The Sea Bass:
- Sea Bass Fillets – I highly recommend Chilean sea bass fillets if you can get them, which have higher (healthy) fat content than other types of sea bass. Choose thicker fillets if you can, as they are less prone to overcooking, and make sure they are similar in thickness, so that they cook at the same rate. The sea bass cook time in this recipe is based on 5-ounce fillets, which is typically the size they come in.
- Olive Oil – Or avocado oil.
- Lemon Juice – Use fresh lemon juice for best flavor or bottled for a convenient option. However, you’ll need lemon zest for the sauce, so you might as well get fresh lemons.
- Garlic Powder – I used garlic powder for this baked Chilean sea bass, but you can also substitute 2 cloves minced fresh garlic instead.
- Sea Salt (or kosher salt) & Black Pepper
For The Beurre Blanc:
- Shallot – Mince the shallot as small as you can for the best sauce texture.
- White Wine – Use a dry white wine like Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Blanc.
- White Wine Vinegar – This is preferred, but in a pinch, you can also use apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or lemon juice.
- Heavy Cream – This helps give the sauce a luxurious texture.
- Lemon Zest – Be careful to only get the yellow part of zest as the white pith is bitter. I really like this zester, which makes it effortless and works so much better than the one I had before.
- Butter – Cut into small teaspoon-sized cubes, then place in the fridge until you’re ready to add it to the recipe. It’s important for it to be cold.
- Sea Salt (or kosher salt)
How To Cook Sea Bass In The Oven
This section shows how to cook Chilean sea bass (baked), with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.
Make Baked Sea Bass:
- Mix fish marinade. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Whisk until combined.
- Brush. Place the sea bass fillets in a baking dish and pat dry with a paper towel. Brush the fish with the olive oil mixture. (It’s okay if some of the oil runs off.)
- Season. Sprinkle both sides with garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Bake. To cook sea bass in the oven, bake until it flakes easily with a fork.
Make Beurre Blanc:
- Simmer. In a small saucepan, combine shallot, wine, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce until the volume is reduced to 1/4 of the original amount (about 2 tablespoons should be left).
- Add cream and zest. Stir in heavy cream and lemon zest.
- Emulsify. Lower heat and whisk in cold butter, a few cubes at a time. Season with salt to taste.
Serve the oven baked sea bass recipe with a generous drizzle of beurre blanc sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.
Tips For The Best Baked Sea Bass
Cooking sea bass isn’t difficult, but these tips will help ensure it turns out perfectly:
- Don’t overcook. Use an instant read thermometer, so that you can cook the sea bass just until it reaches 135-140 degrees F.
- Use a small, light-colored pan for the sauce. I first used a larger, dark saucepan for the sauce, and it didn’t want to emulsify. Gentle heat and a small enough vessel to emulsify is important for beurre blanc, so I recommend this pan which works great.
- Keep the butter cold. Take it out of the fridge only when you are ready to add it to the sauce. This is important for the sauce to emulsify properly.
- Pan Sear First – I went on a retreat where the caterer seared sea bass on the stove and then transferred to the oven, and it was incredible. I didn’t do this for this Chilean sea bass recipe, but if you like a golden crust, just sear the fish in a skillet on the stove over medium heat (1-2 minutes on each side), then transfer to the oven for about 5 minutes to finish cooking. However, I tested this at home and actually preferred the baked sea bass without the searing step.
- Pesto Sea Bass – Season and bake sea bass following directions of recipe. A few minutes before fish is finished baking, spread a layer of pesto over the fish, and return to oven to finish cooking.
- Miso Glazed Sea Bass -In a small bowl, mix together miso paste, mirin, coconut aminos, garlic, and ginger and brush over fish before baking.
- Lemon Butter Sauce – If you want a sauce that’s less finicky than the beurre blanc, try this simple lemon butter sauce for fish.
Sea Bass Nutrition
Per 100 grams (3.5 oz), sea bass has:
- 115 calories
- 21.2 grams protein
- 2.2 grams fat
- 0 grams carbohydrates
- 0 grams fiber
Is Sea Bass Healthy?
Yes, sea bass is an incredibly nutritious fish. It’s a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. In particular, Chilean sea bass has higher healthy fat content.
- Store: If you have leftovers, keep any extra baked sea bass fillets in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. The sauce is best made fresh, as it will split once it cools and will not come back together.
- Reheat: Reheat gently in the oven at 350 degrees F, just until warm. Microwaving is not recommended. Reheating the sauce also isn’t a good idea, as it will separate, though it will still be flavorful and buttery, but no longer creamy.
- Freeze: Keep the fish without sauce in an airtight container in the freezer for 2-3 months.
What To Serve With Baked Chilean Sea Bass Recipes
All this easy baked sea bass recipe needs is a simple healthy side dish:
More Seafood Recipes For Special Occasions
Now that you know how to cook sea bass, try these other seafood recipes that are perfect for special occasions:
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Baked Chilean Sea Bass Recipe
This easy baked Chilean sea bass recipe is buttery, flaky, tender, and drizzled with a velvety smooth beurre blanc sauce. Ready in 20 minutes!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 (adjust to scale recipe)
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Baked Sea Bass:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic powder.
Arrange sea bass fillets in a stoneware baking dish, with space between them. Use paper towels to pat them dry.
Brush the fish fillets on both sides with the olive oil mixture. Season both sides with garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the sea bass internal temperature reaches 135 to 140 degrees F, or the fish flakes easily with a fork. (For best results, use an instant-read thermometer — it’s done when it reaches 135 to 140 degrees F.)
Meanwhile, in a very small saucepan (about 5 inches in diameter) over medium-high heat, combine the shallot, wine, & vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, until the volume is reduced to about 1/4 of the original amount (approximately 2 tablespoons should be left).
Stir in the heavy cream and lemon zest.
Reduce heat to low. Add 2-3 cubes of very cold butter, stirring constantly until it melts. Continue to add butter 2-3 cubes at a time, stirring and letting it melt after each addition. Keep heat very low and avoid boiling, or the sauce will separate.
Season with sea salt to taste.
Serve sauce over baked sea bass immediately, or keep warm in a thermos or in the hot pan on the stove (with heat turned off) for up to 30-60 minutes. The sauce can split if it overheats or cools too much, so keep it warm but not hot.
Serving size: 1 baked sea bass fillet with 2 tablespoons beurre blanc
If you want to lighten it up, serve each fish fillet with one tablespoon of sauce instead of two.
Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.
Total Carbs 1.8g
Net Carbs 1.5g
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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