Chilean Sea Bass


5 from 109 votes
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This pan seared Chilean sea bass recipe comes together in under 10 minutes and cooks perfectly every single time! Easy, elegant, and delicious.

chilean sea bass.

As someone who cooks dinner most nights, seafood recipes are my favorite.

Over the past few years, I’ve followed more of a pescatarian style of eating, so seafood has become a big proportion of my meals. I like to try new things, especially fish, including rainbow trout and branzino, and recently, have fallen in love with cooking Chilean sea bass.

Table of Contents
  1. What is Chilean Sea Bass?
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to cook Chilean sea bass
  4. Alternative cooking methods
  5. Recipe tips and variations
  6. How to store leftovers
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. More elegant seafood recipes to try
  9. Seared Chilean Sea Bass Recipe (Recipe Card)

What is Chilean Sea Bass?

If you aren’t familiar with this Chilean sea bass (Patagonian toothfish), it is a white fish that is found in waters surrounding Chile (as the name suggests). You may be familiar with traditional sea bass, but this one is a little different.

It is a popular choice for those who don’t eat seafood regularly. Its texture is silky and buttery and has a very mild flavor. We love to cook this fish because it has no fishy flavor or aftertaste– perfect for those who are new to seafood.

Here are some other reasons why I LOVE this recipe:

  • Cooking this fish comes together in less than 10 minutes and it needs just four main ingredients.
  • This is the best recipe that really allows the fish to shine, and a secret trick guarantees perfectly cooked fish every single time (hint: it’s ONLY butter… no oil).
  • I like to pan-sear the fish, but I’ve also included tested options in on the grill on in the oven.

By the way, if you are a fan of simple white fish, try the grilled red snapper or grilled grouper.

chilean sea bass on plate with salad.

Ingredients needed

For such a decadent looking dish, you’ll love how simple the ingredient list is. Besides the fish itself, you probably have everything in your kitchen as we speak! Here is what you’ll need:

  • Chilean sea bass fillets– Skinless sea bass fillets are preferred, as both sides of the fish cook evenly and consistently. Because of the slightly higher price tag, I prefer to get the fillets from a fishmonger over a grocery store.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper– To taste. 
  • Unsalted butter– Pan-frying white fish fillets in butter takes the flavor of the dish to another level. It also cooks the fish perfectly every single time. Olive oil
  • Garlic– Freshly minced garlic, not the jarred kind! 
  • Lemon– Fresh lemons to squeeze over the freshly cooked fish. 

Choosing the best sea bass

Like other fish and seafood out there, choosing the best sea bass will affect the overall flavor and texture. 

  • Ensure the fish has no strong odors and has a mild and sweet fragrance. If there is any fishy smell, it’s usually several days old and not freshly caught. 
  • There should be no dry spots on the fillets, and they look firm and moist. 
  • After purchasing your sea bass, take it directly home and cook it that day.
  • Never freeze the fresh filets, as once thawed, they won’t cook or taste the same. 

How to cook Chilean sea bass

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Prepare the fish. Start by pat drying the fish filets with paper towel, before sprinkling one side on each filet with salt and pepper.

patting dry sea bass fillets.

Step 2- Cook the fish. Next, add the butter into a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet and place it over medium high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for a minute, until fragrant. Add the sea bass and cook the fish for 2-3 minutes, flip, and cook for another two minutes.

seared chilean sea bass.

Step 3- Garnish and serve. Now, remove the cooked fish from the pan/skillet and drizzle with lemon butter sauce, garlic, and squeeze some fresh lemon juice.

pan seared chilean sea bass.

Alternative cooking methods

I find pan searing Chilean sea bass to the best way to cook the fish. This really allows the natural sweet flavors to stand out, and guarantees the buttery and flaky texture it is famous for. However, I’ve also tested it on the grill and in the oven so you have options.

Grill method: Clean the grill grates then grease with olive oil or butter. Once hot, place the Chilean sea bass fillets on top and grill for 2-3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2 minutes.

Oven method: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking dish with tin foil and grease with olive oil or butter. Place the fish fillets on top and bake for 20 minutes.

Recipe tips and variations

  • The cooking time may vary depending on the size of your sea bass filets. My fillets were around 6 ounces, so the cooking time instructed was perfect for them. You may need to cook a little longer if your fillets are bigger. Also, always choose filets of a similar weight so they all cook evenly. You can also check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer. Fish that is ready to eat should reach an internal temp of at least 145F.
  • Frozen fish fillets will work, but make sure you thaw the sea bass completely and mop up any excess moisture.
  • As mentioned earlier, I prefer skin-on fillets because they create a gorgeous sear, but skinless fillets can be used too. Just have a little extra butter on hand to make sure there is no sticking.
  • I purposely kept the seasonings VERY sparse to really let the flavor of the fish shine (hello, it’s a fancy fish!). If you do want to jazz it up, try a simple marinade using soy and ginger or a fun Asian sauce, like eel sauce or potsticker sauce. You can also use fresh herbs like fresh parsley, lemon zest, and smoked paprika.

How to store leftovers

To store: Leftover sea bass can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. 

To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled bass in a sealable container and store it in the freezer for up to two months. The fish must be thawed completely before reheating. 

Reheating: Either microwave the fish for 30-40 seconds or reheat in a non-stick pan until crispy around the edges. 

pan seared chilean sea bass.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Chilean sea bass healthy?

Like most white fish, Chilean sea bass is healthy and low calorie, and is also high in protein, selenium, and vitamin b12. Although low in fat, they contain small omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also low carb, gluten-free, and paleo friendly.

Why is sea bass so expensive?

Sea bass is one of the more expensive kinds of fish, as the fishermen are required to sail out deep into the open sea to catch them.

What does sea bass go well with?

A good fillet of sea bass or Chilean sea bass should have minimal spices on it and cooked in either olive oil or butter. Because it is quite ‘basic’ in terms of preparation, keep the sides fresh and simple. Some delicious options include a vegetables, rice, and pasta.

What is the difference between Chilean sea bass and sea bass?

Sea bass is the family name of the fish, with the Chilean sea bass being one type that falls under it.

Which fish is similar to Chilean sea bass?

While not as buttery or rich as sea bass, cod and butterfish are the two closest fish in terms of flavor and texture.

More elegant seafood recipes to try

chilean sea bass recipe.

Seared Chilean Sea Bass Recipe

5 from 109 votes
This Chilean sea bass recipe comes together in under 10 minutes and cooks perfectly every single time! Easy, elegant, and delicious.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 7 minutes
Total: 8 minutes


  • 4 filets Chilean sea bass 6-8 ounces each
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 large lemon quartered


  • Pat dry the fish filets then season one side with salt and pepper.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter into a non-stick pan or skillet. Once hot, add the garlic and pan fry for a minute. Use a rubber spatula and spread to the side.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and, once melted, add the Chilean sea bass filets, seasoned side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the underside is golden. While the first side cooks, sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Carefully flip the fish and cook for a further two minutes, or until fully opaque.
  • Remove the sea bass filets from the pan and drizzle each filet with pan juices. Squeeze one quarter of the lemon over each piece and fish and serve immediately.


TO STORE: Leftover sea bass can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. 
TO FREEZE: Place the cooked and cooled bass in a sealable container and store it in the freezer for up to two months. The fish must be thawed completely before reheating. 
TO REHEAT: Either microwave the fish for 30-40 seconds or reheat in a non-stick pan until crispy around the edges. 


Serving: 1filetCalories: 132kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 24gFat: 6gSodium: 367mgPotassium: 45mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 271IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 1g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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5 from 109 votes (103 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Perfection cooking on the pan with butter! Great crust on the fish while the inside was light and succulent. My pieces were about 7 ounces and I had to sear them for 5 minutes and three minutes. Will make again and again!

  2. 5 stars
    Just outstanding. I basically cut the ingredients in half for one inch thick filet of Sea Bass that weighed 12-13oz. I mashed the minced garlic into the softened butter and coated the skins side for the second part. Cooked it in an iron pan for about 14 minutes. Absolute, perfection.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for my family last night. It was simple, yet tasty, and the fish was perfectly cooked. Thank you for an excellent recipe.

  4. Just made this recipe and it was so delicious! My pieces were bigger so they cooked for a little longer. Thanks for sharing.