Broiled Rainbow Trout With Lemon Parsley Brown Butter Sauce

Served roasted trout

M_a_y_a / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
256 Calories
18g Fat
1g Carbs
22g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 256
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 85mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 22g
Calcium 72mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A classic brown butter sauce is one of the simplest of sauces to serve with a seafood dinner. It is delightful on trout, a fish with a mild flavor. In this recipe, the trout is broiled, which takes only a few minutes and makes this recipe is perfect for beginner fish cooks.

Fish in brown butter sauce is classic French entree. The most famous fish dish is undoubtedly Sole Meunière, sole in a rich brown butter sauce.

Browning butter is an easy, straightforward process but there are a few things to keep in mind. Cut the butter into pieces so it melts evenly. For the saucepan, use one with a light color and so you can better see when the butter has the desired color and when you need to turn the heat way down to keep the butter just warm. In a dark pan, such as not a non-stick dark saucepan, you can easily let the butter become too dark.

The butter foams at first, which is caused by the water in the butter and a normal process. The amount of foaming depends on the water content. American butter tends to foam more, while European butter has a higher fat content and foams less.

Don’t forget to preheat the broiler and adjust the oven rack to four inches from the heat source. Rainbow trout is a thin fish so there is no need to flip it over. Remain close by while you are broiling the fish to avoid it from browning too much. The cooking time is roughly three to five minutes but testing the fish with a fork for flakiness is a much better indicator for doneness. 

Rainbow trout is a popular freshwater fish for game fishing, mostly in the spring. It is in the same family as salmon, but salmon is fattier and has a stronger flavor than rainbow trout and the meat has a more vibrant color. 

While it is native to the rivers and lakes draining into the Pacific Ocean on the North American west coast, rainbow trout is often stocked in ponds and lakes to make it available for game fishing. 

Unless you are buying it a fish market, the rainbow trout you can find at your supermarket is most likely farm-raised. And unlike freshly fished rainbow trout, it is available year-round. The whole fish comes with the head; remove it after cooking and discard it or use it in homemade seafood stock.


  • 6 rainbow trout (whole, boneless)
  • Dash salt (to taste)
  • Dash pepper (to taste)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh preferred)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley
  • Garnish: lemon wedges

Steps to Make It

  1. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the butter turns a golden brown color and takes on a nutty aroma. Reduce heat to very low, and keep warm.

  2. Remove the heads from the trout, and place skin-side-down on lightly greased foil-lined baking sheets. Lightly brush a little of the browned butter over the surface. Season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

  3. Broil about 4-inches from the flame for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until fish flakes when tested with a fork. While the fish is cooking, turn the butter up to medium heat, and whisk in the lemon juice. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, add the parsley, and turn off the heat.

  4. When ready, serve the trout on warm plates with the hot lemon parsley brown butter spooned over the top. Serve lemon wedges on the side.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.