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
Yield: 6 trout
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
255 Calories
17g Fat
11g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 255
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 145mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 64mg 320%
Calcium 71mg 5%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 469mg 10%
*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 perfect for beginner fish cooks.

Fish in brown butter sauce is a classic French entrée. 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 to 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 nonstick 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 is 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 4 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 3 to 5 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, has a stronger flavor, and the meat has a more vibrant color. While it is native to the rivers and lakes draining into the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of North America, rainbow trout is often stocked in ponds and lakes to make it available for game fishing. Unless you buy it at 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.


  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 6 whole boneless rainbow trout

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

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.