Grilled Sea Bass With Garlic Butter

Grilled sea bass fillets with grill marks drizzled with garlic butter on a dinner plate

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
416 Calories
20g Fat
4g Carbs
54g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 416
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 143mg 48%
Sodium 400mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 54g
Vitamin C 19mg 94%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 811mg 17%
*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.)

This recipe is a wonderful yet simple way to prepare sea bass on the grill. The fish is first lightly seasoned and then grilled on one side; once it's flipped, it is basted with a garlic butter sauce as it finishes cooking. The combination of butter, lemon, garlic, and parsley blends nicely with the mild flavor of this tender fish.

Perfect for when you are craving a light but flavorful main dish, this grilled sea bass is quick to prepare while impressive on the plate—as well as the palate. Serve the grilled sea bass with rice and grilled vegetables for a complete meal.

"Another great fish recipe that cooks really quickly and is full of flavor. It's a very light dish which can be served with a salad and/or vegetables. The combination of flavors works very well here and the lemon gives it a punch." —Tara Omidvar

Grilled Sea Bass With Garlic Butter Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Garlic Butter Sauce:

For the Fish:

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 pounds sea bass fillets

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Steps to Make It

Make the Butter Sauce:

  1. Gather the sauce ingredients.

    Ingredients for garlic butter sauce recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

    Butter, lemon juice, chopped garlic, and parsley combined in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Cook until the butter has melted. Set aside.

    Melted butter with garlic and parley in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Cook the Fish:

  1. Gather the remaining ingredients.

    Ingredients for grilled sea bass recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Combine the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and salt in a small bowl. 

    Garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and salt combined in a small bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture on both sides of the fish.

    Sea bass fillets arranged on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkled on both sides with the seasoning mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Right before placing the fish on the grill, make sure to clean and oil the grill grates to keep the fish from sticking during the cooking process. This can be achieved by using a large pair of tongs, folded paper towels, and a high smoke point oil (canola oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil; olive oil will work in a pinch). Dip the paper towel into the oil and run it across the grates at least 3 times to create a nonstick surface.

    Grates of charcoal grill being oiled with a folded paper towel held by large tongs

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Place the fish on the grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the fish and baste it with the butter sauce. Cook for about 5 to 7 more minutes.

    Browned sea bass fillet placed in the center of charcoal grill

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Once the fish reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 F, remove it from the heat, and drizzle it with olive oil.

    Two sea bass fillets with grill marks drizzled with garlic butter on a dinner plate

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Fish Grilling Tips

  • Make sure your grill is nice and clean before starting.
  • Once the grill is hot, lightly oil the grates. Fold up a paper towel into a square and saturate it with oil. Use a pair of tongs to rub the oil on the hot grill grates.
  • Don't flip the fish until it's completely cooked on the bottom side. This will help it separate from the grill.
  • Use a large, flat metal spatula to flip the fish. If you're not sure if it's done, use an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature should be 145 F.

How to Select Sea Bass

Buy fish that have a deep black color and pink gills. They can be enjoyed in the same ways you would cook snapper or cod.

If Atlantic sea bass is trap-caught or caught on a handline, it receives a "best" eco-rating by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. However, most black sea bass is trawl-caught and it receives an "avoid" eco-rating. Chilean sea bass receives an OK eco-rating, but only if you buy fish eco-certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and sold by a Seafood Watch partner.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the spices with lemon-pepper seasoning or a dry adobo.
  • Try substituting the parsley with cilantro and the lemon juice with lime juice.

How to Store

Store any leftover cooked fish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also flake the leftovers and add them to soups or stews or turn them into a salad.

Is Chilean Sea Bass the same thing as sea bass?

When purchasing fish, there are two kinds of fish you will see called sea bass. The first is the Atlantic sea bass, which is harvested in the western Atlantic Ocean. These fish are often sold as whole fish up to 2 pounds. The second you may come across is Chilean sea bass, which is not a bass at all—it is a marketing term for the Antarctic toothfish or Patagonian toothfish, which is a type of cod. It has a very mild flavor and buttery texture. Once a by-catch (unwanted fish that is caught when commercial fishing), now it is prized by chefs as a blank slate to which they can add flavors.