Mexican Baked White Fish in Cilantro Sauce

Mexican Baked White Fish in Cilantro Sauce

The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 24 mins
Total: 39 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
895 Calories
63g Fat
8g Carbs
73g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 895
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g 80%
Saturated Fat 28g 141%
Cholesterol 342mg 114%
Sodium 1441mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 73g
Vitamin C 8mg 40%
Calcium 206mg 16%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 1355mg 29%
*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.)

Whitefish and cilantro: they seem to have been made for one another, and this dish is proof. The cream, onions, garlic, and lime juice all contribute to a tasty mixture that bathes the fish in a fresh, attractive, bright green sauce.

This recipe is a little unusual for a Mexican dish; baked foods are not all that common in that country (ovens tend to be used only on special occasions), and the cilantro here is cooked, which is rare. The herb loses a lot of the intensity of its flavor and aroma with high heat, but in this case, there is more than enough cilantro in the dish to make up for that. Contrary to what many people think, cilantro stems are just as tasty as the plant’s leaves—and we use both in this dish.


  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped, including stems, plus whole leaves for garnish

  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped, plus some diced for garnish

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 cups Mexican crema, or sour cream

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, preferably Mexican lime juice

  • 2 1/2 pounds white fish fillets such as tilapia, grouper, or sole

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Mexican Baked White Fish in Cilantro Sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix together cilantro leaves and diced onion and reserve for garnish.

    Mix together cilantro leaves and diced onion in a bowl

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  3. Melt butter in a medium-sized skillet. Sauté chopped onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onion is translucent.

    chopped onion and garlic in a pan

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  4. Place sautéed onions and garlic, crema, salt, lime juice, and cilantro into a blender. Process until you have a soft green sauce.

    sautéed onions, garlic, crema, salt, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  5. Lightly grease a glass or metal baking dish. Place white fish filets in dish in a single layer. Pour sauce over filets. Move filets slightly so that some of the sauce gets in under the fish.

    sauce mixture poured over the fish in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  6. Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes. Baking time will vary according to thickness of filets; watch your dish closely so that fish does not overcook. Fish is done when it can be easily flaked with a fork.

    baked fish and sauce in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  7. Garnish each serving with reserved cilantro and onion. Serve with white or red rice or boiled potatoes.

    Mexican Baked White Fish in Cilantro Sauce served over rice

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

    Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

    Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.