Flavorful, moist and flaky, Pistachio Crusted Fish comes together quickly – less than 20 minutes, beginning to end! Brown sugar and chopped pistachios combine to form a luscious crunchy topping, dill adds a warm, slightly grassy tone, and lemon juice provides tangy added moisture. Altogether, this delectable, no-breadcrumb topping provides the ideal texture and flavor pairing for a mild, slightly sweet fish like sea bass. Don’t like pistachios? No problem – you can easily substitute other meaty nuts, like almonds, pecans or walnuts.

A single serving of Pistachio Crusted Fish, sitting on a light green plate that's on a cutting board.
(Photo by Rick Souders)

Pistachio Fish

Baking fish fillets with a flavorful topping is one of my favorite, quick-and-easy ways to prepare a busy day entrée. Easy enough for everyday while elegant enough for entertaining – perfect! And, the variety of topping flavors are endless; I have favorite recipes that include breadcrumbs, garlic, mayonnaise, capers – and for this crusted fish dish, the topping’s main ingredients are chopped pistachios and brown sugar.

A single serving of Pistachio Crusted Fish, sitting on a light green plate that's on a cutting board.
(Photo by Rick Souders)

Ingredients for Pistachio Fish

You only need 6 ingredients to make this moist and flaky fish:

  • Sea bass fillets (can also use other, mild white fish including cod, grouper, haddock or even halibut)
  • Salted, dry roasted pistachio nuts
  • Light brown sugar
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh dill (can substitute dried)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
What’s the best fish to make pistachio crusted?

With this pistachio crust topping, I like to use sea bass – a mild, slightly sweet fish that tends to be moist, buttery and tender when cooked. I prefer striped, black or Barramundi varieties. Chilean sea bass, while popular, is actually not a sea bass; it’s a clever rebranding of Patagonian Toothfish. It’s also tasty, but keep in mind it’s higher in mercury.

You can also use other, mild white fish including grouper, cod, haddock or even halibut. This pistachio crust is also delicious on salmon, too!A single serving of Pistachio Crusted Fish, sitting on a light green plate that's on a cutting board.

Substitutions for Pistachio Crust

You can easily substitute almonds, pecans or walnuts for the pistachios.

How to Make Pistachio Crusted Fish

This flavorful cod only takes 5 minutes to prep and 10-12 minutes to cook. Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Prep oven.
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Prep fish and crust.
    Place sea bass fillets in prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the nuts, sugar, lemon juice, dill and pepper. Spoon the mixture evenly over each fillet, pressing down to adhere.
  3. Bake.
    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes per 1-inch of thickness of the fillet, or until fish reaches 140 to 145 degrees when measured with an instant-read thermometer.
  4. Rest and serve.
    Remove fish from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Storing and Reheating Pistachio Crusted Grouper or Other Fish

Store any leftover cooked fish in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for 3 to 4 days. To reheat, place in a preheated 325 degree oven for around 15 to 20 minutes. You can cover it lightly to keep the fish from drying out, but the crust may become soggy.

What to Serve with Pistachio Crusted Cod or Sea Bass

Here are my recommended side dish combinations to serve with this fish recipe:

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A single serving of Pistachio Crusted Fish, sitting on a light green plate that's on a cutting board.
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A single serving of Pistachio Crusted Fish, sitting on a light green plate that's on a cutting board.

Pistachio Crusted Fish

Flavorful, moist and flaky, Pistachio Crusted Fish comes together quickly (less than 20 mins.) with just 5 ingredients. Brown sugar and chopped pistachios form a luscious crunchy topping, dill adds a warm, slightly grassy tone, and lemon juice provides tangy added moisture. Altogether, this delectable, no-breadcrumb topping provides the ideal texture and flavor pairing for a mild, slightly sweet fish like sea bass.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 (4- to 5-ounce) skinless sea bass fillets – see Note below
  • 1 cup salted, dry roasted pistachio nuts, very finely chopped (can chop in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place sea bass fillets in prepared pan.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the nuts, sugar, lemon juice, dill and pepper. Spoon the mixture evenly over each fillet, pressing down to adhere.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes per 1-inch of thickness of the fillet (see Note below), or until fish reaches 140 to 145 degrees when measured with an instant-read thermometer. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Note on fish to use: I like to use sea bass in this dish, preferably striped or Barramundi variety. Chilean sea bass, while popular, is actually not a sea bass; it’s a clever rebranding of Patagonian Toothfish. It’s also tasty, but keep in mind it’s higher in mercury. You can also use other, mild white fish including grouper, cod, haddock or even halibut. This pistachio crust is also delicious on salmon, too!

Note on fish cook time: While the general rule of thumb for cooking fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness, I’ve included the option to cook these fillets for 12 minutes per inch. I find that with the crust on top, it can take a bit longer. It’s really to your taste — just remember, it will continue cooking after you take it out of the oven and let it rest.

Make ahead: Fish with topping can be prepared but not baked up to 4 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated.

  • Author: From “Fresh Tastes” by Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: sea bass, crusted fish

A single serving of Pistachio Crusted Fish, sitting on a light green plate that's on a cutting board.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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    1. You could just leave the dill out, or try one of these herbs: cilantro, basil, parsley, or tarragon (for the latter I would use a bit less due to its stronger flavor). Let me know what you use and how it turns out!