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.

(Photo by Rick Souders)
Table of Contents
  1. Pistachio Fish
  2. Ingredients for Pistachio Crusted Fish
  3. How to make Pistachio Crusted Fish
  4. Substitutions and Variations for Pistachio Crusted Fish
  5. Storing and Reheating Pistachio Crusted Fish
  6. What to Serve with Pistachio Crusted Sea Bass
  7. Pistachio Crusted Fish FAQs
  8. Pistachio Crusted Fish

Pistachio Fish

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

Ingredients for Pistachio Crusted Fish

You only need 6 ingredients to make this easy recipe:

  • Sea bass fillets – can also use other, mild white fish including cod, grouper, haddock or even halibut
  • Salted, dry roasted pistachio nuts – can substitute almonds, pecans or walnuts
  • Light brown sugar
  • Fresh lemon juice – can use lime juice instead
  • Fresh dill – can substitute dried
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What’s the best variety of 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 use another kind of fish, preferably with mild flavor, including grouper, cod, haddock or even halibut. This pistachio crust is delicious on salmon, too!

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

How to make Pistachio Crusted Fish

This flavorful cod only takes 5 minutes to prep and 10 to 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 nut mixture evenly over each fillet, pressing down to adhere.
  3. Bake.
    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes per 1-inch of thickness of the fillets, or until fish reaches 140 to 145 degrees when measured with an instant-read thermometer. The topping should be a nice golden brown color.
  4. Rest and serve.
    Remove fish from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Quick Tip

When baking fish fillets or steaks, a general rule of thumb is to cook it for 10 to 12 minutes per 1-inch of thickness, or until fish reaches 140 to 145 degrees when measured with an instant-read thermometer. Cooking time can vary in different ovens, so it’s best to check the temperature to test for doneness.

Substitutions and Variations for Pistachio Crusted Fish

While this Pistachio Crusted Fish is delicious as is, here are a few substitutions and variations that make it your own:

Substitutions:

  • Try chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts in place of the pistachios.
  • Use fresh lime juice instead of lemon.
  • Instead of dill, use another fresh herb, such as parsley, cilantro, chives, basil, or thyme.
  • Go in another direction and instead of dill, use creole seasoning!

Variations:

  • Amp up the lemon flavor by including lemon zest.
  • Mix a splash of Worcestershire sauce into the topping to add depth and enhance all the other flavors.
  • Add a spice or two – garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika.
  • Toss in a dash of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce for a bit of a kick.
  • Coat fish with Dijon mustard (or honey mustard) before adding the nut topping.
A single serving of Pistachio Crusted Fish, sitting on a light green plate that's on a cutting board.

Storing and Reheating Pistachio Crusted 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 Sea Bass

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

Pistachio Crusted Fish FAQs

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can. Fish with topping can be prepared but not baked up to 4 hours in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Can I use frozen fish for this recipe?

Definitely! Thaw fish in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, place on paper towel and pat dry to remove excess moisture.

Is this baked fish healthy?

This dish can be part of a healthy and balanced diet, especially considering its protein content and relatively low saturated fat and sodium (see nutritional information in recipe card). However, individuals with specific dietary considerations, such as sugar intake, may want to monitor their portion sizes and overall sugar consumption. It’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.

What wine or beverage pairs well with this dish?

A white wine with bright acidity and citrusy notes would be an excellent choice. A few options that pair well with the dish’s flavors include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay (unoaked), or Albariño.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A single serving of Pistachio Crusted Fish, sitting on a light green plate that's on a cutting board.

Pistachio Crusted Fish

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

Flavorful, moist and flaky, Pistachio Crusted Fish comes together quickly (less than 20 minutes) 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 nut 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. The topping should be a nice golden brown.
  5. 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

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 fillet
  • Calories: 290
  • Sugar: 17.9 g
  • Sodium: 82.4 mg
  • Fat: 11.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.6 g
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 25.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 46.5 mg

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Comments

    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!

        1. Here are a few brown sugar substitutes you could try:
          1. 1/2 cup of granulated sugar + 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses.
          2. 6 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup and I would start using only 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (so the topping doesn’t get too watery).

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

Share This With The World

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’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


Sign up for recipes, tips & more!
Join the club

Latest Posts