Pan Seared Rainbow Trout

This recipe for rainbow trout is surprisingly easy and will make you feel like you are at a fancy restaurant. Serve this with risotto and sautéed vegetables for an outstanding meal!

A wide image of a plate with fish, risotto and sautéed vegetables.

We look for any excuse to cook fish. We love salmon, catfish, trout and more. Rainbow trout is one of my favourite fish to cook and it is both versatile and delicious. This recipe for how to cook pan seared rainbow trout, is a perfect example that cooking restaurant quality fish dishes at home is easy to do.

Pan seared trout has a crisp outer coating, but still moist and flaky fish in the centre. It is packed with flavour by itself, but then we add a white wine and caper sauce spooned on top of the rainbow trout. Just amazing!

Overhead picture of a plate with fish, rice and vegetables.

Ingredient Notes

  • Rainbow trout – the fish is the star of the show and make sure that you can two nice fresh filets of trout with the skin. Each filet is the full side of a rainbow trout and will weigh approximately 1 pound (450g).
  • Salt and pepper – the seasoning used in this recipe is very simple. This will enhance and highlight the taste of the fish which is complemented by the sauce spooned on top.
  • Shallots – these almost have a flavour combination of an onion and garlic. They are so good in this sauce.
  • Capers – these buds from the caper bush are salty and tangy. These really elevate the finished dish.
  • White wine – a small amount of wine will really add to the flavour of the dish and make you think that you are at a 5 star restaurant.
  • Butter – adding some butter to the sauce will help to thicken it and create a nice glaze.
  • Fresh parsley – serves a little bit as a garnish but you can also really taste the fresh herbs in the sauce. So good!
Two fillets of rainbow trout with salt and pepper.

Season And Prep The Trout

The first step in getting the trout ready to be seared is to pat each side of the trout with a paper towel. Ensuring that each side of the fish is dry will help create a nice crispy sear.

Lay the trout on cutting board and, using a sharp knife, cut each filet in half. Make sure that each portion is a similar size.

Finally, season with the salt and pepper all over the fish.

Raw fish in a skillet.

Start Searing Skin Side Down

Using a large skillet, heat the oil over medium to medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, slowly place the pieces of fish in the skillet. Make sure to put them skin side down. Try to have a little space between each piece of trout.

You will immediately start to hear sizzling from the oil as the skin side of the trout sears. The oil will also bubble around the edges. Continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Expert Tip! My preference is to cook all the portions of the fish at the same time. Therefore, I will use a large skillet that can fit them all comfortably. If you do not have a big enough skillet, you can easily cook the filets in batches.

Fish in a skillet, skin side up.

Gently Flip To Sear Other Side

After the trout has been cooking in the skillet for a few minutes, it is time to gently flip them over. Use a flat spatula or fish turner to slide under the fish portion and carefully turn it over.

Once all the pieces of fish have been flipped over, reduce the heat slightly to medium/medium low. Continue to cook the fish for another 3-5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the fish reaches 145F. Once the fish is cooked through, remove them from the skillet to rest.

Expert Tip! A digital thermometer is an excellent tool to have in the kitchen. I use it all the time to check the doneness of a roast, steak, chicken and fish. It is far more accurate that cooking based on time.

Shallots and capers in a skillet.

Time To Make Caper White Wine Sauce

Now that the pan seared rainbow trout is done, it is time to make the sauce with white wine and capers. Use the same skillet that cooked the trout, so there should be some residual oil and seasoning from the pan searing.

Add the diced shallots, capers and white wine to the skillet cooking over medium heat. Stir to deglaze the pan bringing up all the flavour into the sauce. Cook for a few minutes, or until the shallots are tender and cooked through.

Butter and fresh parsley in a frying pan with shallots and capers.

Butter And Parsley

Add the butter and fresh parsley to the skillet. Continue to cook, stirring almost constantly. The butter will melt and the white wine will continue to bubble. After about 3 minutes, most of the wine should have and the sauce will have thickened slightly. It is now ready to serve.

How to serve? Place the seared trout on a plate and spoon some of the sauce over the fish. Make sure to get a bunch of the capers and shallots. Pan seared trout is great alongside Lemon Parmesan Risotto, Rice and Beans, Sautéed Vegetables, or Succotash.

More Fish Recipes!

If you like this pan seared rainbow trout then check out these other amazing fish dishes!

Pan Seared Rainbow Trout

5 from 1 vote
Simple recipe for how to pan sear rainbow trout filet in a skillet. Served with a caper, shallot and white wine sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 filets rainbow trout , approx. 2 pounds (900g) total weight
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper

Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 shallots , peeled and diced finely
  • 3 tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley , minced


  • Pat both sides of the fish with a paper towel to dry.
  • Take each of the full rainbow trout filets and cut them in half. Season the flesh side with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium/medium high heat. Once hot place the trout portions, skin side down onto the skillet. You should immediately heat the oil sizzling as it sears.
  • After the trout has been searing for about 3 minutes, gently flip them over to sear and cook on the other side. Once flipped, lower the heat to medium/medium low.
  • Continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked though and the internal temperature is 145F when checked with a digital thermometer.
  • Remove the fish from the heat and let rest.

Sauce Instructions

  • In the same skillet and using the oil that remained, heat the diced shallots, capers and white wine, over medium heat. Stir often and sauté until the shallots have cooked and are transparent. This should take 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the butter and fresh parsley. Continue to cook, stirring often, for another 3 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated and the sauce thickened slightly.
  • Serve the fish on a plate and spoon the caper and white wine sauce on top.


Per serving:

Calories: 410kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 47gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 149mgSodium: 867mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2g

Nutrition Disclaimer


A wide image of a plate with fish, risotto and sautéed vegetables.

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