Steelhead Trout Recipe with Lemon Caper Sauce takes only 30 minutes to make. The fish is seasoned with Italian seasoning and served with a delicious lemon-flavored sauce. This simple dinner is low in carbs and rich in lean protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Why make steelhead trout
- Steelhead trout is a delicious fish with a delicate flavor. You don't need a ton of seasoning to make it taste good. Keep it simple and basic and you have a beautiful meal! This recipe uses simple ingredients: olive oil, Italian herb seasoning, salt and pepper, minced garlic, capers, and lemon juice. That’s pretty much all you really need (plus 30 minutes of your time) to prepare the best steelhead trout!
- Get fish on your menu! Eating fish regularly is a good way to get proper nutrition. Trout is low carb and contains a good amount of protein. There are also health benefits to eating trout since it is packed with omega 3 fatty acids.
- If you love fish or wish to incorporate more of it into your weekly menu, try this pan-seared trout recipe with garlic lemon butter herb sauce or baked garlic parmesan crusted salmon and asparagus.
What makes this recipe unique
- Easy recipe - minimal cleanup. In this easy recipe, the steelhead trout is pan-seared on the stovetop in a large skillet, and the lemon caper sauce is made in the same skillet. The whole recipe takes 30 minutes from start to finish, and the cleanup is minimal (only one skillet to clean).
What is steelhead trout?
Steelhead trout is a type of coastal rainbow trout. Steelhead trout is a sea-run fish that returns to freshwater to spawn (deposit eggs into water) after living in the ocean for about 2 years. It's a species of salmonid, which means steelhead trout is related to salmon, char, and freshwater whitefish.
What seasonings go well with steelhead trout
Steelhead Trout is a delicate fish that does need strong spices. Here is how you can enhance the flavor of trout with these simple ingredients:
- Use basic seasonings, such as salt and pepper, minced garlic, and lemon slices.
- Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence is always a great choice for any kind of trout.
- Dried and fresh herbs pair well with any fish. Thyme, dill, oregano, and parsley are my favorite. You can also add rosemary or marjoram.
- For bolder flavor, make your own dry rub for steelhead trout. Combine small amounts of smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper, and dried herbs (such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, and parsley).
Easily adaptable recipe
As I was cooking this, I couldn't help thinking that this recipe would work great with salmon as well! Steelhead trout is an incredibly easy fish to cook. And it's very closely related to salmon. It's a pretty fatty fish, it doesn't stick to the pan and cooks fast and easy thanks to its rich fat content! I highly recommend that you try steelhead trout - it's tasty, easy to handle, and very healthy (at least, according to this website).
- Steelhead trout is a fatty fish with a high-fat content which makes it a perfect choice for a keto-friendly diet. Steelhead trout is rich in lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Lemon Caper Sauce made with garlic and butter is also keto-friendly.
- This recipe is completely gluten-free. It has no gluten, no grains.
How to cook steelhead trout
Cooking the steelhead trout involves seasoning the fish → searing it on the stovetop → making the sauce → assembling the final dish! Follow along with these easy instructions!
Part 1. Season the trout
Season 1.5 lbs of steelhead trout fillets with 1 tablespoon of Italian herb seasoning and salt. Fish fillets usually will have skins on the bottom, so it's enough to season just the top side of the fish.
Part 2. Cook the steelhead trout on the stovetop
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil is enough as fish will release lots of its own oil (steelhead trout is a fatty kind of fish).
- Add steelhead trout fillets, skin side up, non-skin side down. Cook for about 2 minutes on medium heat, making sure the oil does not smoke. Turn the fillets over, skin side down. Cook for another 2 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Then, allow the trout to rest in the skillet. Remove the skillet from heat, close with the lid, and let the steelhead trout sit for 5-10 minutes until flaky and cooked through completely.
- Finally, separate trout flesh from the skin. After the fish is cooked through, using a spatula, carefully remove trout fillets to the plate, separating the fillet from the skin (skin will remain on the bottom of the pan).
- Carefully scrape the fish skin off the bottom of the pan, making sure to leave the fish oil in the pan. Note: You will use this same skillet to make garlic butter lemon caper sauce as described in the next section.
Part 3. How to make Lemon Caper Sauce
Lemon caper sauce with garlic and butter is what makes this steelhead trout so tasty!
- Add capers, minced garlic, and lemon juice to the same pan that you just used to cook steelhead trout. The pan will still have oil and juices remaining from cooking the fish.
- Heat up the sauce gently on medium-low heat for about 1 minute, until garlic softens a bit. Remove from heat.
- Add butter, off heat, to the caper sauce, stirring, until butter melts and forms a creamy mixture.
Part 4. Final Assembly
Add fish back to the pan, spoon sauce over the fish, and serve.
What to serve with steelhead trout
- Roasted or grilled vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, or zucchini. Sliced bell peppers, red onions, squash are also great choices.
- Rice. Jasmine rice is an excellent side for steelhead trout. For more flavor, serve wild rice or flavored rice. You can even serve cauliflower rice.
- Quinoa. Plain or flavored quinoa is an amazing grain that goes well with fish.
- Potatoes. Mashed sweet potatoes are a great side for trout. Potatoes roasted with herbs and garlic in olive oil are also a fantastic choice.
- Leafy Greens. Make a simple green salad by tossing together spinach, kale, or arugula with a small amount of your favorite salad dressing. Or make your own simple dressing by combining olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Top the salad with your favorite cheese (example: Parmesan, Goat Cheese, Feta) and a handful of nuts or seeds.
Other Trout Recipes
- Trout Recipe with Garlic Lemon Butter Herb Sauce – pan-fried trout made with Italian herb seasoning, chopped fresh parsley, and garlic butter sauce.
- Baked Rainbow Trout with Lemon, Black Pepper, and Garlic – this trout is baked in the oven together with asparagus to create a healthy and low-carb dinner rich in lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Steelhead Trout Recipe with Lemon Caper Sauce
Steelhead Trout Ingredients:
- 1.5 lb steelhead trout (3 fish fillets)
- 1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning (dried thyme, oregano, parsley, combined)
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Lemon Caper Sauce Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons capers (drained)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 2 tablespoons butter (softened)
How to cook trout
- Season the tops of steelhead trout fillets with Italian herb seasoning and salt (generously). Fish fillets will have skins on the bottom.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat until hot but not smoking. (Note: 1 tablespoon of olive oil is enough as fish will release lots of its own oil - steelhead trout is a fatty kind of fish).
- Add steelhead trout fillets, skin side up, non-skin side down. Cook for about 2 minutes on medium heat, making sure the oil does not smoke.
- Turn the fillets over, skin side down. Cook for another 2 minutes on medium-low heat (keeping oil from burning).
- Remove from heat, close the pan with the lid, and let the trout sit for 5-10 minutes until flaky and cooked through completely.
- After the fish is cooked through, using a spatula, carefully remove trout fillets to the plate, separating the fillet from the skin (skin will remain on the bottom of the pan). Carefully scrape the fish skin off the bottom of the pan, making sure to leave the fish oil in the pan.
How to make lemon caper sauce
- Add capers, diced garlic, and lemon juice to the same skillet with oil in which you just cooked the trout.
- Cook the sauce on medium-low heat for about 1 minute, until garlic softens a bit. Remove from heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter, off heat, to the lemon caper sauce, stirring, until the butter melts and forms a creamy mixture.
- Add cooked steelhead trout fillets back to the pan, spoon sauce over the fish, and serve.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This recipe was originally published on September 29, 2015, and updated/republished in July 2021.
Tony the home chef
This turned out awesome. I sprinkled with course salt, freshly ground peppercorn, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and dusted with Italian seasoning. Seared 2 minutes upsidedown in a triply Le Creuset stainless pan, then flipped for 4 minutes on the flesh side. Hefty amounts of Irish butter with the capers, garlic, and freshly squeezed lemon. Two thumbs up!
Tony, I love your enthusiastic comment! 🙂 Love the addition of garlic powder, smoked paprika, and freshly ground peppercorn. Delish additions!
Delish! And so easy to do your method vs baking.
Glad you think the stovetop method is easier than baking - I think so too! 🙂