7 Best Pans for Cooking Fish

By: Ivan Montes
Last Updated:

When it comes to creating culinary masterpieces with fish, selecting the best pans for cooking fish in each category is essential. From frying and braising to steaming, oven cooking, stovetop grilling, and sautéing filets, having the right cookware can elevate your seafood dishes to perfection. Kitchen pans come in all sizes, shapes and forms for each need, and in this guide, we’ll narrow it down to present you with the absolute best pans for each of these categories. Whether you are a beginner or a pro like Gordon Ramsey, we are sure these products will help you cook the perfect fish.

Best Pan for cooking fish overall Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet

Tips for cooking fish

Best Pan for frying fish Lodge L8DSK3 Cast Iron Deep Skillet

Tips for frying fish

Best Pan for braising fish ZWILLING Clad CFX

Tips for braising fish

Best Pan for Steaming Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Dutch Oven Pot

Tips for steaming fish

Best Pan for oven cooking fish Pyrex Deep 9×13-Inch Glass Baking Dish

Tips for oven cooking fish

Best Pan for stove-top grilling Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron

Tips for stove-top grilling

Best Pan for sauteing fish HexClad 12 Inch Hybrid Nonstick Wok

Tips for sauteing fish

How do I prevent my fish from sticking to the pan?

How do I know when the fish is done cooking?

Should I cook fish with the skin on or off?

Cooking Fish with Skin On:

Cooking Fish with Skin Off:

Final Thoughts

Best Pans for Cooking Fish Overall

Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 12-inch

✅PROS: light weight, better for larger burners, non stick 

❌CONS: Initial cook might stick

Tips for cooking fish

Cooking fish is like a culinary dance, where every move matters. If you want to waltz your way to fish perfection, let’s start with the basics. Find the freshest fish you can – that’s your partner in this tango of taste. Next, remember the golden rules: keep it dry, use top-notch oils or butter for that sizzle, and don’t forget the seasoning – it’s the spice of life!

Now, the dance floor, or should I say, the cooking method? Grilling, baking, or pan-searing, pick your style and groove. Timing is crucial; fish is no fan of an encore, so keep it short and sweet. And last but not least, trust your senses; your fish is ready when it flakes, turns opaque, and whispers it’s delicious aroma. So, put on your apron and let’s walk our way to fishy perfection in the kitchen!

Best Pan for Frying Fish

Lodge L8DSK3 Cast Iron Deep Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25-inch

✅PROS: Versatile, Value for price  

❌CONS: Hand Wash ONLY, moderate size cooking

Tips for frying fish

Frying fish is a cooking technique that demands attention and precision. To achieve perfectly fried fish, follow these essential guidelines. Start with dry fish filets to prevent excess moisture. Heat your cooking oil to around 350°F (175°C) and maintain that temperature for consistent results.

Avoid over filling the pan, as it can lead to uneven cooking. When you are going to flip the fish, be careful as the oil will be extremely hot. After frying, place the fish on a paper towel to remove excess oil. These steps will help you achieve a deliciously crispy and perfectly fried fish, a true culinary delight.

Best Pan for Braising Fish

ZWILLING Clad CFX 10-inch Stainless Steel Ceramic Nonstick Fry Pan

✅PROS: Easy to clean, nonstick 

❌CONS: Price

Tips for braising fish

Braising fish infuses fish with rich flavors and ensures a tender, but moist result. Start by selecting a thick sauce. Place the fish briefly in a hot pan to create a flavorful exterior, then transfer it along with your other ingredients.

Cover the pot, maintain a low, steady heat, and exercise patience; braising is a slow, deliberate process. The reward is fish that’s exquisitely tender and infused with the savory essence of the braising liquid.

Best Pan for Steaming Fish

Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Dutch Oven Pot with Lid (6.5 qt, 10.5″) – Non Toxic, PTFE & PFOA Free – Oven Safe & Compatible with All Stovetops (Gas, Electric & Induction) – Sage

✅PROS: Supports up to 550 F, size 

❌CONS: Price, hand wash for longevity

Tips for steaming fish

Steaming fish is a healthy cooking way to keep the natural flavors and nutrients. To achieve perfectly steamed fish, attention to detail is key. Start by selecting the freshest fish filets available. Season them lightly with your preferred herbs and spices. Ensure the water is gently simmering, not boiling, to create a gentle steam.

Steam the fish just until it turns opaque and easily flakes with a fork, usually within 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness. Avoid overcooking, as it can result in a dry texture. Steaming keeps the fish’s nutrients, making it a great choice of not only flavor, but healthy as well.

Best Pan for Oven Cooking Fish

Pyrex Deep 9×13-Inch Glass Baking Dish with Lid, Deep Casserole Dish, Glass Food Container, Oven, Freezer and Microwave Safe, Clear Container

✅PROS: Value, Variation 

❌CONS: Heavy, Handling with extra care

Tips for oven cooking fish

Oven cooking fish is a great technique that ensures even cooking and delicious flavor. Preheat the oven to the recommended temperature for your recipe. While it is heating up, prepare your fish with seasonings or marinades for maximum flavor infusion. Use this baking dish and lightly grease it to prevent sticking.

Place the fish in the preheated oven and let it cook until it reaches the desired level of cooking. Use a food thermometer to ensure it reaches the correct temperature; fish should typically reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). With the right timing and temperature control, oven cooking will take your culinary skills to the next level.

Best Pan for Stove-top Grilling

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Square Skillet Grill, 10.25″, Marseille

✅PROS: Dishwasher safe, Distributes heat well 

❌CONS: Price

Tips for stove-top grilling

Stovetop grilling fish is one of the best ways to achieve restaurant flavor from home. Some tips are: preheat it over medium-high heat until it’s hot. Brush the fish with a high-heat oil to prevent sticking and enhance flavor. Place the fish on the grill and resist the urge to move it around too much; this allows for those coveted grill marks to form.

Use a spatula or tongs to flip the fish gently when it’s ready. Maintain a watchful eye to prevent overcooking, as fish grills quickly. With the right techniques and heat control, stovetop grilling produces fish that’s beautifully seared, packed with flavor, and sure to impress even the most discerning palates.

Best Pan for Sauteing Fish

HexClad 12 Inch Hybrid Nonstick Wok, Dishwasher and Oven Friendly, Compatible with All Cooktops

✅PROS: Gordon Ramsey Approved, Cool handle, Compatibility with any stove, High Quality, Hybrid 

❌CONS: Price

Tips for sauteing fish

Start by selecting fresh, boneless filets, and pat them dry to ensure a good sear. Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a high-heat oil like vegetable or canola oil. When the oil shimmers, gently place the fish filets in the pan. Avoid overcrowding to ensure even cooking. Allow the filets to sear undisturbed for a few minutes until they develop a golden crust.

Carefully flip the fish with a spatula and continue cooking until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Season with your choice of herbs and spices. Sautéed fish, when executed with attention and precision, offers a delightful combination of flavor and texture that’s sure to please your palate.

How do I prevent my fish from sticking to the pan?

Preventing your fish from sticking to the pan is a culinary quest that often relies on a combination of technique and the right cookware. To keep your fish from adhering to the pan’s surface, consider these essential steps:

  1. Choose the Right Pan: Choose a non-stick pan, ideally one specifically designed for fish or seafood. A quality non-stick surface is your first line of defense against sticking.
  1. Properly Preheat: Ensure your pan is thoroughly preheated before adding the fish. This helps create a temporary non-stick surface by sealing the fish quickly.
  1. Use Adequate Oil or Butter: Apply a thin layer of oil or butter to the pan’s surface or directly to the fish. This not only enhances flavor but also adds a protective barrier against sticking.
  1. Dry the Fish: Pat your fish filets dry with paper towels before seasoning and cooking. Moisture on the surface can cause sticking.
  1. Avoid Overcrowding: Give your fish enough space in the pan. Overcrowding can cause steam to form, which may lead to sticking. Cook in batches if necessary.
  1. Cook with Confidence: Once you place the fish in the pan, resist the urge to move it around too much. Let it sear and develop a crust before attempting to flip.
  1. Use a Fish Spatula: When it’s time to flip, employ a fish spatula or a thin, flexible spatula designed for delicate items. This minimizes the risk of breaking the fish.
  1. Adjust Heat Carefully: If you notice the fish is browning too quickly, reduce the heat slightly. High heat can cause proteins to bond with the pan’s surface.
  1. Consider Parchment Paper: For baking or oven cooking, parchment paper can be a helpful barrier between the fish and the pan.
  1. Practice Patience: Lastly, be patient and attentive. Cooking fish requires precision, so stay vigilant and adjust your technique as needed to prevent sticking.

By following these steps and using the right cookware, you can significantly reduce the chances of your fish sticking to the pan, allowing you to enjoy perfectly cooked and beautifully seared fish dishes.

How do I know when the fish is done cooking?

Determining the perfect moment when your fish is done cooking is a skill that can elevate your culinary prowess. Here are some expert tips to help you gauge when your fish is cooked to perfection:

  1. Visual Cues: One of the most reliable methods is to observe the color and texture. Fish often changes from translucent to opaque as it cooks. Look for the fish to turn from a glossy or translucent appearance to a solid, opaque color throughout.
  1. Flake Test: Gently insert a fork or a knife into the thickest part of the fish and twist. If the fish flakes easily and the flakes are opaque, it’s likely done. Undercooked fish will still appear translucent and may resist flaking.
  1. Internal Temperature: Using a food thermometer is precise. Most fish is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Measure the thickest part of the fish, and remember that it will continue to cook a bit after you remove it from the heat.
  1. Timer Method: As a general guideline, aim for about 8-10 minutes of cooking time per inch of thickness. This is applicable for fish cooked at around 350-375°F (175-190°C).
  1. Texture Check: When you touch the fish, it should feel firm yet still moist. Overcooked fish will be dry and tough, while undercooked fish will be mushy.
  1. Eye Test: If you’re cooking a whole fish, the eyes should turn from cloudy to clear as it cooks. This is a traditional method used by many experienced cooks.
  1. Taste Test: If you’re comfortable with it, take a small bite from the center. It should be tender, moist, and flaky. Fish that’s overcooked may taste dry and lack flavor.
  1. Practice: With practice, you’ll become more adept at recognizing the signs of doneness specific to the type of fish you’re cooking.

Remember that the exact cooking time can vary depending on the type and thickness of the fish, as well as the cooking method. Patience and practice are key to becoming a fish-cooking maestro. Enjoy mastering this culinary art!

Should I cook fish with the skin on or off?

The decision to cook fish with the skin on or off depends on your personal preference and the specific dish you’re preparing. Both options offer distinct advantages:

Cooking Fish with Skin On:

-Flavor and Moisture: Cooking fish with the skin on can help lock in moisture and enhance the flavor. The skin acts as a natural barrier, keeping the flesh tender and juicy.

-Crispy Texture: When properly crisped, fish skin can add a delightful textural contrast to your dish, offering a satisfying crunch.

-Protection: The skin can also serve as a protective layer, preventing delicate fish filets from falling apart during cooking.

-Seasoning: Seasonings and marinades can be applied directly to the skin, infusing the fish with added flavor.

Cooking Fish with Skin Off:

-Convenience: Removing the skin can make the fish preparation process more convenient, especially if you prefer not to deal with it during your meal.

-Health Considerations: Some people opt for skinless fish for dietary reasons, as it reduces the overall fat content.

-Different Cooking Methods: Skinless fish can be a better choice for certain cooking methods like poaching or grilling, where skin may not contribute significantly to the dish.

Ultimately, whether you cook fish with the skin on or off depends on your culinary goals and preferences. For recipes where crispy skin and added flavor are desired, leave it on. When convenience and a leaner option are preferred, remove the skin. The choice is yours to make based on the specific dish you’re preparing and your personal taste preferences.

Final Thoughts

Mastering various methods of cooking fish is a culinary journey that opens up a world of flavors and textures. Whether you prefer the crispiness of frying, the tenderness of braising, the health-consciousness of steaming, the versatility of oven cooking, the grill marks from stove-top grilling, or the precision of sautéing, each technique offers a unique way to elevate your seafood dishes.

The key lies in understanding the method that best suits your desired outcome and honing your skills through practice. With patience and attention to detail, you can transform even the simplest fish filet into a gourmet masterpiece. So, embrace these diverse cooking techniques, and let your kitchen become a stage for the artistry of fish preparation.

Also keep in mind that all your kitchen utensils are important, specially your knives so make sure they are sharp. For that you can read our post on how often should you sharpen your knives?

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Ivan Montes

Ivan Montes is a Business Management Engineer that enjoys spending time with family and researching how to improve quality of life with quality products.