Panko-crusted Whitefish is a 20-minute dinner recipe great for weeknights! All you need is Whitefish filets and a few simple ingredients.
This post was first published in September 2020. It has been updated most recently as of June 2021 with new process shots and updated images.
I was born and raised in the Midwest near the Great Lakes where we are serious about Whitefish. This recipe works well with any light, flaky white fish, but I love it when I can get my hands on some Great Lakes Whitefish.
The Great Lakes region is one of the most meticulously managed fisheries in the world! There are only a handful of small, family operations for commercial fishing in the area. All of the product is cleaned, packaged, and sold from their retail counters or at local markets. Whitefish is generally consumed in the region where it is caught, making it a sustainable seafood choice with less impact on the environment. Seafood Watch is a great resource to check and see if your fish selection is sustainable. They also have an app you can use to determine the best substitutions for your needs.
Panko-crusted Whitefish is my favorite go-to recipe when I’m craving the crunch of fried fish but want to keep it lighter and healthier. It gets the job done for that fried-fish-fix with just a little bit of butter and a few tablespoons of crunchy Panko breadcrumbs. Also, it’s ready in 20 minutes with practically no mess! Can’t beat that.
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- Lake Whitefish: Whitefish is different than white fish, a general all-encompassing term for mild-flavored, quick-cooking, flaky, fish with white flesh. Lake Whitefish are freshwater fish from the trout/salmon family. Most commonly found in the Great Lakes, they also live in small inland lakes throughout Michigan.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko is a coarse, crumbly, Japanese breadcrumb and can be found in most grocery stores.
- Dried Herbs & Spices: I’ve used a mix of dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper but feel free to play with whatever is in your pantry!
- Pink Himalayan Salt: I use Himalayan salt in all of my recipes. You can use any salt you like or have on hand.
- Butter: The butter is mixed into the breadcrumbs with a fork. Use room temperature or softened butter.
- Lemon: I serve baked Whitefish with fresh lemon for extra zing but it is totally optional.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Pat the Whitefish filets dry with paper towels then lay them, skin side down, on the prepared foil-lined sheet.
In a small bowl, mix together the Panko breadcrumbs, herbs, and salt.
Add the butter to the breadcrumbs. Use a fork to mix and mash the butter into the crumbs until no visible butter remains.
Lightly press the Panko-butter topping evenly on top of the four Whitefish filets.
Bake the fish for 14 to 16 minutes, or, until the Panko topping is light brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.
If you can’t get freshwater Whitefish, use any kind of white fish you like. Cod, haddock, flounder, snapper, and catfish are all great options.
Make this recipe gluten-free by substituting gluten-free Panko crumbs.
If you don’t have dried parsley, simple omit it from the recipe. A sprinkle of finely chopped fresh parsley after cooking is a great substitution.
To make this recipe dairy-free swap in a good quality plant-based butter. I haven’t tested it but I don’t think coconut oil will work as well.
Tips & Notes
You can use fresh or frozen Whitefish for this recipe. If using frozen fish it is best to thaw it by defrosting it in the fridge overnight, or if you’re pressed for time, tightly seal the filets in a zip top bag and place in a bowl of cold water to thaw before making the recipe.
The Lake Whitefish I buy usually comes with the skin left on. I haven’t tested this recipe with skinless filets, however, I think they will work fine.
If using pre-seasoned Panko breadcrumbs, simply reduce or omit the herbs and spices called for in the ingredients.
Serve These Recipes On The Side Of Panko-Crusted Whitefish
Panko-Crusted Whitefish (Oven-Baked)
- 4 6- oz Whitefish filets skin on
- ½ cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
- ¾ tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper optional
- 2 tbsp butter softened
- 1 lemon sliced into wedges (for serving)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Pat the Whitefish filets dry with paper towels then lay them, skin side down, on the prepared foil-lined sheet.
- In a small bowl, mix together the Panko breadcrumbs, herbs, and salt. Use a fork to mix and mash the butter into the crumbs until no visible butter remains.
- Lightly press the Panko-butter topping evenly on top of the four Whitefish filets. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the fish for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the Panko topping is lightly browned and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.