Ten-Minute Fish Cooking Rule

Do you shy away from buying fish because you don’t know how many minutes you’re supposed to cook it?

I run into so many people who tell me when they cook fish, it’s tough and dry. So I ask, “How long do you cook it?”

Would it surprise you that a lot of people respond, “About twenty minutes?”

A good rule to live by is the ten-minute rule, meaning cook your fresh fish 10 minutes per inch at its thickest point. Total cooking time. Smaller pieces will need less cooking time, so it’s important to portion your fillets before cooking. Cut the pieces as evenly as possible, so whether you’re cooking stove top, in the oven, grilling, frying or poaching, you can remove the smaller pieces first so they don’t get dried out and tough.

Or use those smaller pieces for a fish chowder the next day.

Keep your cooked fish on a warm platter or cover it lightly with foil, if you’re cooking for a crowd.

And remember, fish will continue to cook a little once it’s removed from the heat source.

Another way to tell if your fish is done cooking?

Press lightly on the surface of the fish. Your fingers should feel a little resistance.

To complicate things, (yep, I know, that sucks), each species is different, and depending on your cooking method, cooking times will vary.

For instance, a fillet of flounder, (usually a thin fillet) will take mere minutes.

Or get this, last night, I pan-seared a one-inch wild salmon portion for  a minute and a half, turned it over and finished it in a 385 degree oven for six minutes. Now that’s only seven and a half minutes, but I like my salmon cooked medium.

Generally though, most fish species require very little cooking time. So have your salad ready, sides cooked, table set, candles lit and wine poured. Or crack open a cold beer, pour a tall, sweet tea or crush some ice for a neat bourbon, or…okay, you get the picture.

Still unsure?

Use your kitchen timer. You might be surprised how quickly ten minutes passes.

Got a fish cooking question? or a fish cooking tip you’d like to share?

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