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Pan Fried Rainbow Trout – Ready in 10 Minutes

This pan-fried rainbow trout is delicious, easy to make, and can be served with almost any side dish. If you often return home in the evening with nothing planned for dinner, this pan fried rainbow trout recipe is for you.

You can have it on the table in under 10 minutes, and the leftovers are amazing in wraps, salads, sandwiches, etc.

A top view of the pan fried rainbow trout with red cherry tomatoes and lemon slices in a black pan.

Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe deter you because this IS the best way to cook trout.

Serve it with whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, black rice, or wild rice and/or with roasted, sauteed, or steamed vegetables or a side salad for a healthy and satisfying meal.

And as a bonus – it’s quite easy to make this into a one-pan dinner.

Just saute some vegetables (like onions, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or mushrooms) for a few minutes before making room in the pan to sear the trout fillets.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are four reasons why this recipe is a keeper: 

  • This rainbow trout recipe is surprisingly simple and easy! The hardest part is cleaning the fresh trout, and chances are someone has already done that for you!
  • It’s super quick. Get a healthy fish dinner on the table in 10 minutes.
  • Rainbow trout has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and tastes less “fishy” than most other fish.
  • Pan-frying rainbow trout gets the skin crisped to perfection.

Ingredient Notes

Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you will need to make pan-fried rainbow trout:

  • Olive Oil: In this recipe, olive oil is used to coat the pan to prevent the fish from sticking. You can also use avocado oil or any other mild-tasting oil.
  • Rainbow Trout Fillet: This cold-water fish has mild, flaky flesh and is great for cooking quickly. When buying rainbow trout filet for this recipe, make sure it still has the skin on. The skin will help the fish from falling apart when cooked. If you have purchased a filet of the whole fish, cut it up in portions.
  • Garlic Powder & Paprika: These popular spices add a subtle savory, smoky flavor to the fish.
  • Salt & Pepper: These seasonings can enhance the natural flavor of almost any meal.
  • Lemon Slices (optional): This optional ingredient is highly recommended! A fresh squeeze of lemon is a great finishing touch to fish and seafood-based meals.

Close-up side view of the pan fried rainbow trout with cherry tomatoes and lemon slices in a black pan.

How To Make Pan Fried Rainbow Trout

Here is how to prepare the trout in just a few simple steps:

  1. Season the trout: Make sure the fish is dry, and then season generously on all sides with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Pan-fry the trout: Heat olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the seasoned fillets to the pan, skin side down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillet over and cook the opposite side for 2 to 3 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (the center of the fillet should flake easily) and the skin is crisped. Cook for a few more minutes if necessary.
  3. Serve: Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and enjoy!

Recipe Tips

You can follow these basic instructions for cooking any mild, flaky fish:

  • Plan ahead. Cut your rainbow trout fillet into portion-size pieces and freeze. Simply grab the amount you need in the morning and let them thaw in the fridge during the day. The fish fillets should be defrosted by dinnertime. You can also defrost them at room temperature.
  • If you want to achieve super crispy skin on the rainbow trout fillets, dust them with a light coating of flour (regular or gluten-free) before frying. This also protects the fish from sticking to the pan.
  • I highly recommend not skipping the squeeze of lemon juice. The naturally briney trout flavor and the citric acid balance each other out beautifully.

What to Serve with Rainbow Trout

This delicate fish can be served as a healthy lunch or a hearty after-work meal. It’s all about what you serve it with.

Check out these healthy combos:

Flavor Variations

You are more than welcome to switch up the spices as you please and follow the rest of the recipe as is.

Here are a few flavor variations to try:

  • Coat fish in blackening seasoning before searing.
  • Go heavier on the lemon juice and throw in some capers.
  • Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley or dill before serving.

Storing and Reheating

  • Storing: Cooked trout should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. Store in an airtight container or wrapped tightly and store in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Heat a small amount of oil over medium heat and reheat cooked trout skin-side-down for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.

A close-up side view of a pan-fried rainbow trout slice with red cherry tomatoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are rainbow trout and salmon the same?

They are in the same family but a different genus. That said, the two are similar enough that they can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

Do you eat the skin on rainbow trout?

Absolutely. As long as the fish is properly cleaned, rainbow trout skin is great to eat. It’s super nutritious and loaded with flavor.

How can I use leftover fish?

Trout tastes good cold, so the leftovers are great added to a hearty salad. You can also gently reheat and use it for fish tacos.

Pan Fried Rainbow Trout

Pan Fried Rainbow Trout - Ready in 10 Minutes

Yield: 1 portion
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes

This quick and easy pan fried rainbow trout can be served with almost any side dish. It's also perfect as a healthy one-pan dinner and the leftovers taste great too. Ready in 10 minutes.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4.5 oz / 130 g rainbow trout fillet, skin on
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • slice of lemon (optional)


  1. Generously season the rainbow trout fillet with the garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the fillet to the pan skin side down and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fish and let it cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily in the thick part of the fillet. Flip a few more times if necessary.
  4. Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on top before serving.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 1 portion Serving Size 1 fillet
Amount Per Serving Calories 298Total Fat 21.4gSaturated Fat 3.6gTrans Fat 0.1gUnsaturated Fat 15.8gCholesterol 75.3mgSodium 210.9mgCarbohydrates 0.3gFiber 0.1gSugar 0gProtein 25.5g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 30th of January 2023

This recipe was absolutely divine!!! I ran out of paprika and used cayenne pepper instead. This was delicious! Thank you!


Thursday 1st of September 2022

Where does the cherry tomatoes come in? That’s why I looked at this pin.


Thursday 1st of September 2022

@Jill, You can lightly sautee them in oil for a couple of minutes before you add the fish. Then add the fish and cook them together.


Tuesday 2nd of August 2022

I made this recipe, and it turned out great! The only change I made was that I cooked the flesh side of the fish fillet first (for 3 minutes), then turned it over and cooked the skin side for about 4 - 5 minutes. Added a splash of lemon juice at the end of cooking. Served with tossed salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery with balsamic vinaigrette) and some steamed jasmine rice and steamed broccoli; also, sweet cantaloupe for dessert!


Monday 14th of March 2022

I picked up some rainbow trout on sale and looked up recipes. Out of all the recipes I found online, your recipe looks delicious. I'm making wild rice, brussel sprouts, kale salad and garlic toast with it. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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