Baked Rainbow Trout Recipe
This fool-proof recipe for Baked Rainbow Trout takes just 20 minutes. It’s a great way to serve a healthy dinner with terrific flavors of lemon, garlic, and herbs—but minimal effort.
Looking to add some variety to the usual dinner rotation? An easy baked fish dinner is the way to do it! This is so simple to make and totally fool-proof thanks to the oven. We often do salmon and I’ve added a few tilapia recipes to my usual rotation, but rainbow trout is a great complement to these. It’s tender, easy to cook, and mild in flavor.
Rainbow trout also gets good marks for environmental impact and sustainability when farmed in the US in freshwater net pens, outdoor flowthrough raceways, and ponds, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Guide.
Ingredients & Common Substitutions
Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need to make this, as well as possible substitutions.
- One pound rainbow trout, skin on: As noted above, look for trout that has been responsibly farmed or caught in the US, if possible. You can follow this same recipe for salmon, tilapia, or another common white fish, simply checking it often in case the cooking time is more or less. You can purchase one large trout, but it’s more likely you’ll find a package of several fillets. It doesn’t matter.
- Fresh garlic and lemon: Fresh lemon is key. Fresh or jarred minced garlic will work well. Only use garlic powder in a real pinch, and sprinkle it on very lightly.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs make a wonderful touch. I like to use either a tangy mix of fresh parsley and dill, or go with a more Italian-inspired blend of rosemary, oregano, and thyme — just depending on what I happen to have. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to fresh peppy greens!
- Pantry staples: Olive oil, kosher salt or sea salt, and black pepper.
Is rainbow trout as healthy as salmon?
Just like salmon, rainbow trout is packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. According to the USDA, a 3 ounce rainbow trout fillet contains about 17 grams of protein — the same content as 3 ounce serving of salmon. It’s a terrific source of the brain- and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids we all need.
Interestingly, wild-caught trout has about half the fat content of farm-raised trout, so bear that in mind if fat is something you watch very closely in your diet. And as a bonus, this dish is obviously naturally gluten-free and low-carb.
How To Prepare Rainbow Trout
Rainbow trout can be prepared in any number of ways, but I love the ease of baking. It requires the least prep or clean up, and also delivers a very reliable result!
Your very first step should be to remove your fully thawed trout filets from the fridge. Let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and gather your other ingredients: lemon slices, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.
Place the trout skin side down on a rimmed baking sheet. I highly recommend lining the pan with either parchment paper or aluminum foil for ease of cleaning.
Brush lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and minced garlic on top. Place a thinly-cut lemon slice on top of each piece.
Into the oven they go!
Do you take the skin off rainbow trout?
No! You should purchase and cook trout with the skin on; it makes the fish easier to cook in one piece and helps it retain moisture. You can eat the skin, as well. It’s rich in nutrients, and the skin of rainbow trout in particular is very delicate and light. Try a bite!
How to tell when trout is done cooking?
You’ll know the fish is fully cooked when the filets are opaque white, no longer translucent, and flake easily when pressed with the side of a fork, as shown below. If you have an instant read thermometer, this takes out all the guesswork: the FDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145° F.
Serve with an extra spritz of fresh lemon juice and all the herbs your heart desires.
- Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a little bit of kick. You can add this prior to baking or just before serving.
- Add a dusting of sweet or smoky paprika for extra depth of flavor. Add this along with the garlic.
- Use a seafood seasoning blend, dry rub, or lemon pepper seasoning instead of the garlic and lemon slices. Just sprinkle over the fish, or mix with olive oil into a thin paste and brush on lightly.
- Wrap the trout fully in aluminum foil, seal tightly, and cook on the grill for 15-20 minutes instead of the oven. Delicious!
What goes well with rainbow trout?
Rainbow trout’s mild flavor and flaky texture means that it pairs well with a wide variety of vegetables, salads, and grains. Some of our favorite side dish combinations:
- Roasted broccolini, broccoli, or asparagus. (As a bonus, you can pop these on the same pan as the trout and roast them in about the same amount of time for a sheet pan-style dinner.)
- Steamed peas, carrots, corn, or a medley. Keep steam-in-bag veggies and fish filets on hand in the freezer and you will always have the ingredients for an ultra-easy, ultra-healthy dinner.
- Roasted garlic green beans. Irresistibly delicious.
- Serve the trout on a bed of sautéed spinach for a restaurant-worthy presentation.
- Wild rice, brown rice, white rice, or couscous.
- Crispy oven-roasted red potatoes.
More Easy Fish Recipes
Fish is such a heart-healthy choice and a great way to add variety to the average American family diet! Try incorporating easy salmon recipes like this mustard-crusted or lemon-herb salmon. Baked lemon butter and blackened tilapia are another pair of my favorites. If all else fails, fish tacos are a guaranteed win!
If you try this Baked Rainbow Trout recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Rainbow Trout Recipe
- 1 pound rainbow trout
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/2 lemon sliced
- 2-3 Tablespoons fresh herbs try either a mix of parsley and dill, or a mix of rosemary, oregano, and thyme
- Remove trout from the fridge. Pat dry on both sides with a clean kitchen cloth or paper towel.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and place trout in the middle, skin side down.
- Brush olive oil on top of the trout, then sprinkle evenly with minced garlic and about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Arrange lemon slices over the top.
- Bake trout for 10-15 minutes. When done, it should be opaque and flaky and reach 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the oven.
- Serve with lemon slices on the side and fresh herbs sprinkled on top. Enjoy!