How to Steam a Fish Fillet

by Zora Hughes ; Updated September 28, 2017

Steamed fish is commonly served with some type of sauce for additional flavor.

Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you like fish cooked quickly with no frills, steaming fillets is your best option, as all you essentially need are water and the fish. Although the cooking times will vary based on the type, size and amount of fillets you use, four 8-ounce fillets of white fish, for instance, will take no more than 10 minutes to steam. You can steam just about any filleted fish, but firm white fish such as cod, halibut and tilapia are commonly steamed. Using a steamer basket also avoids a messy cleanup.

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan so that the rim of the basket sits on the rim of the saucepan. You may also use a steamer pot that comes with a fitted, removable basket if you have one.

Pour enough water into the saucepan or pot so that the level reaches just below the steamer basket, leaving about 1 inch of space between the water and the basket.

Season each fish fillet with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the fish fillet to the steamer basket once the water begins to boil, and cover tightly with a lid.

Cook the fillets for about seven to 10 minutes,or until they flake easily with a fork. Serve the fish with a sprinkling of lemon juice.


  • While most steamer baskets can handle four fish fillets, use an adjustable steamer basket that can fit into any size saucepan you use if you plan on steaming several fillets at a time.

    Add other seasonings to the fish such as garlic, chili powder, and lemon-pepper seasoning as you see fit.

    You can make a sauce of your choosing such as lemon-garlic or soy and ginger.

Photo Credits

  • Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.