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Sheet Pan Fish Dinner with Seasoned Cornmeal Rubs: No Frying

Sheet Pan Fish Dinner with Seasoned Cornmeal Rubs: No Frying
Home » Recipes by Ingredients » Fish and Seafood » Sheet Pan Fish Dinner with Seasoned Cornmeal Rubs: No Frying

Follow this quick and easy recipe for oven-baked fish filets with a spicy cornmeal seasoning rub. A perfect weeknight dinner the whole family will love ready in under 30 minutes. No frying and no oil is used in this healthy sheet pan fish recipe.

Breaded fish filets on a teal-blue plate with a side of tartar sauce and lemon wedges
Catfish filets with spicy fish rub

Jump to: RECIPE | Homemade Fish Seasoning Rubs | Illustrated Step-by-Step

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Ingredients and Substitutions

It is easy to substitute different types of fish or seasoning blends with this recipe and still have a stellar dish that is customized to your own tastes.

Ingredients for baked catfish filets breaded with cornmeal and a fish spice rub
Ingredients for catfish in spicy seasoning spice rub: Fish, cornmeal, seasoning blend, rice flour, egg, salt

Fish Substitutions:

I prefer white fish filets with a cornmeal seasoning, but salmon can work also if that is your favorite. The main thing to be aware of is to accomodate the thickness of the fish.

Thin fish filets (~ 1 1/2-inch) will take a shorter cooking time (10-13 minutes). These filets might include:

  • Catfish
  • Walleye
  • Tilapia
  • Perch

Fish filets that run a thicker (~2 inches) need a little longer in the oven (15-18 minutes). This might include:

  • Cod
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Sea bass
  • Steelhead
  • Salmon
  • Halibut

Seasoning Blends for Fish

There are many different powdered spice and herb blends that pair well with fish. Old Bay seasoning blend is probably the most well-known pre-made blend and it is one that I use frequently.

Homemade fish spice blends can offer a truly fresh, customized taste treat. Popular fish seasoning blends include dried dill, parsley, or paprika, but dried dill and parsley tend to get old very quickly, losing their flavor.

Just make sure you use the freshest ingredients you can find, as spices do not keep their potency forever!

I tend to enjoy a little spice with fish, as white fish can be somewhat bland at times. Here are my two favorite fish seasoning blends:

Homemade Spicy Fish Seasoning:

Stir together:

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (or Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper

This recipe only makes 3 1/2 tablespoons of seasoning, which is needed for the recipe below. You can certainly double or triple it if you’d like and store it for the future.

Homemade Chile Lime Fish Seasoning:

This spice blend is known as “tajin” and is a blend of lime zest, chile pepper, and salt. It is dynamite on fish in my opinion.

  • 1 part sea salt
  • 1 part chile pepper (powdered)
  • 1 part dried lime zest (I use True Lime)

Salmon is more robust with a more distinct flavor than white fish, and a different rub may work better for salmon. These spice and herb combinations from ‘Eating Well’ magazine are my favorite blends for salmon rubs.

Healthy Fish Dinners

While most fish dinners are considered healthy by their nature, baking fish rather than frying fish without oil is considered by most studies to be “more” healthy. Here is a snippet from ‘Time’ magazine’s article on the health of fish:

“Not all fish are equal, and how you prepare it really matters,” said lead author Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in a  “When you fry fish, you not only lose a lot of the benefits, you likely add some things related to the cooking process that are harmful.”

The cornmeal and rice flour in the breading are not compliant with a low-carb diet, but if you don’t need a gluten-free diet for health purposes, oven-baked breaded fish filets can certainly fit with a healthy lifestyle….more so than fried fish.

Illustrated Step-by-Step for Breaded Baked Fish

Here are the steps lined out with photos. For the details of the recipe itself, see the recipe card below.

4 bowls with ingredients for breading the catfish: rice flour, egg, spice rub, cornmeal.
Step #1: Prep bowls for breading and seasoning fish filets
Catfish filets on a plate, covered with rice flour.
Step #2: Coat the fish filet in rice flour
Catfish filet coated in lightly beaten egg.
Step #3: Coat the filets in the lightly beaten egg
Catfish filet coated in a spicy fish seasoning blen.
Step #4: Coat the filet in the cornmeal-seasoning blend
6 breaded catfish filets laid out on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Step #5: Place filets on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 F for 10-15 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you reheat leftovers?

Yes, they will reheat best on a baking sheet lightly covered with foil. Bake at 275F for 15 minutes to warm through.

Can you use frozen fish?

Fresh fish typically has a better texture, but frozen fish can work really well if you make sure and thoroughly defrost them and pat them dry to remove excess moisture.

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Baked Fish Filets with Seasoned Cornmeal Rub

Breaded fish filets on a teal-blue plate with a side of tartar sauce and lemon wedges
Easy fish dinner with filets breaded with a seasoned rub and then baked.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons seasoning blend see notes for seasoning ideas
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 egg may need 2 eggs if small
  • 6 fish filets I used catfish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    Add seasoning blend to the cornmeal and stir together thoroughly (helps to use slotted spoon). If your seasoning blend does not include salt, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt.
    Prepare 3 stations for coating fish: 1 plate of rice flour, 1 bowl with egg(s), and 1 plate of seasoned cornmeal
    1 cup cornmeal, 3 tablespoons seasoning blend, 1 cup rice flour, 1 egg
  • Using either your fingers or the tongs, dip each filet first into the rice flour, then the egg, and then the cornmeal seasoning. Make sure each filet is fully coated.
    Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the breaded fish out on the sheet (not touching).
    Bake at 400 F for 10-15 minutes depending on thickness of fish. You will know it is done when it flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Alternatively you could use a digital thermometer and remove when it reaches 145 degrees.
    6 fish filets

Notes

**FISH SEASONING BLEND (spicy)
Stir together:
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 2 teaspoons seas salt (or Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
 
**CHILE LIME SEASONING BLEND
    • 1 part sea salt
    • 1 part chile pepper (powdered)
    • 1 part dried lime zest (I use True Lime)
 
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