Parmesan-Crusted Fish with Creamy Dill Sauce

Holy MOLY was this good.

This is definitely, by far, the thing you should be making tonight for dinner.  Or tomorrow.

Or for Valentine’s Day.

It’s REALLY good.

My super outdoorsy friend Weston goes on fishing trips in Alaska, and he brought over some halibut for us to cook earlier this week.  The parmesan and dill preparation was something he’d had in Alaska at a restaurant, so he described it to me and this is what I came up with.

It was SO good and easy!

The pictures here are for 6 large pieces of fish, but the ingredients below are written for 4 portions – increase or decrease accordingly!

  • 4 white fish filets, about an inch thick.  Halibut, cod, sea bass, or any very firm white fish is fabulous.
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (the stuff in a jar is fine unless you’re just dying to spend money on something freshly grated)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • splash heavy cream or half and half
  • one lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving

I made the sauce first so it could get super duper flavorful for awhile before we ate.

To a bowl, add the sour cream, mayo, and heavy cream.  Then, using a teeny grater, grate in the garlic and lemon zest.

If you don’t have a handheld grater you can zest the garlic and lemon on the side of a box grater or just mince it really finely – no worries either way.

Save the lemon for serving, and mince up lots and lots of dill – it’s the star of the show here!

Add the dill to the lemon/garlic/cream mixture with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then stir everything together.

I got excited after the first stir and added more dill and pepper.  Taste your dip and add more of whatever you’d like, though!  Keep in mind that the garlic flavor will get a lot stronger as the dip sits, so don’t add more of that.

Yum.  Keep the dill sauce in the fridge while you get the fish ready.

Incidentally, the dill sauce can be used as a veggie dip – who needs packaged ranch when you have THIS?

Now, for the fish.  Preheat the oven to 400F and pat the fish very dry with paper towels, then salt both sides.

I’m using a cooking rack IN a baking sheet to bake this fish, but you can use just a baking sheet, or a broiler pan, or whatever works for you.

Seriously, look at this fish.

So.  Good.  Now, for the filling:

So easy!  Melt a tablespoon of butter in a bowl, then add the panko, cheese, and pepper.  Mix it all together lightly with a fork.

I ate about three forkfuls of this.  Sorry about that.

Divide the topping evenly among the fish, then press it evenly into the top of the fish with your fingers – no need to kill it, just be sure it won’t fall off.

Nice!  NOW, at this point you’re ready to cook the fish.  However, you could make the dip a day in advance and put the crust on the fish hours before you cook it to give you time to take a shower, clean your house, make side dishes, or drink 8 glasses of boxed wine.

What I’m saying is, you can do this in advance.

When you’re ready to cook the fish, bake it for 10-15 minutes until the top is lightly brown and the fish is firm and cooked through but not dry – if you have smaller pieces of fish yours won’t take as long!

When the fish is done, pull it out of the oven and immediately spoon some of the dill sauce over the fish so it can get nice and warm.

Then, transfer the pieces of fish to a platter (or to individual plates if that’s how you roll) and top each piece with more fresh dill.

GLORY that looks delicious.  I served this so simply with roasted broccoli and cauliflower and steamed potatoes – the fish didn’t need anything to take away from how delicious it was!

Serve this with extra dill sauce and the naked, zested lemon cut into wedges, and THAT’S IT.  Promise.


Parmesan Crusted Fish with Creamy Dill Sauce
Serves 4
Write a review
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
  2. 1/2 cup sour cream
  3. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  4. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  5. 1 lemon, zested
  6. 1 clove minced garlic
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
  10. 4 filets (4-6 oz each) firm thick white fish such as halibut
  11. 1 tablespoon melted butter
  12. 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  13. 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  14. pepper and lemon wedges, to serve
  1. For the sauce, combine the sour cream, mayo, cream, lemon zest, garlic, and dill in a small bowl. Taste, and add salt, pepper, and more dill as you’d like.
  2. Set the sauce aside while you prepare the fish.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  4. Pat both sides of the fish dry with paper towels, and sprinkle both sides with salt. Place the fish on a broiler pan with rack, or on a baking rack set inside a baking sheet.
  5. Combine the melted butter, panko, and parmesan in a bowl with a fork. Add a big sprinkle of pepper and stir together.
  6. Divide the panko mixture evenly on top of fish and press lightly to form a crust on the top of each piece of fish.
  7. Bake the fish for 10-15 minutes (depending on how thick your fish is) until fish is cooked through and flaky and the crust has browned.
  8. Spoon some of the dill sauce over the fish to warm it, then top the whole mess with extra fresh dill.
  9. Serve the fish with extra dill sauce and lemon wedges.
  10. People will love you—promise.


    • says

      Ooh, yes, I bet. Maybe just a butter/crumb crust (any bread, just chop it with a knife!) and any kind of cream/mayo/sour cream/creme fraiche with some garlic or onion and whatever dried herbs you can find? If you let the sauce sit overnight they’ll reconstitute nicely! It won’t be identical….but close!

  1. Dr. John says

    There is NOTHING- I repeat, NOTHING so good as dill, sour cream, and lemon in, with, or on ANYTHING- though fish is best. Love the Parmesan, adds another layer.
    Sort of like Norway meets Italy. Yumm. Thanks. Will try..

    • says

      HECK yes. I just used it because I like the creaminess, AND if you were to bake the sauce it would hold up a bit better. Creme fraiche would work well, or all sour cream and cream with a teensy sprinkle of sugar. Play around with it, it’ll be just wonderful!

  2. says

    Wanna know something bizarre? Just last night, I baked turkey breasts with a parmesan/panko breading. Seriously. Isn’t that odd?

    I really loved the recipe — and I’m really looking forward to trying this one out, too.

    Fresh dill on ANYTHING is amazing. I’d venture to say, even chocolate. Or peanut butter. Maybe even bacon…

    Beautiful post! :)

  3. says

    Your photos are lovely, nicely lighted and clear. I like to make a creamier base, roll the entire fish in then turn into the crumbs on all sides. And you can easily make bread crumbs by pulsing it in a blender, or smashing stale bread in a baggie with a rolling pin 😀 I’ve had to make due many a time.

  4. KharmaIsis says

    I am not a huge fan of dill and you just made my mouth water. On way to store – we WILL be having this for dinner. Thx!

  5. says

    This looks fabulous. My mom makes a very similar dill dip and I have never used it outside the realm of vegetables *gasp*. I’m sure I’ll be putting it on everything now that you’ve opened my eyes to the endless possibilities. Beautiful work!

  6. says

    Beautiful photos. I LOVE food, that’s probably the reason I created a Food category on my photography page, food’s so interesting to take pictures of :) Great job!

  7. bzephyr says

    I have not been good at planning ahead for birthdays and holidays, and living in Papua New Guinea makes things worse since there’s nowhere for me to run out to at the last minute.

    But thanks for this. We recently got a whole bunch of Marlin for about $1 per steak when we visited the coastal town of Madang. This dish reminds me a little of how I learned to prepare salmon that we caught in Alaska. So this is perfect. I’ve got three days to plan this and do something special for my dear sweet Mandy.

    • bzephyr says

      I did it, and it turned out great! We managed to find just enough fresh dill at a friend’s house. I had to make our own sour cream from whipping cream and lemon. I followed your suggestions and cooked potatoes and broccoli as sides. The one glitch was that someone turned the oven off in the middle of cooking, so the fish was a little over done in the end, but not too bad. The broccoli was actually my favorite and won the spot for my last bite. We used fresh parsley on the potatoes and fresh basil on the broccoli. I added extra black pepper to the dill sauce and broccoli. I can’t get enough black pepper (and my wife said that only one bite of hers seemed like it had too much). We both loved it!. We also took your advice and had a little shiraz while we were waiting to cook the marlin. Then we opened a fresh bottle of merlot to have with the meal. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  8. says

    I don’t think I use dill enough. It has such a great and unique taste. Why grate the garlic and not smash it. I guess maybe because it is going into the sauce and you don’t want big pieces of garlic in it. Anyway, this looks tasty.

  9. says

    I was just thinking of how fish sounded really good and this recipe looks like it hits the spot. I always love fish with either a nice rice pilaf or as you did red potatoes are good too. If you do not think it too much you can make a roasted red with dill. Cut your potatoes into quarters and slather with olive oil, dill some garlic to kick up the flavor, and a little salt. Then roast them at 450 for about an hour.

  10. says

    I’m always on the lookout for new fish recipes because we try to eat it more often. I love this combination of flavors and easy it is to prepare and… in advance! Bonus. I’m also on the lookout for new blogs to follow.. I’m a follower here and on Facebook now:) Nice to meet you!

  11. slowmovement says

    I have mine in the oven right now! and I am snaking on a small dish of the cheesy crumby mixture now! awesome recipe!!!

  12. says

    The boyfriend somehow acquired a whole salmon recently and I’ve been thinking about how to fix it…I might try this, even though your recipe uses white fish. It sounds delicious!

  13. says

    Your pictures are fabulously mouthwatering! My family is trying to eat more fish…more than none that is. Haha. This recipe has lots of flavors we love, so I think we will give give it a try! Thank you so much for posting.

  14. says

    This was delicious! I made it with tilapia (since that’s what I had). This one is ranking up there with my favorite recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  15. says

    Just wanted to let you know I’ve made this recipe three times already.. tonight will be the fourth. My whole family LOVES it. Even the kids! Thanks so much for sharing.

    I use freshly grated parmesan cheese and it’s fabulous!

    Also, even though fresh dill is the BEST … this recipe also works well with dried dill in case anyone wanted to know. I’ve done it that way twice.



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