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Pan seared halibut steaks with Chinese chili oil sauce on a plate with blistered green beans, lime wedges, and a glass of wine on the side.
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5 from 4 reviews

Pan Seared Halibut Recipe with Chili Garlic Oil

Pan seared halibut gets a major upgrade from a spicy chili garlic oil that gives the fish a serious kick. Serve with fresh herbs, lime wedges, and thinly sliced chilis. An easy weeknight dinner or celebratory meal!
Prep20 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Total30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Alaskan halibut, chili garlic sauce, halibut fillet
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 293kcal
Author: Ari Laing


  • 2 (10 - 12 oz) halibut steaks or (4) halibut fillets steaks pictured here about 1 ¼-1 ½" thick, totaling ~24 oz
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil, such as canola
  • 2 Tbsp Chinese chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • Basil, mint, and/or cilantro for serving
  • 1 Thai bird chili or other long red pepper, thinly sliced, for serving
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • Mumm Napa Brut Rosé


  • Season the fish. Pat the halibut dry on both sides with a paper towel, then generously season on both sides with Kosher salt and black pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cooking.
    Halibut steaks with salt and pepper on a gold plate.
  • Heat the pan. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until very hot. Add grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil). You're looking for a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.
  • Sear the halibut. When hot, add halibut steaks and cook undisturbed for 5-6 minutes. This will help the fish form a crust that makes it easier to flip.
    Pan seared halibut in a skillet.
  • Make the chili garlic oil. In a medium bowl, combine chili oil and sesame oil, then whisk well. Keep smashed cloves close by.
    Chili garlic oil in a bowl.
  • Add sauce. Use a fish spatula to carefully flip halibut steaks over. Pour the chili garlic oil on top, then add garlic cloves to the pan. Cook an additional 4-5 minutes, or until halibut has reached an internal temperature of between 130F - 135F. Tilt the pan slightly during the last few minutes of cook time, then use a large spoon to collect the sauce and baste the fish fillets or steaks.
    Halibut steaks with chili garlic oil cooking in a skillet.
  • Garnish then serve. Transfer cooked halibut to serving plates, then garnish with fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, or a combination), lime wedges, and thinly sliced chilies. Recommended wine pairing: Mumm Napa Brut Rosé
    Alaskan halibut with string beans and limes on a plate with sautéed string beans.


  • Place bottle of Mumm Napa Brut Rosé in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.
  • Internal temperature of fish: the temperature will continue to rise slightly after being removed from the pan. The target temperature for halibut should be between 140F - 145F, which is why we recommend taking it off heat around 135F.
  • Cook time varies based on thickness. We use halibut steaks that are about 1 ¼ - 1 ½ inches thick. Adjust cook time based on the thickness of your fish. This is the meat thermometer we use to check for doneness.


Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 1115mg | Potassium: 756mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 124IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
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