Fish In White Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Jump to RecipeRate Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Impress your loved ones with my recipe for Fish in White Sauce! Whether you’re hosting a small dinner party or just want to try something new, this 25 minute recipe will surely come in handy. You can easily double the amounts to serve more people!

Cooked fish fillets in a skillet with white sauce.

With this entrée, you’ll indulge in tender fish fillets coated in a rich, zesty lemon cream sauce! Hints of butter, garlic, parsley, and fresh citrus juice perfectly complement the mild flavor of tilapia.

The nice thing about this Fish In White Sauce recipe is that you can serve it with various sides, such as Garlic Herb Rice, Sautéed Vegetables, pasta, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes or Lettuce Salad. My girls love it with pasta while my hubby enjoys it with rice. It is a family-pleasing dinner!

I love making meals with fish when we need a break from meat. If you want to try more fish recipes, you can also try my Pan Seared Tilapia, Garlic Butter Tilapia, or Lemon Butter Tilapia.

Dipping fork into fish in white sauce.

Why You’ll Love Fish In White Sauce

  • It is an excellent source of protein! One cooked fillet typically contains between 21 to 26 grams of protein. So, if you want a satisfying dinner that will nourish your body after a long day, this is the recipe to try.
  • It is ready in 25 minutes. If you’re anything like me, you love a quick weeknight meal. This recipe allows me to have dinner on the table within less than 30 minutes. You just can’t beat it!
  • It’s a low-cost dinner. Generally, tilapia is inexpensive. You can make this recipe without sacrificing flavor or quality when feeding your family on a budget; it tastes luxurious due to the flaky fish and insanely delicious sauce.

Ingredients Needed

Measured ingredients needed for recipe.

The detailed list of ingredients is in the recipe card below. However, here are some of the primary ingredients you’ll need:

  • Tilapia Fillets: This fish has mild sweetness, which works wonderfully with the other ingredients in the dish, especially the savory components like chicken stock and garlic. Use room temperature fillets for uniform cooking. I used tilapia loins as that’s what was available at my grocery store.
  • Olive Oil: Oil ensures the fish doesn’t stick to the pan, so don’t skip out on it!
  • Lemon Juice: When you add this component towards the end of cooking, it brightens the entire dish’s overall taste, but especially the sauce.
  • Garlic: Fresh, minced garlic pairs well with the fish. It becomes nutty and fragrant when you cook it in the butter for the sauce.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream gives the sauce a velvety, rich flavor and thick texture. Using milk won’t give you the same result.

Ensure the fish you are using is fresh. Fresh fish will have a mild aroma and firm flesh.

How To Make Fish In White Sauce

You don’t need any advanced skills to make Fish In White Sauce. Here are the easy steps involved:

1. Pat dry tilapia fillets and season them.

Raw seasoned fish fillets.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.

3. Lightly cook the fish, flipping halfway through.

Seasoned and cooked fish in pan.

4. Remove the fish from the pan.

5. Melt butter and add minced garlic.

Garlic, butter, and flour in pan.

6. Stir in flour and liquids (except the lemon juice).

Mixing white sauce with a whisk.

7. Let it simmer before adding the fish back to the pan.

White sauce cooking in a pan.

8. Finish cooking the fish in the sauce.

Fish cooking in white sauce.

9. Adjust the seasoning and add lemon juice.

10. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.

Fish in white sauce garnished with minced parsley.

And that’s how you make luscious, lemony, fish in white sauce. This meal is best served warm and leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Simmer the sauce on low to reheat, and add more chicken stock or some milk if the sauce is too thick.

Fish tends to cook quickly so don’t overcook the fish. The fish is ready when it flakes easily with a fork.

Substitutions and Variations

Feel free to adjust this recipe to your liking. You can make small changes such as:

  • Different Fish: Substitute the tilapia fillets for different fish! Luckily, many different types fit with white sauce, so you can alter the dish to fit your preferences. More on that below!
  • Seasonings and Herbs: Add different seasonings to the fish or sauce. For instance, you can include fresh oregano, onion powder, or lemon pepper seasoning.
  • Gluten-Free Flour: You can easily make this dish gluten-free using a different flour type! Check the special flour’s packaging to see if you can swap the ingredients with a 1:1 ratio or if you need to measure a different amount.
Fish in white sauce with lemon slices.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure the fish fillets are fully defrosted before using them. One way is to defrost them in the refrigerator overnight. You can also quickly defrost them by placing them in a bowl of cold water. Replace the water with fresh water every 20 minutes until they are ready to use. They might even be ready before you need to refresh it!
  • Before cooking the fillets, it’s always a good idea to double-check for any small pin bones that you may have to remove. Sometimes, they can get missed when the fish is being filleted.
  • Regardless of whether you choose tilapia or another type of fish, it’s important to ensure that the fillets you purchase come from responsibly farmed or sustainable sources. This is better for the environment and ensures that the fish is of higher quality, containing lower levels of potential contaminants.

What Kind Of Fish Should I Use?

If you can’t get a hold of tilapia, don’t fret! Plenty of other options work effectively and taste just as delicious in this recipe. Some options you can try are cod, catfish, flounder, halibut, or red snapper.

Although each fish has its unique qualities and might have a slightly bolder flavor or different texture than tilapia, the lemony sauce with hints of garlic is a perfect match for any of them.

Fork showing flakiness of cooked fish.

Looking for quick serving ideas for fish in white sauce? Serve it with steamed rice, pasta, or vegetables!

Recipe Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Popular White Fish Fillets?

Some of the most popular white fish fillets are cod, halibut, flounder, tilapia, sea bass, grouper, haddock, catfish, and red snapper. However, the popularity of certain fish types can depend on the region, as accessibility and different cuisines play a factor in determining popularity.

What Sauces Are Good With Fish?

There are several types of sauces that go well with fish. This recipe uses a white sauce that adds impressive flavor to a mild fish like tilapia.
However, there are other great options, like pesto sauce, butter sauce, mustard sauce, white wine sauce, or even dill sauce, depending on the type of fish you’re using.

Is White Sauce Just Alfredo Sauce?

No, white sauce and Alfredo are different! White sauce uses a roux with fat (for example, butter) and flour. Then, it has a dairy product like milk, half-and-half, or cream, depending on the recipe. Classic white sauce is referred to as bechamel in French cooking.
Meanwhile, Alfredo sauce always has parmesan cheese. The base is typically butter, garlic, and cream, followed by the cheese, but some variations contain nutmeg and other spices. It usually doesn’t have flour.

More Recipes With Creamy Sauce

There’s something about creamy sauces that just screams luxury! Here are some of my favorite creamy sauce recipes:


The following side dishes pair well with this Fish In White Sauce:

More Easy Dinner Recipes

Let’s make dinner time easy for you! Try the following easy dinner recipes:

If you make this recipe please leave a star rating below. Your rating helps others find the recipe plus I love hearing from you! Thank you!

Fish in white sauce with lemon slices.

Fish In White Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Flaky fish in a creamy white lemony sauce that is garlicky and so tasty! You'll love this easy Fish In White Sauce dinner, ready in 25 minutes.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 pound tilapia fillets or loins 3-4 fillets or loins, sub with other white fish like snapper or sea bass
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • cups heavy cream
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Parsley for garnish.


  • Pat room temperature tilapia fillets or loins dry and season both sides with the salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Add the olive to a large skillet (12 inches wide) and heat up on medium-high heat for 2 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the tilapia fillets to the pan. Cook on one side for 3 minutes then using a fish spatula, flip carefully to the other side and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan.
  • Add butter to the pan and let it melt. Reduce the heat to medium. Add minced garlic and stir for 10 seconds until fragrant. Add the flour and stir for 30 seconds to remove the raw flavor. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for 5 minutes while stirring or whisking occasionally. The sauce will be thick and glossy. Whisk in the heavy cream. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the fish back to the pan. Let it simmer for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the fresh lemon juice according to taste and stir to combine.
  • Garnish with minced parsley and serve warm over mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice.


Storage and reheating: This meal is best served warm and leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Simmer the sauce on low to reheat, and add more chicken stock or some milk if the sauce is too thick.
Other kinds of fish to use: Some options you can try are cod, catfish, flounder, halibut, or red snapper. If using tilapia, make sure you get tilapia that is sustainably sourced and responsibly farmed. The fish packaging should indicate this.


Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 312mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1279IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Western
Calories: 507
Tried this recipe?Mention @preciouscore or tag #PreciousCore!

About Precious

Welcome to my core! I am Precious Nkeih, the recipe developer and writer right here on my blog, Precious Core. My goal is to show you insanely delicious recipes you can replicate in your kitchen. And I love to tell stories too. Hope you find recipes here that will make cooking easier for you! Check me out on YouTube at

You Might Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating