Oven baked trout is one of the best ways to cook fish. It’s guaranteed moist, flaky, and full of flavor in just about 12 minutes. This recipe guide will teach you everything you need to know for perfect foil-wrapped trout.
Trout is by far my favorite type of fish. It’s tender, flaky, rich in fatty flavor, yet mild and not ‘fishy’. I’d even say it is the perfect starter fish for those with picky pallets. My favorite way of cooking it is whole rainbow trout baked in the oven.
This method steams the fish, guaranteeing a moist, juicy texture that’s absolutely delicious. It also traps in the flavor of add-ins such as fresh herbs, seasonings, and fresh lemon slices. Sheet pan baking makes it easy. When you’re done, simply discard the foil and give the baking sheet a quick clean.
Honestly, I’m surprised I don’t have more trout recipes on the blog. I could go on and on about why this trout recipe is amazing, but instead, let’s get baking.
What You’ll Need for Oven Baked Trout
- Whole rainbow trout: Avoid getting fish fillets and go for the real deal. The mild flavor and texture will be much better. If you’re a bit squeamish about whole fish (like me), it just takes a few times of making it. Plus, whole trout from the seafood section is already cleaned and ready to cook.
- Fresh herbs: I like to add herbs such as fresh dill, oregano, thyme, and/or basil inside the fish. This infuses flavors into the meat.
- Seasonings: The most basic seasoning is just salt and pepper. This is my preferred method as it lets the flavors of the trout shine.
- Lemon: Fresh lemon pairs perfectly with fish. You can fill with lemon slices, rub with zest, or squeeze on fresh juice.
- Olive oil or melted butter: This adds flavor and moisture to the meat.
- Foil: This is the best way to bake trout. It traps in the moisture and steams the fish. It also makes clean-up super easy. No messy or sticky pans. Note: Parchment paper will also work, but I find foil creates a better seal.
How to Bake Trout in the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Be sure the whole trout is cleaned and the insides have been removed. If already cleaned from the store, rinsing off the fish is optional.
- Place a whole trout on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the top and inside with olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper on the outside and inside until evenly coated.
- Insert fresh herbs and lemon slices into the cavity. Tightly wrap in foil to seal well. Repeat for remaining fish.
- Place trout on a baking sheet and place it on the middle rack in the preheated oven. Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches at least 145° F, or the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Want to spice things up a bit beyond just salt and pepper? Here are some other ways to season the trout.
Ways to Season Trout
- The most basic way to season trout is with salt and ground black pepper. This lets the flavors of the fish shine through
- It’s also recommended to drizzle with olive oil or melted butter (salted or unsalted). This adds extra flavor and moisture
- Fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme, dill, or minced garlic
- You could also try dry seasonings such as lemon pepper, dried herbs such as dried oregano, Greek seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, or all-seasonings salt.
- Citrus goes perfectly with trout. My favorite is lemon slices, but you could also rub with lemon zest, lemon juice, or use another citrus such as limes and oranges.
Answers to Common Questions
What the Best Type of Trout to Bake
Honestly, any trout is amazing. My favorites are baked rainbow trout and steelhead trout. These are also the most common at grocery stores.
Should I Get Wild-Caught or Farm Raised?
Generally, I prefer wild-caught fish for health reasons and the best flavor. But I’ve noticed trout is most commonly available just as farm-raised. Avoid trout fillet and go with whole-trout.
If you’re lucky enough to catch your own trout while fishing, this is the best you’ll find. One advantage of farm-raised fish is the meat can be fattier. The trout I baked had a taste of melted butter, even though I didn’t add any.
Do You Need to Rinse the Fish?
Since it’s not being eaten raw, it’s not necessary to rinse fish before baking. I find it’s also messier and just requires extra cleaning of your sink or counters.
Do you Cover Your Fish When You Bake It?
Wrapping fish in foil steams it and holds in moisture. Meatier fish such as tuna and swordfish are more like steaks and don’t need to be covered. Trout is best covered and wrapped in foil to hold in the juices while baking.
What Temp Should Trout Be Cooked At?
The best temperature range to bake fish is 375 to 400 degrees F. If it’s covered a higher temp is fine.
How Long Do You Cook Trout
Trout is best baked in the oven at 400° for 12 to 16 minutes. This depends on the size and thickness of the fish and desired doneness.
How to Know if Trout is Cooked
The safest way is to cook to an internal temp of 145° F when read with a digital thermometer. It should also be opaque white, instead of a greyish color, and also flaked easily when pulled with a fork.
Can you eat the skin of baked trout?
Personally, I prefer to not eat the skin of fish, but it is perfectly safe, especially if it’s wild-caught.
Fish with a thick skin such as salmon is best without the skin. Trout has very thin skin, and when baked in foil it becomes very soft. It comes down to a personal preference, but generally, I say skip the skin.
What about the heads?
You can remove the heads before or after baking. It doesn’t affect the flavor or cooking time. Some people are a bit squeamish with whole fish, and I find not having the head makes that easier. Note: there is some meat in the head and some find it a delicacy.
Trout Nutrition Facts
A whole trout averages about ¾ pounds. A fish this size has about 200 calories, 35 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and zero carbs. That’s a great nutrient ratio for how much flavor it packs. Trout is also gluten-free, low-carb, and keto.
What to Do With Leftovers
Generally, fish is best fresh and not served as leftovers. The flavor is less mild and the texture is often dryer when reheated.
I suggest just cooking what you plan to eat that night. Plus it bakes in only about 12 minutes, so it’s easy to make again later in the week.
Cooked fish should only be stored in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. I don’t recommend freezing cooked fish as the texture is ruined when frozen and thawed.
Want More Fish Recipes?
- Italian Fish Soup
- Ahi Tuna Bites
- Grilled Salmon Kabobs
- Healthy Tuna Cakes
- Spicy Tuna Avocado Boats
- Maple Glazed Sheet Pan Salmon
You’ll also love my authentic Baja-style Beer Battered Fish Tacos
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Whole Oven Baked Trout in Foil
- 2 whole trouts, about ¾ pounds each (insides cleaned)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 large lemon, sliced
- Fresh herbs, such as oregano, thyme or dill
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Place a whole trout on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the top and inside with half of the olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper on the outside and inside until evenly coated.
- Insert fresh herbs and lemon slices into the cavity. Tightly wrap in foil to seal well. Repeat for the remaining fish.
- Place both wrapped trout on a baking sheet and place on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches at least 145° F and the fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Serve immedialty drizzled with the fresh squeeze lemon slices.