Simplest soy-glazed fish

This is my go-to fish recipe – fast, easy, versatile and crazy delicious. It can be Asian, but it doesn’t have to be. As good with mashed potatoes as it is with rice.


  • 1 pound fish fillets (a flaky white fish works well, but I’ve also used firmer fish, like swordfish)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil (avocado oil is my favorite)
  • Chopped scallions (optional)


  1. Rinse and pat dry fish. Cut into smaller serving sizes, about 3-4 inches per piece, and place in a bowl (smaller pieces allow for more surface area for the fish to absorb the marinade).
  2. Mix the soy sauce and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar granules. Pour over fish and turn pieces to coat them in the marinade. Refrigerate until ready to use (can be a short time or overnight, depending on the time you have).
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the pan surface. Add fish in a single layer (you’ll likely need a second batch depending on the size of your pan), reserving the marinade in the bowl. Cook fish a few minutes per side, until just cooked through. As it cooks, the color generally goes from translucent to opaque, and the flesh falls apart more easily. Remove cooked fish to plate.
  4. Add marinade to the hot skillet and simmer it a minute or two until the liquid cooks down and looks a bit syrupy. It’s easy to cook it down to nothing, so watch it carefully. Better to take it off the heat too soon than too late (no one minds extra sauce). Pour the sauce over the fish, top with chopped scallions (optional) and serve. Excellent over steamed rice or mashed potatoes.


  • Good soy sauce is particularly important here. My mom and I use Kikkoman, which is consistently excellent.
  • I’ve used this method with many different kinds of local-to-me Pacific fish, including black cod, rock fish, sea bass, yellowtail and swordfish. My mom makes it with frozen black cod fillets from Costco.
  • Optional: tweak the sugar to your taste, or embellish with additional aromatics (garlic, ginger, onion).

Here’a a link back to the post and pictures.