Ultimate Steelhead Trout Recipe


Are you looking for a steelhead trout recipe? You’re in the right place. This recipe is a quick, simple one which produces a great result practically every time. Whether you’re a brand-new cook or someone looking to expand their techniques, this recipe is easy to learn and even easier to make.

What Is Steelhead Trout?

Steelhead trout are a distinct fish species that live mainly on the West Coast of the United States. They’re the same species as the better-known rainbow trout, but differences in lifestyle lead to physical changes that affect their size and taste.

While rainbow trout stay in freshwater, steelhead migrate to the ocean and grow significantly larger before returning to freshwater rivers to spawn. Steelhead trout are threatened or endangered in many areas, but fisheries raise some for eating, and they’re widely available in stores near the Pacific.

Their life cycle starts from the middle of April to the end of June when adult steelhead move into streams and find areas to spawn. Most prefer spawning areas with gravel beds, which female steelhead use to cover the eggs.

Once the eggs hatch, the young trout spend about two years in the stream, mainly eating zooplankton, insects, and other small food. As they get a bit larger, they may also eat smaller fish and some fish eggs, transitioning to eating smaller fish outright once they get large enough.

Steelhead Trout

After growing in the stream, steelhead swim out to the ocean and continue growing for at least one year. Some will spend up to three years in the ocean before returning to spawn, and the longer they’re there, the larger they get.

One set of steelhead migrates between May and October, while the other migrates from November to April. These are collectively known as summer-run and winter-run steelhead. The differences mean the fish is available throughout the year.

Typical steelhead weigh about 10 lbs, with trophy fish going above 20 lbs. It’s thought they can get up to about 40 pounds in the right environment, but don’t expect to see anything that big in a typical grocery store.

Food-wise, steelhead trout have an orange/pink flesh that looks similar to salmon, to which they’re related. However, their flavor is milder than salmon and can appeal to people who don’t like intensely fishy flavors.

When cooked, steelhead flakes into medium-sized pieces and a properly-cooked fish is comfortably tender.

As a West Coast fish in America, steelhead is easier to acquire near the Pacific ocean, where there’s minimal time between delivery and appearance in stores. Some ship across the country, but costs increase the further they go. Some areas prefer stocking rainbow trout instead, which are fundamentally the same fish but a little smaller.

Steelhead Trout

Steelhead Trout Recipe

Steelhead trout are a distinct fish species that live mainly on the West Coast of the United States. They’re the same species as the better-known rainbow trout, but differences in lifestyle lead to physical changes that affect their size and taste.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6
Calories 252 kcal


  • 1 lb steelhead trout filet, no skin
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Pepper and salt
  • Cooking spray


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • While the oven is heating, get a piece of aluminum foil that’s large enough to wrap around your filet, then spray it with your cooking spray.
  • Place your filet in the middle of your foil and fold up all four sides to form a bowl shape. Do not cover the fish entirely just yet.
  • Start melting your butter. You can use either the microwave or a pan on the stove for this.
  • Add salt and pepper over the filet to taste (a pinch does fine for most people), then drizzle the lemon juice over the fish and try to coat it evenly.
  • Stir the garlic into the butter once it’s done melting, then drizzle the whole thing over your filet.
  • Finish folding the foil over the fish and seal it into a closed container.
  • Cook directly on the oven rack for 15-20 minutes, then serve immediately.
Keyword baked trout, steelhead trout

Tips & Tricks for Steelhead Trout

This steelhead trout recipe works for most types of fish without too much trouble. Salmon, rainbow trout, cod, and more all bake well in foil. The trick here is that the sealed aluminum foil helps steam the fish, which keeps it moist and locks in the flavor.

For cleanup, you can throw away the foil. The easy cleanup is one of the best parts of baked trout recipes that use aluminum foil, and it can save you a lot of time when you’re busy.

Once you’re used to this recipe, you can start adjusting the toppings to taste. Many people enjoy adding parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, or other fish-compatible flavors. This recipe is best when you keep it simple, so try to limit toppings to 1-2 compatible ingredients for the best flavor.

Steelhead Trout


Grilling trout is quite affordable compared to using fish like salmon, so this is a good recipe to master if you’re on a budget. The ingredients are widely available in most grocery stores, so you can make this dish at any time of year.

If you want a crispier texture on the outside, move the fish to the top rack when you have about five minutes to go, open the top, and broil it. It will lose a little of the moisture, but the steaming earlier in the cooking phase will ensure the result isn’t too dry.

Finally, fresh fish is always better, but you can store a steelhead trout filet in the freezer for about three months before its quality starts to go down. Eight months is about the maximum for a viable recipe, but it’s better to buy the fish close to when you plan to use it.

Most steelhead sold too far from the West Coast are frozen at some point, so make sure to check the dates on the packaging to figure out how long you have before its quality deteriorates.

Nutrition Information of Steelhead Trout

A 170-gram serving of Steelhead trout has about:

  • Calories: 252
  • Fat: 11g
  • Sodium: 88 mg
  • Potassium: 614 mg
  • Protein: 35 mg

The nutritional content of your recipe will vary somewhat depending on what type of butter you use, how much salt you add, and so on.

Conclusion for Steelhead Trout

This steelhead trout recipe is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get a delicious trout fillet for the whole family. Try making it tonight, then start tweaking the recipe to taste. Once you make it a habit, it’s an effective way to get fish into your weekly diet.

Join the Conversation

  1. I’ve had this recipe for a couple of yrs and just made it this past weekend.

  2. DomesticatedDiva says:

    Yum! Relatively easy to make and a good balance of flavors.

  3. Mother of Twins says:

    This was wonderful and too easy!

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