Ranch Baked Fish is made of any whiting fish seasoned with garlic salt, ranch dressing, and cheese. This Oven Baked fish is so creamy from the ranch dressing and the cheese crust seals the moisture in for tender and juicy fish! You will love this oven-baked fish recipe, it’s always a hit at gatherings!

ranch baked fish

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We love baked fish recipes, for their easy clean-up vs fried fish. Our favorite fish recipes are Creamy Baked Tilapia Spinach CasseroleFish with Mango Salsa, and Baked Salmon With Garlic Mayo. This baked white fish has got to be the easiest fish recipe to whip up last minute and constantly gets raves!

Baked Fish:

This recipe for baked fish comes from my mother-in-law who will bake fish with mayo or ranch dressing at any given time. It’s an easy fish sauce using a prepared dressing that you likely have sitting in your fridge. When last-minute guests are arriving, I’ll quickly shake garlic salt over the fish fillets, drizzle some ranch dressing over the top, and then top it with sliced Havarti and into the oven, it goes. Mind you, this is not your dry fish, it’s full of amazing flavors that even non-fish lovers seem to enjoy! I get constantly asked for the recipe after serving this fish, it’s just plain good!

It really is an effortless one-pan recipe baked in a creamy sauce that you can make on any given day! Totally the opposite of bland fish and comes out super tender! This recipe will work for any white fish fillets and is under 5 minutes to prep! You can transform this fish fillet into exotic flavors by using fancy cheeses and different creamy dressings like Caesars dressing! So many different variations to play with!

What Does Ranch Baked Fish Taste Like?

You may think this recipe is saturated in ranch dressing and dominant in the ranch flavors, but really the dressing melts into the fish and is mixed with cheese to create a super creamy and pleasant rich sauce (mild in ranch flavor!) It’s actually light and the fat from the dressing slightly spreads out to create a browned cheese crust around the edges, it’s so addictive to eat the cheese crust not alone the fish! The fish sauce can be spooned over mashed potatoes or topped over bread like mackerel fish! My favorite combination is this ranch dressing and halved Havarti slices from Costco!

Best Fish To Bake:

Any Whiting fish or white fish fillets will work for the fish meat here. Popular choices include Cod fish, swai fillets, flounder fish, bass fillets, pollock, and tilapia fish. I like to buy plenty of fish fillets in bulk already frozen, just check the seafood freezer section at your local grocery store as they sometimes have good deals! You’ll want a big fish fillet or at least the size of a tilapia fillet to bake fish. This recipe goes best with fillets not whole fish with scales. I like to use clean fish, free of bones so, look for boneless fillets. It doesn’t have to be skinless as the skins tend to be left behind on parchment paper anyways.

How Long To Bake Fish:

Depending on the size of your fish fillets, you will need anywhere between 10-25 minutes. The best temperature to bake fish is at a high heat temp of 400°F. You could go with 350°F for baking fish but cooking this fish slow and low can dry out the flesh. The fish is done cooking when it turns opaque in color and the internal temperature reads 145°F. Don’t overbake the fish as it can become too dry. I like to use my convection oven and bake at a high temp of 450°F or more, it creates a speckled cheese crust this way and cooks the fish fast so it doesn’t tend to overbake.

 

Ingredients Needed:

Baked fish fillets are easy to make using simple ingredients! You can buy white fish fillets at a fish market or even go fishing just remember you’ll need to know how to fillet a fish and gut one, so, to save time simply buy frozen fillets and thaw them before preparing.

  • White Fish fillets- look for medium-firm white fish fillets 1-2 cm thick. Any thicker will need longer baking time. My go-to white fish fillets are tilapia, pollock, bass, or swai fish, they are easily available and easy to cook with.
  • Ranch dressing- wishbone ranch dressing works best for this fish and I’m a Hidden valley ranch user! I don’t know what it is but the fish comes out so much more flavorful, maybe it’s just tangier.
  • Cheese- you can use any mild-aged cheese like Havarti, cheddar cheese, or Monterey cheese. My favorite is Havarti cheese, which I break in half to cover the fillet.
  • Seasoning- garlic salt is all you need to season a fish fillet, it’s already loaded with salt and pungent garlic.

Variations:

Ranch Dressing isn’t the only way to a smothered baked fish! Here are the different variations to try using other creamy-based dressings.

  • Italian Dressing Baked Fish- top with creamy Italian dressing and fresh parmesan cheese or provolone cheese.
  • Caesars Baked Fish- drizzle fish fillets with creamy caesar dressing, and cheddar cheese.
  • Creamy Vidalia Onion Baked Fish- top with a sweet onion dressing and swiss cheese.
  • Baked Fish With Chipotle Ranch- for Tex-Mex fish flavors use Chipotle ranch and Mexican cheese shreds.

There are so many different dressings and cheeses to mix and match, let us know in the comments below what is your favorite combination of flavors! 

How To Bake Fish:

It’s so easy to bake fish in the oven, clean-up is minimal when using this true non-stick pan as the fish literally slips off when using a fish spatula. You will not even need parchment paper if using the USA pan. You should always start with thawed fish for baking. Here is how to cook fish in the oven;

ranch baked fish

  1. Season fish with garlic salt. I like to lightly shake the seasoning on both sides of the fish.
  2. Arrange fillets onto a large roasting pan or half-sheet baking pan.
  3. Drizzle the ranch dressing over each fillet (I like to make a loop pattern for the dressing to adhere better.)
  4. Top with cheese (shredded or halved slices.) It’s best to center the cheese in the middle so, as it bakes it won’t slide off as easily.
  5. Bake at a high temp of 450°F until the fish is done and the cheese is bubbly (about 20-25 minutes for 6+ fillets)

Thawing Tip: are your fish fillets frozen and do you need them quickly? Simply place frozen fillets on a tray. Turn on the oven until it’s just getting warm and then turn it off. Place the tray of fillets into the warm oven and it will speed up the thawing time. You could also place each vacuum-sealed fillet into cold water to thaw the fish fast. 

What Goes With Baked Fish?

We love baked fish with hearty potatoes! You can serve fish with healthy vegetable sides or grains for a wholesome meal. Here are some tasty ways to eat creamy baked fish;

More Fish Recipes To Try:

Storing and Reheating Baked Fish:

How long does cooked fish last in the fridge? Fish is good in the fridge for up to 3 days after it has been baked. I would not let fish stay in the fridge longer than that, as it can spoil quickly because of the composition of fats and amino acids in its structure. If your fish thawed and you’re not ready to bake the fish yet, simply place the fillets on a long enough tray to lay the fish flat (so it doesn’t break) lined with paper towels (to absorb any excess liquid) and cover well with plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.

To Reheat: fish, always reheat covered with a splash of water to re-steam and revive the fish. Reheating in the open air can dry out the fish. Use aluminum foil to reheat in the oven or plastic wrap if reheating fish in the microwave. It should typically 6-8 minutes to reheat fish in the oven or about 2 minutes in the microwave depending on how many fillets you are reheating.

 FAQ:

Is Fish Good For You?

Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and calcium. It is recommended by The American Heart Association to eat fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet.

 

Tips For Baking Fish in the Oven:

  1. Bake fish at a high temperature for a nice cheese crust!
  2. Choose a healthy low-fat dressing for a lighter dish.
  3. Serve fish fillets with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over baked fish for more flavor.
  4. To get rid of the fish smell, neutralize the air by letting a bowl of vinegar sit out. I also like to light a candle.
  5. The best fish sauce substitute here is to use a packet of dry ranch and lemon juice.
  6. Need more dry-roasting ideas? Place a few seasoned fillets into the air fryer to not run a whole oven!
  7. Use any white fish that you have on hand, like trout, white bullhead, and grouper fish.
  8. Always reheat baked fish, covered so it doesn’t dry out. When microwaving I’ll cover it with plastic wrap for a steaming effect.
  9. Fold and cut big cheese slices into thirds or half. Havarti cheese slices from Costco can be large so break them up into big enough pieces to cover the fillets.
  10. Let the dressing marinade on the fish while the oven is preheating.
  11. Baked fish is very fragile, if you don’t have a fish spatula then use 2 regular spatulas to carefully remove the fillets from the baking pan.

 

 

How To Bake Fish with Ranch:

Ranch Baked Fish

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Ranch Baked Fish is made of any whiting fish seasoned with garlic salt, ranch dressing, and cheese. This Oven Baked fish is so creamy from the ranch dressing and the cheese crust seals the moisture in for tender and juicy fish! You will love this oven-baked fish recipe, it's always a hit at gatherings!

Equipment

  • 1 half sheet baking pan (about 18x13)
  • 1 fish spatula (to easily remove fish from the pan)

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs white fish fillets (about 6 big fillets)
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic salt
  • 6 slices Havarti cheese (cut into thirds to cover long fillet)

Instructions

Instructions:

  • Season and sprinkle both sides of the white fish fillets with garlic salt.
  • Drizzle ranch dressing over the top of each fillet (about 2-3 Tbsp each.)
  • white fish fillets topped with ranch and cheese
    Top with cheese and lightly drizzle with additional ranch dressing.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 450°F for 15-20 minutes. (If using smaller fish fillets decrease the baking time.)

Notes

Note: some whiting fish fillets, like pollock fillets, are longer in size (approx. 9" long) if using smaller fish fillets, decrease the cooking time accordingly and adjust the salt.

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1fish filletCalories: 290kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 30gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 1032mgPotassium: 374mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 230IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 187mgIron: 1mg

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