Pecan-Crusted Fish Fillets cooked to flaky perfection is my new favorite seafood dish. With fresh grouper fillets coated in crunchy, buttery pecans and crispy panko, this easy recipe delivers maximum flavor with minimum effort.
With only six primary ingredients, pecan-crusted grouper is simple to prepare and ready in minutes. Like my Pecan Crusted Chicken recipe, it is unbelievably delicious and perfect for either a casual dinner or special occasion.
You can even prep the fish fillets ahead of time, so you don’t have to spend all your time in the kitchen when entertaining guests.
What kind of fish is best?
I generally like to use either black or red grouper in this recipe. However, any mild-flavored, firm white fish such as halibut, snapper, or bass works as well. More important than the variety of fish is that it is fresh, and the fillets are at least an inch thick.
What kind of nuts?
This one is easy! I prefer pecans because I love their nutty, buttery, mild flavor. They also grow in our area, so they are always available, plus I have a freezer full. If this is your first time making this recipe, I encourage you to give them a try!
However, if you can’t find pecans where you live, you can substitute macadamia nuts, almonds, or even pistachios. All have a milder flavor and should work fine. If you prefer walnuts, you can try them, but they have a more robust flavor.
And, in the pecans vs. walnuts debate, that isn’t even a question for me; I’ll always go with pecans.
Here’s what you will need for this recipe:
Here’s how to make it:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the pecans in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Do not overprocess or you will end up with pecan meal or pecan butter.
Add the finely chopped pecans and the panko crumbs to a shallow dish or pie plate and stir to combine. Set aside.
Add the mayonnaise and creole seasoning to a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
Season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper.
Evenly spread a thin layer of the mayonnaise mixture on all sides of the fillets.
Dredge each fillet in the nut mixture, making sure to coat all sides evenly.
Heat a large 12-inch, non-stick oven-proof or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the fillets and cook for three minutes. Turn the fillets over and cook three minutes on the other side.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and let the fish finish cooking. This should take about five minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
The fish is done when it is opaque and flakes easily when pierced with a fork.
What to serve with it?
I like to serve pecan-crusted fish with either Cheese Grits, Cheese Grits Casserole, or my Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad and Southern Baked Mac and Cheese. If you need more menu ideas, you can check out all of my side dish recipes and salad recipes here.
How to make it ahead:
While I don’t recommend making this dish completely ahead of time, you can certainly prep all of the ingredients, season the fillets with salt and pepper, and cover the fish fillets with the mayonnaise mixture up to twelve hours before you want to serve it.
Store covered in the refrigerator and then before cooking, dredge the fillets in the pecan-panko mixture and cook as directed.
In the unlikely event, you do have leftovers, store them tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to two days. I usually reheat in the microwave for a minute or so before serving.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a knife to chop up your pecans finely.
A small offset spatula works well for spreading the mayonnaise mixture on the fish. If you don’t have one, a dinner knife or butter knife works too.
I like and use peanut oil for pan-frying because of the high smoke point.
The cooking time in this recipe is timed for six-ounce fillets that are approximately one inch thick. If your fillets are larger or smaller, or thicker or thinner, you will need to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
This recipe calls for pecan pieces. If you have pecan halves, you can certainly use them, but if you have to purchase them, buy the pieces, they are generally about two dollars a pound cheaper.
More grouper recipes:
In case you can’t tell, I love grouper and serve it often. If you like it as we do, here are some popular recipes on my blog that I think you might like: Grilled Grouper with Mango Salsa, Oven-Baked Parmesan Grouper, Crispy Panko Coated Oven-Baked Grouper and Pan Seared Grouper with Gremolata.
If you need more fish menu ideas, you can browse all of my seafood recipes here.
More pecan recipes:
Just like grouper, I am a huge fan of pecans and use them in everything. Here are a few recipes featuring pecans that I think you might like: The Best Roasted Pecans, Oven-Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken, Southern Pecan Praline Cake, Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie, and Bourbon Pecan Brie Bites.
And if that isn’t enough, here are a few more favorites: Old-Fashioned Pecan Pralines, Georgia Cornbread Cake aka Pecan Cake, and Quick and Easy Stovetop Candied Pecans.
★ If you make this recipe, please consider rating it and leaving a comment. I’d love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones. I hope you’ll come back soon!
Quick and Easy Pecan-Crusted Fish Fillets Recipe
- 4 fish fillets six ounces each, skinless, approximately one inch thick
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon creole seasoning I like Zatarain's
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place the pecans in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Do not over-process or you will end up with pecan meal or pecan butter.
- Add the finely chopped pecans and the panko crumbs to a shallow dish or pie plate and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Add the mayonnaise and creole seasoning to a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper.
- Evenly spread a thin layer of the mayonnaise mixture on all sides of the fillets.
- Dredge each fillet in the nut mixture, making sure to coat all sides evenly.
- Heat a large, 12-inch, non-stick oven-proof or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the fillets and cook for three minutes. Turn the fillets over and cook three minutes on the other side.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and let the fish finish cooking. This should take about five minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
- The fish is done when it is opaque and flakes easily when pierced with a fork.
- Serve immediately.
I made this with fresh tilefish and it was absolutely fabulous! My husband said “wow this is good!” It was super simple too. I did not add salt and pepper to the filets as the seasoning in the mayo was salty enough. Didn’t change anything else. Perfect keeper recipe!
I made this last night (with Red Drum that my husband caught) and it was absolutely delicious! I added a little bit of honey to the mayonnaise mixture. I also added a little bit of grated parmesan cheese to the dry dredge mix. My husband said it was better than any fish entree he’s had at a restaurant. Thank you! 🙂
Very disappointed! With a blog name of “Grits and Pinecones”, and from Tallahassee Fl no less, one would think creamy cheesy grits would be THE suggested side dish! My south Georgia family would be so disappointed. Joking of course!
Will try with center cut Salmon, serve in a green salad…I’m stuck in Calif., and let you know. Unless I get lucky and find some stone ground grits.
Hi Bart, you are absolutely right! I have no idea what I was thinking. I always serve fish with cheese grits! I’ll make that correction right away! I’ve never tried this recipe using salmon, you will have to let me know how you like it.
All the best,
Turned out great. However, I’d prefer a “white ” fleshed fish. Guess that’s the South Al in me.
Tried to attach a picture, but I couldn’t.
Made this with black grouper and used paprika and cayenne pepper since I didn’t have creole seasoning. Loved it!
Made this recipe with fresh walleye, substituting the creole seasoning with a blackening spice blend. Cooked it outside in an iron skillet over a wood fire in our fire pit. Fantastic flavors & texture.
Made this last night and it was delicious.
Didn’t have the creole seasoning though.
Used McCormick’s Grill Masters Smokehouse Maple instead. The Maple really went well with the Pecans.
I will definitely make it again!
I am definitely going to make this ……….. YUM!!!
The recipe was easy and delicious. I used strawberry grouper. Because of my fish thickness, I kept in oven for 10 minutes. I’m going to try this recipe with other type fish.
Hi Kathy, I’m so glad you liked it. I’ve never heard of strawberry grouper, we only have red or black where we live. I’ll have to check it out.
All the best,