5-Ingredient Pan-Seared Garlic Lemon Pepper Walleye Recipe Is Ready in 20 Minutes by Elisa Schmitz

Seafood Dinner
a year ago

5-Ingredient Pan-Seared Garlic Lemon Pepper Walleye Recipe Is Ready in 20 Minutes

My husband is from Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” All those lakes mean lots of fishing, especially for walleye, a popular freshwater whitefish in the perch family. Walleye are native to Canada, the Great Lakes, the Missouri River basin and the upper Mississippi River basin, according to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

My husband grew up eating walleye in Minnesota, but I never ate much of it until we got married. Whenever we see it on a menu, we order it. But in honor of my husband’s upcoming birthday, I created a walleye recipe for him. Spoiler alert: he loved it!

Walleye is a firm yet delicate fish with a buttery texture. It doesn’t have a “fishy” flavor to it, which is why so many people love it. You’ll find many recipes for breaded, fried walleye. But that coating may cover up the naturally delicious flavor of the fish. That’s why this easy seafood recipe for pan-seared garlic lemon pepper walleye keeps it simple. I only used olive oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic and sea salt and pepper – and the simple ingredients allow the walleye’s delicious flavor to shine.

This pan-seared walleye recipe is not only incredibly moist and flavorful, but also very easy to make. With just a few minutes of prep time and a few minutes of cook time, you’ve got a delicious seafood dinner ready in only about 20 minutes! Serve with potatoes or rice and your favorite vegetables (I served ours with baked potatoes and turmeric broccoli). 

Oh, and if you're looking for a Minnesota-style dessert, my Minnesota boy recommends anything made with rhubarb, like my Magic Strawberry Rhubarb Cake recipe or my Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp recipe. Enjoy!

Fun fact from the NWF: the walleye is named for its opaque, cloudy-looking eye, caused by a reflective layer of pigment (called the tapetum lucidum) that helps it see in low light.

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: 3


  • 1 walleye filet (about 1 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 2 small-medium lemons, about 4 tablespoons (I used Meyer lemons from my lemon trees), plus additional lemon slices for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of each)

Here’s how to make it:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, sea salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Place the walleye filet in a large skillet (you may need to cut it into pieces to make it fit). Pour the lemon juice mixture over the walleye, ensuring the fish is covered by the sauce. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Uncover and flip the fish onto its other side.
  5. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes, or until fish is cooked through (walleye turns white when done cooking). Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

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Olive Oil
Olive Oil $4 & Up
Sea Salt
Sea Salt $2 & Up
Skillets $10 & Up

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Donna John
I have never eaten walleye! Don't even think I've seen it in the stores here. Bet I could use cod or another whitefish instead. Looks delicious! Elisa Schmitz
Elisa Schmitz
It think it's more of a Midwest thing, Donna John , but if you can find some walleye, buy it! If you can't, you can absolutely try this recipe with another whitefish. So easy and delicious!
Dieter Schmitz
Thanks Elisa Schmitz for bringing the lore of Minnesota into our home. Our walleye dinner last night was perfect! 🐠 🏕️
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you, Dieter Schmitz , for always introducing me to new things. I love learning and growing with you. Thanks for the inspiration!

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