What is Monkfish and Best Monk Fish Recipes

4 from 2 votes

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Also known as “poor man’s lobster”, monk fish is prized for its mildly sweet flavor and texture that’s similar to lobster. We’ve rounded up 9 of the best monkfish recipes for you to try at home. 

Monkfish holds up well to grilling, pan-frying, and baking, and is delicious served alongside veggies.

What is Monkfish?

Monkfish is a deep-water fish that looks like a bit of a monster in its natural habitat. In fact, some people call these fish sea devils or frog fish. A variety of predatory anglerfish belonging to the Lophius genus, these bottom feeders live on the seafloor and prey on smaller fish.

What Does Monkfish Taste Like?

Monkfish has a mild and slightly sweet taste that pairs well with many sauces. The flesh is firm and does not flake apart when cooked.

Its dense, meaty texture is often compared to that of lobster or scallops, with many referring to monkfish as the “poor man’s lobster.”

Tips for Cooking Monkfish

  • Cooking it with lemon and butter adds great flavors to your dish.
  • Avoid overcooking the fish. When done, the surface should feel firm and slightly springy, but there are better ways to check doneness! For more precision, insert an instant-read thermometer and look for a reading of 145°F.

Best Monkfish Recipes

How to Cook Monkfish

How to Cook Monkfish
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If you’re not familiar with monkfish, the information on this post provides you with everything you need to know. It also includes an easy-to-follow recipe for monkfish with a lemon butter sauce that’s ready to enjoy in just 20 minutes. 

Spiced Monkfish

Spiced Monkfish

The monkfish in this dish is seasoned with a delicious blend of ginger, Korean chili powder, turmeric, and saffron. Serve it with steamed rice and your favorite green veggie.

Mediterranean Monkfish Tail Fillet

Mediterranean Monkfish Tail Fillet

Follow the steps in this recipe to make delicious monkfish tail fillets that are full of flavor. 

Serve it with your favorite sides for a light and healthy meal. 

“Poor Man’s Lobster” – Monkfish with Herb Brown Butter

Poor Man's Lobster – Monkfish with Herb Brown Butter

The lobster-like flavor and texture of monkfish is what makes it so special. This dish is impressive enough to serve to guests at your next get-together.

Baked Monkfish Fillet

Baked Monkfish Fillet

This roasted monkfish with lemon & parsley butter couldn’t be easier to make! You’ll need a handful of ingredients and it’s ready to enjoy in just 10 minutes. Serve it with potatoes and steamed broccoli

Monkfish with a Lemon Pepper Crust

Monkfish with a Lemon Pepper Crust

Serve this tasty lemon pepper crust monkfish when you’re in the mood for something light. It’s served with a tangy lemon anchovy vinaigrette and would be delicious with a fresh garden salad. 

Skewered Monkfish Kebabs

Skewered Monkfish Kebabs

Serve these tasty skewered monkfish kebabs the next time you’re hosting a summer get-together. The monkfish is marinated in a flavorful blend of seasonings and is then grilled to perfection.  

Steamed Monkfish

Steamed Monk fish

This simple steamed monkfish is full of traditional Chinese flavors. You’ll need just a handful of ingredients and it’s ready to eat in short order. 

Grilled Monkfish

Grilled Monkfish

Monkfish has a lobster-like texture that makes it ideal for grilling. This dish is super simple and uses just four ingredients. Serve it with a side of grilled veggies and corn on the cob.

FAQ About Monkfish

How Long Does It Take to Cook Monkfish?

Monkfish cooks quickly and can get rubbery when overcooked, so be sure to watch it carefully. While a 1-inch thick fillet will take just 6 to 7 minutes of cooking time, a thicker 3-inch fillet may easily take 15 minutes or more.

Where to Buy Monkfish

You can buy monkfish at grocery stores and fish markets. The tail meat is the only edible part of this fish, and you can buy it whole or filleted.

How to Store Monkfish

Monkfish taste best when it’s fresh. You can store it in the refrigerator for about 2 days after purchasing. If your monk fish is frozen, you can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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4 from 2 votes

Best Monkfish with Lemon and Butter Recipe

By: Izzy
Learn how to cook monkfish and enjoy its sweet and mild taste! Monkfish is versatile seafood that is lean and protein-rich with a meaty texture. Since it does not flake or fall apart like more delicate fish, it’s great for pan-frying, grilling or baking in the oven!
Prep: 8 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 pounds monkfish, skinned and boned
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted recommended
  • half lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley, minced, optional garnish


  • Remove the monkfish from the refrigerator (or thaw completely if frozen). Pat dry with paper towels and rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the remaining olive oil and butter to the pan and swirl the pan to coat.
  • Add the monkfish and fry undisturbed for 5 minutes. Using a fish spatula or kitchen tongs, flip the fillets and cook several minutes more, spooning pan juices on top from time to time. Note that 1-inch thick fillets will take 6-7 minutes in total, while 2-3 inch thick fillets could take 15 minutes or more.
  • To check doneness, insert a knife tip into the thickest section for a moment. If it comes out hot to the touch, then the fish is done. You can also insert an instant-read thermometer and look for a reading of 145°F.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice and optional fresh parsley onto the monkfish. Transfer to serving plates immediately and drizzle pan juices on top.

Nutrition information provided is an estimate only and will vary based on ingredient brands and cooking methods used.

Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Izzy

I'm Izzy, a food lover and photographer. Here you’ll find a collection of simple recipes that are perfect for busy people. My blog aims to help you make and enjoy delicious and healthy food at home.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    If you’re going to cook monk fish, or any fish for that matter, to 145F, you may as well save yourself the effort and simply not buy it in the first place. 145F will destroy it. In Boston, rule for monk fish is warm all the way thru (105F ish to out at 125F and let it rest). If you don’t trust the fish, don’t buy it. Cremating it is not the solution.