Lemon Caper Butter Roasted Branzino

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Oh, Lemon Caper Butter Roasted Branzino is one of those recipes that sounds fancy but is actually a breeze to pull off. The combination of lemon, capers, and butter creates an irresistibly tangy and buttery sauce that takes the fish to a whole new level.

A roasted Branzino with lemon slices and herbs on a white plate.

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A roasted Branzino fish with lemon slices on a plate.

Perfect Baked Branzino with Capers and Lemon

Baked Branzino with Capers and Lemon—this dish is the epitome of culinary simplicity meeting sheer elegance. Imagine a whole branzino, expertly baked to a golden perfection, its skin crispy and its flesh tender. Now, throw in the salty, tangy bite of capers and the zesty kick of fresh lemon, and you’ve got a recipe that feels as if you’re dining on the Amalfi Coast, right in your own kitchen.

The magic in this dish is in its ingredients, each playing a crucial role. The branzino, a Mediterranean sea bass, brings a delicate, flaky texture and a mild flavor that serves as the perfect backdrop for the more assertive flavors of capers and lemon. Capers, those tiny bursts of saltiness, offer a surprising and delightful contrast to the fish. They bring an earthy complexity that draws out the natural flavors of the branzino. And then, of course, there’s the lemon. Fresh slices baked right alongside the fish infuse every bite with a citrusy brightness, while a final squeeze of lemon juice before serving can elevate the whole dish to a new level of deliciousness.

But what really makes this dish a winner is its versatility. It can be the centerpiece of a weeknight dinner, but it’s elegant enough for date night or entertaining guests. Whether you’re pairing it with a simple salad or a glass of crisp white wine, Baked Branzino with Capers and Lemon is a dish that delivers on flavor and sophistication without requiring hours of laborious prep. In other words, it’s perfect for anyone who loves great food without the fuss.

A roasted Branzino with lemon slices.

How to Make Lemon Caper Butter Roasted Branzino


  1. 2 Whole Branzini: The centerpiece! Branzino is a mild, white fish with a flaky texture, great for absorbing flavors.
  2. 1 Lemon, Thinly Sliced: Adds citrusy brightness and helps tenderize the fish.
  3. 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter, Melted: Butter adds a rich, creamy texture and also helps carry the flavors of garlic and capers into the fish.
  4. 2 tbsp Capers, Drained: These bring a pop of briny flavor, adding complexity to the dish.
  5. 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced: Garlic infuses the butter and fish with a robust, aromatic flavor.
  6. Salt and Black Pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance the fish’s natural flavors.
  7. Fresh Parsley: Adds a burst of color and fresh, herby notes.
  8. Optional: 1 tbsp Olive Oil: For drizzling over before roasting, it can enhance the fish’s moisture and flavor.


  1. Roasting Pan or Oven-Safe Dish: A roasting pan with a wire rack is ideal to allow heat circulation, but an oven-safe dish works well too.
  2. Aluminum Foil: Helps to keep the fish moist and makes clean-up easier. You can create a foil ‘tent’ to prevent over-browning.
  3. Measuring Spoons: Accurate measurements are key, especially for elements like butter and capers that can overwhelm if used excessively.
  4. Mixing Bowl: Handy for mixing the butter, garlic, and capers together before stuffing or drizzling over the fish.
  5. Knife and Cutting Board: Essential for slicing the lemon and mincing the garlic, as well as for chopping the parsley for garnish.

Each of these components contributes to the overall success of your Whole Roasted Branzino. When done right, you’ll end up with a show-stopping dish that’s flavorful and satisfying.

Cooking Method

  1. Preheat Oven: Set your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Prep the Fish: Rinse and pat dry the branzini. Place herbs on the bottom of a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil or a ceramic dish. I love this fish-shaped enameled cast iron for roasting fish!
  3. Sear to brown: Place olive oil in a nonstick pan and add fish – cook each side 3-5 minutes on high to just brown the skin. Remove from pan and place in roasting rack or enameled dish over herbs.
  4. Season Inside and Out: Rub the cavity and the skin of the branzini with salt and black pepper.
  5. Lemon Inside: Stuff the cavity of each fish with a few slices of lemon. Give a squeeze of lemon juice over the top of the fish.
  6. Butter Mixture: In a bowl, combine melted butter and capers.
  7. Pour and Place: Pour the butter mixture over the fish and place the remaining lemon slices on top.
  8. Roast: Put the roasting pan in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. The fish should reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) and the flesh should flake easily.
  9. Garnish and Serve: Once out of the oven, sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley for color and added flavor. Lemon caper butter in the dish can be used as a luxurious sauce drizzled over the top!

This dish pairs wonderfully with a side of roasted vegetables or a light, lemony couscous. It’s the kind of meal that’s sure to impress, whether it’s a regular Tuesday night or a special occasion. Enjoy!

A lemon caper butter roasted branzino with rosemary on a plate.

Tips and Tricks for Lemon Caper Butter Roasted Branzino

Fresh Fish: Make sure your branzini is as fresh as possible. The eyes should be clear, and it should smell like the ocean, not fishy.

Proper Prepping: After gutting and scaling, give the fish a good rinse and pat it completely dry. The drier the skin, the crispier it will get.

Butter Up: Opt for unsalted, high-quality butter to control the seasoning yourself and get a richer flavor.

Lemon Quality: Use fresh lemons, not the bottled lemon juice. The flavor and aroma are worlds apart.

Caper Sizing: If the capers are large, consider giving them a rough chop so their briny goodness is distributed more evenly.

Inside Out: Don’t just season the outside—make sure to get some salt, pepper, and a lemon slice or two in the cavity for more uniform flavor.

Cooking Time: It’s easy to overcook fish, so keep an eye on it. When the flesh flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C), it’s ready.

Rest Time: Let the fish rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven; this will help the juices redistribute.

Sauce It: If you’re a fan of extra sauce, you can double the butter mixture and serve some on the side.

Pair Wisely: This dish pairs wonderfully with white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a light Pinot Grigio.

Presentation: Garnish with some fresh parsley or even a sprig of dill to add a pop of color and freshness.


What is branzini?

Branzini, also known as European sea bass, is a mild, white fish. It’s popular for its flaky texture and light taste, making it versatile for various preparations.

Do I have to use whole branzini?

Whole branzini is generally preferred for its presentation and flavor, but fillets can work too. Just adjust the cooking time downward.

Can I substitute the capers?

Sure! If capers aren’t your thing, you could use chopped olives for a different but equally briny kick. You can also omit them.

What temperature do I roast branzino?

Around 425°F (220°C) works great for roasting branzini. It’s hot enough to crisp the skin while keeping the inside juicy.

Do I use salted or unsalted butter?

Yes, you can use regular salted butter, but you’ll want to cut back on any additional salt you add.

Should I use fresh or dried herbs with roasted branzini?

Either works, but fresh herbs like parsley or thyme will give a brighter flavor.

How do I know when branzino is cooked?

The flesh should flake easily with a fork, and the internal temperature should be around 145°F (63°C).

Can I prep branzini in advance?

You can prepare the butter mixture and season the fish in advance, but it’s best roasted just before serving to keep the skin crispy.

How do I serve branzini?

This dish pairs well with light sides like a green salad, roasted veggies, or a citrusy couscous.

How do I store leftover branzini?

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat gently to avoid drying out the fish.

I hope this clears up any queries you might have. Happy cooking!

A roasted Branzino served with lemon slices and herbs on a plate.

What to Serve With Roasted Branzino

  1. Lemony Couscous: Light and fluffy couscous with a touch of lemon zest can echo the citrusy notes in your branzino.
  2. Roasted Asparagus: Quick to make and full of earthy flavors, asparagus makes for a healthy and elegant side.
  3. Garlic Roasted Potatoes: You can never go wrong with potatoes. The garlic will tie in well with the caper butter on your branzino.
  4. Simple Green Salad: A salad with a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich, buttery fish.
  5. Steamed Artichokes: These are a fun, interactive side that pairs well with fish, especially when dipped in a little extra lemon caper butter.
  6. Sautéed Spinach with Garlic: A simple, quick side that’s full of nutrients and flavor.
  7. Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: The sweetness of roasted tomatoes can balance the saltiness of the capers and the tanginess of the lemon.
  8. Quinoa Pilaf: Infuse it with some chicken or vegetable broth and a dash of herbs to make it more flavorful yet light.
  9. Cauliflower Mash: For a low-carb option, try cauliflower mash flavored with a little garlic and parmesan.
  10. Crusty Bread: Sometimes, a slice of good, old-fashioned crusty bread is all you need to soak up that delicious lemon-caper butter sauce.

Each of these sides brings something different to the table but all would make worthy companions to your lemon caper butter roasted branzino.

A lemon caper butter roasted branzino with herbs on a white plate.

Lemon Caper Butter Roasted Branzino

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Roasted lemon caper branzino.

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A lemon-branzino dish accompanied by rosemary sprigs.

Lemon Caper Butter Roasted Branzino

Yield: 1 fish
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Light, flaky, indulgent whole roasted branzino with a caper lemon butter sauce.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 whole branzini, gutted and scaled (about 1-1.5 lbs each)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh tarragon, optional


  1. Set your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Rinse and pat dry the branzini.
  3. Place tarragon in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil or a ceramic baking dish.
  4. Rub the cavity and the skin of the branzini with salt, black pepper, and optional olive oil.
  5. Stuff the cavity of each fish with a few slices of lemon.
  6. In a bowl, combine melted butter, and capers.
  7. Spread the butter mixture over the fish and place the remaining lemon slices on top.
  8. Put the roasting pan in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. The fish should reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) and the flesh should flake easily.
  9. Once out of the oven, sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley for color and added flavor.
Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 290Total Fat 30gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 61mgSodium 498mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 1g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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