Preparation Tips

Great Lakes Whitefish can be incredibly easy to fix. It’s fast, too! Especially when you purchase frozen fillets, you’re ready for a spur-of-the-moment fish dish.

Whether you’re new to cooking fish or an old pro, here are some handy tips plus lots of cooking methods to try.

When Is It Done?

There are 3 simple ways to tell when your Great Lakes Whitefish fillets are fully cooked. First the flesh will be opaque. Second, when you insert a fork, the fish will pull apart into large flakes. Third, your fish will be “al dente” like spaghetti: slightly firm.


If your recipe calls for thawed fillets, defrost them in the refrigerator overnight. You can also defrost under cold running water or place in a bowl of cold water (change water every 30 minutes). If planning to cook immediately, fillets may be defrosted in the microwave on Defrost setting (should be icy but pliable).


Frozen fillets can stay in the freezer about 6 months. Defrosted fillets can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored well chilled (32 degrees) for up to 2 days before use. Keep them in the coldest part of your refrigerator. To make sure fillets stay cold enough, wrapped fillets can be packed in ice in the fridge.

Cook From Frozen

Great Lakes Whitefish fillets may be baked, broiled or microwaved from frozen. Cook fish right from the freezer, before it starts to drip moisture. Simply bake or broil the fish longer at a slightly lower temperature. An extra 10 minutes for each inch of thickness should suffice.


Great Lakes Whitefish fillets may be baked from frozen (see above) or thawed. Follow your recipe or bake at 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes per inch of thickest part of fillet.


Great Lakes Whitefish fillets may be broiled from frozen (see above) or thawed. Follow your recipe or broil about 4-5 inches from heat for 6-12 minutes per inch of thickest part of fillet.


Great Lakes Whitefish fillets may be microwaved from frozen or thawed. Follow your recipe, or microwave frozen fillets for 4 minutes on High for each fillet. Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of fillet and oven model. Move to at least two spots in the microwave to ensure even cooking.


Follow your recipe, or use seasoning flour and breading in a hot skillet. Keeping the skin on helps hold the fillet together. To pan sear, dredge fillets in seasoned flour first, then in egg and next in breading. Use the “10 minutes per inch of thickness” rule of thumb.


Follow your recipe or brush skin-on fillets lightly with oil and place on oiled grill or foil 2-4 inches from heat. Grill should be preheated to Medium High (white coals). Cook about 5 minutes for each 1/2-inch thickness of fillet; add about 3 minutes for each additional 1/2 inch.

Deep Fry

Follow your recipe or dredge Great Lakes Whitefish fillets in seasoned flour then batter (cornmeal, flour, etc.). Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Note: pan sautéing suits Great Lakes Whitefish fillets better than deep frying.


Follow your recipe or place fillets in a seasoned liquid that has been brought to simmering, which means just below the boiling point. The liquid should at least cover the surface of the fillets. Timing is about 8 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness of fillet; add 2 minutes or so for each additional 1/2 inch of thickness.


Follow your recipe, or season fillets and set onto a perforated steamer in a covered saucepot or in a bamboo steamer. Be sure cover is tight. Timing is approximately 3 minutes for 1/2-inch thick fillet; add about 4 minutes for each additional 1/2 inch.


Pan dressed fish (see Glossary ) will require only 25-30 minutes to cook when planked. Fillets and steaks can also be planked.