If you love whitefish, you will want to try this simple Alaska halibut steak recipe with homemade pesto. This grilled whitefish recipe is a perfect introduction to eating fish for kids because halibut is mild and doesn’t get mushy.

A plate with grilled halibut and a salad.

(*Alaska Seafood sponsored this post. All Alaska seafood-loving opinions expressed in my post are my own.)

We are pretty lucky! My kids are pretty picky, but they do like whitefish! Alaska Halibut has a firm and mild flavor. Combine it with fresh pesto, and it makes a delicious, flavorful dinner!

Alaska’s cold, pristine waters produce the purest, high-quality seafood. Its wild fisheries contribute nearly 60% of all seafood harvested in the United States. When you are out shopping at the grocery store, make sure to “Ask for Alaska” to ensure you’re enjoying the best, most sustainable seafood.

If you enjoy seafood too, check out these amazing gluten free seafood recipes. There are over 50 delicious recipes to try!

Top view of a grilled halibut steak with salad.

Why I love this halibut recipe:

  • It is mild in flavor, so kids love it.
  • It can be cooked in so many ways.
  • It makes a healthy family meal.
  • It is easy to find sustainably raised halibut in grocery stores.

You may also love this Grilled Coho Salmon recipe.

Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:

A photo of raw halibut steaks on a piece of foil.

Step 1: Put the thawed halibut onto a piece of foil.

If you purchased your halibut frozen, let it thaw out before grilling. See the Recipe FAQ for directions on how to thaw frozen halibut.

Step 2: Preheat the grill to 375º F. Use a grill brush to ensure the grill is clean. The halibut will not touch the grill, but leaving blackened bits on the grill slats can give off flavors to the fish.

Halibut steaks topped with pesto on top of foil on the grill.

Step 3: Rub the pesto on both sides of the halibut steaks. You are going to love this halibut with pesto recipe!

How To Grill Halibut:

Place the foil packets with the fish on the grill. Close the grill lid and grill the halibut for 10 minutes. This halibut cooks in about 5 minutes per side if you flip it. I didn’t flip mine, and it was ready in 10 minutes.

Fresh basil and garlic cloves in a cuisinart.

To make the fresh pesto, add fresh basil, garlic cloves, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts to a Cuisinart Smart Stick or food processor. Blend until all ingredients are blended.

Small coffee cup icon.

Did you know?

This fresh pesto will keep for up to 5 days in your refrigerator. If you are nut-free, make this delicious Nut-Free Pesto recipe.

More Ways To Cook Halibut:

  • A stovetop is a quick and easy way to cook halibut. Put some oil into a sauté pan and heat on medium heat. Add the fish, herbs, salt, and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes on each side. (Note the actual cooking time depends on how thick the fish is.
  • Cook halibut in your oven! You can easily bake halibut in a dish. Just add oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bake at 350º F for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  • Sous vide halibut. My son has been getting into sous vide cooking lately. Place the halibut with fresh herbs into a special bag and use the pump to suck out the air from the bag. Sous vide takes a long time because it gently cooks the fish at a very low temperature. Ensure to leave about an hour for your halibut to cook.
A fork cutting into a halibut steak.

Recipe FAQ:

How do you thaw frozen fish?

To thaw frozen fish, put the frozen fish (in its packaging) on a plate and put it into the refrigerator. Let it thaw over a day or two if you need your fish thawed quicker. Place the frozen fish in its package into a bowl of warm water and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.

Once your fish is thawed, add salt and pepper to the raw halibut steaks. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Let this sit for 5 minutes while you make the fresh pesto. Preheat your grill to be hot when you are ready to cook.

Can you cook other types of fish with pesto?

Yes! Pesto is a great flavor for seafood. Use pesto with any seafood, including shrimp, scallops, tilapia, etc.

How do you store leftover fish?

Store the leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. This is critical so your fridge doesn’t smell like fish. The leftovers will keep fresh for up to 3 days.

If you love seafood, you may also want to try this Grilled Mahi Mahi in Foil Packets.

Side Dish Ideas For Halibut:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Include which flour blend you used. This helps others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

Grilled Alaska Halibut with Fresh Pesto

Sandi Gaertner
A delicious grilled whitefish recipe with fresh pesto.
4.90 from 46 votes
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dinner Recipes, Meal Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 326 kcal


  • 4 Alaska halibut steaks
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (to brush on fish)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts * see note
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • teaspoon salt
  • dash black pepper


  • Preheat the grill to 375º F.
  • Place the thawed halibut steaks onto a piece of foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush with olive oil.
  • Place basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a Cuisinart. Blend well.
  • Brush the pesto on both sides of the fish. Place the fish back on the foil.
  • Place the foil with the fish on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot.


  1. See the post for directions to cook this fish in the oven, stovetop, or sous vide if you do not own a grill.
  2. If you are nut-free, try this recipe with my Nut-Free Pesto.
  3. To thaw frozen fish, put the frozen fish (in its packaging) on a plate and put it into the refrigerator. Let it thaw over a day or two if you need your fish thawed quicker. Place the frozen fish in its package into a bowl of warm water and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 34gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 249mgPotassium: 820mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 620IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

This post was updated from an old March 2018 post with better recipe instructions and details.

4.90 from 46 votes (26 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Hello. Going to try this one. I assume I should remove skin. Mine has skin on. Have never grilled fish with foil. Hopeful!! Thanks

  2. 5 stars
    There is nothing better than fresh wild caught seafood. I just can’t do the farm-raised fish. The pesto sauce sounds awesome.

    1. I don’t like farm raised fish either. I am so glad you found this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do ;-).

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe – it looks so good! Could you make the pesto with arugula or something else if there isn’t nice basil at the store?

    1. You are very welcome Cindy. Halibut has a very mild flavor and I bet the peppery flavor of the arugula would be delicious in this recipe.

  4. There is nothing better than fresh wild caught seafood. I just can’t do the farm-raised fish. The pesto sauce sounds awesome.

  5. 5 stars
    We are pesto obsessed in this house. I’ve never thought of preparing halibut like this! Brilliant!

  6. 5 stars
    This looks like such a lovely light and easy meals. I really like homemade pesto since it’s so simple to make from scratch at home. Can’t wait to put this on my Spring menu.

  7. A lovely idea for a healthy mid-week meal! And I love the added roasted pine nuts, I bet that gives this recipe a really nice flavour.

  8. 5 stars
    This looks just fabulous, I love how easy your recipe is! Definitely on the menu soon!! Quick question… I always flip my fish on grill, but you put yours on foil and then didn’t have to? That fillet is about an inch thick or so? Asking because I definitely want to start cooking fish this way – so much easier!! Thank you again for another lovely recipe!!

    1. Hi Debra, thank you for writing. I didn’t flip my fish for this recipe. It still cooks through quickly, in just 10 minutes.