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Crispy Fish with Sage Butter Sauce

If you’re looking for an easy recipe that will wow your guests, and your taste buds, make this Crispy Fish with Sage Butter Sauce. It is perfect for special occasions but easy enough for a weeknight!

You guys, if you’ve never had Sage Butter Sauce I am about to rock your world. This decadent, butter sauce is one of those recipes that elevates any dish but is ridiculously easy to make. 

I first had this dish when Ryan and I were in Italy. It was served just like this, over some perfectly flaky, fried fish. We went to Italy in 2009 and I still think about this dish. That is how delicious it is. I love the rustic simplicity of it and I think you will too. 

Let’s talk about what you need to make it: 

Ingredients to make Fish with Sage Butter Sauce: 

Overhead photo of ingredients needed to make fish with sage butter sauce.
  • FISH: When I first had this dish, the fish was perch. Perch isn’t widely available in my area so I went with cod. You can use any kind of mild white fish that you prefer. This would work well with tilapia, rockfish or halibut as well. 
  • FLOUR/EGGS/PANKO: You’ll set up an assembly line with flour, eggs and panko in three separate bowls. This will be used to coat the fish. 
  • OLIVE OIL: Used for pan frying the fish. 
  • UNSALTED BUTTER: It’s best to use unsalted butter in this dish so that you can control the salt intake. I used salted once and the result was a bit too salty for our tastes. 
  • FRESH SAGE: You’ll need to use fresh sage leaves in this recipe (instead of the dried sage or ground sage). Not only will they give you the best flavor but the fresh leaves get crispy in the butter and they are simply divine. 

Step by Step Photos and Instructions: 

Now that you have the list of ingredients, let’s me walk you through just how easy it is to make this Crispy Fish with Sage Butter. 

STEP #1: Season the fish with salt and pepper. Then dredge it in flour, dip it in egg and finally press it into panko bread crumbs. 

STEP #2: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Depending on the size of your skillet you may need to do this in batches. If you do, simply keep the cooked fish in a warm oven. 

STEP #3: While the fish is cooking, make the sage butter. Melt butter over low heat. Make sure to keep it low you don’t want to burn it. Once it has melted add sage. Cook over low heat until sage leaves start to brown. 

STEP #4: Drizzle sage butter over the top of cooked fish and serve. 

I am not sure what my favorite part about this is. The crispy flaky fish, the decadent sage butter sauce or the crispy sage leaves. It is just all so good. And it is these kind of simple, rustic meals that started my love affair with the kitchen and I hope it adds to yours too! 


This is really best eaten the day that it  is made as the fish won’t reheat very well without becoming over done. You can save the butter however, simply store it in the refrigerator and reheat over low heat. 

What to serve with Crispy Fish with Sage Butter?

I served this with Garlic Rice and some Blistered Asparagus and my family loved it! It was a great light weeknight meal.

If you want to make it a little heartier, try placing the fish on a bed of creamy homemade mashed potatoes and then drizzle the butter over the top of it all.

Note: This recipe was originally published in 2010. It was updated with new photos, nutritional information, and a recipe that makes a larger amount in 2022.

Drizzling sage butter sauce over fried cod.

Crispy Fish with Sage Butter Sauce Recipe

Crispy white fish with a delectable sage butter sauce drizzled over the top.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Total Time 17 mins
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 486 kcal



  • 1 1/2 pound cod fillets 4 pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 sage leaves


  • Rinse and pat dry the cod fillets. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Set up an assembly line. Place the flour in one bowl. Beat the eggs in another bowl and place the bread crumbs in the third bowl.
  • Dredge a piece of fish into the flour then the egg and then press into the bread crumbs. Repeat until all fish are coated.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop a piece of panko bread crumbs into the oil and if it sizzles the oil is hot enough. Cook fish 5 - 7 minutes or until golden brown on each side.
  • While fish is cooking, melt butter over low heat. Once butter is melted add sage leaves. Continue to cook until sage leaves brown slightly. Low heat is the key here, you want to be careful not to burn the butter.
  • Once fish is cooked through, transfer to a plate and spoon sage butter over the top. Serve.


I used  cod fillets for this because I usually have them on hand. You can use whatever white fish you prefer. When I originally had this at a restaurant in Italy it was perch. 
Use unsalted butter so that you can control the salt content of the dish. I find if I use salted butter the final dish is too salty. 
Nutrition information for estimation purposes only. 


Calories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 38gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 359mgPotassium: 821mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 212IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 114mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: butter, cod, fish, italian food, sage, sage butter, seafood

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Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    heardle game
    July 17, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Fantastic dish. We had some frozen cod because we adore it. The sage was growing so wonderfully when I watered our garden yesterday. I wondered if anyone has a fish recipe using sage. I found this excellent, simple recipe via searching.

  • Reply
    Norm Stangl
    February 19, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    5 stars
    We made this tonight with Cod. No disappointment at all.

    Thankfully we had fresh sage in the fridge and panko in the cupboard. We always keep a store of flash frozen fish varieties on hand.

    The only change up that I made to the recipe was to substitute the flour with corn starch.
    The crispy sage leaves were a nice treat with the complimenting sage butter pairing wonderfully with the crunchy cod nuggets.

    We live on the shores of Lake Erie so I can’t wait to pick up some fresh perch filets to make this again the Trattoria way. It’s so simple and quick to make too, with a giant payoff.

    This recipe definitely goes into the favourites file.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2021 at 11:40 pm

      Thank you, Norm! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Alison Young
    July 10, 2020 at 5:59 am

    5 stars
    I am trying this one tonight. It sounds divine. Just wondering what to serve it with. Any ideas?

  • Reply
    Tom Fenimore
    April 12, 2020 at 10:33 am

    5 stars
    Awesome dish! Made it last night for my wife and I. We love cod and had some in the freezer. I was watering our garden yesterday and saw the sage growing so nicely. Thought I wonder if someone has a sage recipe for fish. Did a search and found this wonderful, easy recipe!

    Thanks so much. This one is a keeper.

    • Reply
      April 12, 2020 at 9:12 pm

      You are so welcome Tom! So happy you and your wife enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    April 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I had Cod in the fridge, amazingly I also had fresh sage. Thought would give it a go, winner! Will be revisiting

  • Reply
    October 2, 2010 at 6:47 am

    You’re welcome Cindy! I’m happy to hear your family enjoyed it :)

  • Reply
    September 30, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I made this for dinner on Tuesday of this week. My family enjoyed it. Very YUMMY!! Thanks for the post.

  • Reply
    Jenn's Food Journey
    September 25, 2010 at 6:47 am

    How could this not be good? Crispy, buttery…..sounds perfect!

  • Reply
    Susan Marie
    September 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Italy is all about the love of food, after all! One of the greatest memories of our trip 2 years ago was the farmhouse we rented in Tuscany, away from the major tourist attractions. Every day we would go into the village to shop, and I would cook our main meal. The villa had herbs and some vegetables growing in the garden, so I took advantage of it all! Anyway, I have since planted sage at home, and it has taken off like a weed – I wasn’t expecting that to happen here in Texas! I haven’t had it with fried fish, but I will be trying this recipe soon. Thanks!

  • Reply
    September 24, 2010 at 11:12 am

    This looks delicious! My fiance and I are planning on eating our way through Italy for our honeymoon so I may look to you for some advice!

  • Reply
    September 24, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I love crispy fish. I love sage. Thank you for bringing Italy to us via your recipe.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2010 at 8:57 am

    This looks fabulous! Fresh cod is featured at my favorite supermarket this week; I’m bookmarking this! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

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