If you’re looking for some herbs to add to your white fish dish, you’re in luck!
We’ve got 17 herbs here that are light and subtle enough to give your meal a little extra flavor without overpowering the dish.
This is important because white fish is best when it’s served with herbs that have a more subdued taste profile.
You want your fish to be the star of the show—and it will be, in combination with any of these 17 tasty, delicate herbs.
What Herbs Go with White Fish?
White fish is best when paired with herbs that have a light, subtle flavor, like parsley or dill. These herbs, when used fresh and in the right amount, are flavorful enough to add a little depth to your dish without overpowering it.
White fish is a term used to describe a variety of fish that are generally light-colored, lower in fat, and leaner than other types of fish.
It’s hard to give one general set of herbs that will work well with all types of white fish because the flavor profile varies so much between species.
If you’re looking for something more specific to the type of fish you’re cooking, try researching recipes that use the same type of white fish and see what herbs they recommend.
Parsley is one of the most popular herbs in the world, and for good reason: it’s incredibly versatile.
It can be used fresh or dried, depending on the dish (if you’re using dried parsley, use about half as much), and it pairs really well with a variety of different meats.
That being said, we think it goes particularly well with white fish like cod or tilapia.
Dill is also very versatile, but unlike parsley, this herb is used almost exclusively fresh.
We recommend adding a little lightly-chopped dill at the end of your prep so that it doesn’t lose its flavor or color during cooking.
If you’re unsure how much to use, start with a teaspoon per pound of fish and add more if needed to taste!
Chives are the smallest member of the onion family and are recognizable for their thin leaves and delicate purple flowers.
They have a mild onion flavor that’s not as sharp or pungent as regular onions.
Like many alliums, chives are relatively easy to grow at home in your garden or indoors in a pot if you live in a colder climate.
Try sprinkling chives on top of your white fish dish for an extra pop of color!
Chervil is another great option for white fish: It has a slight parsley-like taste with notes of anise, so if you’re looking for something more complex than chives, this is it.
It’s best used fresh and only needs about half as much as parsley would require.
So if you were planning on using one tablespoon of parsley in your recipe, use half that amount instead with chervil.
And if you don’t have time or energy to go out and buy new herbs at the store right now, just toss a few sprigs of parsley in your dish—it’s not quite as flavorful but it’ll do the
Tarragon has a pungent, bittersweet flavor that pairs well with white fish. Like dill, it’s one of the few herbs that is actually better dried than fresh.
However, if you’re using tarragon with another herb in your recipe (like basil), make sure both are dry so the flavors don’t clash.
Basil has a sweet and savory flavor, with hints of mint.
There are more than 60 varieties of basil, including sweet basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, purple basil, and holy basil (aka “tulsi”), which is closely related to the common herb but has more medicinal properties.
Basil is easy to grow at home, which is great if you love cooking with it regularly—you can pick leaves straight from the garden whenever you want them!
The next time you’re cooking white fish at home, try using basil as your go-to herb for an added note in flavor without overpowering the delicate taste of your perfectly cooked fish!
This herb has a stronger version of the same subtle flavor you’ll find in parsley, with a tangy citrus twist.
Cilantro is easy to grow if you have access to a garden or even just an outdoor space, and it’s so versatile that you can use it in everything from salads to sauces and soups.
It’s also super simple to cook with—just add it at the end of cooking, once the food has cooled off slightly.
That way, you won’t lose any of its bright, citrusy flavor!
Herbs can make or break your dish.
Sure, you may have thought you were getting all fancy by opting for a mild white fish over a more pungent salmon, but if you top it with the wrong herb, your carefully selected fish may end up tasting like…well, not much at all.
It’s important to choose an herb that will complement your dish—and in the case of white fish, that means going for something subtle and light that won’t overpower the delicate flavor of your fish.
Parsley is often used to top fish dishes because it has a delicate flavor and aroma, but even parsley can be too strong for some types of white fish.
Instead, try using lovage (a herb that tastes just like celery with undertones of parsley and a hint of anise).
9. Bay leaf
Bay leaf is one of the most versatile herbs out there.
It can be used in a wide variety of dishes—from soups and stews to meats and seafood.
And it pairs especially well with white fish because of its mild taste and aroma (just don’t chew on it!).
It’s also a great source of essential oils like eugenol and sabinene, which have anti-inflammatory properties. (Bonus: You can use it as an organic bug repellent!)
Thyme is another herb that goes well with subtle flavors like white fish.
It has a woodsy, floral flavor that works well in sauces or on its own—just sprinkle some over your dish before serving and enjoy!
Mint is a great option for this because it has a lingering cool effect on your tongue, and tastes sweet.
A little goes a long way with mint, so consider using just a few leaves as garnish for each serving of fish.
12. Fennel leaf
Another herb that pairs well with white fish is fennel leaf.
Fennel leaf has a unique flavor—it reminds some people of licorice—but it’s not as strong as fennel seed or fennel bulb.
When used fresh and in small amounts, it adds just the right amount of dimension to your dish without overpowering it.
13. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm has a bright, citrusy taste, but it also has subtle hints of mint.
Lemon balm is great in recipes where you want to add a little zing without overwhelming your palate.
It’s also an incredibly easy herb to grow at home!
Another fresh herb that goes well with white fish is marjoram.
It tastes similar to thyme in that it has an earthy, woodsy flavor, but it’s much milder than oregano (which can easily overpower more delicate flavors).
Marjoram is a great choice for those who want their herbs to enhance the flavors already present in their meal without changing anything else about the dish.
Sage has an earthy, slightly peppery taste with hints of mint.
It’s a bold flavor—so bold that it’s often used for Thanksgiving turkey stuffing—but when paired with white fish it adds just the right amount of complexity to create a real umami flavor.
Sage is great dried or cooked—but if you’re looking for more of a fresh taste and smell, try adding the fresh leaves to your dish about fifteen minutes before serving so the flavors don’t completely dissipate.
Coriander has a refreshing lemony or lime-like flavor that is perfect for fish dishes.
It has a pungent taste and smell that adds an extra dimension to the dish, but can be overpowering if used in excess.
Sorrel has a sharp, acidic taste reminiscent of lemon zest.
It’s a little sour and tangy, but in a good way.
Use it in place of traditional lemon zest to add some freshness to your dish.
17 Herbs that Go Well with White Fish
- Bay leaf
- Fennel leaf
- Lemon Balm
- Pick any number of herbs from this list to use with your white fish.
- Prepare the rest of your delicious dinner.
- Be ready to munch in no time!