New recipes and updates

Get new recipes
in your inbox

Cuisine Fiend

Find a recipe by ingredient

Roasted lemon sole

Updated: Tue, 31 May, 2022

Lemon sole roasted whole with lemons needs only a little lemon juice to drizzle with when cooked.

whole roasted lemon sole

Lemon sole and other flatfish

Probably the poorest cousin to all the flat fish, lemon sole shares an unpopular postcode with plaice (although the latter deserves a more up-and-coming neighbourhood, surely).

Its flesh cannot match the rich, flaky turbot or the firm, flavoursome Dover. Truth be told, it turns mushy very quickly.

It is rather good for fishcakes – although filleting is best left to the fishmonger – or goujons. It's no good for a pie because it's not firm enough, and forget about the fish and chips treatment for the same reason.

How to prepare lemon sole?

What to do with the poor cousin then? I think it depends on the size. If you buy large, fat fillets of the sole, you can make this exquisite dish of lemon sole cooked with creamy Parmesan sauce.

But the whole medium-size fish is perfect for a completely hassle-free cooking exercise as seen below, provided you have bought your fish cleaned and gutted, as you undoubtedly would.

Fresh lemon sole

How to roast whole sole

It couldn't be easier: the fish roasts it whole on a bed of lemons, lavishly basted with butter. This approach actually works well for lemon sole's more affluent relatives as well as the likes of sea bass and sea bream.

All you need to do is slice the lemons (or limes if you prefer) and spread them in a roasting dish to make a bed for the fish. Any aromatics will be welcome too: ginger or herbs, chilli and garlic if you're after a stronger sensation.

With a small drizzle of wine, vermouth or simply water, to create a little steam in the oven, that’s the roasting bed ready for the sole. Arrange the fish dark side up (which is NB much fleshier and nicer than the other side) with a couple of incisions made across the skin, to let the heat permeate.

Lemon sole on a bed of lemon slices

Brushing with butter is obligatory: before it goes into the oven and another time halfway through the roasting time. Don’t skip it, it really makes a difference both to the flavour and the texture.

I’m afraid I can’t recommend vegan options as in my view, in recipes like this the French have it sussed: butter, butter and more butter.

It takes around half an hour to cook it, give or take 5 minutes depending on size anomalies, but absolutely no longer than that.

What is roasted lemon sole like?

Surprise, surprise: it’s really tasty and, unless you keep that poor thing in the oven for inordinately long, not mushy.

You can pull the dark skin off to serve it if you like, or just let the diners fend for themselves.

lemon sole roasted on lemon slices

More sole recipes

I mentioned lemon sole fillets above, and it’s a delightful dish they can make, cooked in creamy Parmesan sauce.

Dover sole is frankly a much superior fish in taste and texture so it only needs a simple treatment: grilled, served with caper butter.

More easy fish recipes

Deconstructed fish and chips: here’s cod and crispy, herby potato bake. A simple dish and always a winner.

Cooking whole fish again, but this time under the grill: sea bream with balsamic marinade.

One of those dishes that look like a lot of effort to impress but are in fact incredibly easy: halibut steamed atop braised leeks and carrots.

Roasted lemon sole

Servings: 2Time: 40 minutes
Rating: (1 reviews)


  • 2 medium lemon soles, cleaned and gutted
  • 50g butter
  • half a bunch of chives, chopped
  • 2-3 lemons 
  • 2cm fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • a few fresh basil sprigs
  • salt and pepper
  • a little white wine or vermouth


1. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Using poultry or kitchen scissors cut the dorsal fins along the both sides and remove the tail. Make two or three shallow incisions on the dark skin side of the soles.

2. Melt the butter in a small pan. Chop the chives and add to the melted butter, keep warm.

3. Slice the lemons thinly and scatter them at the bottom of an ovenproof dish, large enough to contain the lemon soles. Scatter the ginger slices amongst the lemons, tear the basil sprigs and add them to the dish. Drizzle the wine over the herbs.

4. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.

5. Arrange the lemon soles on the lemon slices dark side up, season with salt and pepper and brush with the chive butter.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size, brushing again with butter halfway through.

7. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Originally published: Sun, 7 February, 2016

NEW recipe finder

Ingredients lying around and no idea what to cook with them? Then use my NEW Recipe Finder for inspiration!

Recipe Finder

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published

Characters left 800
Recipe rating
Email address*
Web site name
Be notified by email when a comment is posted

* required

Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi John - I'm so pleased you like it!
11 months ago
John Jones
Sensational ! So exotic and yet so easy. I added oregano to the lemon and vermouth. this i ps one of the best dishes I have ever cooked. only challenge is how to cope with the dorsal bones on the underside. five stars, though I cannot seem to click the rating.
11 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Bernadette - thank you!
3 years ago
Lovely and simple at last someone who understands that keeping fish simple is the best way!!!
3 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi John - pour in into the dish over the herbs and lemon. Thanks for pointing out the omission!
4 years ago
John McLean
What do you do with the white wine
4 years ago

Cuisine Fiend's

most recent

About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


Sign up to receive the weekly recipes updates

Follow Fiend