Foil-Baked Halibut with Chile Compound Butter and Black Beans: An easy weeknight dinner that’s fancy enough for company or date-night and with ZERO messy pans to clean up!

Foil-Baked Halibut with Chile Compound Butter

Growing up in a coastal community on the south shore of Long Island, you would think that my fish knowledge would be abundant.  No so, unfortunately. 

As a child, I turned my nose up at virtually any kind of fish. And now as an adult, I’m cursing myself for this ridiculous behavior because I love fish! 

So the recipes I use now (and I almost always use a recipe because I’m not that confident without one) come from some of my favorite and reliable sources.

This beer battered fish is a great example!

When I saw my pal Josie post this recipe a few weeks back, I immediately added it to my list. 

What could be easier than schmearing a compound butter over some fresh fish and laying it on top of black beans to bake up in a foil packet?  Truth be told, this recipe was that easy! 

Inside of 10 minutes, the fish was in the oven (perfect for when rain prohibits grilling!) and inside of a total of 30 minutes, Kyle and I had an amazing fish dinner on the table. 

The ancho chile butter leaks down through the fish, flavoring it on the way, and allows the black beans to cook in the butter and fish juices.  So delicious!!

This foil-baked halibut with chile compound butter and black beans a truly delightful meal on it’s own or even with a side salad. Either way, it’s one we’ll continue to keep in our menu rotations.

Foil-Baked Halibut with Chile Compound Butter and Black Beans

  • Prep Time: 10min
  • Cook Time: 20min
  • Yield: 4 servings


Compound butter is a mixture of softened butter at least one other ingredient. Some ideas for compound butter are: herbs, spices, citrus zest/juice, honey, fresh mint, soft cheeses (like goat, feta, or blue), fresh or dried peppers, and nuts…you get the idea! This list could be endless!


For the halibut:
4 skinless white fish fillets (6 to 8 oz each), 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp ancho chile powder, divided in half
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ red onion, minced
2 scallions, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Lemon wedges, for serving


  • 01

    Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 450° F.

  • 02

    Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix together the butter, 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder, orange zest, half the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl until well-combined. Spread butter mixture over the fish.

  • 03

    Combine the beans, onion, scallions, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, lemon juice, remaining garlic, remaining ancho chile powder, scallions, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a bowl.

  • 04

    Lay four 14-inch lengths of foil on the counter and divide the bean mixture evenly in the center of each piece of foil. Top with fish, and fold the foil over the fish, folding the edges to seal.

  • 05

    Arrange the packets in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the fish is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully open the packets and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges.

adapted from The Best Simple Recipes by America’s Test Kitchen, via Pink Parsley

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Leave a Comment

  • July 15, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    I’m so glad you liked this! It really is one of the quickest and easiest dinners ever.

  • July 19, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    we made this for dinner last night and i just have to pop in and tell you how AMAZING it tasted. seriously delicious…our local fish market did not have any halibut, but cod was a great substitution.
    thank you so much for sharing!

  • July 25, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Just read this recipe.. OH MAN. It sounds way good. I am trying to health up my brother and I a little by eating more fish and less beef. I am definitely trying this recipe this week. Thanks for sharing, I can hardly wait!

  • Denise
    August 14, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    I made this recipe on a whim…something different and easy. It was fantastic. I shared it with a friend of mine and her family raved as well. Simple, healthy, and tasty 🙂