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Restaurant Style Poor Man’s Lobster

Impress your friends with this Restaurant Style Poor Man’s Lobster recipe! Make this baked fish for your next restaurant meal at home that’s so simple you’ll look like a pro! Lobster is a luxurious seafood that can be expensive, but this recipe for poor man’s lobster recipe will show you how to make it at home for a fraction of the price.

A Midwest Friday Favorite

In the Midwest, a Friday night fish fry is a staple, but not everyone likes fried fish. That is why many restaurants also offer a poor man’s lobster special as well. When served with drawn or melted butter, it is sure to satisfy even some picky fish eaters.

Restaurant Style Poor Man's Lobster Pin

Wisconsin Supper Club Classic

If you’re looking to impress your guests without breaking the bank, look no further than this poor man’s lobster recipe. It’s and easy recipe to make and doesn’t require any expensive ingredients. Just some cod fillets, white fish fillets, or haddock fillets a few spices and some butter and lemon slices for serving.

So go ahead and give it a try; your guests will be amazed at how delicious it is. Enjoy this Wisconsin supper club classic right from the comfort of your own home! It really is a simple recipe that you can make at home. Dress it up with fancy sides to have a fine dining experience at home, or serve it with simple sides for a casual dining experience.

Does Poor Man’s Lobster Taste Like Lobster?

The fish used in poor man’s recipes are “whitefish.” They have a very similar taste to lobster tail, although not quite the same. Lobster is usually sweeter, but when you’re on a budget, this comes very close with similar flavors. It has a sweet and rich flavor. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon and a dip in melted butter, well it is just scrumptious is all I can say.

There are many types of whitefish. The ones recommended most for this recipe are cod and haddock while halibut works too. Pick whatever whitefish suits your tastes. When prepared as instructed below, the cod has the texture and consistency of lobster and tastes almost like the real thing.

Baked Haddock Whitefish

How do you know when Fish is Done Baking?

The baking time on the recipe says 15-20 minutes or until the fish is flaky, or about 10 minutes per inch of thickness. You do not want to over bake the fish as it can become a little tough. Therefore, it is always a good idea to test for doneness of the fish. 

Baked Poor Man's Lobster

To test the doneness, carefully pierce the thickest portion of the fish with a fork and twist slightly. If the fish flakes without resistance, it is done. If it does not, cook a few minutes longer. Additionally, when the fish is not cooked, it will have the opaque coloring and when it is done, the meat will be white.

Flaky Cooked Haddock Fish

What Sides go well with Baked Fish?

In the Midwest, traditionally Restaurant Style Poor Man’s Lobster is served with melted butter, lemon wedges, coleslaw, rye bread, and a potato such as french fries. However, baked fish would also go well with mixed vegetables, a lightly flavored pasta, or even wild rice pilaf. Quick meals like this one pair well with so many sides.

Cheesy Potato and Ham Bake
Cheesy Potato and Ham Bake

How do you Reduce Fishy Flavor?

Some people are very sensitive to fish’s flavor. Here are some ideas to reduce the fishy taste.

Melted Butter

Soak the fish in milk. This helps absorb some of the fishiness and seems to make the fish taste a bit milder.

Disguise the Fishy Flavor. Use spices, or a glaze, or garlic and lemon flavors. Any type of citrus helps mask the fish flavor.

Choose mild flavored fish. Some types of fish are less fishy than others. Do your research to pick the best option for sensitive guests.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • Overcooking the fish can cause it to fall apart making it difficult to serve as single pieces.
  • Dip in butter. Salted butter works best.
  • You can cook frozen fish fillets. Just lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit so the outside does not burn before the inside is cooked through.
  • You can boil the fish fillet. In a large stock pot, just bring the water to a rolling boil. using a tongs, carefully lower the fish pieces into the boiling water. Cook for approximately 7 minutes. Just until the fish is beginning to flake. If you cook it too long, it will break apart. Remove the fillet with a wire basket or slotted spoon letting the water drip off. For best results, pat the excess water off with paper towels. This helps the butter stick to the fish better when serving. You can broil this fish using a broiler pan or a shallow casserole pan to dry out the fish a bit after boiling. Broil on medium-high heat for 7 minutes.
  • If boiling the fish, some recipes call for the addition of granulated sugar to the water to make a sugar water. This will allow for a sweeter tasting fish. Add 3/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar to approximately 6 cups of water to a kettle for boiling the fish.
  • When baking the poor mans lobster line the baking pan with aluminum foil for easier clean up.
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Restaurant Style Poor Man’s Lobster

Impress your friends with this Restaurant Style Poor Man’s Lobster recipe! Make this baked fish for your next restaurant meal at home that’s so simple you’ll look like a pro!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: copycat, dinner recipe, easy recipe, fish, restaurant recipe
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 192kcal

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  • 1 ¼ Pounds Fish Fillets Cod, Haddock, or Halibut
  • 1/2 Tsp Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Paprika
  • 3 Tbsp Butter melted or drawn


  • Place fish in a greased or oiled baking dish. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If the fish is frozen, thaw it. Once thawed, slice the fish into serving portions. Place them in the prepared baking dish(s). This can all be baked in an 11 X 7 baking dish or smaller individual baking dishes. Sprinkle with the seasoned salt and paprika.
    Seasoned Raw Whitefish
  • Depending on the day, I may drizzle butter over the fish before baking or use it as dipping sauce after. The choice is yours. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Serve as is or serve with melted butter
    Flaky Cooked Haddock Fish

Your Own Private Notes


Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 442mg | Potassium: 589mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 338IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

AboutCasey Brown

A blog is a great way to pass down recipes through the generations. My grandmothers on both sides had specialties that they made that were superb. I continue to improve my cooking and baking skills. I have a bachelor degree in business management and use that to help run my online business.

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