Slow Cooker Coconut Milk Poached Fish Fillets

No-fuss velvety and luscious poached fish for dinner.
Coconut MIlk Poached Fish Fillets

Poaching is underrated, IMHO. Especially with delicate fish fillets.

Poaching with coconut milk – plus aromatics of your choice for flavor – produces fish fillets that are buttery, fragrant and delicious. And so good for you.

This is the simplest way to cook fish – you just pour hot coconut milk into your slow cooker with whatever aromatics you like. I went with Mediterranean flavors like capers, parsley, lemon and garlic. You could add some peppers for a little heat if you like. Then you cook for about an hour on high – cooking the fish very gently.  The slow cooker is the perfect kitchen tool for cooking fish very gently.

Most poached fish recipes call for salmon – perhaps because of the high fat content in salmon that withstands poaching while staying moist. But since the oil in coconut milk provides fat, the fish absorbs it and becomes rich and buttery in texture. I used Chilean Sea Bass, but you could choose any mild white fish, such as cod, tilapia, even halibut – they all will be will be very tender and have a beautiful flavor. There is something about slow cooking that infuses wonderful flavor into your fish.

Try poaching fish and even those family members who used to turn up their noses at fish will become fish fans!


4 white fish fillets, about 6 ounces each
Several cans of coconut milk (regular and not light), to cover the fish fillets while poaching
Aromatics of choice, such as garlic, shallots, parsley, ginger, lemon, capers, etc.
1/2 teaspoon of salt for every can of coconut milk

Place fish fillets in slow cooker, skin side down. Add all aromatics to slow cooker, distributing evenly around and on top of fish.

Heat coconut milk to a simmer in the microwave or on stovetop. Pour into slow cooker.

Cover and cook for about 60 minutes on high, until fish is opaque.

Garnish with aromatics as desired. I always use extra lemon for serving.

Serve immediately.

Other fabulous poached fishes:

Poached Salmon, Simply Recipes
Poached Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce, Former Chef
Poached Salmon with cucumber salsa, Not without Salt
Coconut Lime Poached Fish, Kahakai Kitchen
Wine Poached Tilapia, 28 Cooks


  1. Amy says

    I pinned this recipe and am looking forward to trying it soon. I want to use lemon and capers as pictured. Would you recommend adding them to the slow cooker before poaching or after the fish is cooked?

    • says

      Amy – I just updated the recipe after your comment to add that you can garnish with aromatics as desired. I always serve with a few lemon slices as garnish. Thank you for your comment!

      • Amy says

        Hi Donna, Thank-you so much for the advice on when to add the aromatics. I’m new to poaching fish and am in love with this recipe! I’ve made it twice so far and it’s going into my go-to rotation! Since I had limes in the fridge I took the suggestion from Patricia CT to add lime zest, fresh ginger and garlic, and a sprinkle of dried peppers-delish. When I buy lemons I want to try lemons and capers. The second time I made it I used thinner pieces of halibut and should have checked it at 40 minutes but still delishious. The first time I made it the whole hour was perfect but i used thicker pieces of halibut than the second time. If anyone is looking for a coconut milk recommendation I really like the brand of Natural Value coconut milk-no preservatives just 100% coconut-17%-19% good fat Thanks Donna again for posting such a delicious and easy recipe.

    • says

      The fish has a perfect velvety texture and is so moist and has just a hint of coconut flavor. It is wonderful – i HIGHLY recommend this method!

  2. Rachel says

    I’ve not purchased coconut milk in a can, but we get the cartons. How much is in a can? Wondering if I can just measure out from what we already have. :) Thanks!

    • says

      I used regular coconut milk because I think the fat in the coconut milk makes the fish very luxurious. You should absolutely try this with light milk – and come back and let me know how you liked it!

  3. Patricia CT says

    Fish in the slow cooker???!!!!??? Who knew?
    Was super hot here and didn’t want to heat the kitchen. Used sea bass and lime, garlic, Serrano chilies and ginger. WOW. So. Fan.tas.tic. Will def make again. Thanks for the ideas!!!

  4. Jo Skidmore says

    ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS! I made this in my 2qt crockpot. 2 tilapia fillets. Aromatics= 1 clove crushed garlic, 4 large fresh basil leaves – chifonade. 1 can coconut milk w1/2 tsp salt heated on the stove and then poured over fish and aromatics. Cooked on high for an hour – could have used a little more time so I popped my sieving into the microwave for 15-30 seconds

    This is now a part of my dinner rotation! Loads of flavor with little effort and even though it is cooked in the slow cooker, you can throw it all together after work and still be able to eat at a reasonable hour!

    Served over rice.

  5. Eva says

    What brand of coconut milk do you use? I’m trying to eat “cleaner” and all of the brands in my store have a lot of additives. Thanks!

  6. AndiRae says

    Do you serve the poaching liquid with the fish or just throw it out? The recipe sounds delicious and I’ll definitely give it a try in the next week or two as I’m trying to incorporate more fish into my diet.


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