The Best Recipe for Deep Frying Fish

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, at no cost to you.

Recipe For Deep Frying FishIf you’re looking to keep meat out of the menu for the Lenten season, a great alternative is to use fish fry recipes. Maybe you’re looking to host fish fry Fridays, and you want to make fish exactly how they do at your favorite restaurant or fast food chain. In this article, we share the best recipe for deep frying fish, and how you can get the best results for hosting dinners whenever you want.    

Choosing Your Fish

Before making your deep-fried fish, you first need to choose the right type of fish to make the process much easier. Start by choosing a kind of white fish that can be taken from freshwater such as catfish, walleye, or Alaskan cod, or it can be flaky fish from the ocean. You can either use beer batter, panko bread crumbs, or some other kind of crispy coating, such as cornflakes.

Whether you’re making Southern fried fish or fish sticks, what you need for the perfect fried fish is pretty standard no matter where you live. However, there will be regional differences when it comes to sides — some people will prefer some rye bread with their cooked fish while others might go for French fries or potato cakes. So if you want delicious fish any time of the week, then check out the best fish recipe we have for you.   

What’s the Best Way to Fry My Fish? 

When frying any kind of breaded or battered fish fillets, you’ll want to use an electric deep fryer or an electric skillet; you can also use a heavy skillet or a deep enamel pot on the stove. You’ll also need to use the best oil for the job, which will have a high smoking point. You can choose from the following options: 

  • Peanut oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Safflower oil

When you have the right oil, it’s time to move on to the temperature of the oil — be sure to keep the oil temperature around 375°F, which will give your fish the best chance of getting a crisp coating. If you’re frying in batches, ensure that your oil will go back to the right temperature before you add another piece of fish. Be sure to look out for splatters because this will hurt; keep excess moisture away from the oil, and avoid overcrowding the pan to reduce splashing.  

Best Recipe for Deep Frying Fish 

If this is your first time cooking deep-fried fish, then you’re in luck because this recipe is everything you need to get perfectly done fish fillets. 


For the Tartar Sauce:

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup of sweet pickle relish
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon of pepper
  • 4 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice

For the fish:

  • 2 pounds of fish fillets cut into pieces
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups of ice water
  • ½ teaspoon of dried parsley flakes
  • Some oil for deep frying
  • Lemon wedges for serving 


  1. Make the Batter and Sauce

Inside a small bowl, start making your homemade tartar sauce by combining all the ingredients above and then set it aside. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon-pepper seasoning, garlic salt, flour, parsley flakes, and baking powder. Use a measuring cup to combine your ice water without the ice along with your canola oil.

Ensure that your water is ice cold to ensure that you end up with a crispy batter, then whisk your wet mixture into the dry ingredients until everything is silky smooth. 

  1. Heat Your Oil

Inside your heavy bottom pan, deep fryer, electric skillet, or cast-iron skillet, add enough oil to cover the fish fillets as they cook. Depending on which of these you use, this can be between 2 inches deep or half full. Next, heat your oil to 375°; be sure to keep track of the heat by using a thermometer. 

  1. Fry Your Fish

Before anything else, pat your fish dry using paper towels and when your oil reaches the right temperature, use tongs to dip smaller pieces of your fish into your batter, turning them until they’re fully coated. Allow any excess flour mixture to drip off then carefully place them in the hot oil one at a time. Try not to crowd the pan too much and stick to a few pieces per batch, to prevent the oil temperature from dropping which can result in soggy fish.   

Fry each fish for 5 to 7 minutes on the first side then flip it on the other side and cook for another 5 minutes. When your fish gets a golden brown color and is easy to flake using a fork, then you can transfer your fried fish over to a wire rack or a paper towel-lined plate. 

  1. Ready to Serve!

Allow your fish to rest for a few minutes and sprinkle them with salt if needed. Ensure that the oil goes back to 375° and repeat the steps above until you finish all your fish — you can even double fry them all to get the ultimate crunch! Serve your pieces of fish with some tartar sauce and fresh lemon along with your favorite sides. 

Deep Frying Fish FAQs 

Below are just a few questions that fish lovers might have about deep frying their fish. 

How Do I Reheat My Fish? 

While health-conscious consumers will use an air fryer to cook their fish, it’s also great for reheating deep-fried fish. All you need to do is put your fish in a single layer inside the basket. Set your air fryer to “reheat” over 350°. Set for 6 to 7 minutes then flip it after 4 minutes — alternatively, you can also reheat it inside a large Dutch oven for 10 minutes. 

How Do I Keep the Coating on My Fish? 

Never skip the drying step and always have paper towels handy to pat your fish dry before placing them into the batter. Some people will also season their fish a little with a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper before dipping their fish into your fish fry batter to help seal your coating. 


By following the instructions above, you can be sure to serve up the best fish at every dinner party or every other occasion. Just remember to make the wet batter using exact measurements to ensure that it sticks to your delicious fried fish, just as this great recipe intended. If you’re new to the kitchen, your first batch may not be perfect but the second time will surely be good enough for some crispy fish tacos!