How to Deep Fry Fish on the Stovetop
Fried fish is the perfect comfort food. It’s crispy and light but also packed with nutrients instead of empty calories. You don’t need to have a fryer to make delicious deep-fried fish at home. Just use these tips!
What fish should you fry?
Lean white fish are the best fried. Cod, perch, and sole are a few of our favorites. Whitefish are ideal for frying because they are lean. The extra fat from the oil adds to their flavor. Fatty fish like tuna, Chilean sea bass or salmon turn out too oily.
Preparing The Fish
Whenever you make fish, you should pat it down with a paper towel first to remove water from the outside. Usually, you do this so that the fish will brown nicely. You should do it when you fry fish because water and oil don’t mix well. After you’ve finished this step, you can bread the fish. We recommend soaking the fish in buttermilk before dredging it in flour or breadcrumbs.
Then dip it in an egg batter and dredge it in flour or breadcrumbs again. Giving it two layers will make the breading thicker. If you’d like to spice up your fish, mix Cajun seasoning, garlic powder or cayenne pepper into the breading before dredging the fish in it.
Once the fish are breaded, set them aside and heat the oil. (Allowing the fish to come to room temperature, while you heat the oil, will help the fish cook evenly.)
How do you fry fish?
Pull out a deep saucepan, wok or cast-iron Dutch oven and an oil with a high smoke point (such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil). Also, grab a large slotted spoon or stainless-steel strainer.
Fill the pot about two-thirds full of oil. Then heat the oil over medium until the oil reaches 375° F. Check the oil’s temperature using either a deep-fat thermometer or candy thermometer. (If the oil starts to smoke, immediately turn the burner off and remove the pot from the heat! This means that the oil is overheating and could catch fire.)
Once the oil is 375° F, carefully place the fish in the fryer. Add them one at a time. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot. There should be a space between each one.
Fish cooks fast, especially in a fryer! Remove each fish fillet or fish stick from the oil once it’s golden brown and has an internal temperature of 145° F. Place it on a plate covered with a paper towel or cooling rack to get rid of extra oil so that your fish stays crisp. Serve hot with a side of fries or coleslaw.
Hot oil can be dangerous if you aren’t cautious. Never leave the pot of oil unattended while it’s on the stove. Be sure to have a lid and baking soda nearby just in case you need them. (Smothering an oil fire with a lid or baking soda are the only safe ways to put it out. Spraying it with water will make it worse.) If a grease fire starts, turn off the stove right away then try to smother the fire. If that doesn’t immediately put the flames out, don’t hesitate to call 911. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Let us know how your fried fish turned out in the comments! If you don’t feel ready for a stovetop fish fry, pick up fried fish from our take-out kitchen!