Crispy & Spicy Southern Fried Fish

Archived in the category: Fishing Recipes
Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Crispy & Spicy Southern Fried Fish

Fish preparation

Fish come in varying thickness. You may be cooking whole fish, fillets, strips or nuggets. In either case, the thickness of the fish determines how you will prepare it. If a piece of fish is about ½” to 1″ thick it’s perfect for frying; any thicker and I slice it in half or make slits in it. Of course, be sure the fish is cleaned well and always try to remove all the bones; the small amount of meat you lose is not worth the risk of someone having a bone lodged in their throat.

Wet mix
2 eggs
¾ cup of milk
1 tbs. Creole Seasoning (your choice)
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp. hot sauce
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper.

Put fish in liquid mix and marinade for 30 minutes in a refrigerator.

Dry Mix
2 cups corn flour (see note 1) or fish fry.
¾ cup cornstarch (makes it stick better & crispy)
2 Tbs. Creole Seasoning
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
¼ tsp. Cayenne
1 tsp. lemon/pepper seasoning

Don’t hesitate to adjust any of this to your liking..


In a frying pot (I use a cast iron skillet) use peanut oil, about 2 inches depending upon the pan/skillet depth. Heat to 350ºF (hot oil is dangerous, so be careful). Place fish in the oil leaving at least a ½ to ¾ of an inch space between the pieces. Why? If you pack the pan with too many pieces the oil cools too quickly, which equals soggy greasy fish.

Using a large plastic container, dredge the fish in the dry mix and let sit a minute or two. Using a doubled paper bag also works well. Just drop the fish in and shake it up a few times.

Cooking Time: Cook thick the 1″ pieces for about 4 minutes, the smaller pieces at least 1 to 2 minutes turning frequently. Watch for the pieces to float in the grease; when this happens, the fish is done. You can usually tell it’s getting done by the golden outer color. Remove the fish and place it on paper towels adding a little salt and pepper as soon as the fish comes out of the grease. Move them around on the paper towel, so the grease is soaked up then transfer them to another pan also lined with paper towels. Finally cover them loosely with paper towels.

Important: Let the peanut oil return to 350ºF for the next batch! Remember, the oil cools as you cook each batch. If you don’t have a frying thermometer get one, guessing just doesn’t get it done! If the oil gets too hot turn the heat off or down and let it cool to the right temperature. If the oil smokes you’ve probably ruined it. A frying thermometer prevents all of this trouble.

Have a little tartar, cocktail sauce and/or rémoulade sauce (Note 4), and lemon handy for extra flavors.

Note 1: I am lucky enough to occasionally get corn flour (pulverized cornmeal). You can also use a (commercially sold fish fry mix) that is made with corn flour (read the ingredients), many come seasoned and unseasoned. You can also mix cornmeal and flour and that works okay too. Some folks use flour alone, but it’s your preference. Cornmeal is coarser than corn flour, hence the name, “corn flour”.

Note 2: To keep the food warm put the oven on 200°F (or as low as it will go) and let it warm up about 15 minutes. Cover the fish with paper towels (not plastic wrap) or loosely with foil, turn the oven off, and put the pan in the oven. Never seal the pan with plastic wrap or foil; if you do, the fish will become soggy. If you leave the oven on it will dry out too much. This only works for so long. After a few re-heats, the fish will dry out anyway.

Note 3: Cooking oil: Different oils have different smoke points. The smoke point is the temperature that the oil begins to smoke and is usually ruined. Peanut oil has the highest rating at 450ºF followed by Canola then Corn (Vegetable) oil. That’s why the Peanut oil is preferred for frying.

Note 4:  Rémoulade sauce. Stir together all the ingredients until well blended. Cover and chill for at least one hour.


1 ½ cups light mayo
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons Creole mustard
1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 ½ teaspoons horseradish
1 teaspoon paprika