Whole Fried Fish Recipe


Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 1 pound small fish, such as herring, smelts, or shad
  • 1/3 cup flour, or as needed for dredging
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, paprika, or Old Bay
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon wedges or vinegar for dipping


  1. Pat the fish dry. Mix the flour with your choice of seasoning powder. Toss the fish with the flour, then shake the fish to remove excess flour. Set the fish on a large plate or baking sheet. Reserve the remaining flour mixture.

  2. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or wok to 375 F.

  3. As the oil heats, toss the fish again the flour mixture and shake again to remove the excess flour. Add the fish to the hot oil, cooking only a few fish at once so that the temperature of the oil does not drop too low. Fry until the fish are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes depending on the size of the fish. Drain the fish on the paper towels, then transfer the fish to your serving platter and sprinkle with sea salt. Eat immediately with lemon wedges and vinegar.

Special equipment

Deep fryer or wok

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