Southern Fried Fish

This post may contain Affiliate Links. Please see my Disclaimer for more details.

My Fried Fish recipe only takes 10 minutes and a few ingredients to make crispy, crunchy, flaky fish that’s loaded with flavor!

Southern Fried Fish

Growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, we had to learn how to fry fish around the same time we learned how to walk and talk. Fish fries are part of the culture. But can you blame us?

With so many varieties of fish in the Gulf of Mexico, it would be crazy of us not to live off the abundant options in the waters. That’s why I’m going to show you a great way to fry golden brown fish perfectly every time.

It doesn’t matter if you’re down south eating fried catfish, trout, or snapper or frying whiting fish in the Midwest. This is a perfect technique for frying fish!

Southern Fried Fish on a plate with hush puppies

Key Ingredients

Here are a few ingredients you’ll need for a southern fish fry.

Oil

I love to use peanut oil for my fish fries; it holds heat well and makes my fish a gorgeous golden brown color.

Fresh Fish Fillets

I know everybody expects my first choice to be catfish, but I’m telling you, fried trout, redfish, and snapper are excellent tasting fish that will put catfish to shame.

Creole Seasoning

A great Cajun-Creole seasoning will do the heavy lifting of 12 herbs and spices. That’s why I use Savory Cajun seasoning.

Buttermilk

It’s not southern fried if there’s no buttermilk.

Flour

Traditionally you might see fish fried in cornmeal or corn flour (fish fry in a box), but I love using all-purpose flour.

Southern Fried Fish on a plate with hush puppies

How to make Southern Fried Fish recipe?

The key to having a successful fish fry is properly cleaned fish, seasoning, and hot oil. I’m going to show you the simplest way to fry fish. Regardless if you’re using finely ground cornmeal, flour, or a fish fry mix.

Fill a cast iron skillet or large heavy bottom skillet halfway with oil over medium-high heat until the oil temperature reaches 350°F. Season buttermilk and flour with 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning each. Season each fish fillet evenly on both sides with the remaining seasoning.

Dredge fish in buttermilk, then flour; make sure to let any excess buttermilk drain off and shake off any excess flour. Fry in hot oil for 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish (thickness of fish may reduce or increase the time.)
If frying fish in batches, take fish out and place fish on a foiled lined baking sheet in a 200˚F oven. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon juice, lemon wedges, hot sauce, and your favorite dipping sauces.

Close up of southern fried fish

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Here are a few notes so you can make crispy fried fish every time.

  • If you’re hosting a large fish fry, use a deep-fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Using tongs is best for turning fish in a skillet because it reduces the amount of oil splatter.
  • Marinate your fish in buttermilk for 1 hour to develop more flavor.
  • Use canola or vegetable oil instead of peanut oil.
  • Use your favorite all-purpose seasoning or old bay seasoning instead of Cajun seasoning.
  • Feel free to use whole milk or evaporated milk as a swap for buttermilk. If you beat the milk with 1 large egg.
  • You can use cornmeal or fish fry out of the box instead of flour.
  • Don’t overcrowd your skillet or deep fryer. This will reduce the temperature and cause the fish to steam instead of deep fry.
  • This recipe will work with any of your favorite dipping sauces, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or your own homemade sauce.
Southern Fried Fish on a plate with hush puppies
Savory Seasoning Wide Ad
fried fish on a plate with potato salad

FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about fried fish.

What is Southern Fried Fish?

Southern fried fish is when you use buttermilk, cornmeal, flour, or cornflour to deep fry fish. Fish commonly used are catfish, trout, or snapper.

What is the secret to frying fish?

The secret to frying fish: fresh fish and hot oil. You can season and batter your fish however you like, but if your oil is not at least 350°F, your fish won’t be crispy and golden brown.

What to soak fish in before frying?

Before frying, you can soak your fish in a buttermilk marinade or an ice water marinade. The buttermilk will make your fish tender and add a tangy taste to it. While the ice water marinade is a great way to add flavor to large fish fries. You will have to over season the water to get maximum flavor.

What’s the best fish to fry?

The best fish to fry is catfish, trout, or red snapper. These fish have a mild flavor and a firm texture that holds up well to frying.

How do you prevent fried fish batter from getting soggy?

The best way to prevent soggy batter on fried fish is to fry your fish in oil that’s between 350°F-365°F. This hot oil will make your fish flaky and crispy.

Overhead of southern fried fish on a plate with potato salad and hushpuppies

How do you keep fried fish crispy after frying?

The best way to keep your fish crispy after it’s done frying is to keep it in a warm oven to keep it hot and crispy. Some people like to use wire racks so the hot air circulates around the fish, which will keep you from eating soggy fish, unlike placing the fish on a paper towel.

How to store leftover fried fish?

Fried fish is best served hot out of the oil. However, it will remain fresh, covered in an airtight container for 7 days in the fridge. Reheat fried fish by baking it a 400˚F for 6-8 minutes until hot.

Fried Fish

What do you serve with southern fish fry?

You can serve several things with fried fish, but my top pick would be hush puppies, tartar sauce, potato salad, mac and cheese, collard greens, and sweet tea.

More Southern Recipes

If you love fish and seafood recipes as much as I do, then I know you’ll love these recipes too!

Latest Recipe Video:

Southern Creole Banner Ad-1

Before You Begin

Before getting started, here are the steps I use to get organized. 

Step 1: Get all ingredients to fry fish on the counter.

Step 2: Measure everything out.

Step 3: Cook my sides first; then, I get ready for some incredible fried fish!

I hope you enjoyed this southern fried fish recipe! If you did, please leave a comment and a star rating. I’d love to know what you think. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!

Click here to subscribe to MY NEWSLETTER for easy and free recipes right into your inbox! 

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the Pin button on the recipe card, the sharing buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. 

Tag me @kennethtemple_ on Instagram to share your remakes with me, and don’t forget to leave a star rating and comment below. 

Click here to subscribe to MY NEWSLETTER for easy and free recipes right into your inbox! 

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the Pin button on the recipe card, the sharing buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. 

Tag me @kennethtemple_ on Instagram to share your remakes with me, and don’t forget to leave a star rating and comment below. 

Southern Fried Fish on a plate with hush puppies

Southern Fried Fish

Kenneth Temple
My Fried Fish recipe only takes 10 minutes and a few ingredients to make crispy, crunchy, flaky fish that’s loaded with flavor!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer, Brunch, Main Course
Cuisine Cajun, Creole, New Orleans, Soul Food, Southern
Servings 4 persons
Calories 183 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Oil for frying
  • 4 filets redfish or trout cut in half if filets are large
  • 3 tablespoons Savory Cajun Seasoning divided
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 medium lemons cut into wedges

Instructions
 

  • Fill a cast iron skillet or large heavy bottom skillet halfway with oil and heat over medium-high heat until oil reaches 350°F.
  • Season buttermilk and flour with 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning. Season each fish fillet evenly on both sides with the remaining seasoning. Dredge fish in buttermilk, then flour. Make sure to let any excess buttermilk drain off and shake off any excess flour. Fry in hot oil for 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish (thickness of fish may reduce or increase the time.)
  • If doing fish in batches, take fish out and place fish on a foiled lined baking sheet in a 200˚F oven. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon juice, lemon wedges, hot sauce, and your favorite dipping sauces.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Here are a few notes so you can make crispy fried fish every time.
  • If you’re hosting a large fish fry, use a deep-fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Using tongs is best for turning fish in a skillet because it reduces the amount of splashing.
  • Marinate your fish in buttermilk for 1 hour to develop more flavor.
  • Use canola or vegetable oil instead of peanut oil.
  • Use your favorite all-purpose seasoning or old bay seasoning instead of Cajun seasoning.
  • Feel free to use whole milk or evaporated milk as a swap for buttermilk.
  • You can use cornmeal or fish fry out of the box instead of flour.
  • Don’t overcrowd your skillet or deep fryer. This will reduce the temperature and cause the fish to steam instead of deep fry.
  • This recipe will work with any of your favorite dipping sauces, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or your own homemade sauce.
Storage:
Fried fish is best served hot out of the oil. However, it will remain fresh, covered in an airtight container for 7 days in the fridge.
Reheat fried fish by baking it a 400˚F for 6-8 minutes until hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 7gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 69mgPotassium: 311mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2699IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 100mgIron: 3mg
Keyword southern fried fish, southern fried fish recipe, best fried fish,
Cooked this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating