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Article: Family-Favorite Fried Fish Recipe

Family-Favorite Fried Fish Recipe

Family-Favorite Fried Fish Recipe

Get the grease hot and serve up our Fried Fish Recipe to bring a coastal flavor infusion to any summertime gathering. There's almost nothing better than fresh-caught fish, especially when it's hot out of the fryer. Save our family's favorite fried fish recipe and keep it on hand for your next beachside gathering, whether you’re looking for a hearty appetizer or a main course that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. 
Trust us, once you learn how to fry fish with the steps laid out in this recipe, you will never fry anything another way! Gather your loved ones from near and far to enjoy the delicious, summery, easy fried fish recipe. 


The Backstory of Our Fried Fish Recipe 

A dear family friend of ours, John Thomas, developed this recipe method for frying and spent quite a few years serving up fried fish, fried shrimp, fried oysters { name it!} at hired catering jobs around town for events large and small. Now, John has set down his catering apron to pursue other ventures, but during his peak catering days when almost every weekend {and some seasons every night!} was fully booked, he quickly became known as THE fry guy. So much so, that you could practically pull up to a party, open your car door, take a quick sniff of the air outdoors and recognize that you were about to eat some amazing food. 

You know how at some cocktail parties when catering staff approaches you and after careful consideration, you choose to decline whatever plated dish they offer for whatever reason? Yeah, that never happened with John’s fried bites. More likely, your strategy had to be to proactively scout out the catering staff to make sure to snag a bite or two {...or three} before the platter was cleaned and you missed your chance!  
So, how did we get our hands on this coveted recipe? Kyle’s husband, Warren, worked alongside John at special events for a few years. Over time, he learned some of the tricks of the trade, so to speak, saving and sharing his close-to-the-original-recipe solely for our close family at our shared beach house at Alligator Point when fresh-caught snapper or grouper fills the coolers from a full day of fishing {lucky us!}. 
After recently hosting a late lunch for the whole family down at the beach during a long weekend {a curated gathering idea we’ve dubbed ‘By The Bay Gathering’}, we just had to give John a call to see if we could share the secret recipe here for all to enjoy as summer gets to be in full swing. He happily obliged and even gave us a few extra pointers to get close to his original Fried Fish Recipe to share as well! 


What You Need to Make Fried Fish 

The best fried fish recipes aren’t complicated. In fact, we think the simplicity of this recipe is what makes it so very good. One of our favorite parts of this particular fried fish recipe is that you can find most of the key ingredients like self-rising flour, eggs, buttermilk, and salt {except for the fresh fish, of course!} in your pantry or refrigerator. If those aren’t ingredients you typically keep on-hand, you’re going to want to after learning this frying method so you’re ready after your next successful fishing trip... or trip to the seafood market! 


Fresh vs. Frozen Fish for a Fried Fish Recipe 

You may be wondering... can I use frozen fish for this fried fish recipe? While it’s certainly a possibility in a pinch, we are always in favor of using fresh fish over frozen. Not only does it taste better {less fishy}, but the batter also sticks better and the texture holds up against the fryer.  
If you are in a pinch and must use frozen fish, at least try to properly freeze it in the first place, and then thaw it using the same level of care when it’s time! 


Tips for Preparing Fish 

Before getting the fryer out, it’s important to prepare ahead since this fried fish recipe requires some marinating, or soaking. Start with cleaned fish filets and then slice them into fingers. Make sure to use a sharp filet knife for a clean cut against the grain of the fish. 

Pro tip from John Thomas: Cut the fingers no thicker than your finger to ensure it will all cook evenly! 
Next, you’re going to want to soak your fish fingers in a buttermilk and egg mixture for a minimum of one hour prior to heating up your grease. 


A Few Key Ingredients: 

  • Fresh white fish our local favorites are fresh-caught snapper, grouper, or tripletail 
  • Buttermilk — for a little touch of tang 
  • Self-Rising Flour —  we aren’t exactly sure what the self-rising part does, but John Thomas said do it, so we do it!  

Fried Fish 

Serves 8 - 10   


3 large eggs 

1 quart buttermilk 

3 lb self-rising flour 

2.5 lb (cleaned) fresh white fish filets, sliced into bite-sized fingers 

At least 3 gallons peanut oil 

Kosher salt or seasoned salt 


To prepare fish for frying, combine eggs and buttermilk in a large bowl. Submerge fish fingers in mixture and let soak for a minimum of 1 hour. When ready to fry, begin preheating oil.  
If frying on stovetop: 
Fill a cast iron skillet with enough grease to cover a single layer of fish, taking care not to risk overflowing and causing a grease fire.  
If frying in deep fryer: 
Fill the fryer to the recommended capacity of grease based on fryer size.  
Preheat grease to 350 – 375 degrees. While grease preheats, prepare a second bowl by filling with ½ of the flour, and a third small bowl by filling with your preferred salt. Line a large platter with paper towels. Bring a bowl of buttermilk mixture, bowl of flour, bowl of salt, large platter, and an extra roll of paper towels (trust us, this process does not allow for clean hands!) to a surface close to your fryer.  
Once grease is preheated, you’re ready to begin frying! It’s a quick process, so be sure to stay close by to rotate your batches – do not leave hot grease unattended.  
To fry, take fish out of buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip off, and then drop in bowl of flour to completely coat on all sides. Remove fish from flour and shake off excess before carefully dropping into hot grease. Repeat for 4 – 6 pieces or until fryer is filled with a single layer. 
Fry fish undisturbed until golden brown. Take into account the thickness of the fish and don’t step away for too long – it's a quick process! Choose a test piece to break in half and enjoy, making sure it’s cooked thoroughly.  
Remove the rest of the batch of fish from the grease and place on the platter lined with paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with kosher salt or seasoned salt to taste. Repeat in batches until all fish is cooked. If your bowl of flour gets clumpy, replace with the other ½ of reserved flour.  
Serve immediately with your favorite tartar and cocktail sauces. 
Recipe courtesy of our dear friend, John Thomas. 


Serve It Up:  

The perfectly patterned platter to peek out from underneath the lined paper towels is the punchy Iris Blue Sprout Platter.
Portion out your fried masterpiece on the clean canvas of our Signature White Oval Platter. 
Opt for a natural look with our large-scale Fundamentals Wood Ruffle Platter {that doubles as a charger!} 

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