How to pan fry fish


pan fry fish

Pan fried fish—–for photo credits click picture

When you pan fry fish you cook on top of the stove in hot oil. The fish is first dipped in flour, then egg and then some type of coating. For a lighter coating you can just dip the fillets in milk then in flour.

When I panfry fish my favorite oil to use is a mixture of half butter and half cooking oil but you can use just cooking oil. Use oil that withstands high heat. Peanut oil, corn oil and vegetable oil all work well. Stay away from using just butter or just olive oil, these burn too quickly. Lean fish fillets do much better than fatter fish when using this method of cooking. Use fillets that are ¾ inch thick or less. If you use fillets thicker than ¾ inch the breading can get too brown before the fish is done.


Fish fillets                                                                                                                                         Flour
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
Breading, Butter, Cooking oil
Salt and pepper


1.  Place about 1 cup of flour in a shallow bowl. Pie tins work well for this.

2.  Beat together the eggs and the milk in a bowl.

3.  Put about 1 cup of coating in a shallow bowl. Some good coatings are panko crumbs, crushed cracker crumbs, crushed corn flakes or crushed bread crumbs. There are also some good coatings sold in grocery stores that work well.

4.  Rinse the fish quickly under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.

5.  Lightly salt and pepper a fillet then coat it with flour. Shake off any excess flour.

6.  Dip the fillet in the egg mixture and let the excess drip off.

7.  Coat the fish with the breading of your choice. Lightly press the coating into the fillet on both sides.

8. Set the fish aside and repeat the process with the other fillets. Let the fish dry for about 5 minutes while the pan is pre heating.

9. Pre heat your pan for a few minutes.

10. Put about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil and 3 tablespoons of butter in the pan. You can use plain cooking oil but the butter adds a nice flavor to the fish. Depending on the size of the pan you may need more oil and butter. The oil should come about half way up the sides of the fish.

11. You want the oil hot before you add the fish. A drop of water will sizzle when you add it to the oil if the temperature is right. You want it hot but not so hot that the oil starts smoking.

12. Put the fish in the fat and start frying. Do not crowd the fish. The fillets should have enough room so they are not touching. It is better to do fish in batches than to try and hurry by crowding the fillets.
13. When the fish is browned nicely on the bottom it should lift from the pan without
sticking too much. When the fish is a little over half done flip it over and finish cooking.


If your fish is about ¼ inch thick allow  2 minutes on each side
When it’s ½ inch thick, 3 minutes on each side
If it’ ¾ inch thick allow about 4 minutes on each side
These are approximate times. The breading should be nicely browned and the fillets should flake easily with a fork when the fish is done.
For a similar taste with less oil try sauteing fish.


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