Basic Fish Fry Recipe

A fish fry always brings everyone together. It’s a fun way to celebrate any event, from football game tailgates to graduations and birthdays. They’re great for both inside and outdoor celebrations!
Assortment of fried seafood, fish fry after catching shrimp crab and fish at the beach

This recipe will show you how to fry up just about any kind fish to crisp perfection. It can be used for many types of fresh seafood. I’ve included instructions for both deep frying and pan frying.

Over time, I’ve realized that I have so much to be thankful for. It almost overwhelms me when I start counting my blessings. I’m blessed to have Scott, my loving husband who is always there to support me. I’ve also been blessed with a fantastic bunch of children and a beautiful home. And finally, I’m blessed that all these people with whom I share this beautiful home love seafood, because I truly don’t think I could live without it!

Yes, it’s true, we all love seafood. Any time there’s a special occasion, whether it be a birthday or a graduation, I don’t have to worry about resorting to a simple fish fry. We’re all perfectly fine with it! And when we all come together for a fish fry, the results are usually fabulous.

All of my fried fish recipes start with these basic steps. I use them to fry up oysters, octopus, seafood, and freshwater fish like tilapia and catfish. Make sure you have the freshest fish fillets available and that the fish is perfectly dry before you batter.

The best fish fry, in my opinion, includes a tasty sauce. You can add hot sauce to your fish dish, serve it with tartar sauce, or even use the zesty fish sauce included with my crab cakes recipe! Just go to that recipe and follow the instructions for making the sauce. Or keep it simple with a little malt vinegar.

Note: if you are pan frying, skip the initial dredge in flour and the egg dip and go straight to the flour and corn meal coating. Proceed to fry in 1/2 inch vegetable oil that reaches 375 degrees. Drain off excess hot oil on paper towels.

Try serving with lime or lemon wedges, southern hush puppies, and a big Italian salad!

Assortment of fried seafood, fish fry after beach day

Basic Fish Fry Recipe

This basic fish fry recipe is perfect for frying any kind of seafood or fresh water fish.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Southern


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 ounces filleted fish or 4 whole fish
  • Vegetable oil with a high smoking point, like canola


  • Preheat a deep fryer to 375 degrees, or heat oil in a Dutch oven to 375 degrees.
  • On a large plate or in a bread pan, add flour, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Mix well.
  • In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of water with the eggs and mix until frothy.
  • On another plate or bread pan, mix cornmeal, garlic powder, the remaining 1 teaspoon of cayenne and black pepper, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of salt.
  • Dip fish into the flour, then the egg mixture, then the cornmeal mixture. Place on a cooling rack until you are ready to fry. Repeat steps with the remaining fish.
  • Deep fry the fish in the fryer or Dutch oven a few pieces at a time. Fry until brown and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes or more depending on the size.
  • Remove from the fryer and place onto a cooling rack. Repeat until all the fish are fried and serve with lemons, hot sauce, and my zesty homemade fish sauce.
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