Best Oil to Deep Fry Fish
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How to Deep Fry Fish from Home: Everything you need to Know

Have you ever had deep fried fish? Its nice and crunchy exterior goes extremely well with its juicy interior, especially with a side of your favorite dipping sauce. That's not to mention deep frying fish from is easier than you might think. The hardest part is coating it in batter. If you can handle that, then you can deep fry fish without a hitch. Here's exactly how you do it.

How to Deep Fry Fish from Home

From baking the batter, how to add your ingredients, when to heat your deep fryer, and more, we'll cover each step in order to deep fry fish from home with no problems!

Step 1) Decide and choose your batter

For a basic batter, all you need are basic ingredients. 

Ingredients needed for a basic fish batter recipe

  • Flour (1 cup)
  • Baking Powder (1 tsp)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
fish batter

Advanced Fish Batter Recipes

Here are some additional batter recipe ideas for great tasting fish

Step 2) Make Your Batter

To make your batter, you're going to want to have two mixing bowls. Put all of your dry ingredients into one bowl. This should include your flour, baking powder, salt, and any other seasonings you're using. 

In a second bowl, mix all of your wet ingredients. This should include your milk, water, eggs, and any additional liquid ingredients that you'd like to add.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and mix thoroughly.

For best results, place the batter in the fridge for at least a hour.

Step 3) Heat up your Oil

Now is a good time to heat up your oil. We recommend deep frying fish at a temperature of 375° F or 190°C. While the oil is heating up, you can start to prep your fish.

Step 4) Prep the Fish

Prepping the fish should be simple and easy. All that's needed is drying it. Water doesn't react well with oil, so ensuring you have little water on the exterior of the fish is important.

Secondly, you can season the fish anyway you'd like. For many, this means adding salt and pepper, but there are tons of other spices you can add for your personal touch.

Step 5) Batter the Fish

Once your batter has hardened up some due to the cold, your fish is ready to be dipped and placed into the fryer. Ensure you get a nice thick coating of the fish before carefully placing the fish into the fryer. 

Step 6) Fry The Fish

Allow your battered fish to fry for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. The cook time may vary depending on the size of the fish and the amount you try and fry at one given time. The more you fry, the longer you may need to keep the fish in.

Step 7) Final Details

Once the fish is done, carefully remove the fish from the hot oil, allow the fish to drain for a few seconds, and place the fish on a paper towel lined plate or wired rack. (A wired rack under a cookie sheet allows the oil to freely drip, helping prevent the oil from soaking into the fish. This keeps the fish crispy.) Always remember to turn off your fryer when done and allow the oil to cool before cleaning the oil and fryer.

Additional Tips when Deep Frying fish

Sure, we've provided a step by step guide on how to deep fry fish for dummies, but we haven't answered all of your possible questions. If you have more questions such as which oils to fry with or which are the best fish to fry, continue reading.

How to Choose the Best Deep Frying Oil for Fish

To pick the best oil, you'll have to understand smoke points, taste, taste transfer, and a few additional features that help the process. You can read more about the best oils for deep frying here.

The Best Oil to Deep Fry Fish

1) Peanut Oil

We think peanut oil is the best choice when deep frying fish, from cat fish to cod fillets. Why? Because not only does it offer a high smoke point of 440°F, it's also fairly affordable, and offers great resistance to taste transfer. Taste transfer is the process of frying two different foods with the same oil and getting some taste from the first food to the next. For example, if you fry fish and then later fry french fries, an oil that allows taste transfer is going to result in fishy fries. Peanut oil will strongly prevent this.

bottle of peanut oil

We think peanut oil is the best choice when deep frying fish, from cat fish to cod fillets. Why? Because not only does it offer a high smoke point of 440°F, it's also fairly affordable, and offers great resistance to taste transfer. Taste transfer is the process of frying two different foods with the same oil and getting some taste from the first food to the next. For example, if you fry fish and then later fry french fries, an oil that allows taste transfer is going to result in fishy fries. Peanut oil will strongly prevent this.

We think peanut oil is the best choice when deep frying fish, from cat fish to cod fillets. Why? Because not only does it offer a high smoke point of 440°F, it's also fairly affordable, and offers great resistance to taste transfer. Taste transfer is the process of frying two different foods with the same oil and getting some taste from the first food to the next. For example, if you fry fish and then later fry french fries, an oil that allows taste transfer is going to result in fishy fries. Peanut oil will strongly prevent this.

2) Vegetable Oil

While vegetable oil doesn't offer much in terms of prevent taste transfer, it's definitely the most convenient deep frying oil choice. It's likely an oil you already use regularly and it's one of the least expensive options making it a great budget option. Its smoke point is plenty high as well at 400°F.

3) Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is another great option when deep frying any kind of fish. It may be a tad more expensive than the other oils on the list, but it's also generally known as one of the healthier choices. Its high smoke point of 450°F also makes it an oil that can survive a ton of heat.

What Kind of Fish is Best to Deep Fry

Of course, you can always buy frozen fish from the store. These fish are usually come with breading, which is necessary to get a great crisp breading taste on the outside, while eating the delicious flavor of fish on the inside. However, on the off chance, you're catching or buying your own fish, we've listed some of the better kinds of fish to deep fry.

bluefin fish

Note, when wanting to deep fry fish, you'll want to look for fish that offer more lean white flesh than not. Also, dense, strong flavored fish, and oily fish make for interesting experiences, and not always in a good way. You don't want oily food submerged into oil. So which fish fit the bill, you ask?

Fish to Deep Fry:

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Halibut
  • Shrimp
  • Cod

Fish to avoid Deep Frying:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sea-bass

Always note that some fish that are popular and taste great, such as Salmon don't go well together with deep frying. However, there are multitude of other ways to fry some of these fish.

Tips to get the Best Flavored Deep Fried Fish

Now that you know which oils to deep fry fish, as well as the best fish to deep fry, lets take a look at tips and tricks to enhance your overall experience

  • If you try and fry fish without a batter, the fish can harden and be tough to eat. That is why it's always best to get a batter around your fish before deep frying it. The batter will create a nice and crunchy taste, while keeping all the moisture in the fish, creating a nice and juicy flavor. That's the same reason things like corn-dogs, chicken strips, and onion rings come with a coating of breading. Those are all great deep frying choices.
  • You'll want to fry fish at the correct temperature, which should measure between 360° and 380°. Cooking below or above the correct temperature, especially if it's by a considerable amount, could create a poor experience.
  • Just like most deep fried food, once you're done cooking, ensure you pat down the fish with a paper towel to get rid of as much resting oil as possible. This'll enhance the eating experience without a doubt.

Can you Fry Fish without a Deep Fryer? (YES)

Whether you don't own a deep fryer, or you simply don't want to submerge your fish, there are other ways to get a good fry. Note if you don't own a deep fryer, but you'd like to, make sure to check out our best fish fryer choices

To fry fish without a deep fryer, you'll need some sort of deep pan, preferably not cast iron, as cast iron is known to break down oil than other metals. Once you find an appropriate pan, ensure it's deep enough to fill it up roughly half way. You won't want to fill it up any more than 1/2 way to ensure oil doesn't rise enough to spill over. It'll also help contain the sizzling and popping, helping prevent you from getting burnt. If you're able to fill it up half way and still submerge a fair portion of the fish in the oil, you should be okay.

It may be best to check out a thermometer that can rest in the pan, to ensure you're cooking at safe temperatures. Because you're frying on a pan, and it may have an open top, at least for portions of the cooking process, it's best to have lengthy equipment, such as a pair of long tongs, to help keep your distance from the hot burning oil.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much oil to deep fry fish? How much oil you'll need to deep fry fish depends on how much fish you have. Sorry, it's a vague answer, but people fry fish of all sorts of sizes. Most deep fryers have oil capacity limits, so ensure you don't go above those.

how long to deep fry fish? Typically, you should fry fish no longer than 5-8 minutes. If you're using batter, it should be easy to tell because the batter will start to brown. Ensure your fish isn't too thick, as it could prevent the interior from cooking thoroughly. Fish fillets are small for example, so they probably deep fry closer to 5 minutes at 375°F or 190°C.

How long to deep fry fish at 350? If you're deep frying at 350 degrees, you should cook your fish for 6-9 minutes.

How to deep fry fish without sticking? If your fried fish batter is sticking to the fry basket, remove the fry basket. Instead, carefully drop the fish in and once the fish cooks, lift it up with a slotted spoon, metal strainer, or similar kitchen utensil.

Conclusion

Hopefully you find deep frying fish from home as easy as we do. It's as simple as baking the batter and ensuring you're following the proper steps to cook your fish properly. Be sure to try different fish batters until you find one that your family loves most!

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