Oven Fried Fish
Oven Fried Fish is a baked breaded white fish that is super crispy on the outside, and absolutely tender and delicious inside. It blows store bought fish sticks or breaded fish out of the water, and is better for you than a deep fried version. And guess what? It can be as good as deep fried, giving you that crisp exterior and perfectly cooked interior. With just a few simple tricks, it will blow your mind.
If you have been following along for a while, you know how much I love an oven fried version of well everything:
I love the idea of fried foods, without all the extra junk you get from actually deep frying. And with the right method, you get food that tastes like it is fried, when it is actually oven baked. I have a foolproof method for breading this fish that will give you a crispy, batter like coating, but without the fuss of deep frying.
Here is what I love about this recipe for oven fried fish or oven baked breaded fish:
- Flaky, juicy, tender fish. You are not going to get dry fish, it will be so tender, flaky, and juicy, just like it should be, but with a super crispy coating on the outside. Just perfect.
- It is easy to make. There are a few steps because you are dredging your fish, but by pre-baking the bread crumb mixture, you get a head start on the crispiness without having to overcook the fish to get there.
- Versatile recipe: You can use whatever white fish you have on hand, and there is so much flavor, but it also highlights the amazing flavor of the fish itself. We aren’t covering anything up, which is awesome.
- Better for you: I love this recipe served with oven baked steak fries, and a homemade tartar sauce, for the healthier, homemade, version of fish and chips.
What You Need to Make Oven Fried Fish
Here is what is needed to make Oven Fried Fish:
- Cod, haddock, or thick white fish fillet
- Fresh parsley
- Seasonings: Paprika & Cayenne pepper, Salt and pepper
- Lemon wedges
Let’s talk about a few of these things:
Fish: For this recipe you basically want a firm, thick, white fish. Skinless is best, and while you can use a thinner fillet like Tilapia, it is going to cook much faster, and be less juicy. So I say skip it and focus on a cod, haddock, halibut, or other thicker, firmer white fish fillet.
Panko: In order to get the breading to stick properly, you want to follow the steps, and bread in order. This means, dredge in the seasoned flour first, then the eggs, then the panko mixture. This will ensure the breading comes out right. The panko will already be browned and toasted from pre-baking it, and the egg mixture will help it stick. Plus it all adds flavor.
Seasoning: I use salt and pepper, cayenne, and paprika. You also get flavor from the garlic, parsley and horseradish. But if you want, you can sub something like Old Bay Seasoning for the paprika and cayenne. It will change the flavor a little, and will be delicious.
Fat: The goal is to not douse your fish in oil, and fry it. But you still need some fat, which is going to add both flavor and help you get that crisp coating. So, use butter! I mix it right with the Panko, but you can sub it for a vegetable oil, or simply spray the fish with cooking spray. It won’t turn out as crispy, but it is a leaner version.
Which Fish Can I Fry?
So we have already talked some about the fish options, but let’s take a look at why certain varieties work better in this recipe. When selecting your fish, you want:
- A sturdy white fish that won’t fall apart when breading and baking.
- A thick fillet that is dense
- Mild flavored fish
- Something that is flaky with white flesh.
This recipe calls for cod or haddock. These are popular options for fish and chips and fit the bill. When shopping look for a white fish labeled as cod. You can get an Atlantic Cod, which lives in the colder waters and deeper sea regions throughout the North Atlantic. Or Pacific Cod, found in both eastern and western regions of the northern Pacific Ocean. And sometimes other fish like Haddock and Whiting are labeled as cod, since they are in the same family. It won’t make too much difference in flavor, so get whatever is readily available in your region. You can also opt for Halibut (more expensive).
How to Make Oven Fried Fish
Making oven fried fish requires a few steps:
Step one: Prep your Dredging Ingredients
You are going to want an egg mixture, a seasoned flour mixture, and the breadcrumb mixture. In my foolproof method for getting crispy outside, without cooking the inside, you want to pre-bake your breadcrumbs so they are already turning a golden brown. This will help them get and stay crispy without overcooking the fish.
Step two: Prep and Dredge Fish
This is a simple process. You are going to season the fish with salt and pepper, then dredge it in the seasoned flour, followed by the seasoned egg mixture, and last the bread crumb mixture. You want to make sure you coat the whole thing, and pat it all on so it sticks nicely.
Step Three: Bake Your Fish
Then you bake it! You want it on a baking sheet lined with a baking rack to allow air flow around the fish to help it get that nice crispy exterior. I like to spray the rack with non-stick spray so you do not lose any of your coating.
Then bake! I love using an Instant Read Thermometer to cook it to exactly the right temp, this insures it stays nice and flaky and tender, and not get dried out. And because fish fillets vary in thickness, this is the best way to make sure you achieve that based on the fish you use.
Tips and Tricks
Making this recipe is Eazy Peazy, but here are a few tricks for getting the best results.
- Batter Properly: The trick to getting the coating to stick and getting it crispy is to batter in the right order. You want to start with the flour, then the wet egg mixture, then the breadcrumbs. This will mean you won’t get dry spots from the flour that you have to soak in oil, and your breadcrumb mixture will actually stick to the fish because of the egg mixture. And, since you pre-bake the bread crumbs to get them golden brown, they turn out perfectly crispy.
- Use A Dark Pan: This helps the fish crisp up faster, and gives you that amazing exterior with crunch.
- Rest The Fish: Let the fish rest for 3-4 minutes after baking, but not much longer, you do not want that crispy coating to get soft and steam, so rest on the rack, then serve and enjoy!
Make Ahead and Storage
This is one of those recipes that is best fresh. Your bread crumb coating won’t be as crispy if you reheat, but you can. If reheating, do it in the oven or air fryer. But let’s take a look at how to prep it ahead, and how to store it.
If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, to cut down on time the day of, I suggest mixing up the different parts of the dredging components. Bake the breading mixture ahead. Mix together the flour and seasonings. And then set it all aside. Then, day of, dredge and bake according to the recipe. This will cut down on some time, but keep the integrity of the dish.
After being cooked, the fish will keep in the refrigerator for about 1-2 days. It will get a soggy coating though when kept in the fridge. If you have a lot of leftovers, and want to store it longer than a couple days, place in an airtight, freezer safe container, and freeze. It will stay good in the freezer up to 1 month. It’s important to note — oven fried fish is best when served fresh from the oven.
The oven or air fryer is the best way to reheat your oven fried fish. Otherwise you will lose that crispy, delicious exterior. The microwave is not your friend here.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Set fish on the counter while preheating oven to allow it to come to room temperature. This will help it reheat more evenly.
- Place the fish fillets on a baking sheet and warm in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until just heated through.
- Pop under a broiler for an additional 2-3 minutes to crisp up the exterior
While this recipe is pretty perfect just as it is, and I have tested it over and over to get the method and measurements right, there are some fun ways to mix it up. Here are a few ideas for variations and substitutions for this recipe.
- Other Fish: You can swap or sub the fish, just remember to use an instant read thermometer to cook the fish you chose to the proper temperature.
- No Panko? Try Breadcrumbs and Cornflakes. While panko seems to work best, you can mix plain bread crumbs with crushed up corn flakes to achieve a similar crunch, and fun flavor. Opt for a fine textured breadcrumb, and don’t forget to pre-bake and get them a little crispy before coating your fish.
- Change the shape: I love this as fillets, but if you want a great option for fish sticks, that don’t come out of a box, try cutting your fish into strips before breading and baking, and make your own fish sticks with this same recipe. You may need slightly more breadcrumb mixture to fully coat, so adjust as needed.
- Want it more buttery? Try crushing up some Ritz crackers and subbing in some for part of the Panko, it adds a more buttery flavor to the fish.
- Make it Cheesy? I am always an advocate for cheese, and sometimes I like to mix things up by adding a few tablespoons of parmesan cheese to the panko mixture, after it is toasted, but before it goes on the fish.
- Bolder Flavor: This fish has great flavor in the flour seasonings, the breadcrumb mixture, and the egg mixture, but you can add a few dashes of hot sauce, or swap out the cayenne and paprika for Old bay.
Other Great Recipes:
- Tartar Sauce
- Salt Baked Potatoes
- Beer Battered Fish
- Crispy Oven Baked Shrimp
- Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings
- Baked Breaded Chicken
- 3 ½ cups panko
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ cup
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 ¼ pounds skinless cod haddock, or thick white fish fillet, 1 to 1 ½ inches thick, cut into 4 pieces
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon wedges
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine panko, melted butter, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl, and stir to combine.
- Spread mixture out over a baking sheet, and place in oven, bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Transfer mixture to a shallow dish, and stir in fresh parsley and minced garlic. Set aside.
- Turn oven temperature up to 425 degrees F.
- In a shallow dish, combine flour, paprika, and cayenne pepper, and whisk together. Set aside.
- In a shallow dish, combine eggs, mayonnaise, and horseradish, whisk until smooth and frothy. Set aside.
- Prepare baking dish by placing a wire rack inside a rimmed baking dish, and spraying it with non-stick spray.
- Pat fish dry, season with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour mixture.
- Dip fish into the egg mixture.
- Dredge in panko crumbs mixture, and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining fillets.
- Bake until fish flakes apart easily with a fork and internal temp is 140 degrees F (about 18-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet).
- Remove from oven, transfer to plate and serve with lemon wedges and homemade tartar sauce.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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