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Pan Fried Fish is a culinary masterpiece, boasting a delectable crispy golden crust that encases the tender, succulent flesh within. The best part? It’s an incredibly swift dinner option, as cooking fish fillets on the stove requires less than 5 minutes!

Curious about the secret to preventing fish from sticking to the pan? Worry not; it’s a breeze. All you need is a heavy-based skillet (non-stick isn’t necessary), and ensure it’s heated before adding oil. However, the most crucial step is to exercise patience and refrain from moving the fish until it naturally releases from the pan! By following these simple tips, you can achieve perfectly cooked, non-sticky pan-fried fish every time.

Fried Fish Crispy Pan Fried Fish

Crispy Pan Fried Fish

Absolutely, cooking fish on the stove is indeed a fantastic way to prepare fish, especially when using top-quality fish fillets or freshly caught ones! The result is a delightful combination of a crispy and golden exterior, whether you choose to keep the skin on or not. Personally, I adore the shatteringly crispy skin, much like the one you get with Crispy Skin Salmon. The juiciness of the fish inside is equally impressive, making pan-fried fish an incredibly satisfying and quick meal option. It’s so good that one might wonder why it isn’t a nightly staple on the dinner menu.

However, to achieve that perfect pan-fried fish, a few essential tips come into play. Without them, you might end up with a disappointingly soggy fish fillet or, worse yet, lose all that golden crispy goodness to the pan. To avoid such mishaps, I’m thrilled to share my tried-and-tested tips that will help you nail pan-fried fish flawlessly, every single time. With these tricks up your sleeve, you can enjoy perfectly cooked, non-sticky, and delicious pan-fried fish at any time!

How to cook fish fillets in a pan – perfectly!

  1. Opt for a heavy-based skillet: While a non-stick pan isn’t necessary, make sure to use a heavy pan. Its weight and even heat distribution will help in achieving that perfect crispy crust.
  2. Preheat the pan before adding oil: Before adding oil to the pan, ensure that it’s thoroughly heated. This step helps create the ideal cooking surface for the fish and prevents sticking.
  3. Practice patience if it sticks a bit: If the fish sticks to the pan slightly, don’t be tempted to move it around. Instead, exercise patience and wait until it naturally releases from the pan. This patience will be rewarded with a beautiful crispy surface.
  4. Pat the fish dry before cooking: Before cooking, gently pat the fish dry with paper towels. Removing excess moisture will aid in achieving a crispy crust.
  5. Shake off excess flour very well: If you’re using flour to coat the fish, be sure to shake off any excess flour thoroughly. This ensures that the flour adheres evenly and prevents clumping during cooking.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of pan-fried fish and enjoying a delectable and beautifully prepared meal!

How to cook fish on the stove – perfectly every time!

  1. Opt for a heavy-duty skillet: It’s essential to use a sturdy skillet, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be non-stick. Thin, cheap non-stick pans can cause uneven browning of the fish due to closer and harsher contact with the stove. Instead, choose a heavy-duty skillet like a cast iron skillet or a high-quality, heavy non-stick fry pan, such as the ScanPan (shown in the video). The even and efficient heat distribution of these pans helps achieve a beautifully golden and crispy crust.
  2. Preheat the pan before adding oil: A clever technique to prevent fish from sticking to the pan is to heat the pan first before adding the oil. This simple step ensures that the oil is at the right temperature, avoiding common issues like sticking or overcooking the fish.
  3. Be patient until it naturally releases: At the start of cooking, most fish fillets tend to stick to the pan slightly. However, with patience, they will naturally release once the surface is cooked and golden. Give the fish a gentle nudge, and if it doesn’t move easily, it’s an indication that it’s not ready yet. Wait for another 15 seconds or so before trying again.
  4. Pat the fish dry: To achieve a crispier surface, it’s crucial to pat the fish dry before cooking. This step is particularly important when working with thawed frozen fish.
  5. Shake off excess flour: For a perfect crispy crust, coat the fish thoroughly in flour, but ensure to shake off any excess flour vigorously. Using too much flour can cause the crispy crust to fall off during cooking.

By following these handy tips, you’ll elevate your pan-fried fish to new heights, enjoying a perfectly cooked, evenly golden, and irresistibly crispy delight!

If you’re a fan of big, bold flavors, you must give this Cajun Blackened Fish a try! This dish features fish fillets generously seasoned with a delightful blend of Cajun spices, creating an explosion of flavors. Once seasoned, the fish is pan-fried to absolute perfection, resulting in a tantalizing dish that’s sure to leave your taste buds craving more!

Sauces for fish

With its perfectly seasoned crispy skin and succulent, juicy flesh inside, a squeeze of fresh lemon is all you need to enjoy this mouthwatering Cajun Blackened Fish. However, for sauce enthusiasts like me, there’s a selection of delightful options to accompany your fish:

  1. Lemon Butter Sauce for fish – A truly exceptional sauce, restaurant-worthy, with just 2 ingredients. The key is to brown the butter, adding a rich and nutty flavor.
  2. Creamy Dill Sauce – Traditionally associated with salmon, but equally delectable with other fish varieties.
  3. Cocktail Sauce, Marie Rose Sauce, or Tartare Sauce – Find the recipe in the Prawn Dipping Sauces post, ideal for enhancing the flavors of your fish.
  4. Lemon Cream Sauce (see recipe notes) – A luscious cream sauce with a bright lemony twist.
  5. Simple Lemon Butter Sauce* – Cooked with the pictured Asparagus, Peas, and Beans, as shown in the image, it is an exceptionally tasty option.

While Crispy Pan Fried Fish offers an explosion of flavors and textures, it’s essential to enjoy it immediately after cooking. Once the fish cools down, its surface tends to lose its crispiness. So, savor this delicious dish fresh off the stove for the ultimate gastronomic experience!

Crispy Pan Fried Fish

Crispy Pan Fried Fish

Pan Fried Fish is a culinary masterpiece, boasting a delectable crispy golden crust that encases the tender, succulent flesh within. The best part? It's an incredibly swift dinner option, as cooking fish fillets on the stove requires less than 5 minutes!
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
20 mins
total time
30 mins



  • 2 thin fish fillets, around 150g/5 oz each, 1 cm / 2/5" thick, skin on or off (Note 1)

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/4 cup / 35g flour (plain/all purpose, wholemeal)

  • 1 tsp paprika , optional (Note 2)

  • 2 - 3 tbsp oil, enough to mostly thinly cover base (I use vegetable or canola)


  • Lemon wedges

  • Finely chopped parsley or dill , for garnish, optional


To ensure your Cajun Blackened Fish turns out perfect every time, follow these steps:
Use scrunched up paper towels to thoroughly pat the fish dry on both sides, especially if using thawed frozen fish. Dry fish ensures a crispy exterior.
Season the fish generously on both sides with salt and pepper. This step is essential to enhance the flavors of the fish.
On a plate, mix the flour and paprika. This seasoned flour mixture will be the coating for the fish.
Coat the fish on both sides with the flour mixture, pressing down firmly to ensure it adheres well. After coating, shake off any excess flour. This prevents clumping and helps achieve a better crust.
Heat a heavy-based skillet, whether it's a normal or non-stick pan, over medium-high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Add oil to the pan and swirl it around to coat the surface - it should heat within seconds.
Add the fish to the hot skillet, and it should sizzle immediately. Lightly shake the pan to move the fish around. Cook the fish for 2 minutes on each side, pressing down gently, until it turns golden and crispy.
If you notice the fish browning too quickly, briefly remove the pan from the stove. If the fish appears stuck to the pan, don't try to move it forcefully. Instead, allow it to release naturally once it achieves a golden crust.
Serve the fish immediately with lemon wedges for that extra zing. Garnish with dill or parsley, if desired. The crispy texture of the fish starts to diminish after 5 minutes, so enjoy it fresh off the stove for the best experience.
By following these straightforward instructions, you'll be treated to a delightful Cajun Blackened Fish with a perfectly crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior - a true culinary delight!


Fish: This versatile recipe pairs well with any fish fillet, whether you prefer it with the skin on or off. For the best results, I recommend using thinner fillets, as they offer a higher ratio of crispy skin to flesh, resulting in a more evenly golden and crispy texture. Ensure your fish has been pin-boned (bones removed) and, if it has skin, that the scales have been properly removed. Store-bought fish should typically come already prepared for your convenience. Shaking off excess flour: A crucial step in achieving that perfect crispy skin is to shake off any excess flour from the fish. This prevents the excess flour from crisping up and subsequently falling off when the fish is flipped. Additionally, excess flour can burn in the pan, leading to unwanted black bits on the fish. Sauce options: While this dish is delicious with just a squeeze of fresh lemon, you have several mouthwatering sauce options to elevate your culinary experience: Killer Lemon Butter Sauce: An exquisite option worthy of fine dining restaurant status. Creamy Dill Sauce: A delightful choice, particularly delightful with salmon, but equally delightful with other fish varieties. Cocktail Sauce, Marie Rose Sauce, or Tartare Sauce: Find these flavorful sauce recipes in the Prawn Dipping Sauces post. Simple Lemon Butter Sauce: Melt 50g/3tbsp salted butter, and add 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (adjust to taste). (Rich) Lemon Cream Sauce: Simmer 1/2 cup cream over medium heat, add 1 tbsp butter, zest of 1/2 lemon, and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. Simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Asparagus, butter beans, and peas in lemon butter sauce (pictured in the post): Use the Simple Lemon Butter Sauce above and add 3 tbsp water. Simmer, then add drained canned white beans, chopped asparagus, and frozen peas. Cook until the asparagus is tender and the liquid has thickened. Stir in chopped dill, adjust salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce onto a plate and place the fish on top. The sauce can double as a flavorful accompaniment for the fish. Tomato ketchup also pairs surprisingly well with this dish. Nutrition per serving: Assuming 1.5 tbsp oil is used and all of it is consumed (which is not typical), the nutrition per serving is calculated based on a skinless fish fillet. With these tips and options at your disposal, you can enjoy a delectable Cajun Blackened Fish with the perfect sauce to complement your culinary masterpiece!
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