Keep in mind, you can always skip the boxed frozen fish sticks and make these crispy breaded fish fillets instead. They come together in just 30 minutes, are made with recognizable ingredients, and your kids will never know the difference. (Well, they may, but they won’t care as soon as they taste ’em.)

Two pieces of breaded fish fillets sprinkled with salt on a grey plate with a portion of steamed broccoli and a fork.

Breaded Fish Fillets

5 / 6 votes
These breaded fish fillets are coated in breadcrumbs and gently pan-fried in oil and butter until crispy, flaky, and golden. They’re as fast to make as the frozen boxed variety yet taste infinitely better.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories486 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • Four (6-ounce) skinless fish fillets, such as snapper, haddock, or flounder
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 200°F (100°C).
  • Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels. Spread the flour in a wide, shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Spread the bread crumbs in a third shallow bowl.
  • One at a time, evenly coat each fish fillet in flour. Dip in the eggs to coat, and then in the bread crumbs, gently patting on the crumbs to help them adhere. Put the breaded fillets on a plate. Don’t let the fillets stand longer than 10 minutes or the crumbs could start to get soggy.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: This is a terrific time to get the kids involved in making dinner! They’re little experts at this sorta thing.

  • Line a plate with paper towels and put it near the stove.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter until the butter is melted and the foam starts to subside.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: Even if you’re in a rush, don’t be tempted to hurry the process by cranking the heat higher. The butter will brown and your pricey catch will end up tasting rancid and burnt.

  • Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the fish fillets to the skillet and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown all over and opaque in the center when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 3 minutes per side. Adjust the heat as needed so the fish is surrounded by bubbles in the oil but isn’t browning too quickly.
  • Use a slotted spatula to transfer the fish to the paper towels. Drain briefly, then transfer to the oven to keep warm while preparing the second batch.
  • Repeat with remaining fillets, adding more oil and butter to the skillet if needed.
  • Season the fish with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges, if desired.
Downtime Cookbook

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 486 kcalCarbohydrates: 18 gProtein: 36 gFat: 29 gSaturated Fat: 10 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 196 mgSodium: 317 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 2 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Nadine Levy Redzepi. Photo © 2017 Ditte Isager. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

A quick and delightfully light recipe that was 30 minutes from start to finish. The thin, crispy breading coated my meaty cod fillets, creating a contrast in bite from crunchy to tender. The only adornment needed is a squeeze of lemon tang and a sprinkling of salt and, if you like, pepper.

The oil and butter were ready by the time I had the fish breaded, which was about 5 to 7 minutes. The fillets cooked in 6 minutes with a gentle flip halfway through cooking. I turned down the flame as needed to keep the oil and butter at a just the right bubble.

Two batches for my 10-inch cast-iron skillet and easy as that dinner was ready. The fillets serves 4 happily.

The beauty of these crispy breaded fish fillets lies in its simplicity. You can essentially use any skinless fish fillet you wish and the remaining ingredients needed are probably already in your kitchen; this is a great “go-to” recipe for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, but also tasty enough to serve to company.

This is also a great recipe because it’s a wonderful lesson on the steps of breading foods in general–whether fish, chicken, shrimp, pork, or even veggies like okra or fried green tomatoes in the summertime.

Think of this as an adult version of fish sticks; the same crispy fried bread coating that is the perfect shade of brown and is surprisingly very flavorful from the use of salted butter and the last minute sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper.

I found some really nice skinless red snapper fillets at the store. I used King Arthur unbleached AP flour, and 1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs (unseasoned). Don’t bread the fish until right before you are ready to cook it or it most likely will get very soggy and then the crust might fall off into the oil and butter mixture. It’s important to only heat the oil and butter mixture over medium heat; higher heat would brown the butter and potentially you will burn your fish crust from the start.

I cooked the snapper for 3 minutes per side as stated and it was flaky in the middle and perfectly browned on the outside.

We were pleasantly surprised with the way this simple dish came out! And yes, I suggest serving each fillet with a small lemon wedge just to add a bright pop.

I have been really craving fried fish, so I was excited to try this recipe. I found it to be crispy and delicious. It’s the perfect weeknight meal that pleased both the adults and kids.

I fried the fish for 3 minutes per side. I cooked them in my cast iron skillet and I had to use about 1/4 more oil than the recipe called for. I put the flame on medium and that worked perfectly for the entire cooking time.

I used flounder and served it with oven fries and a Sriracha mayo. In the future, I would add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the bread crumbs for a bit more flavor, but aside from that, this recipe is a winner!

This is your standard breading procedure. It produces a nice crispy crust on the fish fillets. The combination of oil and butter for frying gives the fish a nicer flavor than oil alone.

I used flounder but any of the suggested fish fillets would work just as well.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m wondering why the recipe is asking me to pre-heat my oven when it goes on to cook it on a skillet. I pity a poor young cook starting out and wondering what that’s all about.

    Oh, I see. It’s to keep it warm… oh dear. Such a waste of electricity. Tin foil would do just fine.

    1. Yes, K, you could absolutely just cover with foil to keep the fish warm while cooking the second batch. I find that keeping them warm in the oven keeps the coating crispier than when covered.

  2. 5 stars
    I saw your recipe and saw the ingredients and fell in love with it. I kept trying to find a way to grill this fish but couldn’t. SO! I then decided to follow it all the way through and I’m happy I did. I made this with frozen catfish (I thawed the fish of course lol). This recipe is the bomb. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Teresa, for taking the time to let us know. We’re delighted that it turned out so well for you.