fry fish

How long to fry a fish? Fry a perfect fish in Thai style

How long to fry a fish?

Frying a fish can be intimidating. In this video I will show you exactly how I do it to achieve the perfect fried fish without having to worry about the fish sticking to the pan and soaked with oil!

Here is a step-by-step guide for you

How to fry a perfect fish


  • 1 Frying pan – Large enough to cover fish body (tale is ok to not cover)
  • A rack


  • 670 g 1 Tilapia fish or other kind of fish of your choice
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • Frying oil – enough to cover half of the pan.


  • First, let’s take a look at the fish. It’s already clean scaled and gutted.   We are going to dry the fish with kitchen-paper towels. This will help the fish skin to be crispier and it will also help preventing the oil from exploding. As you know, water and hot oil are not best friends.
    Fish is cleaned
  • Dry the fish with paper towel
  • After you are done with drying the fish. You can put ½ a teaspoon of salt on to the fish, to add a little bit of flavour. This is my grandma techinques, the salt makes the fish tastier without having to make any additional sauces.
  • Then we are going to slice 2 stripes over the fish, to help it cook better and have more crispy area. Don’t slice too many stripes or the meat will be all gone.
    slicing the fish into 2 stripes
  • To cook the fish, put a pan over medium-high heat and add frying oil, about half of the pan. I like to use large pans, the pan doesn’t have to be deep, but it has to be large enough to at least cover the fish body. I discovered that when I use smaller pan, in ratio to the fish size, the oil doesn’t stay hot consistently which causes the fish to be soggy and not crispy. 
    adding the oil
  • To observe the oil if it hot or not, you can look at its pattern. When you see that it starts to have tiny bubble, that means it’s heating up but not yet ready. When it’s hot enough, you will see that all of the little bubbles have disappeared and there is smoke coming from the surface, the pattern of the oil, is change to be thin waves vertically.
    oil with tiny bubbles
  • Oil is ready
  • When the oil is hot, I’m going to add the fish that we prepare earlier.
    When you first add the fish, it will create a big sound if frying, then it will gradually soften as you fried. Don’t touch the fish at this stage.
     For this size of the fish, I fry it for 7 minutes. However different size of fish and different heats, will change the timing. To observe, you can look at the topside, if it starts to turn into light golden colour, that means the bottom is ready. After 4-5 minutes you can check carefully by using spatulas to lift the fish and take a look at the bottom side, to see if It’s ready.
    Add the fish in the oil
  • After 7 minutes, I’m now flipping my fish to the other side. And fry for another 5 minutes.
    When the fish is cooked, I’m turning up the heat to high, and fry each side of the fish over high heat for 30 seconds. This will help the crisp up the fish at the final stage.
    flip over the fish
  • Now that the fish is perfectly fried, crispy outside and soft inside, you can rest the fish over a rack for a few minutes. Don’t put on a plate at this stage, because the heat will steam the fish and therefore it fish will be soggy.
    Rest the fish over a rack

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