Can you Deep Fry Salmon? [Plus 8 Must Try Recipes]

Salmon is one of the most delicious and versatile fish you can add to your diet. Its tender, flaky meat can be baked, pan-seared, poached, grilled, added to salad, served with rice, or roasted with vegetables. You can cook it up with lemon, garlic, and herbs or spicy cajun seasoning.

But has it occurred to you to deep fry salmon? Adding a crispy, crunchy exterior and intense seasoning can take this fish to a new level of enjoyment.

You can deep fry salmon fillets in a deep fryer or a heavy skillet. Remove the skin from the filets, then can coat the salmon with your favorite kind of breading. Use an egg wash and cornmeal in a skillet for southern fried salmon flair.

Or make a beer batter for a pub version of salmon fish and chips. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side in a skillet or 7-8 minutes in a deep fryer. 

Whether you like Alaskan Sockeye Salmon or Atlantic Salmon, we have gathered creative recipes for deep frying your salmon filets. Continue reading for details on frying and recipes for deep-fried salmon filets, and pan-fried salmon patties made from canned salmon. 

What Kind Of Salmon Should I Choose?

The freshest salmon is the best choice. You will be limited by what is available in your hometown grocery store, so choose salmon that is firm, bright pink to orange, and fresh-smelling.

For those of you who have broad choices at the market, you may be faced with a variety of salmon to choose from. First, you may be able to choose between farmed and wild-caught. Wild-caught salmon will have a greater nutritional value, but either will work in your recipes.

King also called Chinook salmon is the best quality salmon and is best for pan searing. You may also have the option of Coho, Sockeye, or Atlantic salmon. You can deep fry any of these salmon filets. You should consider deep-frying sockeye salmon if you like strong flavors. It has an intrinsically stronger flavor and can handle heavier seasoning.

If you have frozen salmon fillets, not to worry, you can fry those too. In fact, you can deep-fry them even without thawing. Season and coat the frozen filets in batter just as you would fresh filets. Them place them carefully into your electric fryer or outdoor propane fryer. frying frozen salmon filets will take 8-10 minutes so they cook all the way through.

Frozen filets are not suitable for pan-frying as the breading is likely to come off when you try to turn them over.

Choosing A Pan Or A Fryer

You can fry salmon on the stovetop in a heavy skillet. A large cast-iron skillet is a good choice, but any heavy skillet for frying will work. A nonstick skillet makes the task more manageable as well. Fill the skillet with your preferred cooking oil to about ⅓ of its depth.

Another possibility for deep frying in the kitchen is a Fry Daddy. This electric fryer is great for small batches of deep-frying at home. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to learn how to use the fryer at home safely.

If you do a lot of high-volume frying, or you cook outdoors frequently, you might invest in an outdoor propane fryer. The advantage of these fryers is that you can cook a larger amount of food at once. Cooking outside also won’t cause any cooking smells to linger in your kitchen if you have a fryer like this.

Be sure to carefully read and follow the instructions for an outdoor fryer to prevent fires.

Choosing The Best Oil For Frying Salmon

When you fry, you need an oil that can withstand high temperatures. You should know the smoke point of any cooking oil you are using, especially in an electric fryer or an outdoor propane fryer.

Be sure to choose an oil with a smoke point of at least 400 degrees to prevent fires. You also want to consider an oil with a neutral taste, so it doesn’t affect the flavor of what you are frying. You also want an oil that doesn’t hold on to the flavor of one item and transmit it to the next batch of food you cook.

For example, you don’t want your fried potatoes to taste like the fish you just fried.

Canola and Vegetable oils have neutral flavors and a smoke point of about 400 degrees. These would be best for use in the kitchen on the stovetop, where you have good control over the oil temperature in the pan. If your electric fryer has temperature control, you could also use vegetable or canola oil in it.

If you are cooking outside in the propane fryer, consider peanut oil, sunflower oil, or safflower oil. Peanut oil and sunflower oil have smoke points of 450 degrees. Peanut oil has a nutty flavor that may carry into your food.

It also should not be used by anyone with a nut allergy. Sunflower oil and safflower oil have neutral flavors, and Safflower oil has a high smoke point of 510 degrees, making it an excellent choice for deep frying.

Recipes For Corn Meal Based Fried Salmon

Cornmeal-based coating for a fish fry is a southern staple. This coating creates a crispy exterior and a moist, flaky interior. 

The following quantities will provide enough breading for 4 three-ounce fillets. Remove the skin from the salmon filets before deep frying.

1. The Basic Cornmeal Fish Fry Recipe

Start by combining ½ cup of yellow cornmeal and ½ cup all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl or pie pan. Add ½ teaspoon each of salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder and combine well.

In a separate shallow bowl, beat three eggs. 

Preheat the oil in your cast iron skillet. Dip the salmon fillets in the egg wash, one at a time, then lay them in the cornmeal mixture. Press the mixture onto the filet to ensure that it is well coated. Lay the coated salmon into the oil gently.

Hold on to one end, lay the other end into the oil, and gently lay the filet into the oil away from your body to prevent it from splashing on you.  

Let the salmon filets cook for 3-4 minutes without moving them. Then gently flip them over and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes without moving them. Scoop them gently from the oil and drain them on paper towels.

Once you put the fish into the oil, leave them alone. If you scoot them around, you will loosen the breading, and cause it to fall off.

Jazzing Up The Basic Cornmeal Fish Fry Recipe For Salmon

The light flavor of salmon lends itself well to many different flavor profiles. While the basic ratios for equal parts flour and cornmeal should stay the same for any cornmeal-based coating, you can change the spices and seasonings for many different dishes. The basic instructions for dredging and frying remain the same regardless of the seasonings you add to the mix.

2. Cajun Seasoning

Try out this spicy southern flavor to upgrade your Saturday night football cookout.

Upgrade the egg wash by using ½ cup of milk, one egg, and 3 tablespoons of spicy brown mustard. 

Add the following seasonings to your cornmeal mixture: ¼ teaspoon of paprika, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon dried oregano. 

Cook this up on the deck in your propane fryer and make some twister potatoes as a crispy side dish. If you like the hot, serve with Tabasco sauce for a genuine Louisiana flair.

3. Herb Seasoning

For a Sunday afternoon family dinner, try a more traditional seasoning mix. Fried salmon instead of a Sunday pot roast will make for a memorable meal.

Modify the basic cornmeal recipe by using 3 beaten eggs for the egg wash or ½ cup of cream plus one egg depending on your preference. 

Add 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon, 1 teaspoon of dried dill, ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper to the cornmeal and flour mixture. 

Fry on the stovetop or in your fryer and serve with buttery roasted vegetables like asparagus or sauteed green beans.

4. Lemon Parmesan Seasoning

Do you love some fried fish, but need a lighter meal overall? Serve this lemon parmesan fried salmon with a Mediterranean salad and get the best of both worlds. 

Use ½ cup of milk or cream plus an egg for the egg wash.

Replace the yellow cornmeal with finely ground white cornmeal for a lighter crust. Add the all-purpose flour, ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese (the powdery kind), ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon lemon pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of dried parsley to the cornmeal and flour mixture. 

Dredge and fry the salmon fillets, and serve on a bed of spring greens with lemon aioli.

Recipes For Flour Based Batter For Fried Salmon

Because salmon is such a flexible protein, you can also use it in a flour-based deep-fried batter. If you have trouble imagining this, think of salmon filet fish and chips or a crispy “chicken-fried” salmon steak. 

The following quantities will provide enough breading for 4 three-ounce fillets. Remove the skin from the salmon filets before deep frying.

5. Beer-Battered Salmon Fish And Chips

This recipe will make enough batter for 5 four-ounce pieces of salmon.  

First, prepare the ingredients. In a medium bowl, make the batter by whisking together ½ cup flour, ½ tsp baking powder, a dash of salt, one egg yolk, and 4 ounces of your favorite beer. Refrigerate the batter for 5-10 minutes while you assemble all the other ingredients. Portioning the salmon and remove the skin, then gather the salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Place ½ cup of all-purpose four on a flat pan or plate. 

Heat the oil to prepare for frying. 

When everything is ready, season the salmon with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Dust it with flour, then dip each filet into the batter and ensure that it is coated completely. Gently lay the filets into the hot oil away from you to avoid splashing the oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side (if you are using a skillet) or 6-8 minutes in a deep fryer. Drain on paper towels. 

Serve with freshly made fries and tartar sauce. For additional British flair, sprinkle on some malt vinegar.

Crispy Crunchy Fried Salmon Filets – Two Options

If deep-fried means super crunchy to you, then give one of these two batters a try. Use your favorite seasoning profile directly on the salmon, then coat in the batter and deep fry. 

6. Baking Powder Batter

The leavening power of baking powder helps make this an extra crispy coating for your salmon filets. First season the filets with your choice of seasoning. At the minimum, go for salt, pepper, and garlic powder on the salmon filet. Then, stir 3/4 cup flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of water until smooth. Coat the fillets entirely in the batter, and fry right away.

7. Buttermilk Batter

For an authentic crunch in your flour-based batter, you need buttermilk, cornstarch, and some pre-planning.

Prepare your salmon filets by cutting them to the size you prefer and removing the skin. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 ½ cups of buttermilk, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Add the filets to the buttermilk mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

While the salmon is marinating, prepare the breading. In a flat pan, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup of cornstarch, ½ tablespoon of salt, ½ teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon dried basil, and ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Heat the oil in your skillet or deep fryer. Remove the salmon from the marinade and tap to let the excess buttermilk drip off. Dredge thoroughly in the flour mixture and tap to remove any loose flour. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or 6-8 minutes in the deep fryer. 

Serve with homestyle vegetables like roasted squash and potatoes and corn on the cob.

8. Fried Salmon Patties With Canned Salmon

Love salmon for a weeknight dinner, but find fresh salmon filets to be cost-prohibitive? You can make salmon patties from canned salmon any night of the week for a quick healthy dinner that is high in calcium and omega-3s. It might even appeal to the kids more than a filet would.

Use your heavy frying pan or cast-iron skillet to prepare this dish. The patties may fall apart in a deep fryer. 

You will need 1 (one) 14.75 ounce can of salmon. Open and drain the liquid. In a medium bowl, add one egg, ¼ cup of all-purpose flour, ½ cup of yellow cornmeal, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of dried parsley. Mix thoroughly with a fork so that all ingredients are incorporated together. 

The mixture should be moist enough to stick together when you form it into patties, but not so wet that it is drippy. You can add a teaspoon of water if it is too dry or a tablespoon of flour or cornmeal if it is too wet.

Heat the oil in your frying pan and shape the mixture into 6 patties. Place them gently into the oil and cook for 3 minutes or until golden on each side. Once you put the patty in, don’t move it around until you are ready to flip it, or it may crumble in the pan.

Serve with your favorite vegetables, like mashed potatoes and green beans, for a kid-friendly meal. (And don’t forget the ketchup.)

Final Thoughts

You can deep-fry salmon just as you would deep-fry any other kind of fish. It has a light flavor, so it will take well to any sort of seasoning. Whether you prefer a cornmeal-based coating in the southern tradition or beer-battered fish and chips, you can find a fun and exciting way to add salmon to your diet. Try frying up some salmon patties from canned salmon to get your kids interested in some new foods.

Use a heavy skillet for the stovetop, an electric fryer, or a propane burner for cookouts when you fry. Be sure to choose oil like peanut or safflower oil with a high smoke point for safety.

Related Questions

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