This Crispy Fried Fish Burger Recipe will be a go-to when you’re craving something delicious! Panko-crusted cod fillets are fried until golden brown and crispy. The whole thing is generously topped with a homemade tartar sauce recipe and an easy coleslaw. You’re gonna love this one!
Hey friends! I’m really excited to be sharing this crispy fish burger recipe with you today! Okay, truth be told, I’m always excited to share a recipe with you guys, but even more so with this one.
Why? Well, firstly it’s cod season here in Newfoundland! If you know anything about this province it’s that cod is king! Secondly, this cod fish burger is super easy to whip up. And, of course, it’s SO freakin’ good!
I picked up freshly caught cod (like caught that day) and was determined to put it to good use. With just a couple of extra things to go with, like homemade tartar sauce and coleslaw, this is one belly satisfying burger.
Though this is a ‘fried’ fish burger, it’s really not heavy, like, at all. The panko crust is light and the cod is quite delicate. It’s definitely a treat, but won’t leave you with a heavy feeling, if you know what I mean.
If you’re into seafood, and especially cod, you’re gonna want to make this one asap; I also have more easy cod recipes on the way so stay tuned!
What’s the Best Fish for this Homemade Fish Burger Recipe?
Okay, I may be a little biased here, but I love fresh Newfoundland cod. Fresh cod is readily available here in Newfoundland this time of year, so you know I went for that!
When frying (like I did today for this fried fish recipe), I prefer fresh over frozen. However, if you can’t get fresh you can totally use frozen. Just make sure it’s completely thawed and patted dry of any excess moisture.
If you can’t find fresh cod where you are, haddock would be another delicious option that’s quite similar to cod. Tilapia or halibut would work too (though, halibut is typically much more expensive than either of those).
- You want skinless fillets, ensuring that there are no bones in there. If you can’t buy them that way, ask your fishmonger to prepare them for you.
- Cut the fish into equal pieces, about 4 ounces each.
- I opt for centre cut because you will get a more even cook.
- The time to fry the fish will vary slightly, depending on the thickness of the fish.
How to Make a Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe
So, clearly, every fried fish burger needs a delicious tartar sauce, don’t you think? Don’t waste money getting store bought. Whip up your own in minutes! All you need is:
- Lemon juice
- Chives, green onion or red onion
- Minced pickle (I like to use a Kosher pickle)
- Salt, pepper and dried dill
- Mix all the ingredients together and now you have an easy homemade tartar sauce!
There is more than enough tartar sauce here for two fish burgers. It makes for an epic dip for french fries too!
How to Make an Easy Coleslaw Recipe without Mayo
Gilding the lily here, I also topped the fish burgers with an easy coleslaw recipe. It adds a little freshness and crunch (not to mention a pop of colour) to the burger. You’ll need:
- Thinly shredded cabbage
- Julienne or shredded carrot
- Sliced green onion or red onion
- Thinly sliced chili (optional)
- Salt, pepper and sugar
You just mix everything together and let sit for a little bit while you are preparing those burgers.
Within minutes, you’ll see the coleslaw begin to break down a little. Stir again before topping the burgers.
The recipe yields enough for 4 burgers or 2 burgers with some slaw on the side.
If you’d rather skip the homemade coleslaw, no worries! Just use your favourite lettuce. I love shredded iceberg lettuce with these burgers too.
How to Know When Frying Oil is Ready to Use
Your surefire way of knowing when the oil is ready is to invest in a food thermometer (I have one that’s a ‘Candy and Deep Fry Thermometer’ that I’ve had forever). This is what I recommend and is my go-to. You can easily get one for under $20 and you’ll be sure to use it over and over again.
If, however, you prefer not to use a thermometer (or simply don’t have one on hand) and you really want this fried fish burger, you can test the oil in other ways:
You can stick a wooden spoon in the preheated oil for several seconds and see how the oil bubbles around it. If it has a decent little bubble going around the spoon (similar to when you would place food in there), the oil should be ready. If it bubbles aggressively, then it’s too hot and you’re gonna burn that food! It needs to cool down a little.
One of the most well known ways is to place a cube of bread in there and if it turns nice-n-golden brown and crispy within 30 to 40 seconds or so, you should be good to go.
Finally, if you have an electric deep fryer that you are comfortable with using, you can use that instead. Note: If using an electric deep fryer, always ensure you are familiar with the manufacturer recommended operating instructions and know how to properly/safely use (as with any kitchen appliance/device/tool you are using).
Bottom line: You don’t want the oil too low because it will take a while to cook the fish and it will absorb an incredible amount of grease (ain’t nobody got time for that). Conversely, you don’t want the oil too hot because the food will burn and it’s simply not safe. Know what you’re doing and always use caution when frying.
How to Make a Breaded Fish Burger
Okay, onto the really really yummy stuff … this homemade fish burger! Full details are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:
- Get your dredging station and cod fillets ready. You can use disposable paper plates if you want to make cleanup a little easier. On one plate, combine panko bread crumbs and all of the spices, along with some salt and pepper. On another plate add sifted all-purpose flour. In a bowl, whisk an egg. For the cod, pat fillets dry with a paper towel and season with a little salt; lay on a plate.
- Dredge each cod fillet in flour, shaking off excess.
- Next, dip cod into whisked egg, allowing excess egg to drip off.
- Then, dredge cod in panko spice mixture, pressing to adhere the bread crumbs.
- Gently lower cod fillets into a pot of heated oil, laying away from you. Fry for about 3 minutes per side or until fish is completely cooked through, opaque, and flakes easily with a fork. If you happen to take out and find it’s not cooked, continue cooking until it is.
- Once cooked, carefully remove from the oil with a spider strainer.
- For each cod burger, place cooked cod fillet on a bun and garnish to your heart’s content! Enjoy!
Tip: To test if your cod is cooked, a food thermometer is a great investment to be sure! In Canada, the recommended minimum internal cooking temperature for fish is 158 degrees Fahrenheit (according to the Government of Canada). In the United States, the recommended minimum internal cooking temperature for fish is 145 degrees Fahrenheit (according to Foodsafety.gov).
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Can I Make These Panko Fish Burgers Ahead of Time?
Like with most fried food, I recommend making and enjoying these homemade fish burgers as soon as they are made. That’s when they are freshest (and crispiest).
I mean, seriously, doesn’t this look so good??
More Tips for Making this Homemade Fish Burger Recipe
I started with an 8-ounce piece of cod and cut in half to make roughly two 4-ounce pieces. If you want the pieces to be perfectly equal, you can just trim narrower ends. Alternatively, you can purchase two 4-ounce pieces of cod from your fishmonger.
Use an oil with a decent smoke point, like canola or peanut. These are some great oils for frying.
If doubling the recipe, don’t overcrowd the pot! As you add cold fish to oil, the temperature will drop. Try to keep the heat up to the recommended temperature and cook in batches.
Note: I like to cook no more than 2 pieces of fish at a time. And if you are cooking in batches, preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit to keep fried fish on a rack (that’s placed on a baking sheet) while you are completing batches.
Speaking of cooking, the cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. Just heat until it’s completely cooked through, is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
Things move quickly with these cod burgers. I recommend having everything prepared (i.e laid out and ready to go) before starting any cooking; that means firstly preparing the tartar sauce and coleslaw.
You don’t want to have those delicious fish burgers laying around waiting for the garnish, do ya?
What to Serve With these Breaded Fish Burgers
- Pickle (I love Kosher pickle)
- Potato chips (crunchy kettle chips are always a fave)
- French fries or potato wedges
- Grilled corn smeared in butter with a pinch of salt and pepper
- A simple mixed green salad
- Potato salad
- Pasta salad
More Easy Cod Recipes
Look at those delicious big flakes of cod! YUM!
Hope you love this crispy fish burger recipe as much as we do!
If you make this panko-crusted cod burger, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed!
Crispy Fried Fish Burger Recipe (w/ tartar sauce and slaw)
Crispy Fish Burger Recipe
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon salt , divided
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large egg
- 8 ounce boneless and skinless cod fillet (two (4-ounce) pieces)
- canola oil or vegetable oil (enough to come about about 2 inches up the side of large, high sided, heavy-duty pot).
- 2 burger buns
Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe
- ½ cup mayo (your favourite brand)
- 1 small kosher dill pickle , minced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Simple Coleslaw Recipe
- 2 cups shredded cabbage (I used two 'heaping' cups)
- 1 carrot , peeled and julienne (thinly cut) or shredded
- 1 pencil chili pepper , thinly sliced (or pinch of cayenne pepper powder), optional
- 1 green onion , minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sugar
Other Garnish Ideas (optional)
- Lettuce (I enjoy iceberg for this burger)
- Pickle , sliced
- Tomato , sliced
- Hot sauce
- Cheese slices
Crispy Fish Burger Recipe
- Get your dredging station ready: Sift flour onto a plate and spread out. To another plate, add panko, ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, onion powder, paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper powder, and garlic powder, whisking to combine. In a bowl, whisk egg. Set aside.
- Cut cod into two equal pieces and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Dredge each piece of cod in flour, coating all around, shaking off excess.
- Then, dip cod into whisked egg, shaking off excess
- Finally, dredge cod in panko bread crumbs, coating all around, pressing to adhere. You can place on a plate while you are getting your oil ready.
- In a large, heavy-duty pot with high/tall sides suitable for frying (I used a high sided cast-iron pot), add oil (enough to come up to 2 inches up the side of the pot). To monitor your oil temperature, a candy and deep fry thermometer clipped to the side of the pot (with the tip submerged in the oil) is a great tool to use.
- Heat pot of oil over medium heat. You want an oil temperature of about 360 degrees Fahrenheit.Note: Oil may drop in temperature when fish is placed in there, but try to keep it around that temperature.
- Gently lower each piece of cod into the oil, away from you, and cook 3 minutes. Carefully turn the cod pieces and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or until cod is cooked through, is opaque, and flakes easily with a fork. Note: Depending on the thickness of the cod pieces, you may have to cook longer.
- When cooked, carefully remove cod from the oil (a spider strainer works great for removing the cooked cod).Optional: Place cod on a cooling rack over a baking sheet to drain of any excess grease for a minute or two, if necessary (though, mine weren't greasy).
- Sprinkle cod with additional salt (if desired).
- Assemble fish burgers: toast buns (if you like), spread the insides of each bun with tartar sauce, place piece of fish on bottom buns, top with coleslaw (and any of the other garnish options (if you like), and place top buns over top to form your fish burgers. Enjoy!
Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well incorporated.
Simple Coleslaw Recipe
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, stirring to combine. Let sit while preparing burgers.
- I started with an 8-ounce piece of cod and cut in half to make roughly two 4-ounce pieces. If you want the pieces to be perfectly equal, you can just trim narrower ends. Alternatively, you can purchase two 4-ounces pieces of cod from your fishmonger.
- Use an oil with a decent smoke point, like canola or peanut.
- Know what you’re doing and always use caution when frying.
- If doubling the recipe, don’t overcrowd the pot! I like to cook no more than 2 pieces of fish at a time. And if you are cooking in batches, preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit to keep fried fish on a rack (that’s placed on a baking sheet) while you are completing batches.
- Speaking of cooking, the cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. Just heat until it’s completely cooked through, is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
- Things move quickly with these cod burgers. I recommend having everything prepared (i.e laid out and ready to go) before starting any cooking; that means firstly preparing the tartar sauce and coleslaw.
- Recipe for coleslaw yields enough for two burgers with some slaw on the side OR enough coleslaw for 4 burgers.
- Always ensure you are familiar with the manufacturer recommended operating instructions and know how to properly/safely use any kitchen appliance/device/tool you are using.
- Recipe for tartar sauce yields plenty for burgers with enough extra for dipping fries, etc.
- For more recipe tips, see body of post above.
Nutrition estimate (if provided) is based on 1 Serving.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are guidelines only.