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Southern-Style Fish Fry

Katie Lee's Fish n' Chips
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Fried seafood makes me think of being at the beach. The cornmeal gives an added crunch and texture to the fish.

Technique tip: Use two bamboo skewers to help flip the fish while it fries.

Swap option: This recipe works great with shrimp, oysters or clams.


Tartar sauce
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sweet gherkin pickles
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped capers (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Fish and fries
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3 russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch sticks
  • 3/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 pounds firm white fish fillets (such as hake, haddock, pollock, or cod), cut into 3-inch chunks
  • Tartar sauce (recipe above)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


For the tartar sauce:

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, gherkins, dill, scallions, capers, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the fish and fries:


Fill a Dutch oven or heavy deep saucepan with 3 inches of oil and heat the oil to 350°F over medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 250°F.


Place a cooling rack onto a rimmed baking sheet. Lower the potatoes into the oil (don't overcrowd; you may need to cook in batches). Fry for 3 minutes. Remove to prepared baking sheet.


Increase the heat of the fryer to 375°F.


Place fries in the hot oil for a second fry and cook until golden brown and tender, about 6 minutes. Remove to prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Keep warm in oven while the fish fries.


In a shallow dish, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, paprika, garlic powder and pepper. Pour the milk into another shallow dish. Dip the fish in the milk, then dredge it in the cornmeal mixture, shaking off the excess. If you like a thicker breading, repeat the process, dipping the seafood in the milk and cornmeal mixture again.


Working in batches, lower the seafood into the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve immediately with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.