Mama's Fried Fish

Susan Feliciano


My mother came from Eastern North Carolina, and loved frying fish. She never used flour, eggs, or any type of batter for the fish - just cornmeal, salt, and pepper.
I have tried to duplicate her method to the best of my memory. I don't do a lot of frying anymore, but this recipe is well worth it.
She would make hushpuppies with the leftover cornmeal, having no waste at all.


★★★★★ 4 votes

10 Min
20 Min
Pan Fry


  • 1 1/2 lb
    ocean perch filets, patted dry
  • 1 c
    plain or self-rising cornmeal
  • ·
    generous amount of black pepper
  • 1 tsp
  • ·
    oil for frying, about 1/2-inch deep

  • 1/4 c
    finely minced onion
  • 1
  • ·
    enough cornbread mix to make a good thick batter

How to Make Mama's Fried Fish


  1. Cut fish filets into serving sized pieces.
    Mix together the cornmeal, pepper, and salt.
    Dredge the fish filets in the cornmeal, making sure they are well coated. Set aside on waxed paper.
  2. Heat cooking oil to about 365°. Fry a few pieces of the fish at a time, turning only once. The coating will not turn brown, but should be a nice dark golden color. Place fried fish on paper towel-lined plate and keep warm in oven while making the hushpuppies.
  3. Take the leftover cornmeal and add the onion and egg to it. Stir in enough cornbread mix to make a thick batter that holds its shape when dropped from a spoon. (Please note that the cornbread mix used here is different from the plain cornmeal used for the fish coating.)
  4. Fry the hushpuppies in the same oil that was used to cook the fish, a few at a time, so as not to cause the oil temperature to cool. Turn once.
  5. Serve this meal with Cole slaw, baked beans, and homemade biscuits. This was a favorite of mine growing up.

Printable Recipe Card

About Mama's Fried Fish

Course/Dish: Fish
Main Ingredient: Fish
Regional Style: Southern

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