Fried Fish Sandwiches


Far better than anything from a drive-thru.

Southern Living Fried Fish Sandwiches on a plate with chips to serve

Greg Dupree, Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

The next time you get a cracking for a beach-worthy fish sandwich, skip the drive-thru and make this recipe instead. The combination of exquisitely crispy fish, chow chow–spiked mayonnaise, Spicy Slaw, and buttery toasted brioche buns delivers a sandwich that no fast food joint (and few beach dives) can compete with.

What's the Best Fish for Fried Fish Sandwiches?

You can use any fish you like for these sandwiches, but we prefer grouper or mahi-mahi. Thinner, flaky white fish is better in this application—meatier fish like tuna or swordfish will be too dense. Using thawed frozen fish is perfectly fine; just be sure to pat it dry thoroughly before breading.

What's the Secret for Crispy Fried Fish?

To make sure your fish gets nice and crunchy, there are a few simple steps you can take. First, make sure the oil is nice and not—in this case, between 350°F and 375°F. You want the oil to bubble vigorously when the fish is added.

In related news, you also want to avoid overcrowding the pan, which will cause the oil temperature to drop. It may sound fussy, but invest in an instant read thermometer. It’s so handy, and it takes all the guesswork out of the process.


  • 4 (6-oz., 4- x 2-inch) skinless grouper or mahi-mahi fillets (about 3/4 to 1 inch thick)

  • 1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • Canola oil

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal

  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

  • 1 Tbsp. hot sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup chopped chowchow (such as Doux South)

  • 4 brioche hamburger buns, split

  • Spicy Slaw


  1. Pat fillets dry with paper towels; sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.

    Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a large Dutch oven; heat over medium-high to 350°F to 375°F.

    While oil heats, stir together flour, cornmeal, pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large shallow bowl until combined. Whisk together buttermilk, hot sauce, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a separate large shallow bowl until combined.

  2. Place 1 fillet into cornmeal mixture, turning to coat. Dip in buttermilk mixture, turning to coat; let excess drip off. Return fillet to cornmeal mixture, turning to coat. Transfer to a plate, and repeat with remaining fillets.

  3. Gently add 2 breaded fillets to hot oil; cook, gently turning occasionally, until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 145°F, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oil using a spider skimmer or slotted spoon, and place on a wire rack set over a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fillets.

  4. Stir together mayonnaise and chow-chow in a bowl. Spread mixture onto cut sides of buns. Place fillets on bun bottoms; add Spicy Slaw and bun tops.

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