How to Cook Fish with Crispy Skin

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How to Cook Crispy Skin Fish 30

I’m sure we’ve all heard how good fish is for you.

Instead of just throwing some seasoning on the fish and tossing it in the oven, get your fish with the skin on.

Make it crispy!

Nothing more satisfying than cracking into a crispy fish skin to reveal the succulent tender fish inside, squeeze some lemon juice on it to wake it up and omg, it actually feels decadent. 

This method is a fool-proof way that teaches you how to cook fish with crispy skin.

Every time.

Without fail.

Especially now, during this season of light and bright fresh foods, fish seems to be perfectly satisfying without being too heavy.

You need fish fillets with the skin on, duh.

Also, you need an oil with a high smoke point, I used grapeseed oil because it also doesn’t have GMOs but if you don’t care about that then canola oil is a cheap alternative. Clarified butter is the best way to go but I didn’t have enough butter to make some or enough motivation to go buy some.

You also need salt and pepper because do I really have to explain this?

Flour is an optional ingredient, it helps with the crisping, but it is not necessary, so if you are going paleo or gluten-free or whatever else is hot in the streets these days, you can still enjoy the simple pleasure of crispy fish skin.

Oh, and some lemon because fish and lemon are like a hug and a squeeze, one without the other is pretty sad and uncomfortable.

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 First thing you want to do is get your oil hot.

So, put it in the pan and turn the heat on high.

Where would you be without me?

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While the oil heats up, season the fish and then lightly flour the skin side.

Tap off any excess flour.

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If you aren’t doing this step then just contemplate life and why society makes us feel like if we aren’t skinny enough to wear a bikini then we are worthless as women.

Once the oil is hot, (you want it to shimmer and begin to smoke slightly) add the fish.

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If your oil is hot enough the fish will not stick to the pan.

If the fish sticks then your oil is not hot enough.

In that case, turn the heat up high and get religious real quick and start praying.

Jiggle the pan and see if it is still stuck.

If it is, you’re screwed and you’re going to hell and that’s why your prayer didn’t work.

Just kidding, just let it cook a bit more and then try to GENTLY release it with a fish spatula.

Once the skin is golden brown and crispy, flip it over (if you are using a thinner cut of fish than I am, read the recipe card below for my tips on cooking thinner fish this way).

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If you flipped it over and the skin was ripped because it stuck to the pan, just tell yourself, at least I’m not this guy:


Now, dry your tears and finish cooking your fish on the other side.

If you’re making veggies to go with this, now would be the time to cook them quickly, unless you like cooking your veggies for a long time (maybe you wanna roast them or something) in which case you’re shit outta luck because you should’ve done that earlier.

(This post feels like I’m your parent who has been pushing you on your bike with training wheels for a month and today I decided to take them off without telling you and I’m hiding in the living room watching you sneakily through the blinds as you fall and then I laugh to myself and come out running all fake like, “Honey! Are you okay?!” That’s the kind of mother I will probably be.)

Take the fish out of the pan and let it rest for a minute for the juices to redistribute.

Yes, you need to do this with fish too.

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Mmmm.. I also like it when the flesh gets a little crispy too.

I feel like I sounded like Hannibal Lecter just then.


I think this would go well with some fava beans and a nice Chianti…


Anyway, ahem, I hope this “How To” was helpful.

Let me know what other “How To” posts you would like to see in the comment section below.


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2 thoughts on “How to Cook Fish with Crispy Skin

    • Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350F which is the same smoking point as butter, however grapeseed oil has a smoke point of 390F which helps get the oil hot enough to crisp skin. Clarified grass-fed butter is a great alternative as it is healthy and has a smoke point of 450F. Don’t get me wrong, coconut oil is great for sautéing but just not the best choice for getting fish skin crispy. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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