Fried fish is one of the tastiest foods for takeout. Generally, when people use the term fried fish, they usually mean a white fish fillet or boneless strips that are battered and deep-fried. Whether it’s takeout or for brunch with friends with a beer, there is never a bad time to have battered and deep-fried fish. But what are the ideal fish fry sides? Today I shall inform you of things you can serve with your fried fish to accompany it.
The best side dish is the side dish you love the most. The selection of side dishes you can have with your fried fish is endless. So today, I will list some of my favorites and the classic choices for you to try out.
But before we begin, let’s look at fried fish, how they are made, etc.
What is Fried Fish? How are they Made?
Fried fish is made by taking boneless pieces of fish and deep-frying them in hot oil. Usually, white fish are used like cod, carp, flounder, tilapia, etc. Any fish that can be easily deboned can be used here. Catfish is a very popular option here as well.
First, the fish fillets or pieces are seasoned. Here you can use your favorite seasoning; you can never go wrong with just salt and pepper as well. Next, they are battered. The batter can be of many types. Usually, beer batter is the most popular option. Because beer batter yields a much more crunchy and enjoyable eating experience, don’t worry, you won’t get drunk from this.
Then sometimes, these battered fish are coated in a layer of crumbs. These crumbs can be of different kinds as well. Cereal is often used here to add a subtle sweetness and pronounced crunch to the fish. Next, they are deep-fried in oil. This is your regular cooking oil. Unflavored oils with high smoke points are best here.
The Best Sides for Fried Fish
Here I categorized the sides based on their type. Let’s begin with the classics; these are an all-time favorite and the best sides for Fried fish and should be the go-to option for anyone unsure of what to get as a side with their fried fish.
(a) The Classic Fish Fry Sides
1. Lime Wedges
Serving fried fish without Lime Wedges is a cardinal sin. You must always do some lime wedges with your fried fish. The acidity and crisp sourness of the lime juice cut through the greasy rich fish and compliments it in ways nothing else can.
Slice some lime into wedges that can easily be squeezed over the crunchy battered fish.
2. Tartar Sauce
There is a reason why this sauce is served almost everywhere with fried fish. It is one of the best sauces to be served with fried fish. The sweet, rich sauce coats the crunchy batter and adds a new dimension of flavor to the fish. Moreover, the bits of shallots and herbs running through the tartar sauce add a nice mouthfeel to the fish.
3. French Fries
French fries and Fried fish are best friends. French fries are best friends with any fried food. You cannot argue with that. While one might argue that it’s too many calories, well, if you are counting calories, fried foods are not for you, my friend. You must always have fried fish with french fries.
Lime wedges, Tartar Sauce, and French fries are classic sides for deep-fried fish. They are loved by all and arguably the best sides to accompany deep-fried fish.
(b) Sauces as Fish Fry Sides
You can never go wrong with ketchup! This is a classic condiment to be served with anything fried and savory. Serve it with your favorite brand of ketchup, preferably something less sweet and more tomatoey.
Mayonnaise is a staple for all kinds of fast food. Its rich, creamy taste compliments the delicate taste of white fish. Just mayonnaise alone can be a bit boring so serve it alongside fresh sides and preferably something tangy.
If you haven’t tried Hollandaise yet, you should. Hollandaise has a rich, creamy taste with a slightly acidic and spicy kick, perfectly matching up with the sweet, succulent white fish that resides inside that crunchy golden batter. Think of it as a cousin of the humble mayonnaise.
4. Thousand Island Dressing
Thousand Island sauce or dressing is a very safe choice for a sauce for any savory fried food. It combines different fan favorites like ketchup, mayo, etc. So it is no wonder Thousand Island dressing is on the list.
5. Blue Cheese Dressing
If you and your guests are cheese lovers or want to try something new, you must try Blue Cheese Dressing. This is an acquired taste. The reason for that is the flavor profile of Blue Cheese is kind of “stinky” and offputting for some. At the same time, those who love it will go head over heels for it.
6. Ranch Dressing
This is a classic American household favorite. This is a go-to condiment for lovers of anything fried! Its creamy texture, bits of herbs, and veggies inside it add a wonderful dimension of flavor that most condiments simply can’t. Almost every household has this in their kitchen or pantry, so it is always an option.
Some honorable mentions: Sweet Chilli Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce, Salsa Verde, etc.
(c) Salads as Fish Fry Sides
1. Fresh Green Salads
There are countless variations of green salads. Some vegetables that should be in your salad are tomatoes, cabbages, cucumber, etc. They will add a different kind of crispy texture that will complement the fish, and the freshness they provide is unrivaled. So choose your favorite vegetables and dressing and toss up a nice fresh salad as a date for the golden and succulent fried fish.
2. Pasta Salads
A cold pasta salad pairs very well with hot, crunchy fish. If you haven’t tried this combination yet, then you definitely should. Pasta adds a nice contrasting texture to the crunchy fish you will love. Additionally, you can add veggies and meat to the pasta dish.
Coleslaw is probably one of the most popular sides for anything deep-fried. You can never go wrong with a side of coleslaw, from chicken to seafood. It is the best of both worlds as it has the creamy aspects of mayo and dressing and freshness from the crispy veggies inside it. This is probably the safest choice for a side of fried fish.
(d) Rice as Fish Fry Sides
1. Seafood Paella
Seafood Paella is rice prepared with different kinds of seafood. It is a Spanish dish, and if you love seafood, you must try Seafood Paella. It is a rice-based dish bursting with the taste of the ocean. Some seafood added to Seafood paella include clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari rings, squid, etc. Seafood Paellas are also flavored with ingredients like Saffron, tomatoes, etc., giving them a unique Umami boost.
2. Dirty Rice
You probably haven’t heard of this, so let me explain. Dirty Rice is a slow-cooked rice dish primarily flavored with Cajun spices and a protein(s) of your choice. Ground beef, chicken, and seafood are popular options for protein. Dirty Rice gets its name from the “dirty color” it develops from the slow cooking and browning of all the cajun spices and proteins. If you haven’t yet tried Dirty Rice, please do; I can guarantee you will love it.
Honorable mentions: Fried rice, pilaf rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, etc.
(e) Soups as Fish Fry Sides
Chowder, especially seafood chowder, is a great option as a side for fried fish. This wonderfully thick chunky soup has a creamy and rich seafood taste, a fan favorite of all seafood lovers. If you love fish and chips, then you love chowder too!
2. Cream of Mushroom
Cream of Mushroom soup is a thick creamy soup that is flavored heavily with mushrooms and slow-cooked. Mushrooms naturally have the umami flavor embedded in them. So when they are slowly cooked and turned into a thick creamy soup, the soup becomes infused with the umami flavors of the mushrooms. On top of that, the creamy aspect helps the umami flavors to become more pronounced.
3. Tomato Soup
Tomato soup is one of the most popular American comfort foods. The timeless taste of tomatoes, the warmth it provides, and its unique blend of sweet, sour, and umami are unmatched by any other soups. Whether canned or freshly made, you can never deny Tomato Soup when it is served to you. If you’re an American, then you love Tomato Soup.
Some honorable mentions: Cream of Chicken, Seafood Soup, Clam Chowder, etc.
(f) Deep-Fried as Fish Fry Sides
1. Potato Wedges
Potato wedges are like the thicker and chunkier cousin of the humble and universal french fries. These chunky golden brown potato sticks are crunchy on the outside with a fluffy inside. This matches the texture of deep-fried and crunchy fish and pairs up with it very well, similarly to how french fries do.
2. Curly Fries
Curly fries are that awkward cousin of french fries with a twist! Curly fries are quite popular among junk food lovers. It is a unique combination of spicy, crunchy, and fluffy potatoes. The spices used to coat curly fries also compliments the relatively less spicy fish and boost the overall experience.
3. Onion Rings
Another fan favorite side, onion rings are one of the best sides for any deep-fried meal. The sweet and succulent onions with a crunchy coating are one of the tastiest fried creations of humankind.
Yet another potato-based side, this crunchy, starchy, fluffy, and deep-fried potato side pairs up nicely with fried fish. Even though it is a slightly unpopular option, it is nonetheless viable. Try it for yourself; you won’t regret it.
Some honorable mentions: Fried sweet potatoes, kale chips, Rocky Mountain Oysters, Mozzarella sticks, etc.
(g) Bread as Fish Fry Sides
1. White Bread
You may think plain white bread is boring. But hear me out, white bread, combined with other condiments and sides, makes a perfect sidekick for fired fish. You can have some fun and have a “make your own sandwich” theme. White bread is an edible blank canvas! The possibilities are endless.
2. Burger Buns
Burger buns are also a good vehicle for anything deep-fried. Already fish burgers are popular across America, like Fillet ‘o Fish. So this gives you an option to make your own customized homemade Fillet ‘o Fish which will be more perfect than the original! Again using the same principle as white bread, you can change it to a “make your burger” themed fun activity.
Some honorable mentions: Dinner rolls, sourdough, brown bread, etc.
(h) Mashed as Fish Fry Sides
1. Mashed Potatoes
I believe this requires no description and details as it’s redundant. I mean, who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Mashed potatoes are one of the very few universal side dishes. Anything tastes better when accompanied by mashed potatoes, which is undeniable.
2. Mashed Peas
Mashed Peas are a very uncommon option for a side, but it’s in no way any lesser in terms of taste than any other options. Peas have a surprisingly interesting and creamy consistency. It complements proteins very well, and if you haven’t tried mashed peas yet, you definitely should asap!
With the creamy, nutty taste of avocados, the freshness of the herbs, and the acidity of lime, guacamole is one of the best sides to fried fish. If you ever had guacamole, which I’m sure you did, then you know exactly what I am talking about!
Some honorable mentions: Smashed Brussel Sprouts, Mashed pumpkin, etc
(i) Miscellaneous as Fish Fry Sides
1. Mac n Cheese
Unless you are lactose intolerant, you should always order Mac n Cheese as a side for anything deep-fried. Mac n Cheese is the go-to option for people unsure what to order as a side.
2. Baked Beans
Baked beans are an American staple! It is a breakfast favorite, so it’s no wonder that it is a suitable option as a side for brunch items like Fried fish.
3. Creamed Corn
Americans love corn. And creamed corn is one of the most popular renditions of humble corn. It has an amazingly sweet, creamy, nutty corn taste which complements the sweetness of white fish.
I’m pretty sure you haven’t tried all the sides mentioned here, so I would request and encourage you to try all these out. And yes, don’t forget to email me your favorite sides and, if possible, the recipes. I would love to try them out for myself. Have an amazing day ahead!
Eva M. Smith is the owner of this website. She is a 4 year old mother of two kids and a professional chef. Eva loves to cook for her family, but being a working mom has a lot of challenges. From squeezing in time to do the groceries to make three meals for the day. Eva knows how challenging cooking can be without a kitchen game plan.
That’s why she perfected techniques of preserving staple ingredients and several foods so that you have something pre-cooked or pre-baked to use for an array of meals. And they do not come short in flavor! And she does not want to sacrifice flavor with convenience. That’s why she is the best person to ask.