How to Get Crispy Fish Fillets in the Oven


The penetrating aroma of fresh fish summons a seafood aficionado from blocks away. The breaded coating cooks to a rich, golden color and offers a crunchy textural contrast to the tender fish inside, which remains moist and delicate thanks to this protective coating. The only downside is the amount of fat used when frying fish. Health-conscious cooks can re-create the pleasures of fried fish in the oven with less reliance on fat.

Things You'll Need

  • Boneless, skinless fillets, approximately 8 ounces per person
  • Paper towels
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shallow bowl
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or panko
  • Plate
  • Parchment or wax paper
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet
  • Pan spray
  • Pat your fillets dry with clean paper towels. Cut them into serving-size pieces if necessary.

  • Stir approximately 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper into the flour. Dredge each fillet in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour, then dip the fillets into a shallow bowl of milk. The milk and flour create a sticky surface on the fish.

  • Press the fillets into a bowl of bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or panko. Ensure that each piece is evenly covered with crumbs, then transfer it to a plate lined with parchment or wax paper. When each fillet is coated, move the plate to your refrigerator and let the fillets rest for at least 1 hour but no more than 3 hours. This step allows the crumbs to absorb the milk and set into a cohesive coating.

  • Preheat your oven to 425 F. Remove the fillets from your refrigerator and arrange them evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray each fillet lightly but evenly on both sides with pan spray.

  • Bake the fillets until the crumbs become golden, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. If the crumbs you've chosen are slow to brown, finish the fillets under your broiler for 1 minute or less until golden. Serve hot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although the pan spray adds some fat and calories to the fish, the fillets won't brown and crisp properly without it.

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