What to Serve with Fried Fish to Make Your Meal Shine
Light, crispy, flaky and tasty, fried fish makes for a great dinner. There are so many ways to make this iconic dish.
Most home chefs choose a white fish like tilapia, cod, or catfish. Batters often include a little beer for that pub-style taste that we can thank the UK for.
Air fryers make fried fish a little less naughty of a meal, though you can always use breading to oven-fry it if you’d prefer.
However you choose to coat it, it’s that crispiness that you’re going for.
Fried fish is a versatile main dish too.
In England, it’s the most popular dish served alongside a pile of chips (which is what they call fries).
In the southern U.S., families and friends gather for a fish fry and serve all kinds of indulgent sides.
Then there’s the Mexican influence where fried fish is loaded into tortillas for some of the most epic tacos of all.
Of course, you can always tuck it into a nice roll with tartar sauce or a simple twist of lemon and enjoy this crispy bounty from the sea.
Each week, you can make fried fish and give it a new flair that will keep the family from tiring of it. “Fried fish AGAINNNNNN????”
Not here! No one will tire of it if choose options for what to serve with fried fish on point.
Good sides for fried fish are as varied as the fried fish recipes you’ll find. That’s why we’ve included a bunch of different ones to tickle every fried fish mood you have.
Even if you cheat and use frozen fried fish filets (don’t worry…we won’t tell!), you’ll have everything you need to make the kind of meal everyone wants to eat again and again!
What Goes with Fried Fish? Our Supreme List
There are so many ways to present fried fish. It’s a classic that even picky children will eat.
Take your pick of these sides for fried fish for a truly tasty meal everyone will love!
1. Beer Batter Hush Puppies
If you’re making your fried fish with beer in the batter, then it is only natural to carry that beer theme over into your side dishes.
Perfect for a fish fry or family gathering of any kind, hush puppies are an iconic southern side dish that you can whip up with ease.
You’ve already got your deep fryer or air fryer going for those fried fish filets so what’s one more fried-up delight?
Hush puppies are light and delicious morsels of fried tastiness. It’s a little tough to explain them better than that if you’ve never tasted them.
And if you’ve never tasted them, you’re clearly from the north. Make this legendary southern side with your fish.
Amy at She Wears Many Hats has a truly fantastic recipe!
2. British Chips (Fries)
Here’s one of the most popular fried fish sides, fries! In the UK, they call them chips.
And while we can squabble about that until the cows come home (or in this case, when the fish start biting), what matters is getting a perfect side on your table in time for dinner.
Fries, chips, whatever you want to call them, can get soggy at home. Often, most people order them while out to eat because they perceive them as too difficult to make at home.
Some firmly believe you should double or even triple fry your potatoes. Others say to use the air fryer.
And plenty others will tell you that you can get perfectly crisped fries/chips in the oven.
That’s all well and good, but if you’re looking to give your fried fish a British twist, you’ve got to seek out a chef that calls them chips.
Keef Cooks shows you how to make them just right!
3. Cilantro Lime Slaw
If you’re tired of the usual picnic fare to accompany your fried fish at your fish fry or even for a family dinner, try giving it a lighter twist.
Fresh cilantro and lime make the crispy shreds of cabbage and vegetables really zesty and zingy.
You can top it on the fried fish filets themselves on a bun for a sandwich that stands out or even wrap it in tortillas for a fish taco meal.
Or let everyone take their pick as they serve themselves buffet-style. It’s an easy, breezy side that is perfect for summer or even in the colder months when you need more sunshine in your life.
Ali’s recipe at Gimme Some Oven only takes 10 minutes too!
4. The Best Roasted Cauliflower
Whether you want to have a lighter fried fish side to balance out the fried aspects of the meal or need to add more to your selection for a larger gathering, cauliflower is a great choice.
Yes, it’s white like the fish you’re frying, but it seems less intrusive of a vegetable to any kids.
Plus, roasting it really gives it such a wonderful flavor that even adults that whine about vegetables will eat (we all have that one friend!).
If any of your friends are vegetarian or vegan, cauliflower is hearty enough to fill them up too.
Try your hand at any seasoning you desire.
Jen at Carlsbad Cravings gives you all the tips you need to make the best roasted cauliflower in your kitchen.
5. Oven Roasted Root Vegetables
Ok, let’s say you’re baking your fried fish, or you’re using vegan “fish” filets.
How do you lighten up the meal with healthfulness that fills you up? Oven roasted root vegetables of course!
Look, we can all agree fries (or chips) are one of the most heavenly foods on the planet.
But even if you take steps to make them healthier, sometimes mid-week is not the time for your calorie splurge.
With savory seasonings, beets, carrots, and potatoes can become an extraordinary treat, one that adds a warming and soothing quality on a chilly night.
Tori Avey has a super-simple and super-delicious recipe waiting for you!
6. Crispy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
With cooler weather bringing us more indoors, a hearty side dish for fried fish is a must!
We love Brussels sprouts though we know not everyone else does. You’ll definitely give them a chance when you taste them crisped up with parmesan cheese.
Cheese really does have powers to behold. You also need a recipe that can cook up fast.
After all, who wants to be busy in the kitchen on a weeknight? Not us! We love Kristen’s recipe at The Endless Meal, which comes kid-approved!
7. 10-Minute Healthy Cauliflower Rice
Perhaps you’d like an Asian flair with your fried fish. Or you want the feel of carbs without eating bread or tortillas.
Sure, rice is a simple choice, but with cauliflower rice, you’re sneaking in more veggies and that’s always a good thing.
Plus, this side dish is a wonderful option when you’re hosting guests that follow vegetarian and vegan diets (just omit any eggs).
Chungah’s recipe at Damn Delicious takes just 10 minutes, tastes great, and can please everyone at the table.
8. Snap Pea Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Sugar snap peas are such a sweet treat. If you’re tired of serving regular salads, making a salad using this underrated veggie is a great way to fill your table, not to mention everyone’s tummy.
You often see sugar snap peas in Asian cooking but we love the idea of infusing them into a more southern-style offering. That’s why this recipe caught our eye.
The buttermilk dressing gives it a creamy feel, plus it only takes 25 minutes with Alexandra Cooks!
9. Creamy Avocado Rice
Let’s say you’re not avoiding carbs but are trying to eat healthy carbs.
Brown rice makes for a solid side, but how do we say this politely? Without a sauce for rice, t’s boring!
Eating fried fish with an uninspiring side of brown rice is enough to depress anyone.
That’s why we love the idea of creamy avocado rice. Avocados made toast a coveted treat and they can do the same for brown rice.
This versatile side dish for your fried fish can go from Mexican-inspired to Asian-inspired too.
And with avocados being so good for you, it’s a winning side dish for everyone.
Brandi at Bran Appetit has a simple recipe that you’ll have on your table in 20 minutes.
10. Soul Food Collard Greens
Everyone in the south has had traditional collard greens. Bacon elevates this leafy green for a taste you want to heap onto your plate.
Northerners don’t know what they’re missing. If you’re planning on doing a southern fish fry, then you HAVE TO serve collard greens.
There might be a rule about it in the Constitution somewhere.
There are lighter versions of this legendary side dish and ones that don’t incorporate bacon, but we felt choosing a fully traditional soul food-style collard greens recipe was in order.
Monique’s recipe at Divas Can Cook is about as authentic as it gets and completely unforgettable!
11. Cheesy Southern Grits
While we’re in a southern mood, let’s talk about another southern side – grits. Grits are often served at breakfast, but you can serve them any other time in the south.
Particularly with shrimp as the famed dish that even Emeril serves. But cheesy grits are a great side for just about anything, including your fried fish.
Even if you’ve never made them before, they’re easy. And since they’re cheesy, this corn-based side will have everyone gobbling it up.
Carrian and Cade at Oh Sweet Basil show you how to get that true southern taste with this simple recipe!
12. Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Now let’s talk about chips as we know them in the US. Not chips as in fries from the UK.
Crispy, crunchy, potato chips are always a great side for anything fried, especially fish.
But since we’ve got our fries (UK chips) up at the top of the list, if you want a healthier alternative with just as much crunch and satisfaction, why not use sweet potatoes in the form of oven-crisped chips?
It’s an easy way to get the kids to eat something healthy without even realizing it, plus they go so wonderfully with your fried fish.
Sommer’s recipe at A Spicy Perspective only requires 3 ingredients, so what are you waiting for?
13. Favorite Quinoa Salad
Want a side that loads you up with protein, veggies, and eats like a carb? Quinoa is always the answer!
But much like brown rice, quinoa itself can be a bit bland. We love the idea of using it in a salad though.
Blended together with crispy veggies and tangy dressing, it’s easy to eat and enjoy.
This quinoa salad by Cookie + Kate has a bit of a Mediterranean feel which is nice, light, and refreshing with your fried fish.
14 Wagamama-Inspired Wok-Fried Greens
While fried fish tends to be a more American and European treat, that doesn’t mean it can’t span into Asian cuisine.
We’ve shown that with our rice and cauliflower rice options, though we love getting more greens in.
An easy way to add more greens to your fried fish meal is to stir-fry them, which takes just 10 minutes.
If you’re going for a more Asian-fusion feel or you have vegan or gluten-free guests joining you, this wok-fried green dish by Rhian’s Recipes will be one you’re going to add to your menu on the regular!
15. Corn on the Cob
And finally, we’ll leave you with another southern fish fry staple side dish, corn on the cob!
This one is easy, not to mention one that pleases everyone.
Even if you’re not going for a fish fry theme, corn on the cob is a perfect pairing for fried fish.
That sweet, juicy, buttery corn adds a lightly indulgent layer to your meal.
Watch this video from PJ Danita on how to do it just right!
What to Serve with Fried Fish: Getting it Right, Before the Sides
There are many ways to make fried fish as you probably know. Perhaps you’ve got your trout fish dinner recipe down in a deep fryer.
You may have one of those amazing air fryers too. Some people love pan-frying fried fish while others “fry” it in the oven.
With all these methods though, there are a few important points to follow to ensure your fried fish is the best of all!
Start with quality fish
If you are making fried fish from scratch, choose good fish. Frozen is fine in a pinch, but when you flash-fry fresh fish, nothing compares to that flavor.
When deep frying, watch the oil temperature
Oil temperature can make or break you when deep frying. If you put your fish into the fryer too early, you’re not going to get those golden, crispy results.
The oil should be kept between 350 and 375F, depending on the thickness of your fish.
If you’re using smaller and thinner pieces, go for 375F. Thicker pieces can be fried at 350F.
Every time you add food to the fryer, the temperature of the oil drops.
This is true with anything you fry and why it’s so important to only work in small batches.
When you crowd the fryer, the fish won’t cook well. It’s better to go with batches and briefly use your oven to heat it up again at the end before serving.
Overcooking leads to greasiness
We’ve all gone through the drive-thru and had greasy meals.
When fried food is overcooked, it gets greasy. With seafood, you must take special care to keep it from overcooking.
It will stop letting steam out when it’s ready. Look for the bubbles to subside.
You’ll also see it stop sizzling. It only takes about 3 minutes tops for fried fish in the fryer so keep an eye out and pull it out of there immediately.
Never salt your batter or coating
It’s so hard to get the salty balance right when you add salt to the flour coating or your batter.
Instead, use a little table salt as soon as you pull it from the fryer. This will give it just the right salty touch that adheres to the coating.
Don’t use paper towels
It’s tempting to toss fried foods onto a plate lined with paper towels, but unless you want soggy fried fish, we don’t recommend it.
Instead, use a metal drying rack to keep your coating and crispness intact.
Have fun with your fried fish sides
As we mentioned, fried fish is a true meal multi-tasker.
You can just as easily make it have that down-home southern kitchen feel to it as you can turning it into your Mexican-themed night.
Choosing what to serve with fried fish will help give it that theme, so mix it up and enjoy it with the ones you love!
Which sides will you serve for your fried fish dinner tonight?