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How to Host a Fish Fry

All you need to know about hosting a successful fish fry!
8-3 Fish Fry

A fish fry is an age old gathering that can bring either a small group or a larger community together. With the group gathering around the fryer and sharing experiences, everyone can leave full and happy. In order to ensure this is accomplished, sufficient planning and preparation must be invested. Acquiring the necessary equipment, fish and other foods, along with tasty recipes, will help make your fish fry a great time.


The most important equipment for a fish fry is the fryer. The size and type of fryer required depends on the size of the gathering, as well as the host’s skill level. If the fish fry is meant to feed a community of a hundred or more people, a large fryer is required to ensure each guest receives fresh fish. A smaller group can easily manage regular kitchen fryer.

If you, as the host, are comfortable with a fryer and are planning to host many fish fries in the future, a higher quality and capacity fryer can be practical. If you have little experience with frying, it may be better to purchase a cheaper fryer and become comfortable with its use before purchasing a more expensive piece.

Frying the Fish

Fresh fish, or vacuum sealed frozen fish, will taste the best, but are not required for a successful fish fry. Fish such as cod, red snapper or white trout are typically used in a fish fry. These fish hold the batter well and are less likely to fall apart in the fryer.

To further ensure the fish will stay together in the fryer, as well as to keep them nice and crispy, smaller pieces of fish are recommended. Not only are they more efficient from a cooking standpoint, but they can make it easier for guests to dip in sauces and eat as a casual finger food.

Sides, Desserts and Drinks

While fish are the most important aspect of a fish fry, the other items on the menu must be calibrated to complement. While other fried foods such as French fries, hush puppies or fried Oreos are often used as sides, it’s also important to include some healthier, non-fried options. Potato salad or coleslaw or even some fresh vegetables will help balance the heaviness of fried food.

Desserts and drinks should also be chosen with care. Because fish fries are a Southern tradition, they may not be viewed as complete without sweet tea and some traditional desserts. Alcohol may also be served, but should be chosen with care so it doesn’t overpower the food or cause conflict between guests. A fish fry is a casual event, reducing the need for expensive sides, but each guest should leave satisfied.

Hosting a fish fry is a great way to bring a group together, whether it is large or small. With all the right components in place, the host can provide a filling meal and relaxing company. By the end of the evening, each guest can leave full, happy and with a few new friends.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Airdrie Denture Centre for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.
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