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Fish/ Hearty Dinners

Homemade Filet-o-Fish

September 8, 2023 (Last Updated: September 9, 2023) by Chris Collins

Here I’ll share with you the perfect recipe for recreating the classic McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish!

I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to try my first ever Filet-o-Fish, but I’m truly on board. Call it a guilty pleasure, but I love ’em. When it comes to making your own, it’s actually really simple and they turn out SO delicious. Follow me…

3 filet-o-fish stacked on each other on wooden board

Tartare Sauce for Filet-o-Fish

There aren’t too many components in a Filet-o-Fish. Just the crispy fish, cheese and of course the tartare sauce. Whilst you could use store-bought, I highly recommend making your own. I use my Homemade Tartare Sauce recipe, and whilst I think it differs slightly from McDonald’s, here’s what you’ll need:

Tartare Sauce Ingredients

  • Mayo – full-fat of course!
  • Capers – these add a good salty punch of flavour.
  • Cornichons – these are small pickled cucumbers. Can use regular gherkins or dill pickles.
  • Parsley – adds a fresh burst of herbaceous flavour.
  • Dill – a classic pairing with seafood.
  • Lemon Juice – adds acidity and brightens up the sauce.

I think the main difference between this and the McDonald’s version is the sweetness, so do add in some sugar to balance out the acidity if you like!

I recommend making this ahead of time and resting it in the fridge, just to allow the flavours to develop.

Process shots: add ingredients to bowl (photo 1), combine then chill in fridge (photo 2).

2 step by step photos showing how to make tartar sauce

Homemade Fillet-o-Fish

For the fish itself, I believe McDonald’s uses Hoki or Pollock, but realistically any type of boneless, skinless white fish should do the trick. I usually go for Cod or Haddock, which is just down to personal preference and what’s most widely available.

The main thing you’re looking for is for the fillets to be relatively thin and preferably square (you can slice them if needed). Although saying that, they don’t have to be perfect squares, it’s merely just a visual thing.

Salting the fish

I recommend sprinkling salt over the fish and leaving it to rest for 10 minutes. This will draw out moisture and help prevent the batter from going soggy. This also seasons the fish directly.

Panko breadcrumbs

These are perfect for this recipe as they turn the fish super crispy. You’ll find them at most supermarkets in the Asian section.

Process shots: salt fish (photo 1), rest then pat dry (photo 2), dredge in seasoned flour (photo 3), dredge in eggs + Dijon (photo 4), dredge in seasoned Panko (photo 5).

5 step by step photos showing how to make filet-o-fish

How to make Filet-o-Fish

To truly get the fish crispy, it’s gotta be fried. Thankfully you only need to shallow fry it so it’s pretty straightforward; you’ll need just enough oil to come about halfway up the fish. I like to do two at a time, but if you’ve got a very large pan you could fry them all at the same time.

Once you’ve fried the fish, rest it on a wire rack above a tray or kitchen roll. This will allow the excess oil to drip off the fish so it doesn’t go soggy as it rests. From there, chuck the cheese straight on top so the residual heat can lightly melt the cheese.

Process shots: add fish to hot oil (photo 1), fry (photo 2), add to wire rack (photo 3), add cheese (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to cook filet-o-fish

Filet-o-Fish FAQ

What is the safe internal temp for fish?

White fish needs to reach 63C/145F. It’s always handy to have a thermometer on hand so you can check when the fish is done.

Can I make these ahead of time?

I don’t recommend making the fish ahead of time because it won’t reheat well without drying out. However, you could make the tartare sauce ahead of time.

Can I prepare them ahead of time?

Unfortunately, more bad news, the longer the fish sits in the batter, the more the salt draws out moisture from the fish, and the soggier it gets. So, these are best made fresh!

What kind of cheese should I use?

Gotta be American/Processed cheese for the full experience!

What kind of buns should I use?

McDonald’s buns are notoriously sweet, so you could use brioche buns, but I typically just use regular hamburger buns.

overhead shot of hand holding two filet-o-fish sandwiches

Serving a Filet-o-Fish

Serve these up right away so the fish stays crisp and the sauce doesn’t go greasy. You’ll likely have leftover sauce, so just tightly cover it and store it in the fridge. You can of course add fries if you want!

Looking for crispy BAKED fish recipes? Check out my Fish Fingers and Tuna Fishcakes!

Alrighty, tuck into the full recipe for these Filet-o-Fish Sandwiches shall we?!

3 homemade filet-o-fish stacked on each other on wooden board with fries in the background

How to make Filet-o-Fish (Full Recipe & Video)

3 homemade filet-o-fish stacked on each other on wooden board with fries in the background

Homemade Filet-o-Fish

Here I'll share with you the perfect recipe for recreating the classic McDonald's Filet-o-Fish!
4.50 from 2 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Western
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Calories per serving: 616kcal
Cost per serving: £3 / $4

Equipment:

  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Small Mixing Bowl (for sauce)
  • Kitchen Roll (for patting dry fish)
  • Small Bowl/Pot (for seasoning mix)
  • 3 Large Shallow Dishes (for dredging)
  • Heavy-Based/Cast Iron Pan & Tongs (for frying)
  • Wire Rack & Baking Tray (for resting fried fish)

Ingredients (check list):

Tartare Sauce (makes big batch)

  • 240g / 1 cup full-fat Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Capers, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp finely diced Cornichons/Gherkins
  • 1 heaped tbsp finely diced Fresh Parsley
  • 2 tsp finely diced Fresh Dill (see notes)
  • 1 Lemon, juice only (or to taste)
  • Salt, Pepper & Sugar, to taste

Sandwich

  • 4x 100-120g / 3.5-4oz White Fish Fillets (see notes)
  • 1 tsp EACH: Salt, Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp EACH: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp White Pepper
  • 50g / 1/3 cup Flour
  • 2 medium Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 75g / 1 1/4 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 120 - 240ml / 1/2 - 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Processed/American Cheese Slices
  • 4 Hamburger Buns, halved & toasted (see notes)

Instructions:

  • Combine all of the ingredients for the tartare sauce in a small mixing bowl. Season to taste and adjust with sugar to sweeten and balance out the acidity if desired. Cover and chill in the fridge until needed.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the fillets with 1/4 tsp salt and leave to rest for 10 or so minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3/4 tsp salt with the rest of the seasoning in a small pot or bowl. Line up 3 large shallow dishes: 1st with flour + half of the seasoning, 2nd with eggs + Dijon beaten until smooth, 3rd with Panko + rest of the seasoning. Place a tray next to the last bowl to rest the breaded fish.
  • After 10 mins, thoroughly pat the fish dry to remove as much moisture as possible. One by one, dredge each piece through the flour, into the egg, then into the breadcrumbs. Finish by resting on the tray then repeat with the remaining pieces. Work fairly quickly so the batter doesn't go soggy.
  • Add enough oil to comfortably cover the base of a heavy-based/cast-iron pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and allow the oil to reach 180C/350F (a breadcrumb will rapidly sizzle when it's ready). In two batches, fry the fish on both sides for 2-3mins, or until golden and crisp with the centre piping hot (safe internal temp is 63C/145F). Rest on a wire rack above a tray or kitchen roll to catch excess oil and immediately place the cheese on top to lightly melt.
  • Stack the sandwiches with your preferred amount of sauce then tuck in and enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Tartare sauce - I use my Homemade Tartare Sauce recipe. I'm not sure the McDonald's sauce has dill, so you could omit it, especially if you're not keen on it. I don't tend to add salt, but a couple of pinches of pepper works nicely. The McDonald's version is also sweeter, so you can add in sugar 1/4 tsp at a time to balance out the acidity if you'd like. If you can, I recommend making this ahead of time and chilling in the fridge to allow the flavours to develop. There will likely be leftovers so just tightly store it in the fridge for a few days.
b) Fish - McDonald's use Hoki or Pollock, but I typically use Cod or Haddock. Main thing is you're using relatively thin and square pieces (approx 9cm/9cm / 3.5"/3.5"). It will shrink slightly as it cooks, so just keep that in mind. Timings will depend on the thickness of the fish, but it shouldn't take long to fry. Always handy to have a thermometer to check internal temp!
c) Toasted buns - You can do this under the grill or in a large dry pan. If you'd like, you can lightly spread with mayo or butter before toasting.
d) Working quickly - You'll want to dredge and fry fairly quickly. The batter can get soggy the longer it sits due to the salt continuing to draw out more moisture from the fish. As such, the oil may spit slightly more aggressively than you're used to, so I recommend using a long pair of tongs.
e) Calories - Per sandwich assuming half sauce is used and half the breading attaches. Also assuming 2 tsp oil soaked up per 120g fillet.

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Filet-o-Fish
Amount Per Serving
Calories 616 Calories from Fat 377
% Daily Value*
Fat 41.91g64%
Saturated Fat 16.198g81%
Trans Fat 0.077g
Polyunsaturated Fat 14.893g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.038g
Cholesterol 129mg43%
Sodium 1696mg71%
Potassium 474mg14%
Carbohydrates 29.23g10%
Fiber 1.7g7%
Sugar 5.23g6%
Protein 30.11g60%
Vitamin A 504IU10%
Vitamin C 3.3mg4%
Calcium 282mg28%
Iron 2.58mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  • Reply
    Sade Osborne
    February 27, 2024 at 11:44 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved these, had such a great flavor. The tartar sauce was perfect. Definitely will be making again

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      February 28, 2024 at 4:23 am

      Thanks so much for the review, Sade!

  • Reply
    James
    January 29, 2024 at 12:35 pm

    4 stars
    We enjoyed these. great flavour and are simple to do with your easy to follow recipies

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      January 30, 2024 at 11:04 am

      Thanks so much for the review, James! C.

    5 KNOCKOUT

    DINNERS

    YOU'LL NEVER STOP MAKING!

    A FREE EMAIL SERIES, FROM ONE FOODIE TO ANOTHER