You can make this easy Pan-Fried Cod Fish in less than 30 minutes! You just need eggs and seasoned flour to coat the fish before frying it in oil. This will become your go-to recipe for fried fish on the stove!
Rinse the cod and feel for any bones to remove. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Use kitchen scissors to cut any large fillets into smaller servings.
Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Add the flour to a dinner plate and stir in the seasonings (Old Bay, salt and hot paprika).
Set up an assembly line from left to right with the cod, the beaten eggs, the flour and a large platter or pan to hold the fish.
Dip each piece of cod in the eggs, coating both sides and letting the excess drip off. Then, place the cod in the seasoned flour, patting on the flour with the back of a fork. Flip the fish and flour the other side. Let excess flour fall off and add the fish to your platter in a single layer.
Add the oil to a 12-inch frying pan and heat it on medium high. When the oil's temperature reaches 350 degrees F (test it with an instant thermometer or just wait until it’s starting to ripple), add about half the fish to the pan in a single layer. (You'll need to fry it in two batches.)
Fry the first side without moving it for 3-4 minutes (or less for thin pieces), until golden brown. Flip over the fish and fry the second side without moving it for another 3-4 minutes (or just 2 minutes for thin pieces). To check for doneness, you can place a thick piece of fish to a plate and cut it open. The fish should flake easily and not look shiny inside.
Continue frying the rest of the fish in a second batch. You shouldn't need to change out the oil, but if it gets too dark, you can replace it with fresh oil.
Place the fried cod on a cooling rack positioned over paper towels to drain. (This prevents sogginess.) Pat the fish with a paper towel to absorb excess oil. If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can drain the fish on a platter lined with paper towels.
After a few minutes, squeeze lemon juice onto the cod and serve immediately with extra Old Bay and some mayo, if desired.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days. Leftovers are delicious slightly warmed in the microwave (or try a toaster oven) and served with mayo for dipping, or in a fish sandwich or taco. Do not freeze.
To Make 1 pound of Pan-Fried Cod: Still use ¾ cup of oil for frying, but halve the rest of the ingredients. Old Bay: After testing, retesting, and testing some more, my family unanimously agreed this pan-fried cod tastes best with Old Bay. It's a seafood seasoning that contains celery salt, red pepper, black pepper, paprika and more. If you don't have Old Bay, you'll need to add more salt to taste.Oil: Use cooking oil with a high smoke point, such as canola, avocado oil or vegetable oil, for frying the fish. Don't use olive oil, which has a lower smoke point and will burn during frying.I prefer avocado oil in this recipe, since it's a healthy option. Use Marianne's, Chosen or CalPure avocado oil for the best quality. I buy Marianne's at Costco.Never use cooking oil that has a bad odor. It means it's rancid.