How to Check Doneness of Fish

When cooking fish this Lenten season or anytime, check doneness by looking for it to have an opaque appearance. When poked with a knife, the fish should be firm with meat that flakes and separates slightly.
Quick Tips & Ideas

How to Check Doneness of Fish

To pan-fry fish, prepare fish by rinsing and patting dry. Cut fish into serving size pieces and then coat it by dredging in flour or crumb coating. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook as follows.
  • Place the coated fish in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the fish in the pan. Frying too many at one time cools the oil down too much, causing the fish to absorb more oil. Fry consistent size pieces together so they cook evenly.
  • Fry the fish for 3 to 5 minutes on the first side. Turn and cook another 2 to 5 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.
  • When the fish is done its crumb coating should be browned and crisp. When inserting a fork in the fish, the meat should be flakey and opaque in appearance. The internal temperature of the fish should be 145 degrees F.
  • Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined platter so the grease can drain. Keep the cooked fish warm in an oven preheated to 175 degrees F. to 200 degrees F.
  • Add more oil and allow the oil to heat up properly before frying more fish.
Pan-frying is just one method that can be used to cook fish. We can show you other methods for cooking fish in our Fish Cooking Guide.
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