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Simple Summertime Sunfish Recipe

Here's a simple and delicious recipe for a late-summer fish fry.

Simple Summertime Sunfish Recipe

Preparation of your panfish fillets can be as uncomplicated as the pursuit itself. (Photo by Jim Gronaw)

Print Recipe

Although many small meadow streams and creeks have good populations of delicious sunfish species, it pays to harvest wisely by keeping just enough for a meal from time to time. Indeed, a half-dozen hand-sized redbreasts can offer scrumptious fillets from cold-water environs. Here is my favorite recipe for pan-fried sunfish.

This recipe is simple, quick and can be tweaked to your preferred tastes with additional flavorings and spices.

Simple Summertime Panfish Recipe


  • 8–12 sunfish fillets
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • Peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of pancake mix
  • 2 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to preferred taste


  1. Place fillets in a bowl of milk for several minutes.
  2. Heat a 10-inch frying pan with oil to 375 degrees.
  3. Combine the pancake mix, Old Bay seasoning and salt and pepper in another bowl, then coat the milk-soaked fillets in the dry mix and place gently in the heated oil. Be careful not to have too much oil in the pan—just enough to cover half the thickness of a fillet.
  4. When the edges of the fillets curl up and turn light brown (usually around 3 minutes), turn gently and allow to cook approximately 2 more minutes. Exact cooking times may vary depending on your stove or grill.
  5. Set the golden-brown fillets on paper towels to drain and follow up with any additional sprinkling of spices.

Add some coleslaw, potato chips and a cold iced tea or beer, and it just doesn’t get much better than that!

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