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Deep Fried Smelt

Fried Smelt coated in a Seasoned Flour and Pan Fried or Deep Fried. I grew up eating these quite often. They are really good and come in a variety of sizes. There is a unique fine taste exclusive to smelts that I really enjoy.

The Deep Fried Smelts may be off-putting to most, since the tiny ones can be eaten whole. Breaded and deep fried. You could chop the heads off, although they are so small that you don’t register the head or bones, and they are packed full of vital nutrients.

The Pan fried ones may put people off as well. Since only the head and insides are removed. Battered in Seasoned Flour and Pan fried, Bones and all.

For the Bigger size ones. Dusted in Seasoned Flour and Pan Fried is the best. Which I will post the next time I pick some up.

Deep Fried Smelts

Use the small Smelts. I picked up some Fresh water Smelts caught from here in Ontario. It came in a 2 lbs Frozen Bag.

Place One Pound of Tiny Smelts placed into a bowl with water to thaw quickly.

Soaking Smelt
Soaking Smelt

Prepare the Seasoned Flour.

Scoop out the Fish and place into a Bowl. Add Seasoned Flour and toss to coat all the fish. Scoop out again with a Spider and shake off any excess flour. Deep Fry at 375 F.

Strained Smelt
Strained Smelt
Floured Smelt
Floured Smelt

Place them into the Oil for 2 minutes. Lift them back up and wait for the Oil to come back to temp. Dip them back in for about 1 minute or until there is no more steam, since this will cause the breading to go soggy.

Pan Fried Smelt

Use larger Smelts. Chop the head off and clean the inside under running water, if bought whole. Some places sell them with this already done.

Coat in the Seasoned Flour and Pan Fry over medium heat with some oil for about 2–3 minutes per side or until golden crisp.

Deep Fried Smelt

Fried Smelt

Deep Fried or Pan Fried Smelt coated in a Seasoned Flour Mix. Garnish with Parsley and Chili Flakes. Serve with Lemon Wedges, Tartar Sauce and/or Cocktail Sauce.
Servings: 4 portions
Prep5 minutes
Cook 5 minutes



  • Prepare JAH Seasoned Flour mix and Toss the Smelt in the Flour. Shake off any excess flour and set aside until ready to cook.

Pan Fry

  • Heat a Skillet over medium heat with a bit of oil. Wait a few minutes to allow it to get hot. Place Smelt into the Pan and Fry on each side for 2–3 minutes, or until golden crisp.

Deep Fry

  • Heat the Deep fryer up to 375 F. Place the Smelt into the basket and deep fry for 2 minutes. Lift the Basket up and allow the Oil to return to temp before placing the smelt into the fryer again for about 1 minute or until all steam has evaporated.


  • Plate the Smelt with Lemon Wedge and Garnish with Parsley & Chili Flakes. Serve with Tartar Sauce & Cocktail Sauce. Optionally a side of Coleslaw.


The smaller smelts deep fry whole while reserving a pan fry for the larger smelts with the head and insides removed.
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian
Keywords: Deep Fried Smelt, Fried Smelt, Pan Fried Smelt
Author: JAH

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