The Friday Night Fish Fry

As far as I know, the fish fry is a Wisconsin thing. Now, I do realize that the fish fry is served in other states, however it just seems like Wisconsin is known for them, and good ones at that. The fish fry is typically on a Friday, and served in pretty much every tavern and restaurant, plated with coleslaw, rye bread, lemon wedges, and your standard french fry or potato pancake. Historically speaking, my first job at age 14 was working at a restaurant known for its fish fry, and my wife and I had our wedding reception party on a Friday night at Milwaukee’s historic Turner Hall. Let me just end by saying the fish fry is important to many of those living in Wisconsin, and as my wife noted last Friday, I have just mastered the fish fry.

Wisconsin Fish Fry Recipe


  • Can of beer
  • Bread flour
  • Fish fillets (I used tilapia, and would highly recommend the same)
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil (enough for deep frying)

I used two bags of tilapia fillets, of which yielded nine fillets, rinse the fillets and pat dry. In a large bowl, add roughly one cup of bread flour, or all purpose flour, and to that add one 12 oz. can of beer and stir to make a thick batter. Add more flour to come up with a thicker batter. Add in salt and pepper to season. This is where it gets a bit messy, so before diving in, heat a medium pan with roughly four cups of oil and bring to a medium to high heat. In a separate bowl, add more flour, and season with more salt and pepper. Now it is time to get messy. Take your dry fillet, one at a time, place and coat with the batter, then remove and let the batter fall off back into the batter bowl. Take the battered fillet and put it in the bowl of seasoned flour, tossing to coat with the flour. When your oil is ready, add your fillet and cook until golden brown. You can add several fillets to the oil at a time, keeping in mind to not overcrowd.

When they are golden brown, remove to a strainer lined with paper towel, season with salt, and let cool. Trust me, these are piping hot right now. Get ready to plate up with coleslaw, tarter sauce, lemon wedges, and fries. Trust me, this is a must make, and would make most Wisconsinites very proud. Enjoy.

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

6 thoughts to “The Friday Night Fish Fry”

  1. living in several different states and traveling around the country, it seems wisconsin is the ONLY state that knows how to do a proper fish fry. maybe i’m biased b/c wi is my home state, but really everyone else falls flat. there’s just something missing. wish i could go back for one now… preferably at wegner’s st. martins inn!



  2. I grew up in New England, where they are no slouches in seafood preparation. I have also lived in many different states over the years and since seafood is my favorite food, I have eaten fish in many forms all over the country. My husband and I spent about 18 months living outside of Milwaukee when we were first married (more than 10 years ago) and to this day I still crave and miss Wisconsin Fish fry. My mouth waters just thinking about it! We recently got our own little fry machine today and my google search for “Wisconsin Fish Fry” led me to this site. Here in New England we have Fish Fries during Lent season but nothing all year like in Wisconsin. The taste doesn’t compare either. I am excited to try your recipe. If only I could start it with a few cheese curds and finish it with a cone of custard! Thanks!

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