Crispy Pan Fried Smelt Recipe

Smelt is a small, delicate fish that has been enjoyed as a delicacy for centuries. This versatile fish can be prepared in a variety of ways, but one of the most popular and satisfying methods is pan-frying. In this article, we’ll be sharing a classic recipe for crispy pan-fried smelt that is easy to make and will leave you with perfectly golden and crispy results every time. Whether you’re a fan of seafood or simply looking for a new way to enjoy this tasty little fish, this recipe is sure to please. So, let’s get started and discover how to make the perfect crispy pan-fried smelt.

smelt recipe picture

These little fish run in the Great Lakes area early in the spring. Hand nets are used for dipping them. (Catching them)

They are small and very tasty making them a nice spring treat.

This recipe is just basically Flour, egg, and milk with salt and pepper used for seasoning.

If you have smelt available give this Crispy Pan Fried Smelt Recipe a try; they’re crispy and delicious.

Crispy Pan Fried Smelt Recipe
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Larry
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4

Crispy Pan Fried Smelt Recipe

  • Author: Cullys Kitchen


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 12 pounds smelt (cleaned and rinsed)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying


  1. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and milk. Place 1 cup of flour in a shallow dish; salt and pepper to taste. Place the other cup of flour in another shallow dish.
  2. Lightly coat each fish one at a time in the plain flour, dip in the egg mixture and then roll in the seasoned flour. (lightly coat a platter with flour to place the fish on before you cook them, to keep them from sticking on the plate)
  3. Place about a ¼ inch of oil in a cast iron fry pan over medium-high heat and cook smelt until browned on both sides and crispy. (cook in batches) Place smelt on paper toweling to drain. (if oil starts to get too brown from the flour start a new batch with fresh oil)

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