Pan Fried Walleye – light, crispy golden breading with tender, flaky white fish inside. Delicious super quick and easy meal from a few simple ingredients!

white plate with pan fried walleye, potatoes, beans and tartar sauce

Walleye is of of the most popular catches here in Michigan and throughout the Midwest for good reason — it’s delicious and is simple to make.

There are a bazillion ways to cook it, but this easy recipe with a light seasoning and crispy light breading is my favorite.

Squeeze on some fresh lemon juice before serving and some tartar sauce on the side for dipping. 

It doesn’t get much better.

overhead view pan fried walleye, potaotes and tartar sauce

You can cut walleye fillets into any size you like, including nuggets – perfect for kids.

Add to a toasted bun and slather with tartar sauce for one of the best fish sandwiches around.

It’s even delicious for fish tacos!

WHAT IS WALLEYE? 

Walleye is a mild freshwater fish in the perch family.

It has a light, flaky texture, is incredibly good without any fishy taste and one of the most popular freshwater fish in the Midwest.

Here in southeast Michigan, some of the best walleye fishing is in the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.

TIPS FOR THE BEST FRIED WALLEYE:

  • Use fresh or frozen walleye. Thaw frozen fish completely and blot with paper towels so they’re dry before breading.
  • Use any large nonstick skillet, cast iron skillet or any with higher sides.
  • Brown only to a light golden color then remove from the skillet.
  • If you’re cooking in batches, keep fried fish warm on a baking sheet in a 250° oven.
  • Leave a little space between the fish when frying so they’ll crisp evenly.
  • If you can’t find walleye, you can substitute perch, grouper, cod or tilapia.
  • Fresh herbs, such as fresh parsley can be added to the breading.

WHAT KIND OF OIL IS BEST FOR FRYING FISH?

The best oil for frying fish is a neutral oil that can withstand higher heat without burning such as vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil or avocado oil. 

WALLEYE INGREDIENTS:

  • fresh walleye fillets
  • salt
  • eggs
  • milk
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • all purpose flour
  • panko bread crumbs
  • vegetable oil

HOW TO MAKE PAN FRIED WALLEYE:

Cut the fish into a few pieces so they fit easily in the skillet. Season evenly with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt then set aside.

Whisk the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl.

In a second bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour and Old Bay seasoning..

Working one at a time, dip the walleye fillets into the egg mixture then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing it gently into the fish.

Once the fish is breaded add oil to a large skillet with deeper sides. You want enough oil so that it’ll come about halfway up the side of the fish fillet.

Heat oil over medium heat to 350-375° then carefully add the fish to the hot oil flesh side down.

Cook walleye 3-4 minutes (cooking time will vary with size of fish and oil temp) then turn and cook the second side 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Remove from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate and serve warm.

closeup of pan fried walleye on a white plate with tartar sauce

WHAT GOES WITH PAN FRIED WALLEYE?

Walleye fish IMHO is best served with tartar sauce and lemon wedges for a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

If you want to know what else to serve with walleye, read on:

French fries

Baked potatoes

6 Minute Green Beans

Easy Clam Chowder

Creamiest Mac and Cheese

4-Ingredient Cole Slaw

HOMEMADE TARTAR SAUCE:

If you don’t have tartar sauce on hand, try my homemade recipe.

Blend the following together. 

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • pinch of black pepper

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER FISH:

Any leftover fish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet over low heat.

LOOKING FOR ANOTHER DELICIOUS FISH RECIPE?

Fried Perch

Mediterranean Baked Fish

Crispy Baked Cod

Air Fryer Salmon

Enjoy!

pinterest pin showing pan fried walleye

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white plate with butternut sqush

Pan Fried Walleye

Pan Fried Walleye – light, crispy golden breading with tender, flaky white fish inside. Quick and easy any night recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine seafood
Servings 4
Calories

Equipment

  • large skillet with higher sides

Ingredients
  

  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds walleye fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil may need more depending on size of skillet

Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or more to taste
  • pinch black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cut the fish into a few pieces so they fit easily in to the skillet. Season evenly with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt then set aside.
  • Whisk the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl.
  • In a second bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour and Old Bay seasoning..
  • Working one at a time, dip the walleye fillets into the egg mixture then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing it gently into the fish.
  • Once the fish is breaded add oil to a large skillet with deeper sides. You want enough oil so that it’ll come about halfway up the sides of the fish. Heat oil over medium heat to 350-375°.
  • Carefully add the fish to the hot oil flesh side down.
  • Cook fish 3-4 minutes (cooking time will vary with the size of each piece) then turn and cook the second side 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Remove fish from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Serve right away.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Blend well and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Keyword walleye, fried walleye, pan fried walleye, sauteed walleye, fish, fried fish, best fried fish
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