Crispy Fried Fish Sandwich with Panko

The crispiest, crunchiest Fried Fish Sandwich with Panko Japanese breadcrumbs and Spicy Tartar Sauce! YUM!

When a burger feels too heavy and meaty, try these: Crispy Fried Fish Sandwiches!

So light and crispy! Sandwiched between soft brioche buns. With a healthy dollop of tangy tartar sauce and crunchy cabbage. YUM!

The inspiration comes from my favorite McDonald’s sandwich: the Filet O’ Fish.

My Korean American world was populated with people who loved this sandwich as much as I did. Everyone loved and ordered it — parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, kids, teens.

To pay homage to this classic, nostalgic sandwich, I decided to make a homemade version.


  • White Fish. Any kind works: Tilapia, Basa, Cod, Halibut, Snapper, Grouper. I like thin filets because they fry up with crispier edges. But my partner prefers a bigger, meatier chunk of fish. So choose the fish that you like best and that’s most accessible to you.
  • Cajun Seasoning. A spicy kick of flavor! Tastier than salt and pepper alone.
  • Panko. A Japanese bread crumb that’s lighter + crispier than regular bread crumbs.
  • Potato Starch. Instead of flour, use potato starch for the crunchiest fried fillets ever! Can be subbed with corn starch, if you don’t have it.
  • Spicy Tartar Sauce. Tartar Sauce is a MUST for Fried Fish Sandwiches. Make it spicy (and more exciting) with sriracha.
  • Green Cabbage. Thinly shredded cabbage is the perfect topping. Adds texture and freshness. Buy pre-shredded cabbage to make it even easier.
  • Brioche Buns. Buttered and toasted brioche buns are so soft and delicious!

How to Make Fried Fish Sandwiches:

  1. Season fish fillets with Cajun seasoning.
  2. Coat fish in potato starch. Then dip into egg wash.
  3. Coat in panko, Japanese bread crumbs.
  4. Deep fry fish until crispy and cooked through.
  5. Make spicy Tartar Sauce.
  6. Assemble sandwiches. Enjoy!

PRO Tips for Deep Frying:

Deep frying makes for a much crispier, crunchier texture!

Set up a deep frying station to make it easy and safe at home:

  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven. The ideal material for deep frying, it’s great for keeping a constant and steady oil temperature. The high walls of a Cast Iron Dutch Oven also prevents oil splatter (vs a cast iron skillet).
  • Candy Thermometer. I clip a candy thermometer to the side of the Dutch Oven. Thermometers are very helpful for determining oil temperature, which tends to fluctuate. Frying at the right temperature ensures crispy, non-greasy fried food. You won’t regret purchasing this $10 cooking tool!
  • Cooling Rack + Sheet Pan. After fish is deep fried, transfer to a cooling rack arranged over a sheet pan. The air will circulate under and around the fish, keeping everything crispy and crunchy.
  • Stainless Steel Strainer. The ideal tool for removing fried food from hot oil. Tongs also work but sometimes the breading can slip off when grabbed too forcefully.
  • Oil. Use a neutral flavored oil with a high smoke point. I recommend grapeseed oil, vegetable/canola oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil. Add enough oil (about 1-2 inches) so the fish floats while frying.

Additional Tips:

  • Double up fish filets for big eaters. Sometimes, one fish filet is not enough. For big eaters, feel free to double the fish filets, as pictured.
  • Leftover fish can be reheated in an Air Fryer (380F for 5 minutes) or in a 400F oven until crispy!
  • Assemble Fried Fish Sandwiches right before serving. Everything can be prepped ahead of time. But it’s best to assemble right before serving to prevent any king of soggyness.


Why Potato Starch?

For dredging, I prefer Potato Starch over regular flour. It produces the crispiest, crunchiest coating ever.

Science tells us why: Potato Starch contains a high amylose content. When dropped into hot oil, potato starch molecules lock into place and create that brittle, crunchy, crispy texture!

Look for Potato Starch at your local Asian grocer. Corn Starch is an acceptable substitute. If you don’t have either, regular flour also works but it won’t be as crispy.

What can I serve with Panko Fried Fish Sandwiches?

There are so many options to serve alongside these crispy Fried Fish Sandwiches! Easy sides include potato chip, frozen french fries, fruit platter, or vegetable crudites and dip.

Or, serve with:

Other recipes you may enjoy:

two hands holding fried fish sandwich

Crispy Fried Fish Sandwich with Panko

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
The crispiest, crunchiest Fried Fish Sandwich! With Spicy Tartar Sauce! YUM!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • Cooling rack
  • sheet pan


For Dredging:

  • 4 white fish filets (any kind works but tilapia is pictured)
  • 4 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (1 Tbsp for each fish filet)
  • 2 eggs (large), beaten well
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (plus a little bit more for the last fish filet)

For Serving:

  • 1 1/2 cups green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 4 buns
  • 4 Tbsp softened (room temperature) butter

Spicy Tartar Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayo (I use Kewpie)
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 tsp sriracha (or more, if you like things spicier)


  • Make spicy tartar sauce: place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a spoon. Set aside.
    ingredients for spicy tartar sauce in bowl
  • Finely shred cabbage. Set aside.
    finely shredded cabbage
  • Sprinkle Cajun seasoning over the fish filets, making sure to coat both sides. Rub about 1 Tbsp per fish filet.
    tilapia coated with cajun seasoning
  • Set up dredging station: one bowl for potato starch, one bowl for beaten eggs, one bowl for panko bread crumbs. Coat seasoned fish with potato starch, then dip into egg wash, and finally coat with panko bread crumbs. Press the panko into the fish. Set aside on a separate plate as you finish.
    fish filet coated in egg wash
  • In a cast iron Dutch oven, attach a candy thermometer and 1-2 inches of oil. (I use grapeseed oil but peanut, vegetable, or canola oil all work well). Heat on medium heat and wait for thermometer to reach 350F.
    cast iron dutch oven with candy thermometer attached
  • When the thermometer reaches 350F, carefully add fish filets. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan. Deep fry in batches until crispy and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes for each fish filet. Transfer to a cooling rack arranged over a sheet pan, to keep the fish crispy.
    deep fried fish
  • Meanwhile, butter and toast the buns. (I use a cast iron grill pan. While the fish cooks, I spread a thin layer of softened butter on the inside of the buns. Then I toast on the grill pan, turning to toast evenly).
  • Assemble the sandwiches. Add spicy tartar sauce to the bottom bun. Add fried fish, then a handful of shredded cabbage. Dollop more spicy tartar sauce to the top bun and place on top. Repeat for all sandwiches. Enjoy immediately!
    deep fried fish sandwich


*Feel fee to double the fish filets for big eaters.  
**If you don’t have Cajun seasoning, a less spicy substitute is salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.  Sprinkle paprika to coat fish, about 1 tsp per fish filet.  
***Leftover fish can be reheated in an Air Fryer (380F for 5 minutes) or in a 400F oven until crispy! 
Keyword Fried Fish, Sandwich
30 minutes, All Recipes, Dinner with Friends, Main, Weeknight Meals

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