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Colombian Fried Whole Fish

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  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 4 whole small tilapias or mojarras, cleaned and scaled (you can also use red snapper)
  • 2 medium sized limes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • Oil for frying (vegetable, canola, corn)


  1. Rinse the fish and dry well with paper towels. With a sharp knife make 3-4 diagonal cuts on both sides of the fish.
  2. Squeeze the juice of ½ lime on each fish. Season with garlic and salt. Make sure the juice and the garlic and salt go inside the cuts you made, as well as inside the cavity. Let the fish rest for about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat about 1 inch (2.54 cm) of oil in a large pan over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until the temperature reaches 350ºF (180ºC).
  4. Dredge both sides of each fish with the flour, shake off the excess and add them to the hot oil. Pan fry for about 5-7 minutes per side or until golden brown. You may have to do this in batches. Drain over paper towels and serve immediately with Colombian coconut rice, patacones (fried green plantain chips) and a side salad.