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This New England Fish Fry is so good, it rivals some of the best seafood restaurants on Cape Cod!

Cape Cod fish fry


Jack and I live just north of Cape Cod, Massachusetts – and over the years, we’ve eaten at many of the local seafood restaurants and clam shacks in the area. Most of the time, Jack orders the clam plate (whole bellies of course!) while I order the New England Fish Fry.

A typical New England Fish fry is most often haddock or cod that has been dipped in a light breading before it is fried.  The coating is more delicate than the one we used in this fish & chips recipe – and it really allows the tender flavor of the fresh fish shine through.

This New England Fish Fry is so good, it rivals some of the best seafood restaurants on Cape Cod! Crispy, light and tender.


Over the years, Jack and I have tried to recreate the perfect New England Fish Fry coating at home – using flour, egg wash and bread crumbs. But I have to admit, we haven’t come close at all – until today!

I recently spotted a fish fry recipe in Coastal Living magazine – showed it to Jack – and we immediately wanted to try it. The recipes uses Wondra flour, large amounts of corn starch, as well as baking powder in the dry mix (plus seasonings), and eggs and water in the wet mix.

fried fish with coleslaw

Now – I could tell that Jack was ready to dismiss this recipe (and he will admit to that too), because it was very different than any other fish fry recipe we’ve tried making before. But that fish fry recipe was excellent! The haddock fried up light and crispy on the outside, and the inside was super moist and flaky. (Just like the New England Fish Fry at our favorite local seafood restaurant!)

In our recipe below, we did make some adjustments to the original recipe – scaling back on the salt, as well as the overall amount of breading. (It was just too much.)


battered fried haddock

The original recipe also included a homemade tartar sauce with pickles, mustard, lots of fresh dill, and lemon. It was delicious too – and a nice alternative to this homemade tartar sauce recipe we typically make. Serve with our homemade coleslaw, fries, fresh lemon, and malt vinegar.

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New England Fish Fry - A Family Feast

New England Fish Fry

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


1 cup Wondra flour or other fine flour

1 cup corn starch

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 ½ teaspoons white pepper

3 whole eggs

¼ cup water

3 pounds white fish such as haddock, cod, etc. cut into 46 ounce pieces

Vegetable oil for frying

Tartar sauce

¾ cup mayonnaise

½ cup any mixed pickle mix or pickled vegetable, drained and minced

1 tablespoon fresh dill minced

1 tablespoon coarse mustard

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Pinch cayenne powder

Lemons, for garnish

Malt vinegar, for serving


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, corn starch, baking powder, salt and pepper with a whisk.

In a second medium bowl, mix eggs with the water also with a whisk.

Dip each piece of fish in the egg mixture then the flour mixture and lay out on a tray. Do not discard flour mixture yet.

Heat a large cast iron skillet filled about half way with vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees F.

Once the oil is hot, dip each piece of fish in the flour mixture a second time, shake excess and gently lay three pieces in the hot oil. Fry for about four minutes until golden. They may float which will require you to turn them half way through cooking so each side gets crispy. Do this carefully with two spatulas. Thicker pieces will cook longer than thinner tail pieces.

Remove to a paper towel then onto a clean sheet tray lined with parchment and place in the oven while you cook the remaining fish. Keep cooking three pieces at a time adding to the pan in the oven.

To make the tartar sauce, mix all tartar sauce ingredients and serve alongside the fish. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve with coleslaw and malt vinegar.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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This New England Fish Fry is so good, it rivals some of the best seafood restaurants on Cape Cod! Crispy, light and tender.

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  • Pat OConnor wrote:

    Hi Martha

    Thank you for your generosity with sharing this recipe. I grew up in the NE and grew up on fried haddock. The forty years afterward took me to the south as well as Australia and other countries below the equator. I still miss my fried haddock and steamed clams. Please send me a “bulletproof recipe on how to deep fry haddock “”!


    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome POCO – hope this recipe helped recreate the haddock you’ve been missing!

  • Melissa Kniskern wrote:

    What a great recipe. I didn’t have wonder flour so I used ap flour . I also added about a table spoon of dry mustard

    All my dinner guests and myself are from sea towns in Massachusetts and we know our seafood

    Thank you

    • Martha wrote:

      Great idea Melissa! So glad you all approved! 🙂

  • Debra Barnard wrote:

    I have never seen corn starch in a batter recipe before. What does it do?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Debra – Similar to flour, it acts as a binding agent and it also help create a lighter, crispier cooked texture to the batter.

  • Jean wrote:

    I was brought up on the seacoast in NH, and when I was very young, every Friday evening, my Dad, my sister, and I would pick up my mom from work at the bank and head over to a takeout fish shack across the border in Maine. This cantankerous little Italian man, who owned the joint, was infamous for his fried haddock dinners and pepper steaks. That man went to the grave with his recipe, and our whole family and extended family has been trying to recreate that fried haddock for 50 years! Well doggone it, this is THE recipe or pretty darn close–it even looked like his masterpiece. I remember him dredging the fish in the flour just before sliding it in the oil, so he must have been double dipping. I cannot thank you enough for sharing. The only thing I did differently was sprinkle it with kosher salt as soon as it came out of oil. I remember it was a bit crispy and the tiniest bit salty–moist and flaky. Perfection! Thanks again!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Jean! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful, vivid memory with us – and I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Debi wrote:

    Thank you!
    This sounds amazing! I am always on the lookout for fresh fish recipes, and this sounds simple and tasty – I’ve never used Wondra before but I’ll give it a try. We add a little onion to our tartar sauce similar to a restaurant up here on the North Shore. The Cape has some fabulous fish restaurants, but the North Shore has some that are just as good IMHO.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the recipe Debi! I lived on the North Shore (Marblehead and Danvers) for years before I met my husband Jack. And Jack lived in Magnolia for a time too, long before we met. We both agree – there are lots of fantastic, equally as good seafood restaurants up North too! 🙂

  • Carol Bell McMillion wrote:

    Just looking at it made me drool all over myself. Will have to make it to be more truthful. Am really looking forward to making as soon as I get some wondra flour. I usta see it in grocery stores but have not for a good while! These 2 recipes are right up my alley and I thank you so very much!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Carol! We hope you enjoy the recipes!

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