Fried Sardines From Yanni – Don’t Knock It Till You Try It

Fishermen often ask me for an easy fish recipe. It doesn’t take me long to respond: Are you brave enough to try fried sardines? Then I watch for the shock on their faces, followed by words that come out of their mouths, “baitfish?” Yes, baitfish. And here’s the deal, they’re tasty especially with a little salt, lemon, and a cold beer.

Billions of people all over the world love this easy fish recipe. Fried sardines are not only super tasty but they also provide countless nutrients that our bodies need. They’re packed with proteins, collagen, vitamins, like omega 3s and 6s, plus minerals, like calcium and magnesium. It’s like taking a fistful of vitamin supplements all at one time.

If you bring home fresh sardines after a day of fishing, gut, and gill them right away. You can freeze them or place them in paper towels in the refrigerator for a couple of days before you cook them. Gutting and gilling them right way prevents any bacterial growth, especially in their gut cavity, which can lead to food poisoning. For more information on fish and food poisoning, check out my video called Understanding Parasites, Bacteria And Your Fish.

Easy Fish Recipe, Fried Sardines

Serves 2-4

  • 2 Pounds of sardines, headless, scaled, gutted and gilled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Cold beer
  • 3-5 Tbsp. of grape seed oil (frying oil)
  • 1 Lemon, half to be squeezed on the fish, half wedged


  1. Place the oil into a frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat until the oil begins to shimmer.
  2. While the oil is heating up, place the flour into a bag and add a healthy pinch of salt and black pepper. Now add the sardines and start shaking for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Fry up 10-12 sardines at a time, turning them as soon as they turn golden brown. Remove and add to a platter that is lined with a paper towel.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and then squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the sardines.
  5. Serve with a couple of additional lemon wedges and a cold beer. Enjoy!!

Fisherman's Belly

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Fisherman's Belly is the brainchild of Yanni Hassir, a SoCal waterman whose passion extends from the ocean to his kitchen. offers a growing list of seasonal SoCal sport fish recipes. There are tips and tricks for cooking yellowtail, rockfish, white seabass, halibut, lobster, tuna...