How to make the perfect fried bacalao

Bacalao is a fish that is found in the diet of many people and, in fact, has been consumed for centuries. However to make fried bacalao it is necessary to use desalted bacalao, a process that will take up to two days. Read the tips below on how to prepare this delicious dish!

Why eat bacalao?

Bacalao is not only characterised by its unique flavour, but also by being very healthy. In a 100-gram serving you will find up to 18 grams of protein and only 82 calories, ideal for people who want to look after their physique! Bacalao is also rich in vitamins A and C, as well as B vitamins. Moreover, it contains minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

It is a very versatile fish that, for many years, has been destined to be consumed exclusively at Christmas and New Year's Eve. Yet it is a food that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. The best thing about it? It can be cooked easily! 

How to prepare fried bacalao 


  • Half a kilo of desalted bacalao fillets.
  • 250 grams of flour.
  • A teaspoon of lime or lemon zest.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.


  • You can use frozen fish for this fried bacalao recipe. However, in this case, you will have to defrost it the night before preparing the fish. Importantly, the process of defrosting the fish must be done following the cold chain, i.e. in the refrigerator. Never use the microwave, as the ends of the bacalao may cook excessively.
  • You can also defrost it in hot water, but use an airtight bag. The fish should be placed inside the bag, closed. Place the bag with the fish in a pan of hot water at 40 °C for half an hour.
  • If the bacalao you have bought is salted, then you will need to do the desalting process. To achieve this, you will need to soak the fish for 24 to 48 hours, changing the water every eight hours. If you want to speed up this process, then use milk instead of water. You will only need to leave the bacalao to rest, covered in milk, for two hours. 
  • Once you have done all the preparations, it's time to begin the recipe. First of all, drain the fillets well and remove the excess water with kitchen paper. 
  • Place the flour (especially for frying) and the lemon zest on a plate. It is important that the flour is suitable for batter and frying, as the consistency will be noticeably better.
  • Heat enough olive oil in a frying pan. Be sure to pour in sufficient oil, as the fillets should not stick to the pan.
  • Dredge the bacalao fillets in the mixture of flour and lemon zest, so that they soak well in the mixture. You can also add a little freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt to the flour. 
  • Once the oil is hot, add the fish.
  • Cook the bacalao fillets for two to three minutes on each side. The time all depends on the thickness of each fillet.
  • Remove the fillets and place on a plate. Don't forget to put kitchen paper on the plate so that it absorbs the fat from the fried bacalao .

Italian-style fried bacalao bites

A great alternative to the traditional fried bacalao is fried bacalao bites. This is an 100% Italian recipe that will delight your guests. 


  • Four slices of bacalao.
  • 100 grams of flour.
  • A glass of cold water.
  • A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Coarse salt.
  • Sunflower oil for frying.


  • The first thing to do is to defrost (if necessary) and clean the fish. Once this is done, it is time to prepare the batter.
  • For the batter you need to place flour in a bowl and sieve it.
  • Add a glass of very cold water, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
  • Stir well to bind the ingredients together - no lumps required! It is best to use a special whisk, but if you don't have one, a fork will do.
  • Place the batter in the fridge for an hour. This way, all the ingredients will settle.
  • Cut the bacalao slices into cubes. Note that you will need to remove the skin and bones. Each cube should be about five centimetres long.
  • Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper.
  • Remove the batter mixture from the fridge and dip the bacalao cubes in it.
  • Preheat a sufficiently large frying pan with sunflower oil. 
  • Add several bacalao cubes to the pan for frying.
  • When the surface is crispy and golden brown, the bacalao morsels are ready.
  • Remove and place on kitchen paper to absorb the fat. 
  • Season with a little salt before serving to guests.
  • In Italy this recipe is only served with lemon juice on top, but you can also offer mayonnaise.

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