Over the past year we’ve battered, breaded, and fried a lot of fresh crappie.  But, these cajun crappie cakes elicited a high five of ultimate approval after taking one bite.  And in case you’re wondering…we don’t normally high five at dinner time over recipe accomplishments. Although, I could get used to that.

Anyways, the flavor of these crappie cakes were out of this world.

My hubby has become quite the crappie slayer at Caesar’s Creek.  He recently had the opportunity to take a guided trip on Grenada Lake in Mississippi and brought us home some huge slabs.  I’m hearing murmurs of a fall trip brewing already.

Perhaps the best kitchen appliance we bought over the years has been our vacuum sealer.  We bagged and sealed over 5lbs of crappie from his trip.  However, we’ll be using these big filets for our favorite battered and fried version!

So this recipe came from a youtube video my hubby found posted by Outdoor Life.  I changed it up ever so slightly with the  addition of some panko breadcrumbs and additional parsley.

You start out by boiling the crappie filets for 2 minutes then breaking them up slightly after they’ve cooled.  I’ve got the wet mixture ready to go as well as some finely chopped parsley. 

homemade crappie cakes

After tossing everything in the bowl it’s time to make the crappie cakes.  Crappie-patties is what my kids call them in honor of their beloved Spongebob from younger years.  (glad that’s behind us)

We weighed out roughly 1lb of fish and it yielded 7 thick patties.  They’re very filling!!  Both hubby and I managed to barely finish two.

crappie cajun cakes

At first I was worried they weren’t going to hold up when it was time to flip them, but they held up beautifully.  Since the fish is already cooked in the boiling step, it’s really just a matter of letting them get evenly browned on both sides and allow them to heat through.

fried crappie cakes

What I also love about this crappie cake recipe is the house didn’t have an overpowering smell of fish.  Look at how delicious these look…

fried crappie cakes

When it was time to serve them up, we just squeezed a little extra lemon overtop!  No tartar sauce needed.

I’m sure this recipe could be used with other white fish that doesn’t easily get tough from cooking.  Of course if you’re experienced with crab, this recipe would make great crab cakes too.


Grab a beer, give em’ a try and lemme know what you think!


Cajun Crappie Cakes


  • 1 lb crappie filets
  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1 TB dijon mustard (not the grainy kind)
  • 1.5 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup italian herb seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 TB finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Canola oil for frying


  1. In a small saucepan bring some water to a boil, enough to cover the fish. When water comes to a boil, add crappie filets and allow to cook for 2 minutes or until opaque.
  2. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and allow to drain and cool slightly.
  3. Once cooled gently chop into smaller pieces and set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl add mayo, dijon, Old Bay Seasoning, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, salt and egg. Stir to combine all ingredients then add chopped crappie filets. Gently toss to incorporate then add breadcrumbs and parsley. Stir until everything just comes together.
  5. Assemble crappie cakes and set aside.
  6. Heat enough oil a large skillet, to just cover the bottom, over medium-high heat.
  7. Add crappie cakes to preheated oil and cook about 2-3 minutes per side or until evenly browned.
  8. Serve with extra lemon for squeezing overtop!
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Fresh pan fried tender flaky white crappie filets out of Rocky Fork Lake, caught by none other than my amazing husband on jigs he tied himself.  Doesn’t get more awesome than that.

cajun pan fried crappie filets

When Vic came home from an all day boat trip with his friend Sean Stone, who writes for Kayak Fishing Alliance Blog, and said he had a cooler full of crappie, he wasn’t kidding.  Sean helped contribute to our total and I’m very grateful because they were delicious! We kept them on ice until ready to filet them.  No worries, no gross pictures to follow…

Rocky Fork Lake crappie fish

“I shall call him squishy and he will be mine, and he shall be my squishy”…a little circa 2003, Finding Nemo for all you that live under a rock.  Never gets old.

Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Crappie #1 of 20ish.crappie fish

The kids got a full lesson on how to properly filet the fish.  My kids personalities totally shine here…LJ is right up front and center while Grace has her phone camera ready for an interesting shot to share with friends.  I stayed happily behind the camera and let my man take charge in the kitchen for a change.
crappie filet

Once all the filets were ready, LJ helped rinsed them off and bag them up for the freezer.  If frozen in water they’ll stay fresh for up to a year.  We just needed a few weeks…

Before we could fry up our beautiful crappie filets I had to do a little shopping.  DARN.  To ensure we got the oil nice and perfectly hot I wanted to grab an oil thermometer.  It’s important to get the oil the right temp otherwise you risk soggy fish filets.  I never thought I’d say this, but we need a deep fryer to make the process faster and less messy next time!

crappie filets

Vic grabbed a box of cajun Shore Lunch from Field and Stream because honestly that man can’t walk into that store without grabbing something!  Much like me in a Home Goods.  Anyways…I wanted to make a homemade version for comparison that consisted of equal parts 1/2 cup cornmeal and flour, 1/2 tsp salt and paprika, and a few dashes of cayenne pepper.
cajun shore lunch

We set up our dredging station next to the stove with a paper towel lined platter nearby to drain the grease after removing the filets from the skillet.  Vic added the filets a few at a time to the egg wash then chose between each of the breading options.

See the 2 minutes left on the oven timer?  Our fries were almost done!  The fish cooks super fast so we didn’t start frying them up until the fries were ready to come out…
shore lunch cajun seasoning

When the oil was heated between 375-400 degrees we added a few filets at a time to the oil.  Allow them to fry for about 1 minute before flipping to the other side for another 30 seconds.

cast iron fried crappie filets

Look how beautiful those filets are!!  I never fry anything, but this was so darn wonderful it made me a convert.  At least for cajun crappie.
crappie fish filets

Carefully remove fish to a paper towel lined plate and give a little squeeze of lemon overtop.  Don’t forget some quality tartar sauce and french fries on the side!

The breading outcome was a complete tie! Vic and I thought the Cajun Shore Lunch breading was out of this world delicious.  It had a nice kick of spice but not too much.  Not crazy about the ingredient list, but after comparing it to my homemade version I think I could recreate it…more flour, less cornmeal and lots more paprika and cayenne!  The kids on the other hand preferred my homemade version which was great too.

fried crappie filets

Crappie can easily be substituted with another fresh white fish: perch and bluegill would be great.

Tender flaky fish, perfectly fried.  Well done babe.  You can stay in the kitchen…
fried crappie filets

While there’s not much of a recipe to share, we learned a few things about pan frying fish:
-A large bowl or ziploc bag would have been easier to dredge all the fish and toss them around
-The Shore Lunch recommended an oil temp of 350.  We fried ours closer to 400 which kept the outside perfectly crispy with tender flaky white meat inside.
-More seasoning the better!  I went rather conservative at 1/2-1 tsp of spices and I could have doubled it and included pepper as well (probably 1/4 tsp to start).  Although it was very tasty and the kids loved it, even the leftovers the following day reheated in a 425 degree oven for 8 minutes!
-More flour, less cornmeal creates a slightly fluffier batter.  Avoid clumps of batter on the fish before frying.
-Tongs do not make a good tool for removing delicate flaky fish…a slotted spoon worked much better!
-After running out of egg wash we switched to milk which worked just as well.  Next time we’ll try buttermilk that naturally coats better.
And last but not least…
-A better quality tartar sauce or homemade version.  The squeeze bottle brand I had wasn’t zippy enough.

All in all, it was a HUGE success and we want to go fishing now for more crappie.  By the way, it’s pronounced CROP-E, not crappie ;).