A fish fry is an American tradition that dates back to the early 1800s. It’s a social dinner that focuses on fried fish, as its name indicates. Traditionally, fish is battered or breaded, deep fried, and served with a side such as French fries. By frying up your favorite white fish, you can make an unforgettable meal for both friends and family alike. However, knowing how many pounds of fish per person you need before frying up can be tricky if you’ve never done it before.
So how do you determine how many pounds of fish per person for a fish fry? Here’s how to figure out how much fish you need for your next fish fry!
Calculating What You Need for the Fish Fry
You’ve decided to host a fish fry, and are making sure to include all the traditional fish fry ingredients: fries, hush puppies, coleslaw, and of course fried fish! If you’re planning on serving fried catfish, perch, or walleye, how many pounds of fish should you fry per person? Don’t assume that everyone will eat the same amount of food.
The first thing you need to know is how many people are going to be at your fish fry. Most fish fries are informal, so they aren’t ticketed or formalized in any way, but it’s still helpful to know. If you’re expecting 30 guests, use a calculator to figure out exactly how much food and drink you need.
For example, if each person eats 1⁄2 pound of fried fish with two slices of bread on it and a small side salad, that means you need 50 pounds of fish.
If each person also drinks one beer (12 oz.) with his or her meal and there will be five people manning your bar during dinner service – that means you need 60 bottles of beer. This is a good time to make sure you have enough ice and storage space for all those items, too!
Finally, make sure you have everything else you need – plates, utensils, serving trays – before your party begins. One easy trick is to stock up on disposable plates and utensils when they go on sale after holidays like Easter or Memorial Day. Use them once and throw them away!
What Type of Fish Should You Buy?
Choose mild white fish (cod, haddock, halibut) and/or flaky white fish (flounder, sole). These types will hold together when fried. When buying whole fish, you want to pick ones that are between 2 to 5 pounds each.
Fillets are also fine if you’re looking to save time preparing your meals – just make sure you have enough fillets so that everyone has at least two pieces. If you are going for salmon, make sure to first determine how much salmon fillet per person that will suffice.
Plus keep in mind that most restaurants or grocery stores usually sell only 10-12 pieces per pound. So, depending on how many people will be attending your fish fry party you might want to buy either three 5-pound fish or four 2-pounders. The last thing you want is for everyone to go home hungry!
How Much Seafood Per Person?
Looking to fry fish but not sure how many pounds of fish per person for a fish fry? Don’t proceed before you know how much you need in total.
Keep in mind that some people will be eating less fried fish than others (kids, anyone?) and that not everyone will eat an equal amount. More importantly, you need to decide how much fish you need to make on behalf of all your guests.
How Much Fish Do You Need for the Fish Fry?
When buying fish for the fish fry, the first thing to consider is the fish yield. By fish yield, we mean how much weight the fish will lose after being cooked. Basically, frying or cooking raw fish results in a weight reduction of around 24% on average.
That means an 8oz fillet of fish will provide a pan-fried fillet that weighs around 6oz once it’s cooked. You can then calculate how much fish to buy and determine how much fried fish per person you’ll get.
The type of fish you buy will also dictate how many pounds of fish per person for a fish that you’ll need. For example, if you are making catfish, your recipe will determine how much catfish per person you can serve.
How Many Pounds of Fish Per Person for a Fish Fry Gathering?
The answer to this question depends on the number of people in the gathering. For example, in a gathering of 6 people, each guest should ideally have 6 ounces of fish.
A 25 percent increase, or around 8 ounces of fish per person, is acceptable if pan-fried fish is the only highlight of your meal.
Keep in mind that fish fillets shrink around 25% when fried, so 8-10oz of fish per person is the ideal amount. That will ensure that you have enough cooked fish on hand.
You can buy six little fillets or three medium fillets or two big ones that can be divided into six serving-size portions if you’re cooking for six people at once.
One-fourth or one-third pound portions may be hard to envision for most people, but they can figure out how many pieces will be required for a specific number of individuals. You can cut back on how much you buy and plan for every person to eat only one serving.
Hopefully, you now have an idea of how many pounds of fish per person for a fish fry.
With all these variables, how do you figure out how much fish to fry at your event? We recommend doing some guesswork based on numbers from past events and adjusting accordingly.
If you want everyone to eat about two ounces of fish per person, buy 1/2 pound per person. If you want everyone to eat about 3 ounces, buy 1 pound per person.
We’ve found that 6-8 ounces are sufficient for most people at an event with five or more food courses. But again, use common sense and adjust up or down based on what’s normal at previous events.
Whatever you decide, make sure that you get more than one pound of fish. You don’t want guests waiting in line while they run out!