Pan-Fried Trout Recipe - Perfect Fried Trout Recipe

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This is my husband's, Don Stradley, recipe for freshly caught Rainbow Trout. Very easy and a very simple recipe - but very good! My husband went on a fishing trip with his sons over Father's Day weekend and caught these beautiful Rainbow Trout. I always leave the cooking to him and his boys when he brings home fresh-caught trout.

Fresh-caught trout often taste best when lightly fried in butter. Rainbow trout are traditionally cooked and served with the skin on for added flavor. This has to be the easiest and quickest way to cook a trout.

Perfect Pan Fried Trout

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Pan-Fried Trout Recipe:

Recipe Type: Trout, Fish
Yields: 2 servings
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min


1 or 2 whole (1-pound) Trout, cleaned (head can be on or off), gills removed
2 ounces butter*
1 plate of all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to season the flour

* As they say, "everything tastes better with butter!"


My husband cleaned the trout just after he caught them by gutting them, cutting off the gills, and most importantly, scraping off the blood line off the backbone. I also want the head cut off!

How To Clean Fresh-Caught Trout:

Cleaned Trout

First you need to cut the head off just before the Pectoral fin (this fin can be nipped off or left on). This is an optional step, as some people want the head left on when cooking.

Hold fish with belly facing up. Using your fillet knife, cut from the anal hole forward towards where the head was or still is.

After pulling out the entrails, take an old tooth brush and clean the blood vein that runs along the spine. If that is not cleaned out it, will effect the taste.

Rinse the trout thoroughly (inside and out) and prepare to cook as you wish.

NOTE: If you like to eat the fish skin, make sure you remove all the fish scales before cooking. With the trout held firmly by the tail, scrape very firmly from the tail to the gills several times on both sides with a sharp knife. I, personally, like to have my trout scaled before cooking.

When ready to cook, rinse the cleaned fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Drying will prevent the fish from steaming when you cook it. Cut a few diagonal slashes along each side of the fish.

Roll the cleaned trout in flour seasoned with salt and pepper until covered.

flouring trout

flouring trout

Heat the butter in a frying pan until bubbling and then fry the trout for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. To test for doneness when cooking the trout, insert a fork at the thickest point of the fish. Perfectly cooked fish is nearly opaque, should be very moist, and will flake easily with a fork. Fish that looks slightly dry is overcooked. Undercooked fish will look translucent and raw. If you have a digital meat thermometer, the internal temperature in the center of the fillet should reach 140ºF.

This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.

frying trout

frying trout
This trout was too big for any of my frying pans, so we cooked it on my cast-iron griddle.

Serve with a slice of lemon for a slightly fresher, livelier taste.

Makes 2 servings.


Comments from Readers:

Hi! Thank you for your Pan-Fried Trout recipe/guidance.  I normally fillet some sea bass but the market had ran out so I ended up with trout and your recipe.  That was awesome! Thanks from the UK. - Regards Simon Wheeler (Leicester) (2/28/16)

Used your Pan Fried Whole Rainbow Trout recipe last night and my husband said "Who could ask for anything better?"... and he is very picky about his food. - Ellen Giles Wheeler (6/21/15)

I tried your easy trout recipe, which also covered scaling and the preparation instructions. Voila - a hit!  My dad and I so enjoyed the meal - using butter for frying adds a different - better tastes.  We awoke to fond memories of a meal well-enjoyed meal. - Sheryl (3/13/11)


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