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mojarra frita

How to Make Mojarra Frita

Mojarra Frita is a popular dish in Mexican cuisine that features fried whole fish, often using fish like tilapia or sea bream.

Texture-wise, Mojarra Frita presents a contrast between the crispy exterior and the tender, flaky interior of the fish. The fish is typically cleaned, scaled, and sometimes scored before being deep-fried until the skin becomes golden and crispy while the flesh inside remains moist and delicate.

The fried fish is seasoned with salt and sometimes additional spices or herbs, enhancing its flavor. It’s often served with lime wedges for squeezing over the fish, providing a tangy element that complements the dish.

Mojarra Frita is commonly served whole or filleted, allowing diners to enjoy the crispy skin and tender flesh of the fish. It’s a popular dish in coastal regions of Mexico and is often accompanied by rice, beans, tortillas, or fresh salsa.

This dish is appreciated for its simplicity, showcasing the natural flavors and textures of the fish while offering a satisfying crispy exterior that contrasts with the soft, moist fish meat inside.

Key Takeaways

  • Who this meal appeals to: Seafood enthusiasts, those craving a crispy and flavorful dining experience, anyone seeking a taste of coastal Mexican cuisine.
  • Estimated duration: A quick and crispy creation ready in approximately 20 minutes.
  • Nutrition facts: A protein-rich dish with a golden and satisfying crunch.

About this Recipe

Mojarra Frita celebrates the crispiness of fried tilapia, a popular choice in coastal regions of Mexico. This recipe ensures that each bite is not only flavorful but also delightfully crunchy, making it a perfect dish for a seafood fiesta.

Equipment Required

  • Deep fryer or large skillet
  • Tongs or slotted spoon
  • Paper towels for draining


  • 4 whole tilapia, scaled and gutted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Lime wedges for serving


  1. Prepare the tilapia: Ensure the tilapia are scaled and gutted. Make diagonal cuts on both sides of each fish to allow even cooking.
  2. Season the flour: In a shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well to create a seasoned coating for the tilapia.
  3. Coat the tilapia: Dredge each tilapia in the seasoned flour mixture, ensuring an even and generous coating.
  4. Heat the oil: In a deep fryer or large skillet, heat enough vegetable oil to submerge the tilapia. Heat to 350°F (175°C).
  5. Fry the tilapia: Carefully place the coated tilapia in the hot oil, frying for about 6-8 minutes per side or until the fish turns golden brown and crispy.
  6. Drain and rest: Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the fried tilapia to a plate lined with paper towels. Allow them to rest for a few minutes to drain excess oil.
  7. Serve: Garnish with lime wedges and serve the Mojarra Frita hot and crispy.

Side Dishes

  • Cilantro lime rice
  • Mexican-style coleslaw
  • Salsa verde or pico de gallo

Storage Options

Mojarra Frita is best enjoyed fresh and crispy. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat in an oven to retain the crunch.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Tilapia: Substitute with other firm-fleshed fish like snapper or sea bass.
  • Seasonings: Customize the flour mixture with your preferred herbs and spices for a personalized flavor profile.

Alternatives to this Meal

Transform your Mojarra Frita into fish tacos or serve it on a bed of mixed greens for a light and crispy seafood salad.


Mojarra Frita brings the crispy and golden goodness of fried tilapia to your table, offering a taste of coastal Mexican cuisine. Whether shared with friends or enjoyed as a solo treat, this recipe promises a fiesta of flavors and textures. ¡Buen provecho!