4 Amazing Paddlefish Recipes

Last Updated: 10.08.20

The American Paddlefish, native to the Mississippi River basin, is a type of basal ray-finned fish considered to be primitive. Although it is not widespread, having been endangered at times, it is now regaining numbers. There are some ways of cooking it, even though it is not so easily found.

If you’re enthusiastic about fishing in general and you want to know more on this subject, you might enjoy other articles we’ve also published such as the ones on good spinning rod and reel combos or reliable surf casting rod and reel combos.

Paddlefish Recipes


Grilled Paddlefish

There are two great options for grilling this type of fish. It can be done directly on the grates or in a particular foil package. Both ways yield delicious results and are healthier than merely frying the flesh in a pan.

A homemade whiskey barbecue sauce can be used as a marinade for the fish fillets. After preparing it, cut the fillets into strips and drop them in the marinade. Allow them a night to rest in it, protecting them from going rancid by leaving the fish in a refrigerator.

In the morning, take it out of the sauce and wrap, if you think you will like the taste, with a strip of bacon. It usually turns out tastier than expected, but if you are not sure about this, you can skip this part.

Pin the strips and bacon with a toothpick (not necessary when cooking the plain fish). You can either thread them on a skewer or directly place them on an oiled and preheated grate. Serve with grilled tomatoes or other vegetables.

There is another famous way of grilling paddlefish. It is a little bit different, even though the principle is similar. Cut large squares of aluminum foil and place each fillet in the center of one square.

In a separate pan, melt some butter and pour it over the fillets. Season to your liking with lemon and pepper, and add some salt if you think it is needed. Wrap the paddlefish with the foil, sealing it carefully and making sure that no open spaces are left.

Grill for 15 to 20 minutes at most and serve with lemon wedges. A mixture of oil, butter, garlic, and seasonings can be used to marinate the fish before grilling it if you fancy some more exquisite and exciting tastes.


Fried Paddlefish

A much more relaxed and faster way of preparing a paddlefish meal is to fry it. Like most types of fish, it is not too pretentious and can be immediately cooked in a pan, over medium-high heat, and served straight away with chips or fries or lemon wedges.

Prepare egg wash in a separate bowl by beating two eggs and mixing them with some milk. In another dish, add breadcrumbs and cornmeal together, to obtain a crispy crust which will give the fish a better taste. Dip the fillets in the wash then dredge them through the second bowl until they are completely covered.

Carefully lay them into a preheated frying pan; make sure that, before this, the oil is boiling – check by throwing breadcrumbs in it and see if they sizzle. When the sides both turn brown, the fillets are usually done and are ready for removal.

Place them in a towel lined with paper towels, to drain the excess oil, and serve with chips, lemon or baked potatoes. Coleslaw can also accompany this tasty dish.

Smoked Paddlefish Recipe

A fancier and more time and resource consuming recipe, the smoked spoonbill is delicious, healthy and also quite exquisite, being suitable for events or more elaborate dinners. It takes a lot of time to prepare and cook, but the results are appreciated by many gastronomy enthusiasts.

The brine is not too complicated. It requires two gallons of water, 2 cups kosher salt and a half cup of brown sugar. Mix the ingredients until you obtain a homogeneous substance and allow at least 36 hours of brining time for the fish fillets. After removing them from the solution, dry on a separate rack in the refrigerator overnight.

You can use either apple tree wood or cherry chips for the smoke. Smoking takes a lot of time – about 4 and a half hours are required, at a temperature of 175 to 200 degrees, to obtain proper results. If you want to smoke large fillets, you have to prepare to wait longer.



A less known but still delicious way of cooking paddlefish, Jambalaya is a tasty and healthy dish full of flavors, whose taste is rich..

Start preparing it by stir-frying a green and red pepper in about a quarter cup of water over high heat. Add garlic, onions, and ginger and mix everything.

Add chopped parsley, 16 oz. skinless stewed tomatoes and 2 pounds fresh paddlefish in the same pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, while still stirring it. Reduce heat once it starts bubbling, cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes or more until the fish is done.

Put some cooked rice in the plates, and, after you remove the fillets, put them on the bedding to soak up the juice. Serve warm, garnishing with fresh chilies.



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