Whitebait recipes

Whitebait are tiny, immature, silvery members of the herring group that are typically deep-fried to serve. They are widely thought to be baby herring and are usually sold frozen.

Recipes using whitebait

Main course

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Buyer's guide

As they are frozen produce, whitebait are available all year. There are concerns about the sustainability of whitebait because they are harvested in large quantities, which puts pressure on stocks. If you have concerns, ask your fishmonger for advice.


Whitebait are best eaten fresh, but can be frozen.


Whitebait require little preparation. Toss them in well-seasoned flour (for devilled whitebait, small quantities of dried English mustard and cayenne pepper can be added to the flour), then shallow-fry in a few centimetres of hot oil until crisp and golden-brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with lemon wedges and brown bread and butter.

Article by CJ Jackson

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