30 Crave-Worthy Fried Food Recipes

Tempura Four Ways
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Prop Styling by Julia Bayless / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn

Be it a battered vegetable, a breadcrumbed cutlet, or a tender piece of dough, what doesn't benefit from a proper fry job? From basic French fries to delicate tempura, nothing quite pleases the palate like a plate of food made delightfully crisp from a brief dip in hot oil. This collection of our favorite fried food recipes includes elegant two-bite appetizers, crisp-gooey cheeses, and of course, classic fried chicken. Read on for these and more mouthwatering fried dishes to make whenever the mood strikes.

01 of 30

Katsu Curry (Japanese Curry with Tonkatsu Nuggets and Fried Egg)

Katsu Curry (Japanese Curry with Tonkatsu Nuggets and Fried Egg)
Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Japanese cooking expert Sonoko Sakai's curry recipe is an ode to two popular Japanese dishes: curry and katsu. The secret to getting the brittle, crispy skin on tonkatsu (Japanese crispy breaded pork cutlets) is to use panko breadcrumbs, which are much larger and coarser than Western-style breadcrumbs.

02 of 30

Doughnut Holes with Raspberry Jam

Doughnut Holes with Raspberry Jam
© Con Poulos

Chef Ginevra Iverson used to serve her light, crisp, sugared doughnut holes at Restaurant Eloise in Sonoma County, California, with sweet-tart raspberry jam. She wouldn't send any imperfect doughnut holes into the dining room; misshapen ones, she said, became snacks for whichever member of the kitchen crew got to them first.

03 of 30

Fritto Misto with Calabrian Chile Aïoli

Fritto Misto with Calabrian Chile Aioli

Jose Mandojana / Food Styling by Robyn Valarik / Prop Styling by Christine Wolheim

A festive mix of shrimp, calamari, anchovy-stuffed olives, and paper-thin lemon slices are dredged in a Pernod-spiked batter and fried to crispy, golden perfection. Jarred Calabrian chiles add a fruity heat to the creamy aïoli dipping sauce. 

04 of 30

Hare Mutter Ki Samosas (Green Pea Samosas)

Green Pea Samosas (Hare Mutter Ki Samosa)
© Marcus Nilsson

Chef Sanjeev Chopra has advice for filling his delightful vegetarian samosas: "Mash the peas, but not too finely; you want little pieces, for texture." He makes his own buttery dough, but frozen empanada wrappers, widely available in supermarkets, are an excellent substitute.

05 of 30

Tempura Four Ways

Tempura Four Ways
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Prop Styling by Julia Bayless / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn

This assortment of tempura vegetables, shrimp, and uni served with tendashi and matcha salt from Top Chef contestant Shota Nakajima is an excellent snacking platter that can double as a meal. The tempura chocolate cookies — stuffed with cream accented with Wagyu fat and then fried — are an unexpected, sweet finish.

06 of 30

Thrice-Cooked Fries

Thrice-Cooked Fries
© Matthew Armendariz

This much-adored recipe from the now-shuttered Breslin in New York City starts with boiling the potatoes to make them tender. They're then double-fried for an incredible crispiness.

07 of 30

King Trumpet Schnitzel with Mixed Herb Pesto

King Trumpet Mushroom Schnitzel

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Kathleen Varner

Here, king trumpet mushrooms get the schnitzel treatment. Double-breading them creates a crispy crust that stays crunchy even as they cook and release moisture. Black pepper and turmeric add a savory, bitter flavor to complement the mushrooms' earthiness, while fragrant Meyer lemon juice and nutty pecorino cheese amp up the herb-packed pesto.

08 of 30

Crispy Fried Fish Tacos

Crispy Fried-Fish Tacos
© Con Poulos

Classically trained chef Tomas Lee was eager to bring the fusion taco trend to Atlanta with his restaurant Hankook. Here, he flavors panko-breaded fried fish tacos with hoisin mayonnaise.

09 of 30

Fried Boudin Balls with Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce

Fried Boudin Balls with Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce
Photo by Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

These Fried Boudin Balls boast pork, rice, liver, and seasonings that are shaped into balls and fried for a crispy exterior and a light, almost creamy interior. We use chicken livers instead of pork livers and panko breadcrumbs instead of crushed crackers, but swap in pork liver and crushed crackers if you prefer. 

10 of 30

Saganaki Halloumi (Cypriot Fried Halloumi)

Saganaki Halloumi (Cypriot Fried Halloumi)
Photo by Cedric Angeles / Prop Styling by Stephanie Bohn

Halloumi cheese is fried in clarified butter, then brushed in a spiced honey and served with lemon yogurt, brandy-basted nectarines, and fresh tomatoes in this sweet and savory appetizer from Christian Hernandez, chef de cuisine of March in Houston.

11 of 30

Fried Oysters with Remoulade

Fried Oysters with Remoulade Sauce
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

These crunchy fried oysters are an elegant, fun appetizer. They're served with a creamy remoulade made with mayonnaise, horseradish, capers, hot sauce, and Creole mustard — the perfect dipper for the crispy oysters. Even better, this recipe adjusts easily; for a smaller group, just cut it in half.

12 of 30

Grilled Tuna with Fried Manchego

Grilled Tuna with Fried Manchego
© Tina Rupp

Chef Jose Garces serves seared tuna alongside cheese croquettes, which are made from a mixture of béchamel, grated Manchego, and gelatin that's then rolled into balls, breaded, and deep-fried. For this easy version, we skip the croquettes and instead just bread and pan-fry small slices of Manchego cheese until crisp on the outside and oozing on the inside.

13 of 30

Kabocha Squash Fritters with Yuzu-Garlic Dipping Sauce

Kabocha Squash Fritters With Yuzu-Garlic Dipping Sauce
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Japanese korokke are the basis for these cheesy squash fritters, which can be made with freshly steamed kabocha squash or canned pumpkin puree. Serve them with a shortcut dipping sauce: a blend of fresh garlic, bright yuzu juice, and silky Kewpie mayo.

14 of 30

Fried Pickles with Spicy Mayonnaise

Fried Pickles with Spicy Mayonnaise
© Wendell T. Webber

Chef Zak Pelaccio grew up eating fried pickles in Brooklyn Heights, New York. He coats his extra-crisp version in panko and fries them in schmaltz (chicken fat), though vegetable oil works well, too.

15 of 30

Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

To make this juicy and delectably crisp chicken, chef Thomas Keller soaks it in a lemony brine, then coats and fries it. 

16 of 30

Fried Pork Tamales

Crispy Fried Tamales
© Raymond Hom

Chef Alex Stupak first steams his pork tamales, then dusts them with flour and fries them until they are golden, crispy, and incredible.

17 of 30

Farro Salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto

Farro Salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto
© Kana Okada

Cooks in Italy fry cauliflower to bring out its nuttiness. Here, chef Ethan Stowell deep-fries it for a salad with salty prosciutto and nubby farro, a variety of whole-grain wheat.

18 of 30

Diples (Fried Greek Pastry with Honey and Nuts)

Fried Greek Pastry with Honey and Nuts
© Martin Morrell

These ethereal Greek dessert pastries resemble thin, crispy cigars. Run the dough through a pasta rolling machine to achieve the texture you need. The honey syrup here is key, with orange zest, cinnamon, and lemon juice to keep the flavors light. 

19 of 30

Fried Green Tomato BLTs

Fried Green Tomato BLTs
Photo © Quentin Bacon

This is a brilliant marriage of two classics: fried cornmeal-dusted green tomatoes and a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.

20 of 30

Crisp Gnocchi "Tater Tots"

Crisp Gnocchi "Tater Tots"
© Peden + Munk

Impossibly delicious, this dish from Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio combines the best of both worlds: pasta and fried food.

21 of 30

Catfish Po'Boys with Pickle Remoulade

Catfish Po'Boys with Pickle Remoulade
© Antonis Achilleos

These mouthwatering fried fish sandwiches from San Francisco chef Jay Foster are made crispy with a combination breading of cornmeal, panko, and flour. They're slathered with a piquant sauce featuring sweet pickle relish, capers, shallot, and garlic.

22 of 30

Crispy Fried Tofu Sandwich

Crispy Fried Tofu Sandwich
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Freezing and thawing extra-firm tofu and then wringing out its moisture makes the slabs more porous and receptive to the tangy pickle juice marinade in this crave-worthy fried tofu sandwich. After a brief soak in pickle juice, the tofu is dredged in a spiced flour mixture, brushed with hot sauce and mustard, and then dredged again and fried to yield the crispy, crunchy slabs.

23 of 30

Fried Cheese Curds with Buttermilk Ranch Dipping Sauce

Fried Cheese Curds
Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

White cheddar cheese curds are battered and deep-fried until they're golden brown for an irresistible appetizer or snack. The batter includes white rice flour, which is the secret to extra-crispy frying. It's spiked with lager and gets a subtle zip from yellow mustard.

24 of 30

Perkedel Jagung (Indonesian Corn Fritters)

Perkedel Jagung
Louise Hagger

Chef Lara Lee's Perkedel Jagung are all about the sweet, tender corn. Packed with fresh or frozen kernels and layers of flavor from fresh ginger and shallots, fragrant Makrut lime leaves, and floral ground coriander and cumin, these fried treats are delicious served with a balancing spicy Tomato Sambal.

25 of 30

Crispy Onion Rings

Crispy Onion Rings
© Zubin Schroff

"There's nothing better than a simple tempura of a primo vegetable," states chef Peter Hoffman. For this sensational version, he coats thick onion rings in an ultralight batter and quickly fries them. Hoffman says any vegetable that slices nicely, like delicate squash, fennel, or zucchini, would be great here, as long as it "takes to the batter" — meaning the batter stays on.

26 of 30

Vada Pav (Potato Fritter Sandwich)

Vada Pav breakfast sandwich
Photo by Rachel Vanni / Food Styling by Judy Haubert

Vada pav, one of Mumbai's most popular street foods, is a potato fritter the size of a baseball stuffed into a flaky white bun, smeared with coconut and spicy green chile chutneys, and then squished until it's small enough to fit into your mouth.

27 of 30

Tori No Karaage (Chicken Karaage)

Chicken Karaage
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Karaage, named after its cooking method (frying), is traditionally made with small, boneless pieces of chicken, usually thigh meat. In this recipe, the chicken is marinated in fresh ginger, garlic, sake, and soy sauce to add flavor and juiciness. It's then dredged in flour and potato starch, and finally twice-fried to create a light and perfectly crisp coating.

28 of 30

Sausage-Stuffed Fried Olives

Sausage-Stuffed Fried Olives Recipe
Victor Protasio

Buttery, mild Castelvetrano olives add just enough salt and tang to these fried sausage snacks that pair beautifully with a crisp martini or chilled glass of wine. Use a high-quality Italian sausage for the best texture and flavor.

29 of 30

Golden Fried Rice with Asparagus and XO Sauce

Golden Fried Rice with Asparagus and XO Sauce
Yekaterina Boytsova

Stir-frying rice with egg yolks is a technique that hails from Chinese imperial cuisine, says chef Lucas Sin, and gives the dish a buttery richness and beautiful golden color. A generous amount of onions, garlic, scallions, and fresh ginger builds a foundation of flavor, while a spoonful of spicy seafood-infused XO sauce and plenty of freshly blanched asparagus make this fried rice even more delicious.

30 of 30

Scallop Fritters

Scallop Fritters
© James Baigrie

When chef Jimmy Bradley opened the Red Cat in 1999, he wanted to combine an Italian-American sensibility with his own New England upbringing. The Red Cat Cookbook highlights the inventive, uncomplicated, and always memorable recipes from Bradley's restaurant. These light, crisp fritters include bits of chopped scallops in a batter made with clam broth and pilsner — the perfect expression of Bradley's New England tastes.

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