How To Make Caribbean Fried (Sautéed) Salt Fish

Fried salt fish

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Overnight soaking & boiling: 10 hrs 20 mins
Total: 10 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
202 Calories
16g Fat
7g Carbs
9g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 202
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 28mg 9%
Sodium 37mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 9g
Calcium 58mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There are many ways in which salt fish is prepared in the Caribbean, but the most popular way is fried. We say fried but what we really mean is sautéed with thyme, lots of onions, garlic, tomatoes, and hot pepper.

The fish needs to have the excess salt removed, and during this process, it will also rehydrate. There are a couple of methods you can use—from soaking overnight to a quick method that takes one hour. Not all fish are the same so keep that in mind when desalting salt fish

When cooked this way, the salt fish can be eaten with rice, roti, or ground provisions. It is most popularly eaten with bakes (a fried dough).


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 cup onions (sliced)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves removed)
  • 1 large clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (diced)
  • Hot pepper (minced, to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 8-ounces desalted salt fish (broken into small pieces or shredded)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Caribbean fried salt fish ingredients
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  2. Add oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium heat.

    heat the pan
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  3. Add onions and sauté until translucent.

    saute onions
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  4. Add thyme and cook for 1 minute.

    add thyme
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  5. Add garlic, tomatoes, hot pepper, and salt to taste and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.

    add tomatoes and other ingredients
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  6. Add shredded salt fish, tossing to mix, and reduce heat to low and let cook for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing every 2 to 3 minutes.

    add fish and cook
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  7. Fold in green onions 1 minute before the dish is finished. Remove from heat and serve hot or at room temperature.