How To Make Caribbean Fried (Sautéed) Salt Fish

Fried salt fish

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
266 Calories
8g Fat
10g Carbs
37g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 266
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 4134mg 180%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 30mg 149%
Calcium 131mg 10%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 1085mg 23%
*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 sliced onions

  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed

  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes

  • Hot pepper, minced, to taste

  • Kosher 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.