Healthier fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce

Make-at-home version of a favourite take-out treat!

I adore fish and chips and it’s one of the things I love to eat whenever I’m visiting family in the Maritimes. One of my favourite spots of all time is the South Shore Fish Shack in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which serves up delicious food in a great setting with magnificent views of Lunenburg’s historic harbour and shipyards. Perhaps I’m feeling a tad homesick, because I decided it was time to come up with a healthier, make-at-home version of fish and chips – one that doesn’t require a deep fryer. I’ve learned through experimentation that you can get things to crisp up nicely with very little oil, and that technique worked well for the fish in this recipe. I recommend haddock because it holds together well when cooking, but you can certainly use your favourite white fish (basa, sole, tilapia, etc.), reducing the cooking time slightly for thinner fillets. For the chips, behold my perfect oven-baked French fries recipe! The tartar sauce is the crowning touch. For a wine pairing, I recommend a rich, buttery chardonnay like La Crema’s Sonoma Coast 2014 Chardonnay which has bright, lemony notes that perfectly complement the flavours of this meal.


For the tartar sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) capers, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) gherkins or cornichons, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) grainy or Dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt and pepper

For the fish:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) fresh or frozen haddock fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL)salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) 10% cream or milk
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons (30 – 45 mL) vegetable oil, for frying
  • lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  • Make tartar sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • If fish is frozen, thaw fillets before cooking.
  • Pat fillets dry with paper towel then season with salt and pepper. Put flour in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, whisk egg with cream or milk.
  • In a large, heavy duty skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  • Using tongs or your fingers, dip fillets into flour, gently shaking off excess; dip into egg mixture, letting excess drip off.
  • Fry until golden and crisp on both sides and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, about four minutes per side for 3/4 inch thick haddock fillets.
  • Garnish fish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Serves 2 – 3.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

7 thoughts

    1. Absolutely! Prepare the fish as directed in the recipe and drizzle about a half a teaspoon of oil on both sides of each piece of fish then put it in the air fryer set to 400F for about 10 minutes. If you’re going to get big into air frying I would highly recommend investing in an oil sprayer – they have them at most grocery stores and it’s the perfect way to evenly distribute a very small amount of oil over something before it goes in the air fryer. Without the oil things come out dry and lacking in flavor, in my experience.

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