Breaded Fried Anchovies Italian Recipe

Breaded fried anchovies Italian recipe, a crispy and greedy dish, made with cleaned fresh anchovies, battered by dipping them in beaten eggs then breaded with homemade breadcrumbs. Finally fried in plenty of vegetable oil until golden brown on each side.

This is a method very much like the one used for making Italian chicken cutlets.

When we think of anchovies we often think of salt-cured anchovy fillets packed in oil. In reality in Italy the anchovies are almost always fresh, cooked in a pan, baked or fried – as in this recipe – or used as one of the ingredients in many Italian fish recipes.

Anchovies are often confused with sardines but they are thinner, tapered and smaller. Compared to sardines, anchovies have a more intense flavor and darker reddish meat. Fried anchovies Italian recipe is excellent matched with fresh seasonal vegetables, maybe a tomato salad or pinzimonio.

fried anchovies italian

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Breaded Fried Anchovies Italian Recipe

  • Prep Time: 15 Min
  • Cook Time: 10 Min
  • Srvings: 4


  • 500 g (1.1 lb) of fresh anchovies
  • 200 g (7 oz) of breadcrumbs made with our recipe
  • 2 whole medium eggs
  • lemon juice to serve
  • fine salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 liter of vegetable oil for frying


Breaded fried anchovies is a very easy-to-make Italian recipe; the only difficult and boring step is cleaning and gutting the anchovies. If you have bought frozen anchovies, first let them defrost completely. So now we are going to show you how to clean fresh anchovies; you never know, maybe you are lucky and you can find them clean…but if not, here are the step by step instructions to clean them.

How to Clean Fresh Anchovies

fried anchovies italian step 1

Step 1) – On a cutting board place one anchovy at a time and with a sharp knife first slit open the belly and remove the entrails, then cut off the head and finally remove the spine. Detach the spine very gently up to the tail.

fried anchovies italian step 2

Step 2) – Rinse under running water then open them being careful not to break the anchovies and pat with kitchen paper to dry out the water. Set aside

How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs in 5 Minutes

homemade breadcrumbs step 3

Step 3) – Get a mix of stale bread, breadsticks, Italian taralli and toasted bread loafs (you can use 1 ingredient alone or all together, as you prefer) and chop everything in a food processor until you get a more or less fine mixture. Place in a plate and set aside.

How to Make Breaded Anchovies

fried anchovies italian step 4

Step 4) – Now make a batter beating the eggs with a pinch of fine salt and a little of ground black pepper to taste. Then dip the anchovies one at a time, being careful not to break them.

fried anchovies italian step 5

Step 5 ) – Take the battered anchovy and place it on the breadcrumbs. Cover the anchovy with breadcrumbs, pressing well with your hand, so that it sticks to it. Turn the anchovy and do the same to the other side.

How to Fry Breaded Anchovies

fried anchovies italian step 6

Step 6) – Heat up the vegetable oil in a large pan, we used a rather large non-stick frying pan , convenient because you can fry many anchovies at the same time. Check the temperature with a kitchen thermometer until it reaches 150°C (300 F) or check with a toothpick: when it starts to bubble means that the oil is ready for frying. Fry the anchovies for one to two minutes on each side until they become golden and crisp.

fried anchovies italian step 7

Step 7) – When the anchovies are crispy on both sides, remove from the pan and place them to drain on kitchen paper towels for two or three minutes, turning them on each side to remove the excess oil. Breaded fried anchovies Italian recipe is done! Serve hot with a few drops of lemon juice and fresh seasonal vegetables, salads or tomatoes.

Breaded Fried Anchovies Italian Recipe: Storage

Any fried food, if not consumed immediately after cooking, loses crunchiness and takes on a mushy consistency. This happens at room temperature but the same happens if we decide to freeze it and then defrost it or if we keep it in the refrigerator.

Fried food should be eaten immediately, any storage alters its flavor and quality

That said, you can keep fried anchovies in the refrigerator, in food containers, for 1/2 days.

It’s not recommended to freeze fried anchovies, but it’s possible to freeze them breaded but still raw. In this way you can fry them without having to defrost; you can keep them in the freezer for about 1 month.

How to Reheat Fried anchovies (and Make Them Crispy Again)

IN THE OVEN – It’s possible to reheat fried anchovies, although it is impossible to return them to being freshly cooked! These simple tips allow you to enjoy flavorful anchovies even two days after cooking but not more.

So heat the oven to 200°C (390F) then remove the anchovies from the refrigerator and from the container. Arrange them well apart on a plate until they reach room temperature.

When the oven has reached the temperature, place the anchovies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put the pan in the oven on the central shelf ; heat for about 5/10 minutes .

IN FRYING PAN – Another perfect way to reheat fried anchovies, restoring its delicious original texture, is to fry them again. Just like with the oven technique described above, you need to remove the leftovers from the refrigerator and place them on a plate before reheating them.

So get ready with the frying oil and bring it to temperature then go on frying all the anchovies for 2/3 minutes.

As already said, but it is very important to reiterate it, fried anchovies can be preserved and regenerated up to two days after frying. Unlike meat cutlets, chicken or veal, fish is much more delicate!

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