How To Recipe : Mexican Sardinas Frescas Lambriadas (Lightly Battered & Fried Fresh Sardines)

Posted: Apr 22 2014

Mexican cooking is very diverse encompassing everything from Mole to fresh vegetables and great salads. Today I’m making a crowd favorite, Sardinas Lambriadas (Battered & Lightly Fried Sardines) which uses egg batter which is commonly used in Mexican cooking. This egg batter may be used as coating for other foods such as Chile Rellenos, or perhaps other vegetables (similar to Japanese tempura).  These sardines are battered, fried, and delicious.  It’s a delicious and simple recipe. In fact, it is my favorite way to prepare fresh sardines.

Next, I’ll show you how to butterfly fresh sardines, season, batter and fry sardines.  I know sardines aren’t everyone’s favorite, but those folks who love sardines…well just love ‘em.  If you love sardines I really suggest you try the recipe.  This recipe really is easy and quick.

Main Ingredients:

-1 1/2 lbs. fresh sardines

-a pinch of salt (just enough to very lightly season the fish)

-a pinch of pepper (just enough to very lightly season the fish)

-flour to dust fish


Batter Ingredients:

-3 egg whites

-3 egg yolks

-1/2 tsp. salt

-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

-1 tsp. garlic powder (you can use fresh garlic but for the batter, powder tends to be better )



(1) Now, start with the sardines.  You’ll need to clean them by removing the gills, cutting the belly open and removing the guts.  (Scrape out any black stuff.)  I suggest removing the head (optional to remove the head – it just looks prettier).  Next to butterfly, take your knife and slice the spine bone on both sides. Then from the top to the bottom, run your knife down to lift up/ remove the spine. When your knife gets near the tail, snip of the spine with scissors.  

Don’t worry if you have a few spines left, sardines have very tender spines when cooked and the spines can be eaten. (In fact I hear it’s good for you!)

(2) Once your fish is cleaned, filleted, and flat like the picture above, salt and pepper each fish by sprinkling lightly. (I emphasize the “lightly” part because the batter is already salted and seasoned.)

(3) Next, place some flour on a plate and set the plate aside. 

(4) For the batter, separate the egg whites from the yolks, and in a large bowl beat the egg whites until they are stiff and fluffy like a meringue. Then beat in the egg yolks, add salt, pepper, garlic powder and beat it all together. Set this aside.

(5) In the next step, I recommend assembling a type of assembly line starting with the plate of seasoned fish, next the plate of flour, then the batter, and then finally place oil in a pan. (Enough oil to pan-fry heated on medium high heat.) Lastly, you’ll need a plate with paper towels to drain the fried fish.

(6) In this order start, take the lightly seasoned fish, dust with flour, pass through the egg batter holding the fish by the tail, and then add to the hot oil. Once browned on one side flip the fish so it’s browned on the other until both sides are a nice light brown color. Then remove from oil and drain in paper towel, do this in several batches. 

 (7) Enjoy!  Serve with lime wedges, by themselves as an appetizer, or have more as a main dish!



(1) These are so addicting.

(2) If the batter sits too long, the egg whites may start to separate.  If that happens, just beat them again and continue on.


 -By Nathan Gutierrez

Nathan is a writer for and an avid cook of Spanish, Mexican, and Cuban cuisine.


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