How to Cook Yellow Perch

by Linda Tarr Kent

Close up of the yellow perch

hadot/iStock/Getty Images

The American yellow perch is among the Percidae family of freshwater fish, along with the walleye, zander and silver perch. This fish family is easy to spot: the first dorsal fin is spiny, while the second is soft. The yellow perch is paler than other types of perch and has a yellow tinge to its scales. This fish turns out well if you grill, roast or bake it. However, since yellow perch is a small fish, pan-frying works especially well. In cooking lingo, yellow perch is sometimes referred to as a “panfish.”

Combine ¼ cup yellow cornmeal, ¼ cup flour, 1 tsp. rosemary, 1 tsp. sage, 2 tsp. pepper, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. garlic powder in a shallow dish to create a fish coating. Mix the ingredients well.

Dredge each of your perch fillets in the fish coating. Cover the fillets completely.

Pour ¼ cup peanut oil into a pan heated on high. Add the perch fillets when oil begins to smoke. Place the fish skin side down.

Sautee your fillets for three minutes. Turn your yellow perch over and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until the perch flakes with a fork.

Remove the fish from the pan. Place 4 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. lemon in the pan. Stir as the butter melts to loosen any dredgings that are stuck to the pan. Pour the mixture over your fish. Serve your yellow perch with lemon wedges.


  • Yellow perch pairs well with many herbs, including chives, paprika, thyme, dill and bay leaf.

    Use canola oil if you do not have peanut oil.

Photo Credits

  • hadot/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.