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Mushy crappies when cooked

4/25/18 @ 6:01 PM
User since 1/23/04

When I cook my crappies ,which I only keep from spring time fishing ,they turn out mushy.What I am I doing wrong.Any ideas out there?

5/27/20 @ 9:30 AM
User since 1/15/03

I do the same as Mike. I take the fillets and place them in salt water and put in the fridge overnight. They are bright white and firm the next morning. 

5/19/20 @ 10:25 AM
Team Lamboat
Team Lamboat
User since 8/14/11


You said "Salt water freezes at a colder temp. You end up with colder ice."  Your ice will supercool to the temperature your freezer is set at..... it doesn't matter at what temp the ice freezes.  Other than that... good advice.

5/19/20 @ 2:45 AM
User since 9/19/02

As said crappies can be a bit softer than other panfish. One thing I started doing with all fish that makes a huge difference is bleeding them.  You can just rip the gills out of one side or give a quick slice under the chin up into the gills with a knife. Then onto ice. If subject to a size limit and are very close to the limit don't cut the fish. Warden may try to say you were trying to stretch the length.

As for ice another tip. Take a two liter bottle freeze it with water and about a cup of salt in it. Salt water freezes at a colder temp. You end up with colder ice. One or two of these in a cooler will keep your cubes from melting as fast and keep your fish much colder.  I usually start the day with a two liter and two small bags of ice. Empty one bag of ice on bottom of cooler. Hopefully add fish. Periodically add a little ice from the second bag. On the way home I stop for more ice. I get enough to cover the fish completely. Drive home is usually half hour to hour and a half. By then fish are super cold and firm and very easy to clean.

As I clean them fillets go into a bowl of salted water. This also seems to help firm them up. I let them soak overnight. Unless they are getting cooked that day then I try to soak for at least an hour.

4/22/20 @ 8:02 PM
User since 3/14/06

Carpio, try doubling up ( piggy back )the crappie fillets when you bake them. Another good idea is to have them on top of some sliced onion rings so they don’t stick!

4/22/20 @ 7:08 AM
Timmothy A
User since 5/17/09

One important thing  I forgot to mention on the flour/egg/panko was to make sure they are dry before flouring them and when your flour them, shake off the excess.  The flour is there to make the egg better so the panko says on when you fry them.  I have found that generic panko do not work as well either.  All being told, they are always a bit softer than gils/perch/pike, but still crispy and tasty.  

4/21/20 @ 10:07 PM
Crappie Cat
User since 11/9/19

I have to admit that crappies are softer then gills or perch, but I have never thought of it as a problem. Must be my wife, she is excellent at fish recipes. I do not know what she does but they are good. What I like about crappies besides catching them is that they are always clean from parasites. What I we do is catch them one day put them in a enamel pan in refrigerator covered with a wet towel only, then clean them the next day when they are stiff, they sure fillet easier. Then freeze them in water with a little salt. works for us. I take nothing away from clean gills or perch they are good too,

4/21/20 @ 7:06 PM
User since 7/29/01

We immediately put all fish on ice when caught and I skin everything and crappies are still easily picked out when having a fish fry with mixed species. I line the bottom of the cooler with those blue re-freezable ice packs and then have a bag of cubes to cover the fish as caught. Ice fishing they are put in snow or ice shavings from the auger when there is no snow and they are still soft. Agreed on the bigger ones are softer. I kept the bigger one in the first pic to mount not to eat. The most we kept in an outing last year was 21 for a nice fry and released many more than what we brought home. Freezer has no fish in it now  

Good luck to everyone this year with the crappies! I hope to have more garage fish fries this summer when this virus crap clears up........... 

4/21/20 @ 6:11 PM
User since 1/17/07

A couple of things. I see people drag around a fish basket all day with their catch in it. It's no wonder those fish are soft. Put them on ice immediately after catching them. I freeze gallon jugs of empty milk cartons and dedicate an old cooler just for kept fish. Also do you scale and then fillet or just fillet and then skin them? Sometimes the bigger crappies' skins do not get done as well as the meat. I never deep fry but use a cast iron frying pan with about 1/8 inch of oil and heat it up until it's not quite smoking. They only take a minute or two per side. Flour, egg, Panko, in that order. Hope this helps.

4/21/20 @ 5:20 PM
User since 8/29/06


I tried them baked with butter and lemon pepper. Still kinda mushy. Liked the taste. The texture just gets to me pretty quick. These were 10-11 inch fish. I can only imagine it gets more mushy with larger fish. I thought perhaps smoking them to jerky status maybe?? I do cats this way and it is delicious.

4/21/20 @ 2:30 PM
MEMBER since 4/13/20

If ya can keep- them iced as soon as possible the better off you’ll be. Back in the day all we used was a  rusted metal hamms cooler. Worked great. I think the size of the craps means alot too  thay start to moosh up after they reach around 9 inches

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