How to make the BEST Jamaican Saltfish Fritters

by Eat Well with Lex

Jamaican Saltfish fritters also known as “Stamp and Go” (or Flittas, as many Jamaicans would call it) are a beloved Jamaica dish. They are made from salted codfish that is flaked and mixed into a flavorful batter, then deep fried until golden and crispy. Traditionally a popular Jamaican breakfast dish but can also be served as an appetizer.

For more Jamaican recipes, try my Coconut Curry Shrimp and Jerk Chicken Pasta.

A plate of Jamaican saltfish fritters - Eatwellwithlex.com


As a proud Jamaican, I’ve had the pleasure of savoring saltfish fritters from my earliest days. Some of my fondest memories revolve around those Saturday mornings when I’d watch my family expertly whip them up. So, when I tell you that this recipe is your gateway to crafting the ULTIMATE Jamaican Saltfish Fritters, rest assured that you’re in for a slice of authentic Jamaican culture that you absolutely must experience.

Jamaican saltfish fritters is a cherished dish by many Caribbean people. Whether it is enjoyed for breakfast, as an appetizer, or even as a snack, it captures the heart of authentic Jamaican cuisine. Furthermore, if you’ve ever had Jamaican food, then you’d know that we take great pride in using the freshest ingredients, particularly a wide array of herbs and spices. These fritters captures just that. They are flavorful and crispy salted codfish fritters infused with a medley of fresh herbs, spices, scallion and peppers.

Saltfish Fritters Ingredients

  • Salted Codfish: This is the star of the show. It provides a salty flavor that defines the dish.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Serves as the base for the fritter batter.
  • Water: Helps to create the batter’s ideal thickness. The right flour-to-liquid ratio is essential to achieve the perfect batter consistency.
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper: A staple in Jamaican cuisine. It adds a distinctive spicy kick that elevates the fritters’ flavor. Be cautious with the amount and make sure to remove the seeds.
  • Scallion (Green Onions): Contributes a mild, oniony flavor and a touch of freshness.
  • Bell Peppers: Preferably, red and green bell peppers for adding sweetness and color to the fritters.
  • Roma Tomato: Adds fresh and sweet flavors
  • Thyme: Fresh or dried thyme leaves add a warm, earthy note to the fritters, contributing to the traditional Jamaican flavors.
  • All-Purpose Seasoning: Adds flavor to the fritters.
  • Black Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper offers a hint of spice and complements the saltfish flavor.
  • Cooking oil: Essential for deep frying the fritters.
An overview of ingredients for making authentic saltfish fritters - Eatwellwithlex.com

How to Prepare Saltfish

Preparing the saltfish is crucial step in making saltfish fritters. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure your codfish is prepared correctly.

  1. Soak the Codfish
    • Rinse the salted codfish under cold running water to remove any excess salt.
    • Place it in a large bowl of cold water and let it soak 8-12 hours or overnight. Make sure to change the water during the soaking process to help reduce the saltiness.
  2. Boil the Codfish
    • After soaking, drain the codfish and place it in a large pot of fresh cold water.
    • Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
    • The fish should become tender to flake, not mushy. Make sure not to overcook.
  3. Flake the Codfish
    • Once the codfish is cooked, drain the water and briefly rinse under cold running water to cool it down.
    • Use a sharp knife to remove any skin and bones if needed.
    • Carefully flake the codfish into small pieces or shreds. It should easily come a part. Ensure there are no remaining bones or skin in the flakes.

Now, your salted codfish is ready to be incorporated into your Jamaican saltfish fritters recipe.

If you’re in a hurry, see the notes below for a quick method that can save you some time.

How to Make Saltfish Fritters The Jamaican Way

Make the Batter

In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, flaked codfish, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers, scallions, diced onion, diced bell peppers, diced tomato, thyme leaves and freshly ground black pepper.

Gradually add water, a little at a time while stirring to achieve a thick, pancake-like batter consistency. The batter should coat the back of a spoon.

Heat the Oil and Create the Fritters

Heat cooking oil in a deep skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat, with enough oil to submerge the fritters. Test the oil’s readiness by dropping a small amount of batter into it. If it sizzles and rises to the surface, the oil is hot enough.

Using a spoon or your hands, scoop up a portion of the batter and carefully drop it into the hot oil, forming each fritter to be about the size of a flattened golf ball.

Cooking Jamaican Saltfish fritters step by step

Fry the Fritters

Fry the fritters until they are golden brown on one side (approximately 2-3 minutes), then carefully flip them using a spatula and continue frying until the other side is golden brown and crispy.

Used a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the fritters from the oil, allowing them to drain on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.

Pan-frying saltfish fritters

Tips for Making the Perfect Fritters

  • Plan Ahead: Begin the soaking process the day before you intend to make the fritters.
  • Use Cold Water: Always use cold water because the cold temperature helps to remove excess salt.
  • Achieve the Fritter Batter Consistency: Add water gradually while stirring. The consistency of the batter determines the texture of your fritters. A batter that is too thick can result in heavy, doughy fritters, while a batter that is too thin may lead to flat and greasy ones.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Avoid overcrowding the frying pan. Fritters need space to cook properly. Frying too many at once can cause the oil temperature to drop, resulting in less crispy fritters.
  • Serve Immediately: Saltfish fritters are best enjoyed right after frying. Serve them when they are hot and crispy.

Recipe Variations

  • Health-conscious method: If you prefer a cooking method with less oil, pan-frying is a fantastic alternative to deep-frying when making Jamaican Saltfish Fritters. It still results in delicious and flavorful fritters but with a slightly different texture.
  • Gluten-free Option: Use gluten-free flour as a substitute for regular all-purpose flour.
  • Spice It Up: If you can’t find scotch bonnet pepper, use red habanero peppers. Also, adjust the level of heat to your preference by adding more or fewer scotch bonnet peppers.
  • Herb Variations: Experiment with different herbs and seasonings. Try adding fresh cilantro, parsley, or even a pinch of curry powder for a unique twist.
  • Vegan Fritters: Replace the codfish with plant-based protein options like tempeh or hearts of palms.

What to Serve with Saltfish Fritters

Saltfish fritters are traditionally enjoyed on their own as a snack, appetizer, or even a main course for breakfast. However, if you’re looking to create a full Jamaican meal or serve these fitters with sides dishes, here are some serving ideas:

  • Fried Plantains
  • Eggs
  • Callaloo
  • Sliced avocado and Tomatoes
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Hot Pepper Sauce

Storing Leftovers

Saltfish fritters are best enjoyed right after frying but if stored properly, they can be a tasty treat for later.

Allow the fritters to cool to room temperature then transfer them to an airtight container. If you are stacking them, consider placing a layer of parchment paper between them to prevent sticking and maintaining their crispiness. Store them for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.

How to Reheat Saltfish Fritters

When you’re ready to enjoy the fritters, reheat them in an oven or toaster oven at a low temperature to maintain their crispiness.

Fried Jamaican saltfish fritters on a plate - eatwellwithlex.com

Frequently Asked Questions

What is saltfish?

Saltfish is salted, dried codfish. Its typically soaked to remove excess salt before cooking.

How long should I soak the saltfish?

Soaking time caries based on the thickness of the fish. its typically soaked for 8-12 hours or overnight, with water changes to reduce saltiness.

Can I use fresh cod instead of saltfish?

You can, but it wont be the traditional saltfish flavor or texture.

How I prevent the fritters from becoming greasy?

Ensure that the oil is at the right temperature (hot but not smoking), and don’t overcrowd the pan. Allow excess oil to drain on paper towel after frying.

More Breakfast and Appetizer Recipes

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Hot Honey Shrimp

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

DID YOU MAKE THESE JAMAICAN SALTFISH FRITTERS?

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A plate of Jamaican saltfish fritters - Eatwellwithlex.com

Jamaican Saltfish Fritters

Jamaican Saltfish fritters also known as "Stamp and Go" (or Flittas, as many Jamaicans would call it) are a beloved Jamaica dish. They are made from salted codfish that is flaked and mixed into a flavorful batter, then deep fried until golden and crispy.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Breakfast
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 12 Fritters

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cup salted codfish soaked, boiled, and flaked
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup roma tomato diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 cup water adjust for consistency
  • Cooking Oil for frying

Instructions
 

Prepare the Salted Codfish

  • See preparation instructions above "How to Prepare Saltfish" or see the quick preparation method below in notes.

Make the Saltfish Fritters

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, flaked codfish, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers, scallions, diced bell peppers, diced tomato, thyme leaves and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Gradually add water, a little at a time while stirring to achieve a thick, pancake-like batter consistency. The batter should coat the back of a spoon.
  • Heat cooking oil in a deep skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat, with enough oil to submerge the fritters. Test the oil's readiness by dropping a small amount of batter into it. If it sizzles and rises to the surface, the oil is hot enough.
  • Using a spoon or 1/4 measuring cup, scoop up a portion of the batter and carefully drop it into the hot oil, forming each fritter to be about the size of a flattened golf ball.
  • Fry the fritters until they are golden brown on one side (approximately 2-3 minutes), then carefully flip them using a spatula and continue frying until the other side is golden brown and crispy.
  • Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the fritters from the oil, allowing them to drain on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.

Notes

Quick method for preparing salted cod for saltfish fritters:
  1. Rinse the Cod: Start by rinsing the salted codfish under cold running water to remove excess surface salt.
  2. Boil the Cod: Place the rinsed codfish in a pot and cover it with cold water. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the codfish is tender.
  3. Taste Test: After boiling, taste a small piece of the codfish to check for saltiness. If it’s still too salty for your liking, you can repeat the boiling process once more. If it’s sufficiently desalted, proceed with flaking and using it in your fritter recipe.
This quick method can save you some time, but keep in mind that the traditional, longer soaking and boiling process is more effective at removing salt. If you’re in a hurry, this shorter method can work well, especially if you enjoy a bit of saltiness in your saltfish fritters.
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