Are Crappie Good to Eat?



Of all the fish that I have caught in my life (and that’s a lot), I like Crappie the most. I really enjoy fishing for Crappie among other things and one of the questions I get asked most – are Crappie good to eat?

Are Crappie Good to Eat?

Yes! Crappie are one of the best tasting panfish that there is. They are completely safe to eat and are high in protein and Omega-3 which makes them one of the most nutritious fish to eat. Crappie are also milder in flavor which makes them less fishy.

What are Crappie?

Are Crappie good to eat, Best Tackle Box,

Crappie is a freshwater fish that is native to North America.

Crappie has become one of the most popular fish to catch not only because they are widely available but also because they are incredibly fun to catch.

Where can you find Crappie?

They started out largely across the eastern and southern states but now can be found in the entire United States and even parts of Canada. They can be found in ponds, lakes, and rivers.

What do Crappie Eat?

Crappie have diverse diets. They primarily feed on smaller species of fish, including the young of their predators (like the Walleye and Northern Pike). Crappie also eat insects, crustaceans, and zooplankton.

What does Crappie Taste Like?

The crappie has tender and sweet white meat. However, some people don’t appreciate its taste, as it’s a bit blander compared to other fish like the bluegill – but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t delicious when well-seasoned!

This common food fish is larger in size than the popular and tasty bluegill; making filleting easier for newbies who are still learning how to clean their own catch. Crappies have very little red meat on them so they’re great if your main concern with eating fresh-caught seafood is not wanting something too “fishy” tasting because of all those pesky scales or bones while also being an easy option for someone trying to get used to eating fish.

Are Crappie Fish Healthy?

Crappie is a perfect addition to both heart-healthy and diabetic diets. Crappie also contains a fairly high level of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are known as good fats because they help fight low-level inflammation in the body, keep joints and brains healthy just like hair or skin!

Are Crappie Fish high in Mercury?

Crappie and other Panfish are among the fish that have the lowest Mercury levels. This makes Crappie one of the healthiest fish you can eat.

Also Read:  How to Fish for Crappie with Minnows

Are Crappie Good to Eat in the Summer?

Crappie are good to eat all year in my experience. During the summer months, a lot of fishermen tend to focus on fishing for other species like Walleye but Crappie are still rewarding to catch and should be enjoyed in the summer.

The biggest issue I have heard from other fishermen and enthusiasts is “my summer crappie are mushy and how do I firm up my crappie?” I find that the most important thing to do to firm up summer Crappie is to simply take a cooler with you when you go. Make sure to keep them cool after you clean them.

Related: How Long Can You Keep Crappie On Ice Before Cleaning

How to Prepare Crappie to Eat

It’s easy to clean and gut crappie for cooking. All you need is a sharp knife, some experience in fishing it up from the river (a good idea if you’re not sure), and little knowledge of its anatomy! You can fry whole fish or fillets; either way tastes great when done properly on a skillet with butter.

If cleaning an entire fish, cut through each side of the dorsal fin then pull out altogether at once–it should come right off easily enough without too much effort since they are attached by muscle tissue rather than a bone this time around.”

Scale the fish and then create a diagonal cut to remove the head, innards, and ribs in a single motion. Tails can be left on as they produce a deliciously crunchy texture.

A great video by Thundermist Lures on YouTube.

How to Filet a Crappie

To filet, make a cut behind the gills, cut down towards the head, and keep cutting until you hit the backbone. Don’t cut through the back backbone, instead turn the knife horizontally so that the blade faces the tail, and then run the blade across the entire backbone, stopping at the tail. If you are looking for a good filet knife, I use and love the Kast King 7″ Filet Knife

To make your fish fillets, start by pulling the meat away from the body and then follow up with a final cut to remove it. Make sure you leave as much of this fillet intact as possible when removing – just try not to slice through! Repeat on both sides if needed for two more pieces of fry-ready goodness.

Also Read:  Best Crappie Fishing in Texas: 9 Lakes Known for Crappie Fishing

Cooking Crappie

Crappie is a versatile fish that can be prepared in many different ways. You may choose to pan-fry it, deep-fry it or bake the fillet whole. If you’re cooking crappie on the grill take care not to overcook and make sure you have an effective way of holding your filets together while they cook so as not to end up with too much fall apart.

A nice alternative for those who want their fried food without all the grease from frying would be baking in butter instead – use less fat than if using oil!

Crappie Cooking Tips

  • The fresher the fish, the better! Crappies should be cooked fresh whenever possible to ensure a pleasant flaky texture over mushy.
  • Pan fry at high temperatures and try not slow cook on low heat for best results.
  • Make sure you don’t overcook either – most Crappie usually have 3-5 minutes cooking time so keep an eye out around 2 minute each side depending on how well done you like them or somewhere in between if that sounds good too!
  • Breaded crappies are popular but they can also be prepared differently such as patties chowder or even served with cocktail sauce.
Are Crappie good to eat, Best Tackle Box,

Fried Crappie Recipe

  • 12 medium size Crappie Filets
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 cup Corn Meal
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • 1 TSP Black Pepper
  • 1 TSP Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 TSP Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup’s vegetable oil

Put the Crappie Filet’s in a baking dish and cover them with buttermilk. Cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

In a bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Mix all these dry ingredients well.

Remove the filet’s from the refrigerator. Dredge the marinated filet’s in the cornmeal mixture.

In a sturdy deep skillet, pour the vegetable oil into the skillet and heat the oil to 350 degrees.

Take the buttermilk-covered filets one at a time and dredge them into the cornmeal mixture. Be sure to completely coat them in the batter.

Just fry a couple of filets at a time. That will help to keep the pot from overflowing. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Also Read:  Do Crappie Like Worms or Minnows? 3 Live Bait Secrets Revealed

Remove and place on a paper towel to drain. You will be surprised because this is not oily at all.

Like Fried Fish but Want a Healthier Option?

You can cook a pretty delicious Crappie filet in an air fryer that is super healthy for you.

Air Fryer Crappie Recipe

  • 1 pound fresh crappie fillets
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (such as LAWRY’S®)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional)
  • cooking spray

Place crappie fillets in a bowl. Add salt and water to cover. Cover and let sit to draw out all the blood, about 30 minutes. Rinse fillets thoroughly to remove the salt. Pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Add cornmeal, flour, seasoned salt, paprika, pepper, and cayenne to a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Seal and shake until evenly combined. Drop 2 fillets into the bag, seal, and shake to coat. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining fillets.

Spray the tops of the fillets with nonstick cooking spray. Place a layer of fillets in the air fryer basket, sprayed-side down, making sure none are overlapping. Spray the tops with cooking spray. Cook for 4 minutes. Carefully flip and spray any chalky spots. Cook until crispy, about 4 minutes more. Repeat with remaining fillets.

We absolutely love our Air Fryer! We use it several nights a week and it works great. This is the one we have and use all the time Ninja Foodie Dual Zone Air Fryer

Also, check out this recipe for Zesty Ranch Air Fryer Fish Filets by The Kitchen Magpie.

What goes good with crappie?

There are tons of options of side dishes that go well with Crappie. I personally like homemade coleslaw, fried pickles, cheese grits but you could put anything alongside this delicious fish.

In Conclusion

Crappie is one of my personal favorites to fish for, catch and ultimately eat. They are fun to catch, taste great and there are several ways to enjoy them.

If want to learn more about Crappie fishing, check out my article on how to fish for Crappie with a jig

Also, check out our articles in Freshwater Fishing or Saltwater Fishing!

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