Pan-Fried Trout with Bacon

Trout fillet recipes are varied and plentiful, but nothing beats whole trout when it’s been lightly fried in a pan with salty bacon and sweet shallots. The pan-fried trout method gives this delicate fish a light and crisp outside, while the flavorful bacon sauce adds robust flavors for a thoroughly delectable meal. Typically, trout are served whole, either with or without heads. With that in mind, if you have inexperienced trout diners, you made want to give them…a heads up.

Fried trout is a classic recipe because of how simple it is to cook, whether you’re at a fishing campsite or at home. This dish is certainly a great option for a campsite feast if you are an organized and well-prepared fisher. On the other hand, if you think you’re going to forget some important ingredients, wait until you’re home to enjoy this incredible meal.

The Recipe

Pan-fried trout is a classic way to prepare this fish. This particular dish is tasty because it enhances the flavor of freshly-caught trout with smoky, crispy bacon, butter and shallots for a dish you won’t soon forget.

Serves 2


  • 2  12oz or medium sized trout, cleaned and scaled

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Flour, for coating the trout

  • 4 thick slices of bacon, diced

  • 3 tablespoons of butter

  • ¼ cup water

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup Parsley, finely chopped


  1. Season the trout with salt and pepper on both sides. Then lightly coat with flour, making sure to brush or shake off any excess.

  2. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the diced bacon and fry, stirring often, until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

  3. Pour off all but one tablespoon of bacon drippings from the skillet and set the rest aside. Add one tablespoon of butter to the drippings in the pan and allow it to melt over medium high heat.

  4. Fry the trout for 5 minutes on one side and then 4-5 minutes on the other side. The flesh should be white on the inside by the time it’s done. Once cooked, remove the skillet from the stove and transfer the trout to a dish. Cover with foil and set aside.

  5. Place the skillet back on the burner and lower the temperature to medium heat. Add the remaining butter and any remaining bacon drippings to the pan. Add the shallot and fry, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add water and scrape up any bits that have stuck to the pan.

  6. Add the bacon, lemon juice and parsley and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Spoon the bacon and onion mixture over the trout and serve immediately.

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Fried trout recipes with familiar flavors are a great way to try this beautiful fish. This popular species is typically found in freshwater rivers and tributaries, although some may venture out into saltwater. Although there are certainly large trout that you can fillet into manageable pieces, many trout are small enough to cook whole after gutting and descaling.

A pan-fried trout is extremely versatile, so you can easily adapt the dish to your personal tastes. Fresh herbs and other complementary seasonings can help you develop this recipe further with your own personal touches. Another change you can make is in the preparation of the fish, as there are a few different options.

Would you prefer the trout whole, or would you want the fried trout butterflied for flatter presentation? Remember, if you butterfly your trout or get a different size than the recipe calls for, you need to adjust your cooking time.

When making fried trout in a shallow pan, or through any other preparation method, it’s important to be careful of the fish’s delicate flesh. Turning your fish too much can result in a messy presentation as the meat falls off the bone rather easily.

When eating trout fillets or whole trout, you may run into some bones if you’re too eager to dig in. However, if you prepare your trout thoroughly and to perfection, you should be able to gently separate the meat from any undesirable bones.

If pan-fried trout served whole is not your style, you can choose to open the fish after gutting it to remove the major bones. To do this, begin by simply running your finger against the outside of the fish along the backbone. You don’t want to be too forceful during this process, but you definitely want to apply a little bit of pressure. Once that is done, flip it over so you see the inner flesh. Then, you can slowly pull up the backbone, starting at the tail end.

Don’t assume you will have a totally bone-free trout! This will just help you reduce the amount of bones in your meal. If you have larger trout fillets, you can use precise pliers or tweezers to remove the more difficult bones during the fish cleaning process.