Ideas to Cook Up a Fun Fish Fry for a Summer Gathering!

Whether for Father’s Day or just for a fun family get-together this summer, why not plan a good old-fashioned fish fry? Now a hugely popular alternative to the traditional backyard BBQ or grilling cookout, the fish fry originated as an end-of-week tradition for Catholics during the season of Lent. But eventually its typical menu of crispy fried fillets, coleslaw, tartar sauce, and icy beer caught on nearly throughout the country and all year round. So, if you already love a fish fry or may be trying it out for the first time, allow us to “bait” you with these inspiring ideas and product picks! (*this post contains affiliate links)

Invitations to a Fish Fry Party

Use fish fry invitations from rustic to graphic style to “reel in” your guests to this summertime bash. See our selection from Zazzle!

Invitations to a Fish Fry

  1. Fish Fry Invitation
  2. Rustic Fish Fry Backyard Cookout Picnic Card
  3. Trout Fish Party Customizable Template
  4. Seafood Platter Invitation
  5. Mix and Match Collection Fish Fry Card

“Delicious” Decorations and Favors

Not too many fancy decorations needed at this bash, as all eyes (and hands and mouths!) will be on the food. So why not make these the party highlights themselves?

Decor and Favors for a Fish Fry

The star of the show will, of course, be the fish fry table (1) with all its mouthwatering offerings on display using rustic-style wooden trays, galvanized metal platters, and camp-out plates. A picnic or kitchen table of rough-hewn wood provides the ideal backdrop for your tablescape.

For each place setting (2), quaint touches would be brown paper bag placemats over a fishnet “runner,” and baskets lined with parchment serving as plates. While a galvanized tub holding a pitcher of sweet mint tea could be a charming centerpiece.

Get creative with a decorative vignette (3) using any fish-y accent pieces you may have – miniature fish figurines, fishing tackle, lures, bobbers, and the like. Then, display them at your entryway, on a garden wall, or as a backdrop to your fish fry drinks station. Finally, for the little ones in the party, wouldn’t a tackle box (4) filled with treats be a fun favor?

Then, let your food spread do the rest!

Credits: 1 – Martha Stewart / 2 – The Gala Gals / 3 – Musings of a Middle-aged Mom / 4 – Memorable Moments Studio

Iconic Fish Fry Recipes

For a traditional fish fry, here are the must-have dishes to make it “authentic.” You can always make your own menu variations beyond these.


It all centers a platter of classic New England Fish Fry (1), which is most often fillets of haddock or cod dipped in a light breading, then fried and served with a zesty tartar sauce. A handy variation would be Crispy Beer Battered Fish Sandwiches (2) with a dollop of coleslaw on top of the fried fillet and tartar sauce below it!

For the traditional fish fry sides, go for another classic but with a flavor twist: Peach Ginger Slaw (3). Add Classic Hushpuppies (4) that are deep-fried balls of cornmeal, egg, and buttermilk served with butter and honey.

Recipes: 1 – A Family Feast / 2 – Closet Cooking / 3 – My Recipes / 4 – Love Bakes Good Cakes

Refreshing Fish Fry Drinks

While enjoying such a flavorful spread plus the summer weather, guests will surely need thirst-quenching beverages like these.


Beer is one fish fry staple you mustn’t miss! Choose classic brands plus a local brew to complement the fried dishes. Also offer a refreshing kick with choices like Southern/Mexican-inspired Mint  Julep Margaritas (1) mixing bourbon and tequila, and Blackberry Punch (2) spiked with raspberry vodka and fresh strawberries!

For non-alcohol drinks that even the kiddie guests can enjoy, consider Sparkling Cherry Limeade (3) with the fizz of Sprite or 7-Up. Or serve up a refreshing iced tea berry punch (4) that is super easy to prepare!

Recipes: 1 – Sip and Spice / 2 – Grandbaby Cakes / 3 – Julie’s Eats and Treats / 4 – Ocean Spray

Desserts to End on a Sweet Note

A summertime gathering calls for cool, light, often fruit-infused goodies. So for your fish fry, here are our sweet suggestions.


Try this velvety Easy Lemon Pudding (1) that magically results from just 4 ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. A sure-hit summer treat? Pair up your fave cookies with your fave ice creams to assemble your own Easy Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches (2).

For delicious fruity options, create Apple Pie Bites (4) that are crescent rolls wrapped around apple slices spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and all-spice. Or fill dessert cups with layers of almond-milk pudding, whipped cream, crumbled wafers, and banana slices to make these pretty Banana Cream Pie Parfaits (3). Serve S’mores Root Beer Floats (6) that combine chocolate ice cream, homemade marshmallow fluff, chocolate chunks, and root beer (“Dad’s” brand would be perfect for a Father’s Day fish fry!) topped off with crumbled graham crackers. Yum!

And finally, just for fun, Fishing Rod Pretzels (5) with little toy bobbers. Aren’t they cute?

Recipes: 1 – Simply Recipes / 2 – The Two-Bite Club / 3 – What’s Gaby Cooking / 4 – The Blond Cook / 5 – Ashley Thunder Events / 6 – Sugar and Charm /

Quick! Pencil in that fish fry on your summer social calendar!

This post contains affiliate links and Bellenza, Inc. will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking the affiliate links. You can find our disclosure statement here.


  1. Hi! Thank you for sharing my Mint Julep Margarita recipe—I love this party idea for the summer! Can’t wait to dust off the patio furniture. Thanks for the inspo! xo, Allie

    • Sure! We love your recipe and just had to share it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>