This recipe for Pan Fried Fish Fillets with Strawberry Salsa makes a wonderful main course for summer. This recipe is low in carbohydrates, so it can be part of a low-carb, keto, Atkins, or diabetic lifestyle.


Overhead shot of pan fried fish fillets with strawberry salsa


The recipe for Pan Fried Fish Fillets with Strawberry Salsa

This recipe for Pan Fried Fish Fillets with Strawberry Salsa creates fish that is seared to make form a tasty coating. The inside of the fish turns tender and flakey. On top, a scoop of salsa made with strawberries, shallot, jalapeño, and a touch of cilantro adds a spectacular burst of color and flavor.


The inspiration for Pan Fried Fish Fillets with Strawberry Salsa

I have always loved salsas that are made with sweet fruits like mango and peaches. The fresh, juicy fruit makes a wonderful juxtaposition with the heat of hot peppers and the savory goodness of onion and herbs.


Unfortunately, mango and peaches are rather high in carbs–especially if you have a keto lifestyle. It can be difficult to make these fruits work for my low-carb followers in even small amounts. 


Since I couldn’t get the goodness of mango and peaches, I’ve created a few work-arounds that are keto friendly. I first developed this recipe for Low-Carb Grilled Salmon with Starfruit Salsa Recipe, and now I’m taking it one step further with by using strawberries instead of starfruit.


Photo of the strawberry salsa in a bowl.

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Which fish is best for pan frying?

When I pan fry fish fillets, I like to use fish that holds together well through the process.  Thicker fillets typically work better for me, though thinner fish like sole can work if you’re careful. 


Cod and haddock will work very will in this recipe. Both are meaty fish that hold together well and are mild in flavor. 


Orange roughy would also be delicious. However, I typically try to avoid this fish due to potential contamination with metals as it’s a larger, predatory fish.


Salmon fillets also pan fry well. Wild salmon is one of my favorite fish to eat due to the higher levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The flavor profile of salmon also works well with this strawberry salsa. 


A bite of the fish on a fork.


How long do you fry a filet of fish?

How long you will need to pan fry the fish depends on the thickness of the fish. Thin fillets will cook much more quickly than thin ones. Other factors that determine how fast the fillets cook include the type and thickness of skillet you use and the heat of your burner. Instead of looking at the clock, I encourage you to use the fish as a guide.


Fish is done when the meat turns opaque and becomes flaky. Some may prefer their fish medium rare in the center. Medium rare fish will be less flaky in the center a bit more translucent.


If your fillets are very thin, like sole fillets, you might find that they cook through when searing the first side. In this case, once the first side of the fillets release from the pan, remove them from the pan instead of turning them if the top of the fillets are opaque and flaky. 


Thicker fillets, such as haddock and cod will take longer. You will be able to sear both sides. If the fish is not cooked through after both sides have been seared, simply turn dow the heat to medium low to finish the cooking process.


The pan fried fish broken apart with a fork to show flaking.


Is pan fried fish healthy?

First of all, there is a big difference between pan frying at home and eating deep fried foods at a restaurant.


I’m not a big fan of deep fried foods. They frequently contain trans fats and loads of Omega 6 fatty acids that have been heated over and over causing oxidation. These types of fats can cause inflammation. 


Pan frying at home is a bit different. You can choose the types of fat you use and it is only heated once, so less oxidation will occur. 


I like to use avocado oil for pan frying for three reasons. First, it is loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids. These are the healthy fats found in olive oil and avocados. Secondly, avocado oil holds up incredibly well to high heat. No smoke in the kitchen, and less oxidation with this oil! Finally, I like the clean flavor that complements most savory foods well.


While pan frying at home isn’t perfect, and some oxidation of the oil may occur, I think it’s a much healthier alternative to deep fried restaurant food. For me, eating healthy is all about balance, not perfection. 



Serving the fish with the salsa spooned over the top.
5 from 6 votes

Pan Fried Fish Fillets with Strawberry Salsa

This recipe for Pan Fried Fish Fillets with Strawberry Salsa makes a wonderful main course for summer. Because the salsa is made with strawberries, a low-carb fruit, this recipe can be part of a low-carb, keto, Atkins, or diabetic meal.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword fish fillet recipe, keto fish recipe, keto salsa, pan fried fish
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 163 kcal
Author Annissa Slusher


  • 1 cup fresh strawberries hulled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons shallot or red onion minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper seeded, white ribs removed, and minced
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 3 4-ounce fish fillets (defrosted, if previously frozen)


  1. Add the strawberries, shallot or onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper to a medium mixing bowl. Gently stir to combine. Season with salt to taste, if desired. Set aside.

    Making strawberry salsa for the fillets.
  2. Pat the fish fillets dry. Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add avocado oil.When avocado oil is hot, lightly sprinkle the fish with sea salt (if desired), and place in the skillet. Do not overcrowd the skillet.

    Adding the uncooked fish to the pan.
  3. Allow the fish to cook without moving until it releases from the pan. Test by gently pushing on the edge of the fish with a spatula. When fish has released, turn the fillets over to brown the other side.

    Browned fish after turning.
  4. Fish is done when the second side has released and the meat is opaque and flaky. Remove fish from the pan, and serve with the salsa spooned over.

    Serving the fish with the salsa spooned over the top.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional calculations were done without the optional salt and using haddock as the fish. One serving includes a 4 ounce fillet of fish with 1/3rd of the salsa spooned over top. This is a very generous serving of salsa. If you prefer, you could make four fillets and split the salsa among the four fillets. This will decrease the number of carbs per serving.

Nutrition Facts
Pan Fried Fish Fillets with Strawberry Salsa
Amount Per Serving (1 fillet)
Calories 163 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 65mg22%
Sodium 77mg3%
Potassium 115mg3%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 7%0%
Vitamin C 40%48%
Calcium 13%1%
Iron 6%33%
Net Carbs 4g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.