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Overhead shot Escovitched Fish on white plate

Fried Jamaican Escovitch Fish

Fried in a hot skillet, this easier spiced escovitch fish recipe is made with red snapper fillets but is flexible. The snapper (or kingfish or mullet fish) is fried until tender and crispy then it is soaked in my homemade escovitch sauce, a spicy pickled sauce made with pan-fried onion, carrots, allspice and scotch bonnet peppers. Serve with bammy or festival dumplings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cool: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 257kcal
Author: Meiko Temple



  • 2 (1.25 lb) snapper filets cleaned
  • 1 lime halved
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons allspice ground
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • olive oil

Escovitch Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced ¼ - ½ inch thick
  • 1 carrot julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced ¼ - ½ inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 sprigs thyme stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon allspice whole
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper chopped (opitional)


To prepare fish:

  • Rub fish with lime, then pat fish filets dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl mix together salt, black pepper, allspice, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder. Liberally season both sides of fish.
  • Using a heavy bottom skillet like cast-iron or heavy non-stick, turn heat on to medium-high. Fill with oil to approximately ⅓ of the height of your filets and heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees.
  • Once hot, lightly dust fish in flour and add to the skillet skin side down to fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Fish is done once it turns opaque. Add fish to a casserole dish and set aside.

To prepare Escovitch Sauce:

  • In a separate skillet over medium-high heat, add onions, carrots, bell peppers, and garlic, and allow the vegetables to sweat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, whole allspice, white wine vinegar, water, and sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook vegetables until they become tender - approximately 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let the sauce marinate for 5 additional minutes.
  • Pour sauce over the fish and serve warm. Alternatively, you can let the fish soak in the sauce overnight. Then reheat and serve the next day.
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Cooking Tips:
  • Clean and trim your fish even if your fishmonger already scaled it. Biting into scales can ruin the whole experience so pass your knife over the fish to ensure they are all gone.
  • Cut a few shallow incisions into the fish to prevent it from curling while frying.
  • If using whole fish, fry for a few minutes longer to cook through.
  • Use gloves when working with scotch bonnet peppers and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after working with them.
  • To enhance flavor you can add some scotch bonnet pepper and pimento to the frying oil to start to infuse flavor while the fish fries.
  • If spicy food isn't your jam, remove the seeds from the pepper to reduce the heat or exclude the peppers all together. 
  • Escovitch fish is best served the next day after the fish soaks up all the flavor of the sauce so plan a day ahead.


Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1396mg | Potassium: 968mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2714IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 1mg


Paper Towel
Bowl Set
Cast Iron Skillet - 12 inch
Casserole Dish
Medium Skillet
Chef's Knife
Citrus Juicer

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

**The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products I use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.