This is not a copycat recipe for the Filet-O-Fish, nor is it even a complete recipe for a homemade version of the famous fish sandwich, since I didn’t specify too much detail on how I bread and fry the fish fillets, nor did I offer a specific ingredient list for homemade tartar sauce that approximates McDonalds. Instead, it’s really just about the buns. I’m a bun-centric kinda guy, what can I say? 😉
I have been obsessed with the Filet-O-Fish sandwich from McDonalds since…forever! And whereas many copycat recipes online focus on the fish and other components, I was really focused on the bun recipe, and yet, as you can see, they don’t quite look the same as in the original sandwich. For one thing, these are sliders, so they are a little smaller. They are also a little more domed shaped on top, which may have to do with how I shaped the buns prior to baking, but the level of softness and sweetness are about right.
I think the sweetness and softness of the bun are key to what makes the Filet-O-Fish recipe a winning combination of flavors! The sweetness and softness of the buns adds just enough contrast with the crunchy, crisp breading of the fish and the saltiness of the cheese and the sour tanginess of the tartar sauce. To me, it’s what makes the Filet-O-Fish the second best item on the entire menu at McDonalds. To me, the best item, of course, is still the Egg McMuffin. In my humble opinion. Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
fish sandwich sliders
2 cups and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
3/4 cups and 1 Tablespoon warm milk
2 Tablespoons and 3 teaspoons sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
for the rest of sandwich:
5 cod fillets, frozen, thawed, cut into 2-inch squares, breaded and fried, or use store-bought already cooked and reheat.
tartar sauce, store-bought or homemade
thin slices of American cheese, cut into smaller rectangles
Into a bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm milk and about a teaspoon of the total sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar, then place the active dry yeast into milk and stir again to combine, then let sit for about 10 minutes until frothy.
When frothy, add the flour, the rest of the sugar, the egg, the salt, butter and olive oil and mix on low with the dough hook attachment, stopping the mixer every now and then to scrape down the bottom and sides.
When dough starts to form, turn mixer still with the dough hook to medium, and let knead the dough for about 6 minutes. Sprinkle a little flour (about a teaspoon) over the dough if it looks too sticky, but try not to add too much more flour. Scrape down the sides and bottom every couple of minutes during this time, otherwise, let continue to knead on medium for the rest of the time.
Scrape down the dough onto a floured work surface and knead just about half a minute and shape into a bowl. Grease hands lightly if dough is sticking to hands. Grease bowl or mixer or another bowl with some olive oil and place dough into bowl, turning once to coat entire dough surface with olive oil. Cover with plastic and let bowl sit in a warm part of house for about 2 hours until doubled in size.
After dough has doubled, divide dough and shape each piece of dough into balls. I made each slider bun about 2 ounces each and came up with about 10 buns, but you can also double the recipe and make each bun larger, like 3-4ounces for regular sized hamburger buns.
Arrange on baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap and let rise a second time for about one and a half hours until puffy.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Brush each bun lightly with egg wash made with one egg and a teaspoon of water (optional) and bake in oven for about 20 minutes until browned on top.
For fish, cut into desired squares to fit slider-sized buns, dip in egg, dredge in breadcrumbs, then fry in a small pot filled with at least an inch of oil heated to about 300 degrees. Only fry two at a time, about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels.
Split each bun in half horizontally and lightly butter and place in a sauté pan on medium heat for a few minutes just until lightly toasted.
To assemble, place cheese rectangle on bottom so that at least one corner of the cheese hangs just slightly over one side, but barely.
Add the breaded fish fillet over the cheese, followed by a dollop of tartar sauce on top of the fish fillet. Then place top bun on top.