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a plate of bacalaitos

Crispy Fried Bacalaitos (Puerto Rican Codfish Fritters)

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  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Snack, Main Dish, Appetizer, Side Dish
  • Method: Fried
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Latin, Spanish


Crispy fried bacalaitos are a classic Puerto Rican street food made with a flour-based batter loaded with codfish, peppers, cilantro, and spices. These codfish fritters are known for their circular shape and the epic crunch you’ll hear when you bite into one. This recipe has instructions for making bacalaitos using fresh cod or salted codfish.


Units Scale
  • 1 lb salted codfish (see note for using fresh codfish)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 22 1/2 cups warm water or the broth the cod was boiled in
  • 1 tbsp sofrito (can also be store bought sofrito)
  • 2 tsp sazon (can also be store bought sazon seasoning)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups canola or vegetable oil


  1. Prep your cod. Rinse off the saltcod before adding to a stockpot and covering with water. Soak for 30 minutes, drain and cover with fresh water. (See note for directions on how to make this using fresh cod).
  2. Cook the cod. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Drain again, reserving a few cups of the water for your batter if desired.
  3. Flake the fish. Let the fish cool before flaking and removing any bones. 
  4. Make the batter base. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, & water until a runny, pancake-like batter is formed.
  5. Add remaining ingredients. Add the sofrito, sazon, garlic, cilantro, bell pepper, onion, pepper, oregano, and flaked codfish. Mix in until everything is evenly distributed. 
  6. Fry. Heat oil over medium high heat (to 350° F / 176.7° C). Ladel pancake sized spoonfuls of the batter into the oil, making sure to not crowd the pan. Fry for a few minutes on each side, flipping to get golden brown all around. Cook until the fritters are crispy all over. 
  7. Drain & enjoy. Transfer the bacalaitos onto a paper towel lined plate and cool before enjoying with mayoketchup!


If your bacalaitos are too thick: Add a splash of water to your batter to thin it out. This will help produce those deliciously crispy edges.

If using fresh cod: Bring 4-6 cups of water to a boil in a stockpot. Add the cod to the water and boil for 15-20 minutes, or until fully cooked through (the fish should no longer be opaque and should reach an internal temperature of 145° F / 62.8° C). Note that you might want to add a half teaspoon or two of salt to the batter if using fresh cod, as it isn’t as salty as saltcod.