Puerto Rican Bacalaitos (Codfish Fritters)

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Puerto Rican bacalaitos are one of the most flavorful appetizers out there. Easy codfish fritters made with everyday ingredients.

These fritters are a staple recipe on the island, and for a good reason: they are incredibly tasty. Seasoned with fresh herbs and spices. Crispy outside with a fluffy and salty inside.

And being an anti-cod person, I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe. It reminds me a lot of my Portuguese cod croquettes recipe. 

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Salted, fresh of frozen codfish?

You can use any of them but each option will require a slightly different cooking method.

All of them end up being boiled in water for 15 minutes. Then shredded before adding it to the batter.

Salted cod: This is the preferred type of cod for this recipe. It has way more flavor and pungent fragrance. To use salted cod, you must soak it in water overnight and then change the water a couple of times before cooking it. You want to remove most of the salt. Finally, boil it for 15 minutes without adding salt.

Fresh cod: Boil enough water to cover the fish and add a generous amount of salt. Cook for 15 minutes.

Frozen cod: Thaw the cod in a bowl with cold water. This will allow the fish to defrost slowly without an abrupt change of temperature. This takes more time but you ensure the delicate fish meat doesn’t go bad in the process. Then boil in salted water for 15 minutes.

How to make the bacalaitos batter?

The batter is the key to crispy and fluffy bacalaitos. It must have the right consistency to hold the shape while frying.

To make 8-10 codfish fritters I like to use the following ratio:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

The batter will look a bit runny, but when you add the rest of the ingredients it will gain more consistency.

Fritters are shaped in the hot oil. You just have to use a measuring cup to ensure that all the fritters will have the same size. I highly recommend you to use a ¼ cup for this. It will give you decent size fritters that aren’t so big that can break while frying.

What you can serve with these cod fritters?

They are usually served with garlic and cilantro sauce to get an explosion of flavors.

But you can also serve them with steamed cabbage salad or yellow spicy rice. 

4.58 from 7 votes
Puerto Rican Bacalaitos (Codfish Fritters)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Soaking Time
8 hrs
Total Time
40 mins
Puerto Rican bacalaitos are one of the most flavorful appetizers out there. Easy codfish fritters made with everyday ingredients.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: puerto rican
Keyword: bacalaitos
Servings: 9 fritters
  • 1 lbl salted cod 400 gr
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt if needed
  • Oil to fry
  1. Soak the salted codfish in water overnight. Change the water a couple of times to remove excess salt. Boil it for 15 minutes without adding salt. Crumble the codfish.
  2. Cut the onion and bell pepper into tiny cubes. Chop the parsley. Mince the garlic.
  3. In a big bowl mix the flour, cornstarch, and water. Mix until you get a homogeneous batter with no lumps.
  4. Add the crumbled codfish into the batter. Toss the bell pepper, onion, parsley, and garlic. Season with paprika, black pepper and salt if needed.
  5. In a big pan heat enough oil to fry the fritters. Pour about ¼ cup of batter into the oil. When the fritter is crispy on one side, flip it. Cook for about 7 minutes each side until the outside is slightly brown.

1 thought on “Puerto Rican Bacalaitos (Codfish Fritters)”

  1. Looks delicious. Suggestion..we should find a way to make these a healthier way instead of frying …maybe try a bake or airfryer method 🤔 my family prefers fry lol


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