Spain on a Fork > All Recipes > Tapas > Got Canned Sardines? Make these Spanish-Style Fried Sardines
All Recipes, Tapas / March 13, 2024

Got Canned Sardines? Make these Spanish-Style Fried Sardines

Spain is famously known for having some of the best seafood tapas, and these Spanish-Style Fried Sardines are no exception. They’re packed with flavors, super easy to make and all done in just 20 minutes. Serve them as a tapas dish or even as a main course, next to some roasted potatoes and a salad.

Spanish-Style Fried Sardines
Traditionally to make this dish, you use fresh sardines. Which can be hard for many folks to find. Instead, we’re going to be using canned sardines, which most people can easily find at their supermarkets. But the best part? The fried sardines are still going to taste like they do in Spanish tapas bars.

Spanish-Style Fried Sardines
For this recipe, I used small Spanish canned sardines in olive oil. You can also use the regular-sized canned sardines. Either way, I did not use the olive oil in the cans in this recipe. But by all means, do not toss it. You can use it as a salad dressing or even to make some delicious scrambled eggs.

Spanish-Style Fried Sardines

TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe: You can serve these fried sardines piping hot or even at room temperature. To keep the warm after cooking, just cover with foil paper and add to a preheated oven at its lowest setting.

Spanish-Style Fried Sardines

Key Ingredients & Cookware I used in this Recipe:

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Watch the Video Below on How to Make these Spanish-Style Fried Sardines

Spanish-Style Fried Sardines

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 415 kcal
Author Albert Bevia @ Spain on a Fork


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans small sardines in olive oil 4 oz / 120 grams each
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour 40 grams
  • 2 cage-free organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 4 grams
  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise 120 grams
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 5 ml
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 15 ml
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 1 lemon


  1. Heat a large fry pan with a medium heat and add in the olive oil

  2. Gently drain the cans of sardines into a fine sieve with a bowl underneath, then shake off any excess olive oil from the sardines, being gentle to not break them apart

  3. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add in the parsley and season with sea salt & black pepper, whisk together, add the flour into a separate bowl

  4. Gently coat each sardine, first in the flour and then in the egg wash, add the sardines into the hot fry pan, all in a single layer, cook in batches to not over-crowd the pan, fry for 2 minutes per side or until golden fried, as you finish each batch, transfer into a dish with paper towels

  5. To make the garlic mayo aioli, add the mayonnaise into a bowl, finely grate in the cloves of garlic, queeze in the lemon juice, add the extra virgin olive oil and season with a kiss of sea salt & black pepper, whisk together until you get a creamy sauce

  6. Add the aioli into a serving dish and decorate the fried sardines around it, garnish with lemon wedges, enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Get the Spanish Canned Sardines I used to make this Recipe (10% OFF Your Order with Coupon ONAFORK)

Nutrition Facts
Spanish-Style Fried Sardines
Amount Per Serving
Calories 415 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 0.02g
Polyunsaturated Fat 9g
Monounsaturated Fat 17g
Cholesterol 167mg56%
Sodium 439mg19%
Potassium 326mg9%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 290IU6%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Calcium 244mg24%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. john m

    turn ordinary sardines in to EXTRA ORDINARY SARDINES! some chilly powder or pepper powder will make it TOPS!

    13 . Mar . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      Sounds great! Much love 🙂

      15 . Mar . 2024
  2. Nancy

    Would this be similar to fried smelt?

    13 . Mar . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      Similar in looks but not in flavor, as sardines have a stronger flavor to them 🙂 Much love!

      15 . Mar . 2024

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