Can you eat crappie? The quick answer is Yes!
Papermouths, slabs, silver perch, speckled bass: crappie go by many names. And while biologists refer to the two species of this fish as Pomoxis annularis and Pomoxis nigromaculatus, everyone can agree to call them delicious.
Crappie are a fast-growing freshwater fish common to North America, and chances are you can find them where you fish.
Recreational angling is no danger to the crappie population as long as your local legal limits are observed, and taking a full cooler home for supper is a time-honored tradition in many parts of the US.
Related: Crappie Fishing Tips
Can You Eat Crappie?
What are Crappie?
Crappie are popular panfish that are pursued throughout the year. Ice anglers love to pull them through holes in the hard water, summer sportsmen troll with spider rigs, and spring and fall find anglers chasing them into the shallows.
Jigs, minnows, worms, and rooster tails are all popular options to lure crappie into a bite.
This beautiful crappie sports the distinctive specks and splotches of the species.
Fun to catch, these small, hard-fighting predators are easy to identify: expect scales that are silver-green shading to butter yellow. They’re typically patterned with distinctive spots and splotches, but these change with the season, especially during the spring spawn.
You’ll also notice a large (for their body) mouth and a gently sloping head.
How does Crappie Taste?
Crappie is deliciously mild.
Many people who shy away from “fishy-tasting” fish like crappie because of its subtle flavor. But despite its mildness, crappie has an almost unique ability to shine through seasonings and sauces, standing up to robust preparations like courtbouillions and sauces piquante.
Check out our crappie recipes!
Sauce piquante is a tangy, spicy tomato-based stew otherwise just known as tasty.
It’s also a real treat when fried whole and served with a squeeze of lemon.
In south Louisiana, whole fried sac-a-lait are often paired with white beans and rice.
The flesh of crappie is soft. It easily breaks into small pieces in moist preparations, resulting in a texture similar to picked crab. By no means is that a bad thing, but many dishes call for fish that’s a bit more firm.
Baked crappie is a delicious alternative to frying.
That tendency to flake, however, makes it an ideal candidate for fish cakes, effectively allowing crappie to substitute for crab. The results are amazing!
Crappie cakes? Absolutely!
It’s fair to say, then, that not only can you eat crappie, you probably should.
And until you do, you won’t know what you’re missing!