Salt Cod Fritters

(Bacalaíto Fritos)


Salt Cod Fritters are fried foods that are sold at food stands (kiosks) along the beach and at many town festivals in Puerto Rico.   Salt Cod Fritters are normally medium size and fried thin but some individuals prefer them thicker and larger.  You can’t stop eating these crunchy salty fish flavored fritters once you taste them.  The next time you want to surprise your guests with a tropical appetizer – serve them these delicious Salt Cod Fritters.

Salt cod is the main ingredient in preparing these fritters.  The Spanish term for the dried and salted cod fish is Bacalao.  In order to consume this fish,  you need to desalt, rehydrate, cook and shred the fish.  This produces a delicate texture and a milder fish taste.   It is then incorporated into a bowl with seasoned flour to form a batter and then fried.  The bacalaítos are crispy on the outside (especially the edges) with a dense and chewy texture on the inside.

Today, you can prepare this dish with the Authentic Salt Cod or Salted Pollock Fillets.  The Pollock is also a member of the cod fish family.  I, however, prefer the Salted Pollock Fillets due to the reduction of the food preparation time.  Even though you still need to desalt, cook and shred the Salted Pollock Fillets, you eliminate, however, the skin and bone removal process that is required when using the Authentic Salt Cod.

A Little Bit of History!

The fresh cod fish was caught in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic (near Canada) and then dried and salted by the British to prevent from spoiling as they traveled to import the bacalao to Puerto Rico around 1765.  For these reasons, we are accustomed to consuming the salted codfish as opposed to the fresh caught codfish.

Preparing the Salt Cod!

Salted Pollock Fillets

This is the boneless and skinless salted pollock fillets, a member of the cod fish family that is sold as bacalao.  The salt application reduces the water content, creating a firm dried texture to the cod fish.  It has a low-fat content, a white flesh and a soft texture when rehydrated.  For this recipe, you will need ½ pound of Salted Pollock Fillets.

Rinsing the Salted Pollock Fillets

Rinse the Salted Pollock Fillets with cold water to eliminate the excess salt.

Soaking Salted Pollock Fillets

Place the Pollock Fillets in a glass bowl and cover completely with cold water.  Soak the Pollock Fillets (also known as bacalao) in the refrigerator for 4 hours with 2 changes of fresh water.

Draining Salted Pollock Fillets

After soaking the salted Pollock fillets for one hour in the refrigerator, let’s drain the water. 

Adding Fresh Water to Salted Pollock Fillets

Now cover the Pollock Fillets again completely with cold fresh water and repeat this process after 2 more hours of soaking.

Cooking the Salt Cod!

Cooking Salted Pollock Fillets

Add the salted pollock fillets to saucepan and pour enough water to completely cover the bacalao.  Bring the water to a boil and cook the bacalao for 15 to 20 minutes.

Tasting Salted Pollock Fillets

After cooking the bacalao for 20 minutes, I skim off the foam using a mesh spoon.  Remove a piece of Bacalao to taste it after the first boil to determine if the salt content is to your liking.  However, if the Bacalao is still too salty, repeat the boiling process with fresh water until the salt content is reduced to your taste.

Shredding the Salt Cod!

Shredding Salted Pollock Fillets

When the salt content is sufficient to your taste, remove from saucepan and place the cooked Pollock Fillets into a bowl.  Shred with your hands.

Shredded Salted Pollock Fillets

We can now use the cooked and shredded bacalao to prepare the salt cod fritters – bacalaítos.

Mixing the Dry and Wet Ingredients!

Salt Cod Batter

In a large bowl, I am going to add the dry ingredients:  1½ cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of lite salt (or to taste) and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.  Mix all ingredients until well blended.  

Salt Cod Batter

Once the dry ingredients are mixed, we can now add the remaining ingredients.

Salt Cod Batter

Pour 1½ cups of water and ½ cup of skim milk (you can use the milk of your preference) as well as adding 2 minced garlic cloves and 4 sprigs of chopped cilantro.

Salt Cod Batter

Let’s add ¼ pound of cooked and shredded salt cod (bacalao).  Mix until a batter is formed.   

Note:  ½ pound of Salted Pollock Fillets will yield approximately ¼ pound of cooked and shredded salt cod.

Salt Cod Batter

After mixing all the ingredients, set the bowl aside to allow the batter to thicken for approximately 15 minutes to 20 minutes. 

Click on this link to learn How to Desalt, Cook and Shred Authentic Salt Cod.

Frying the Salt Cod Batter!

Pouring Salt Cod Batter

In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 cups of oil (Canola) to 365°F.  Measure ¼ cup of the salt cod batter and carefully pour into skillet.  This ladle measures ¼ cup.

Frying Salt Cod Batter

Fry until golden brown on one side.

Frying Salt Cod Batter

After 4 minutes of frying, carefully turn the salt cod fritters to the other side and continue frying until golden brown. 

Frying Salt Cod Batter

The bacalaítos are crispy and golden brown on both sides. 

Frying Salt Cod Batter

Let’s remove the fritters and place them on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil.   Continue this process for the remaining salt cod batter.

Salt Cod Fritters

The Bacalaítos (Salt Cod Fritters) are served warm as a snack or appetizers.

Salt Cod Fritters

They are crispy on the outside with a dense and chewy texture on the inside.  You can see several pieces of the shredded fish.

Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Make Salt Cod Fritters (Bacalaítos Fritos)!

Recipe and Nutritional Facts

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.


Salt Cod Fritters

  • Author: Aida's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Salt Cod Fritters 1x


Surprise your guests with these crunchy tasty fish flavored fritters that are so popular in the Puerto Rican culture.



  • ½ pound salted pollock fillets, desalted, cooked and shredded
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (low sodium)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cups canola oil for frying


  1. In a large bowl, mix baking powder, black pepper, flour and salt.
  2. Pour milk, water, minced galic, chopped cilantro and cooked shredded pollock.
  3. Stir until all the ingredients are well blended and a batter is formed.
  4. Set batter aside to thicken for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet to 365°F.
  6. Measure ¼ cup of salt cod batter and pour into skillet.
  7. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
  8. Place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  9. Serve warm.


If you prefer to cook the authentic salt cod, then see video and food blogging post on how to desalt, cook and shred salt cod.

  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican

Keywords: Salt Cod Fritters

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer

Category: Appetizers, Snacks, and Side Dish, Fish and Seafood, Fritters, Recipes

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Norma Iris Montalvo
    August 29, 2021 12:47 am

    Wonderful presentation and instruction. I watched my mother make Bacalaitos when I was little and had not cooked them myself. Now that Mom is disabled, I decided to try and used unsalted frozen Cod from Walmart because I live in central Texas and it is impossible to get the salted Cod. The only ingredient I forgot was the milk! We still enjoyed the (milkless) fritters.
    Now I have the complete recipe, thank you.
    Love your videos and website and how easy it is to follow your instructions. Also the step by step instructions with pictures.
    I remain,
    Norma Iris Montalvo (b. 1955)

    • Hi Norma, I am so glad that you found the information on my food blogging website very useful. I try to touch on every aspect of cooking, including food history. Thank you for your kind comments.


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