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Fish Loaf

How do you feel about fish?? If you're into fish and seafood, then you should definitely try this unique white fish recipe: Fish Loaf!

This one is so easy to make in a food processor (maybe 10 minutes of work??), and then it's hands-off roasting time. The addition of fresh lemon juice and dill makes this fish dish a little less... fishy? In a good way!

This fish loaf is perfect for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, and is a great way to make a Gefilte Fish Loaf without having to make individual gefilte fish patties.

2 slices of fish loaf on a plate
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Why make a fish loaf

I know, I know, "fish loaf" doesn't sound that appealing when you first hear it.

But fish loaf is delicious, and it's a great way to make fish less "fishy" by adding fresh lemon juice, fresh dill, a little garlic powder into the fish mixture. Picture salmon burgers versus a filet of salmon. It's a totally different experience and each is totally worthy of your dinner. Just like this fish loaf.

My husband's review of this recipe was: "this isn't worse than meatloaf." My first thought when he said that was "Ooookay that means this recipe is not good enough for sharing on my food blog." But then he clarified. It was good! He was just expecting fish loaf to be a whole lot worse than meatloaf, but was really pleasantly surprised that fish loaf was actually good.

Phew!

Sliced fish loaf on a cutting board

If you are trying to eat more seafood, whether for health reasons or for the holidays (hellooo Feast of the Seven Fishes, Lent Fridays, or Passover!), then making a fish loaf is such an easy, hands-off way to make a fish dinner that feeds a large family. 

With this recipe, there's no need to worry about overcooking or drying out the fish because it always comes out flavorful, juicy, and delicious! It's never tough. The addition of a little mayo and mustard to the fish mixture help make sure that the fish is not dry. 

This is a great recipe for kids who might not like flaky fish texture but like the easily recognizable texture of ground food and nuggets.

Slices of fish loaf on a plate with potatoes and broccoli

More easy seafood recipes: Air Fryer Trout

Gefilte fish loaf

As soon as my husband tasted this fish loaf, he said "oh wow, it tastes like gefilte fish!" Yep! Except it doesn't involved hours of work like my grandma's gefilte fish recipe. I spent about 15 minutes preparing the actual loaf, and that's with taking pictures for this blog post. The rest is hands-off time as the fish loaf bakes. 

To make gefilte fish loaf that is kosher for Passover, make sure to use matzo meal instead of breadcrumbs. And since the matzoh meal is not seasoned like Italian style breadcrumbs, add an extra ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon dried parsley.

So easy!

Ingredients for fish loaf

Ingredients

Here's the ingredients list for fish loaf, but make sure to read all the recipe tips below.

  • 1.5 lb white fish fillets, such as cod, swai, tilapia (make sure it's completely thawed if frozen)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dry dill)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (your favorite kind)
  • ¾ cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt (use 1 teaspoon if using plain breadcrumbs or matzoh meal for a gefilte fish loaf)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Got leftover dill? Try this dill pickle grilled cheese, this tzatziki cucumber salad, or this fennel fill salad!

Equipment

In addition to measuring cups and spoons, you'll need the following special equipment to make a fish loaf:

  • Paper towels to pat the fish really dry
  • Large food processor (I used this one)
  • Loaf pan (standard ~1.5 quart)
  • Parchment paper (optional, but I always use it to make sure nothing sticks to the pan)
  • Meat thermometer, to make sure the fish is cooked through in the center
  • Large silicone spatula (helpful for removing the fish loaf from the pan)

More non-traditional meatloaf recipes: Pork Meatloaf

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper on the bottom and on the long sides. Spray or brush with a little olive oil.

Loaf pan lined with parchment paper and oiled

Step 2: Peel your onion and chop it into chunks (half it, then chop the halves into quarters. Add the onion to the food processor and pulse until finely minced. You might need to push it down with a spoon to make sure to get all the bigger pieces under the blade. Add the fresh dill and pulse a few more times until the onion and dill is well combined. 

Collage of 2 photos showing how to chop onion and dill in a food processor.

Step 3: Pat the fish dry with a paper towel to make sure it's as dry as possible, use as many pieces as needed until the paper towels are not soaking wet. Make sure the fish is totally thawed before getting started. 

Step 4: Add the fish and the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until completely mixed.

Collage of 2 photos showing how to make fish loaf mixture in a food processor

Step 5: Transfer the fish mixture to the loaf pan. Wet your hands in cold water and use your hands to pat the mixture down and make it smooth on top.

Fish loaf mixture pressed into a loaf pan

Step 6: Bake at 375F for about 35-40 minutes, or until the center of the loaf is at least 145F (per the FDA fish temperature recommendations).

Baked fish loaf in a loaf pan

Step 7: Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Use a large silicone spatula to remove the fish loaf from the pan, or carefully flip it onto a large plate or cutting board (watch out for any juices from the pan).

Fish loaf on a cutting board garnished with lemon and dill

Step 8: Slice and serve hot, garnishing with sliced lemons, fresh dill. I also like to serve it with beet horseradish!

How to serve fish loaf

This fish loaf is great on its own with a squeeze of fresh lemon over it. It pairs really well with potatoes (try these crispy roasted young potatoes and veggies, such as asparagus, green beans, or broccoli).

If you're serving this as a gefilte fish dish, then some horseradish or beet horseradish is a MUST! This is the stuff we grew up with, but it is quiet expensive on Amazon. If you have a Russian, Slavic, Ukrainian, or Jewish grocery store near you, they might have this!

What kind of fish to use for fish loaf

I recommend using any white fish you have for this recipe, as long as it is not salmon or tuna. I typically use cod, tilapia, or swai, which is very affordable (see more swai recipes: baked swai fillets, or this 10 minute chili lime swai, or this light and flavorful swai in tomato caper sauce).

You can also use a combination of those white fishes.

For traditional gefilte fish, you would use carp, or sometimes whitefish, mullet, or pike, so you can definitely use those for this fish loaf recipe as well.

Recipe tips

→ I said this above and I'll repeat it: Make sure your fish is fully thawed if it was frozen. If it finishes thawing in the oven and releases water, the fish loaf will be a little too juicy. It's not a bad thing, it's just messier. And make sure to squeeze as much liquid out of the fish by pressing down on it with paper towels.

Feel free to decrease the mayo and increase the mustard to get a more mustardy flavor.

How to make fish loaf without a food processor

If you don't have a large food processor, you can do the following: chop the onion really finely, as fine as you can get it. Chop the dill really finely too. Then chop the fish into tiny pieces, and use a mojito muddler or a potato masher to further mash it into mush. Combine the diced mashed fish with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix really well to distribute the seasonings throughout the fish. 

It's a bit more labor-intensive, but doable.

Oh, and if you have a small food processor, you can still use it to finely dice the onion, and to process the fish in small batches. Then combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Fish loaf on a cutting board garnished with lemon and dill
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Fish Loaf

This fish loaf recipe requires only about 10 minutes of hands-on work, and then it's off to the oven to bake! An easy fish dinner idea and very kid-friendly. Great for the Feast of Seven Fishes or as a fun twist on gefilte fish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Diet: Kosher
Servings: 6
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb white fish fillets - such as cod, swai, tilapia (make sure it's completely thawed if frozen). See notes for more fish tips
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill - (or 2 teaspoons dry dill)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard - (your favorite kind)
  • ¾ cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs - (see notes for plain breadcrumbs or matzo meal)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika - sweet, not spicy
  • ½ teaspon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt - (use 1 teaspoon if using plain breadcrumbs or matzoh meal)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Special equipment

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper on the bottom and on the long sides. Spray or brush with a little olive oil.
    Loaf pan lined with parchment paper and oiled
  • Peel your onion and chop it into chunks (half it, then chop the halves into quarters. Add the onion to the food processor and pulse until finely minced. You might need to push it down with a spoon to make sure to get all the bigger pieces under the blade. Add the fresh dill and pulse a few more times until the onion and dill is well combined.
    Collage of 2 photos showing how to chop onion and dill in a food processor.
  • Pat the fish dry with a paper towel to make sure it's as dry as possible, use as many pieces as needed until the paper towels are not soaking wet. Make sure the fish is totally thawed before getting started.
  • Add the fish and the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until completely mixed.
    Collage of 2 photos showing how to make fish loaf mixture in a food processor
  • Transfer the fish mixture to the loaf pan. Wet your hands in cold water and use your hands to pat the mixture down and make it smooth on top.
    Fish loaf mixture pressed into a loaf pan
  • Bake at 375F for about 35-40 minutes, or until the center of the loaf is at least 145F (per the FDA fish temperature recommendations).
  • Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Use a large silicone spatula to remove the fish loaf from the pan, or carefully flip it onto a large plate or cutting board (watch out for any juices from the pan).
  • Slice and serve hot, garnishing with sliced lemons, fresh dill. I also like to serve it with beet horseradish!

Notes

Use any white-fleshed fish. I typically use cod, tilapia, or swai, which is very affordable. Whitefish, mullet, or pike works too.
Cooking for Passover? Use matzo meal instead of breadcrumbs, and increase the salt to 1 teaspoon, and add a teaspoon of dried parsley and an extra pinch of garlic powder and some onion powder. 
No food processor? Chop the onion really finely, as fine as you can get it. Chop the dill really finely too. Then chop the fish into tiny pieces, and use a mojito muddler or a potato masher to further mash it into mush. Combine the diced mashed fish with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix really well to distribute the seasonings throughout the fish. 
Not a big enough food processor? Process the fish in small batches. Then combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix really well. 
More cooking tips: 
  • Feel free to decrease the mayo and increase the mustard to get a more mustardy flavor.
  • If the fish mixture feels really wet in the food processor, you can add up to ¼ cup more breadcrumbs.
  • If you're using plain breadcrumbs, increase the salt to 1 teaspoon, and add a teaspoon of dried parsley and an extra pinch of garlic powder and some onion powder. 

Nutrition

Calories: 218kcal (11%) | Carbohydrates: 12g (4%) | Protein: 26g (52%) | Fat: 7g (11%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (10%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 86mg (29%) | Sodium: 503mg (21%) | Potassium: 427mg (12%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 2g (2%) | Vitamin A: 247IU (5%) | Vitamin C: 3mg (4%) | Calcium: 49mg (5%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

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