Puerto Rican Chillo Frito

If you’re looking for a delicious and exotic seafood dish, look no further than Chillo Frito (Fried Red Snapper). This Puerto Rican dish is not only tasty, but it’s also straightforward to make. So if you’re looking for a meal that will satisfy both your stomach and your taste buds, this Puerto Rican delicacy is a perfect choice!

What is Chillo Frito?

It is a Caribbean dish made from red snapper that’s been fried. It’s a popular dish in Puerto Rico, and it’s often served as part of a larger meal or as part of an appetizer platter.

How do you make Chillo Frito? 

First, you’ll need to clean and gut the red snapper. Then, you’ll need to season it with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Next, you’ll need to heat some oil in a pan and cook the fish until it’s golden brown on both sides. Finally, you’ll want to remove the fish from the pan and serve it with your favorite dipping sauce.

Where does Chillo Frito come from?

The traditional Chillo Frito Puertorriqueña originates from the town of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. Like most Puerto Rican food, this traditional recipe clearly shows its mixture of cultures; the Native, Spanish, and African, which have created the traditional cuisine of the Caribbean island.

What does Red Snapper taste like?

The fish has a delicate flavor and a light, flaky texture. It’s best enjoyed when it’s crispy on the outside and moist inside.


Red Snapper: The main ingredient is red snapper cleaned and flaked.

Adobo: Puerto Rican adobo is a mix of garlic, salt, pepper, and other spices.

Lime: The lime juice adds a light sourness.

Garlic: Finely chopped for flavor base. 

Green Lemon Juice or White Vinegar: Adds sourness complementary to fried foods. 

Oregano Leaves: These leaves are mainly seasoning, but any Mediterranean herb would do. 

Salt and Black Pepper: Season to taste.

All-purpose Flour: Used to coat the fish before frying.

Corn Starch: Used as a thickener for gravy or sauces.

Vegetable Oil: The oil is heated to frying temperature. 


There are countless ways of preparing and serving red snapper. Chillo Frito is just one example. You can also try baking, grilling, or poaching the fish instead of frying it. 

Frying: The traditional way to prepare it.

Baking: A healthier way, which produces a moist and tender fish.

Grilling: Gives the Chillo Frito a smoky flavor that pairs well with grilled vegetables or rice.

Poaching: Another healthy option that results in a delicate and flaky fish.

Air Fryer: If you have an air fryer, you can prepare this Caribbean dish. Before adding the fish, be sure to preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dipping Sauces

Many dipping sauces would pair well with Chillo Frito. And if you’re looking for a dipping sauce to serve with your fish, why not try some homemade tartar sauce or salsa? Here are a few of our favorites:

Mojo Isleño: This is a classic Puerto Rican sauce that drizzles over the fried fish before serving. It is made with olive oil, garlic, and citrus juices.

Salsa Verde: A green salsa made from tomatillos, jalapeños, and cilantro. 

Pico de Gallo: A classic salsa made from chopped tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños. 

Guacamole: A popular dip made from mashed avocados, lime juice, and salt.

Queso Blanco: A Mexican cheese dip made from white queso fresco, milk, and chiles. 

Cooking Tips

Below you will find a few useful tips and tricks that I learned while cooking Chillo Frito.

  • When coating the fish in flour, be sure to shake off any excess flour before frying. This will help ensure that the fish doesn’t get too greasy.
  • The oil should be hot to ensure fish is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
  • Cook it for about four minutes per side, or until it’s golden brown and cooked through. 
  • Be careful not to overcrowd the pan when frying the fish. This will prevent the fish from cooking evenly.

How to store the Chillo Frito

It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Just be sure to reheat it before serving. Leftovers can also be frozen for up to two months.

Health Benefits

Chillo Frito is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy red snapper. It is low in calories, high in protein, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. So why not add Chillo Frito to your weekly menu?

Side Dishes

Chillo Frito is a great dish to serve at any gathering. It goes particularly well with the following side dishes.

Plantains: Also called Tostones, a popular side dish in Puerto Rico that goes well with this dish. They are made of fried and flattened plantains.

French Fries: A classic and popular side dish. 

Rice: White rice is a typical way to serve fish in most Caribbean countries. 

Beans: Black beans or Pinto beans are also great options to serve it. 

Fried Yuca: Fried yuca is another Puerto Rican favorite.

Mofongo: Mofongo is a Caribbean dish made from mashed plantains. It’s a great way to switch things up and add some variety to your Chillo Frito meal.

Green Salad: A healthy and refreshing salad pairs well with fried foods. 


How do you catch a red snapper?

To be honest, I’ve never caught one myself and prefer just to get one at the supermarket. However, if you are in the mood to catch your red snapper, they can usually be found near the shoreline, so try fishing in areas near rocks and coral.

How do you cook an entire red snapper?

If you wish to cook the entire fish instead of just the fillets, I would recommend baking, grilling, or poaching it. Simply season the fish with salt and pepper, then bake, grill, or poach it at a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes per inch of thickness.

What is the difference between Chillo Frito and Chillo en Escabeche?

Chillo Frito is a dish that’s typically fried, while Chillo en Escabeche is a dish that’s usually marinated in vinegar. Chillo en Escabeche is also a popular dish in Puerto Rico.

Can Chillo Frito be made with other types of fish?

Yes, you can make it with any firm-fleshed fish. Popular choices include tilapia, catfish, cod, and grouper. 

Is Chillo Frito a healthy dish?

Yes, it is a healthy dish that’s low in calories and high in protein. It is best enjoyed with a side dish of your choice. 

How hot do I cook the red snapper?

The right temperature depends on the way you choose to prepare the fish.

Frying: Fry it at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Baking: It can be baked at a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Grilling: The fish should be grilled over medium-high heat. 

Poaching: It should be poached in simmering water, broth, or milk. 

Air Fryer: Cook it with an air fryer at a temperature of 360 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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Chillo Frito served on a white platter with garnish and decor.

Puerto Rican Chillo Frito

Chillo Frito is a Puerto Rican recipe made with fried red snapper. It's a popular dish often served as a main course or side dish. It can be enjoyed with various side dishes, including plantains, french fries, rice, beans, fried yuca, eggplant Parmesan, and green salad. If you're looking for a delicious and tropical Caribbean meal, give this traditional Caribbean dish a try! You won't be disappointed.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Servings 4
Calories 295 kcal


  • 2 Chillo Frito (Fish Snapper) cleaned and flaked
  • 3 teaspoons Dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Adobo
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  • Season the fish with oregano, salt, pepper, garlic, adobo, and lemon (or vinegar). Make sure that the marinade penetrates inside the fish. 
  • Sprinkle the flour and corn starch lightly over the fillets to coat them evenly on both sides. 
  • Add enough oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium-high in a frying pan. Once the oil is hot, add the fish fillets and cook, flipping once until they are browned all over.
  • When the fillets are golden brown and well cooked, remove them from the frying pan and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil.
  • The fried fish can be served with fresh salad, fried green plantains, yucca, rice, etc.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 295kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 38gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 305mgPotassium: 605mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 21IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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