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Fish Boil

The fish boil is a one-pot meal made from boiling fish and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions together in a large pot. It is a traditional meal of the Great Lakes region and throughout Wisconsin where Scandinavian immigrants first introduced the dish. Originally made to feed large crowds, the fish boil has become a staple recipe served by many families and restaurants. It commonly features locally caught whitefish, but also can be made with other types of fish such as lake trout or salmon. When eaten, the fish is dipped in melted butter, which is why the dish also is known as poor man’s lobster.           

Recipe Servings: 8

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 2 gallons water
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 lbs small red potatoes, washed
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1 lb onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 lbs fresh or frozen whitefish fillets, thawed (other kinds of fish can be substituted)
  • 1 cup butter, melted


  1. Combine the water and salt in a large pot, set it over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onions to the boiling water. Cover and boil for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the fish fillets to the pot. Cover and boil for about 10–15 minutes. The vegetables should be tender, and the fish should flake easily when tested with a fork.
  4. Remove the vegetables and fish from the pot and serve immediately with melted butter on the side for dipping.    

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