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Crispy Baked Ikan Bilis

These crispy ikan bilis (anchovies) make a great snack on their own and can be used as a savoury topping for many Chinese dishes. If you can’t use them up, pulse them in an electric grinder to make ikan bilis powder which is a great seasoning powder and condiment.

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The typical way of making crispy ikan bilis is by deep-frying them in hot oil, but I always avoided deep-frying unless there is absolutely no other way of substitution. The oven-baked version is oil-free and healthier, and I don’t have to worry about oil splatters as well. Bottle them in air-tight containers and store in a cool, dry place.

Step-by-Step Photos

Anchovies
Use cleaner, higher grade ikan bilis (the ones I used had head and tail removed; and some people use de-gutted/de-boned ones).

Rinsing Anchovies
First, rinse the ikan bilis (anchovies) in a few changes of water depending on the saltiness of your ikan bilis (I recommend two changes of water; do not over-rinse or the ikan bilis may taste bland).

Oven Tray of Ikan Bilis

After rinsing the ikan bilis, pat dry on paper towels and arrange them one flat layer on a baking tray. For best results, allow to air dry first before baking in the oven.

Baking Anchovies
Bake the ikan bilis in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes, until they have just turned a light brown shade (see above). Use a spatula to stir and spread them evenly.

Crispy Baked Anchovies
Return to oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until the ikan bilis turn a shade of golden brown, as seen in the photo above.

25 comments on “Crispy Baked Ikan Bilis”

  1. At what temperature should it be baked at? :)

  2. Thanks for the great tip. I can imagine the smell of ikan bilis will be lasting in the oven after baking it. How do you get rid of the smell? I wouldn’t want the cakes and cookies to smell ikan bilis;)

  3. May I know how long can the Ikan bilis keep?

    • a couple weeks in the fridge sealed in a container. You can also freeze them in a sealed container, need to re-toast in oven as needed.

  4. The last part with the 200 degrees for 10 mins resulted in my ikan bilis burning. Perhaps a lower temp or shorter duration would work better. For me anyway. Thanks for this recipe. So glad I can make crispy ikan bilis without frying!

    • 200 degrees is crazy I cook my bread for bread crumps at 120C for 35 minutes. I dont see the point in 2 steps of 10 minutes.
      So I will try 120C for 20 minutes first rinsing only 1 time.

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