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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

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. Oh why din I thot of this! I kept frying the ikan bilis on the heated wok (without oil on non-stick pan), it does get crispy but the crispness won’t last long. Shall try your method. ;)

    • bottle them to keep the crispiness. And should they lose their crisp, you can toast in the oven for a few minutes for them to crisp up again :)

  2. Do you think the same result can be achieved using the air fryer?

    • Yes, air fryer can (at a shorter time and temperature that is stated in the recipe). However, air fryer is much smaller as compared to oven (the ikan bilis need to be arranged a flat layer for best results); so unless you are baking in small quantities, oven will be more viable option.

  3. Hi

    Can I use the micro oven?


  4. Such a great idea! Since I want to cut down on microwave usage, oven is the best choice!

  5. good idea! so much easier to bake them! so trying this next time…

  6. If you’ve making ikan bilis sambal, can you make the sambal, crisp up the ikan bilis as per your recipe then add both together?

  7. I like these little baked anchovies, as a matter of fact I buy them often, but never baked myself…I should try it since it is so simple.
    Thanks for the recipe Wiffy and hope you are having a great week :D

  8. I do this too, mostly to be blended into powder for anchovy stock to make sup. Bayam, bit of garlic, dash of fish sauce and light soy sauce makes the complete nutitious soup.

  9. Hi Wiffy,
    I also bake my ikan bilis and keep them bottled. Will add to noodles , congee or fried rice whenever we feel like having some. In fact, I added them to the stir fried cabbage+tanghoon I cooked for dinner tonight -what a crunch! Thanks for sharing our simple but yummy healthy tips!

  10. We should set the oven to what degree?

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