This Beer Battered Fish recipe is crispy and light, and made with an ultra simple batter. Perfect for any fish and chips feast, as well as a fish fry for Lent!
This is one of my Seafood recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
Now is the time of year you start seeing all kinds of commercials for fish sandwiches. It’s Lent!
But even if you’re not observing Lent, a great fried fish recipe is a good one to have in your recipe box. Fish and chips anyone?
There’s something so enticing about that super crispy coating combined with the flaky white fish inside.
And of course, you can’t forget the tartar sauce. Homemade tartar sauce is much easier to make than you think, and so delicious!
Here you’ll get recipes for both the sauce, and the fried fish. The beer batter is perfect for all kinds of fried foods. Pickles, green beans, onion rings, and more!
How to make beer battered fried fish?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Make tartar sauce. You can absolutely use store-bought tartar sauce, but we really love the flavor of homemade.
- Season fish. Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Seasoning every layer is important, so we season the fish, the batter, and then of course there’s the tartar sauce.
- Make batter. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then add the egg and beer, slowly whisking until the batter looks like pancake batter.
- Coat fish and fry. Dip the fish into the batter, then add to the hot oil. Cook 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.
- Drain. Drain fried fish on a cooling rack.
- Serve. Serve hot, with lemon wedges.
Make sure you pat the fish filets very dry. This is especially true if you’re using frozen fish that you’ve thawed. That delicious beer batter just isn’t going to stick to a wet piece of fish.
Variations of this recipe
- Seasonings – feel free to play around with the seasonings in this recipe. I kept it pretty simple; with the flavors we enjoy, but we all have different tastes.
- Oil – for the best flavor, I prefer to fry in peanut oil. However, if you have allergies, vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil are great alternatives.
- Other types of fish – any mild-flavored white fish would be great in this recipe. Haddock, tilapia, halibut, bass, grouper, etc. Cod is traditional, which is what I’ve used here.
- Deep fryer – if you have a deep fryer, you can absolutely use it for this recipe. Just set the temperature to 375°F.
The carbonation in the beer is what gives this batter the light and crispy texture. However, seltzer water is a great non-alcoholic alternative. Just to note though, the alcohol is cooked off during the frying process.
I’ve not tested this recipe in an oven, or air fryer, so I can’t speak to how the batter would hold up. For baking, I prefer a breadcrumb coating as opposed to a wet batter.
There’s nothing worse than something that’s supposed to be crispy, ending up soggy instead. Once the fish is fried, don’t add it to a paper towel or straight onto a plate. Those things will cause the fish to steam a bit, which makes the coating soggy. Adding the cooked fish to a wire cooling rack is preferred, since it elevates the fish off the surface.
Making beer battered fish ahead of time
This recipe, like all fried foods, tastes best when made fresh.
However, the cod can be sliced ahead of time (and kept refrigerated), and the flour mixture (without the beer) can be whisked together. This cuts down on some of the prep time involved.
Leftover fried fish should be stored in an airtight container and eaten within 3-4 days.
To reheat, bake in a preheated 350°F for 10-15 minutes. This should help it stay crispy during the reheating process.
Top tips for frying fish!
These super handy tips will work for frying just about anything!
- Pat the fish very dry before adding it to the batter. The wet batter will slide right off a wet fish filet.
- Make the batter with a carbonated drink, like beer or seltzer water, to give the batter a light and crispy texture. Water will work in a pinch, but likely won’t be as light.
- Use a thermometer to ensure the oil is the right temperature. Guessing just isn’t the way to go here. If the oil is too hot, the fish will burn before they’re cooked through. If the oil is too low, the fish will take on too much oil and be oily and soggy. Between 360 and 375° is the sweet spot.
- Drop the fish away from you when you add them to the oil. Hot oil is not fun to get on your bare skin – trust me!
- Don’t overcrowd the pot/pan. Every time you add anything to hot oil, it lowers the temperature a bit. So adding all your fish at once will drop the temperature too much, which leads to unevenly cooked, oily and soggy fish.
- Use a frying spider instead of tongs to handle fish in the oil. Tongs have a tendency to rip off pieces of that delicious batter. Spiders are inexpensive and great for so many things.
- Drain the fish filets of excess oil after frying by adding them to a wire cooling rack. This elevates the fish and keeps the coating crisp.
- Serve with lemon wedges. That way you can add a little squeeze of lemon juice to the fish before eating – which brightens up the food and makes it taste even lighter.
I love using this enameled cast iron pan to fry in. It’s heavy bottomed, holds heat evenly, is shallow enough to be able to work in, yet deep enough so you don’t get splatters of oil all over your stove!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped dill pickles
- 1 Tbsp finely minced sweet onion
- 2 tsp pickle juice
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp hot sauce optional
- peanut or canola oil
- 2 lbs. fresh cod sliced into pieces about 1 inch wide and 3-4 inches long
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 12 oz lager-style beer I use Yeungling
Make the tartar sauce
- Combine tartar sauce ingredients in small mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours for best flavor.
Prepare for frying
- Add several inches of oil to the bottom of a large heavy-bottomed pot (my dutch oven is my preferred pot to use), and heat over MED heat until oil reaches 375°F.
- Line a baking sheet with a paper towel, then add a wire cooling rack on top. Set aside, near the stove.
Make the batter
- While the oil is heating up, add dry batter ingredients to a mixing bowl (flour, seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder) and whisk to combine. Add beaten egg and slowly whisk in beer until mostly smooth, and batter resembles a pancake batter consistency.
Fry the fish
- Pat cod pieces very dry and season with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
- Dip a cod piece into the beer batter, turning to coat very well. Add cod slice into the hot oil, carefully dropping it away from you, then repeat with another 2-3 slices. Try not to fry more than 3-4 pieces at a time, or else the pan will get overcrowded.
- Cook approximately 3-5 minutes, until golden brown on one side, then gently flip pieces over and cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side, until golden brown all over. Remove to prepared wire rack.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 with any remaining fish pieces. Serve with lemon wedges, a bit of fresh parsley, and tartar sauce.
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- Prep time does not include the time for the oil to come up to temperature, as this will vary from individual to individual.
- Using a candy or frying thermometer (or even an instant read one) is highly recommended to ensure proper oil temperature.
- When adding fish to hot oil, gently lower the fish until the bottom end is in the oil a bit, then gently lay it down in the oil, moving your hand away from you. This causes the fish to drop away from you as well, and saving you from any oil splashes that could potentially happen.
- Avoid overcrowding the pan when frying. Overcrowding causes the oil’s temperature to drop too low, which means the fish will end up soggy, oily, and not cook evenly.
- To remove fish pieces from the hot oil, I highly recommend a spider, but a slotted spoon will do.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.