Beer Battered Fish

Crispy Beer Battered Fish served on a plate with a wedge of lemon.

Batter Up
One of life’s more underrated joys is a basket of really good fish and chips. I love fish and chips. If there is even a whisper of it on a menu, I will order it. The problem is, just because it’s on the menu doesn’t mean it’s good. You would think it would be easy to make good fish and chips. Just batter some fresh fish and fry, right? The fact is that really good fish and chips is a bit of an art form.

The first issue is what batter to use. After much study and deliberation, I have decided that my favorite is beer-battered fish. There are plenty of other options out there including tempura, breaded, soda water battered like in our recipe for English Style Fish and Chips, and plenty of other options. I like the depth of flavor that the beer adds.

Second, no matter what batter you use, make certain your oil is hot. If your oil is not hot enough, the final result will be too greasy and not very appetizing. If the oil is too hot, you risk burning the crispy coating and having raw fish on the inside.

Also, don’t put too much in at once. Too many pieces at once will lower the oil temperature which we have established is a no-no. Depending on the size of the fish and whatever you are frying them in, start with a couple of pieces to give them plenty of time and room to get crispy. It is also very important to make sure your fish is dry and seasoned before dipping it into the batter. The batter will stick to the fish better if it is dry and at room temperature.

Third, do not drain your fish on paper towels or newspaper. Doing so will trap the steam and make the coating soggy. Use a cooling rack set in a sheet pan to keep the fish crispy.

Lastly, your choice of fish matters. Cod, more specifically Alaskan Cod, is traditional and has the best flavor in my opinion. Although, Halibut is a very close second but can be cost-prohibitive. But, you can make this with whatever you choose like tilapia, bass, and definitely with shrimp.

Beer Battered Fish Recipe
Yields 6 Servings
Adapted from I Wash You Dry

This crispy Beer Battered Fish Recipe is made with ingredients you can find in your pantry. The batter creates a crunchy coating around flaky, tender white fish. It’s delicious served with French fries.

2 pounds firm white fish, like cod or halibut
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons seasoned salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/3 cups beer, I like an IPA or Amber Beer
oil for frying
For serving
Tartar Sauce, optional
Malt Vinegar, optional
Lemon wedges, optional

Heat the oil
Add oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer till it’s about 2 to 3 inches deep. Heat the oil to 375º F.

Prep the fish
Cut fish into thick strips, about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long. Pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Make the beer batter
Whisk together the flour, garlic powder, paprika, and seasoned salt. Stir in the lightly beaten egg, then gradually whisk in the beer until the batter forms and is no longer lumpy.

Fry the fish
Dip the fish one piece at a time into the batter, then carefully place the fish in the hot oil. Cook the fish until it is a nice golden brown (about 3 to 4 minutes). Drain the fish on a wire rack.

To serve
Enjoy while hot. Serve with tartar sauce, lemon, and malt vinegar.

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