Beer Battered Fish & Chips

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

I’m gonna start this recipe post by saying I’m not usually a fish person. But when it comes down to dipping some mild fillets in a beer batter and frying to a perfect golden-brown, that changes everything. Perhaps it’s because the fish used is generally a mild whitefish where the flavor isn’t “fishy” (like salmon which isn’t my friend). Folks, we are making classic, beer battered Fish & Chips today! Speaking of beer, it’s the secret to the perfect batter, which makes it super fluffy, smooth and crispy all at the same time (but if you don’t do alcohol, check out the recipe card below for a substitute). But as top-notch and legit as this fish fry is, I think my very favorite thing about this recipe is how incredibly easy it is to make. Here’s also how you make the “chips” (aka French Fries).

The Fish

It begins with boneless, skinless, mild white fish fillets. Cod, haddock, and hake are the most common fish for a classic fish & chips.
Now you can totally use fresh fish fillets from your grocery store or fish market (just make sure they’re boneless and skinless), but I find the easiest and most convenient way is to use individually frozen fillets that are about 1/4-1/2 pound each.
If they’re frozen, allow them to fully thaw and then just let them hang out on a plate until we batter them.
TIP: You can speed the thawing process up by running the frozen fish fillets under cold (not hot) water for a few minutes until they’re pliable and soft to the touch.

Prep The Oil For Frying

Now that your fish and batter are prepped, it’s the moment we’ve been waiting for: the frying! I suggest using a deep fryer for the easiest and most efficient way to fry, although a Dutch oven or high-walled sauté pan can also work. Fill the deep fryer between the min/max line with either canola, vegetable, or peanut oil. If using a Dutch oven or sauté pan, fill halfway with the oil. Heat it until it reaches 375°F (the deep fryer will tell you, but use a candy thermometer for the Dutch oven or sauté pan).

Why A Deep Fryer Is The Best Way To Fry

  • It’s in the name: its deep basin is designed to hold enough oil to fry things evenly. This is the one I suggest – have had it for years and love it.
  • It automatically brings the oil to the temperature you set it for without you having to monitor it with a thermometer and frequently adjusting a stovetop’s knobs.
  • It comes with baskets to easily fry things with no hassles, making double frying extra convenient.
  • You can also use it to make my French Fries, Fried Chicken, Onion Rings and Donuts!
  • You can leave the oil in the deep fryer even after it’s turned off and cooled down and fry other things in it (just be mindful of food allergies if frying item A today and then frying item B tomorrow). The cooled and used oil can last in a climate-controlled environment for up to 3-4 weeks for reuse.
  • Cleaning is easy. Just keep the bottle(s) that the oil came in (along with their caps). Once the oil is fully cooled (give it a solid 12-24 hours to be safe) and you’re ready to clean out the fryer, place a funnel in the bottle(s) and pour the used oil into them, and screw the caps on either for future use or for discarding. Then, take some paper towels and wipe out the inside of the fryer, scooping all fried debris and remaining oil directly into the trash. Give it a rinse in the sink and/or place in your dishwasher along with the basket you used to fry and you’re good to go! The heating element should be cleaned by hand in the sink when fully cooled (I’d suggest following the care instructions that came with your deep fryer).

The Beer Batter

Create the beer batter by taking a few basic pantry and cupboard staples (see the recipe card below for exact details)…
…add them to a large mixing bowl…
…and whisk until combined.
Now this wouldn’t be a beer battered situation if it didn’t call for one major key ingredient: BEER! Use a cold amber ale or lager and pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients. (NOTE: If you refuse to use beer, use cold seltzer or non-alcoholic beer instead.)
Whisk until a pancake batter-like consistency is formed!

The Frying

Dip each fish fillet in the beer batter, making sure both sides are fully coated…
…and then CAREFULLY place it in the hot oil (use metal tongs if that makes you more comfortable).
After a few minutes of frying, the batter will harden and become a golden brown. Use metal tongs to turn them over and continue to fry for a few minutes more.
When done, remove the perfectly crunchy, golden-brown fried fish to either a wire rack or a paper towel-lined serving plate to cool for just a minute or two.
Of course, don’t forget the “chips” (aka French Fries), and any dipping sauces you enjoy such as tartar sauce or ketchup! Also goes great with my potato salad or macaroni salad!

The Taste Test

Oh boy! Who’s excited for some fish & chips?! (I am! I am!)
The first thing you’ll encounter is that perfectly crunchy, crispy, flavor-filled, golden beer battered crust, which is food nirvana in itself. But then you’ll sink your teeth into those juicy, mild fish fillets…
…and there are no words. All is right with the world. Enjoy the the absolute best, homemade beer battered fish & chips ever!

Watch The Video!

The Best Beer Battered Fish & Chips
Yield: 4-8

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

I'm gonna start this recipe post by saying I'm not usually a fish person. But when it comes down to dipping some mild fillets in a beer batter and frying to a perfect golden-brown, that changes everything. Perhaps it's because the fish used is generally a mild whitefish where the flavor isn't "fishy" (like salmon which isn't my friend). Folks, we are making classic, beer battered Fish & Chips today! Speaking of beer, it's the secret to the perfect batter, which makes it super fluffy, smooth and crispy all at the same time (but if you don't do alcohol, check out the recipe card below for a substitute). But as top-notch and legit as this fish fry is, I think my very favorite thing about this recipe is how incredibly easy it is to make. Here's also how you make the "chips" (aka French Fries).

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes

Ingredients

The Fish

  • 1/4-1/2 pound boneless, skinless white fish fillets, (cod, haddock, and hake are the most popular. I use frozen fillets and just make sure they’re fully thawed before using)
  • Canola, vegetable, or peanut oil

The Beer Batter (For up to 2 pounds of fish)

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (not baking soda)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/12 teaspoons smoked or regular paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon black pepper (use 1 teaspoon for a little more spice)
  • 12-ounces (1 1/2 cups) lager or amber beer (make sure it's cold - see Step 5's note)

The Chips

Instructions

  1. If frozen, make sure your fish fillets are fully thawed. You can speed this along by running them under cold (not hot) water in the sink for a few minutes in a colander. Once they're pliable and don't feel frozen to the touch, you're good!
  2. Add enough oil so it's at the min or max line of a deep fryer (suggested) or halfway filling a Dutch oven or high-walled sauté pan. Preheat to 375°F. Due to the variables of which way you choose to fry, this may take anywhere between 10-25 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all The Beer Batter ingredients in the order listed (with the beer being last) and whisk until combined into a pancake batter-like consistency. (NOTE: If you refuse to use beer, use cold seltzer or non-alcoholic beer instead.)
  4. Once the oil's heated (the deep fryer will let you know or use a candy thermometer for the Dutch oven or sauté pan), dip the fish fillets into the batter so it's fully coated on both sides, allowing any excess batter to drip off, and then immediately and carefully place the battered fillets directly in the oil (NOTE: if using a deep fryer, you can use the basket, but I prefer to just let it freely "swim" in the oil as the basket will leave imprints on the batter when it fries).
  5. Fry the battered fish fillets for 3 minutes until the batter becomes a crispy, golden shade. Using metal tongs, turn the fillets onto the other side and allow to fry for another 2-3 minutes (NOTE: the smaller the fillet, the less time as we don't want them to be overcooked).
  6. When done, use metal tongs to remove the golden-brown fried fish from the oil and place on a wire rack or a paper towel-lined serving plate and allow it to rest for 1-2 minutes. Enjoy immediately with a squeeze of lemon, and/or your favorite dipping sauce such as tartar sauce or ketchup! And don't forget to serve them with some "chips" (aka the best French Fries ever - see Jeff's Tips)! Also goes great with my macaroni salad and potato salad.

Jeffrey's Tips

If making the "chips" (aka French Fries), I'd actually suggest frying them just before the fish since they take a bit longer.

Want to make fish sticks? In Step 1, slice your fish fillets into strips instead of keeping them whole. Then, fry for 3-4 minutes total (2-ish minutes on each side) in Step 4 to prevent overcooking since the cut of fish is smaller.

Got leftover batter? Make my Onion Rings with them! (NOTE: to speed things along, you can just place the raw onion rings in the batter and fry - no soaking or flour coating required if in a time crunch).

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Paul

    Hey Jeff.

    Love your recipes!

    I don’t have a deep fryer and really don’t think I would use one enough. So I was thinking,instead of using a dutch oven on the stove,why not the instant pot on saute to heat the oil? I think I might experiment with this. Any thoughts on that?

  2. Robert Weir

    Jeffrey, excellent recipe. I grew up in a small town that was predominantly Irish and Scotch immigrants, including my family, with about seven or eight fish and chip shops. When I was in high school my neighbor worked as a cook in one of the best of them and she gave me the recipe and its the same as yours. You didn’t mention the Heinz malt vinegar. Yes, I know it’s an acquired taste but, in my opinion, it’s worth it. Just one more thing, Avocado oil is much healthier and works well with the high temperature than the ones you mentioned. Keep the recipes coming. Thank you.

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