How to Make Great Beer Battered Fish

Updated on March 2, 2020
John D Lee profile image

John D Lee is a chef and restauranteur living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He's always loved to cook.

I suffered through a lot of mediocre fish and chips at restaurants before learning how easy it was to make great, crispy-crunchy beer battered fish at home.

Here’s how you do it…

Make a simple batter—take some fresh fish fillets and dip em’ and then pop them into a pan of oil (I don’t even deep fry, just shallow fry) for 4 or 5 minutes or until golden browned and cooked to perfection.

So—first step—start with some good fresh fish. Types of fish that are great in a beer batter include

  • Halibut
  • Haddock
  • Cod
  • John Dory
  • Tilapia

For ease, and because I’ve always had great results with this, I tend to buy skinned and boned frozen fillets (much of what you buy fresh at the seafood counter is just defrosted frozen stuff anyway).

Beer Battered Fish (for 4 Big Eaters)


  • 2 pounds of firm white fish fillets cut into strips about an inch wide and no thicker than about an inch in thickness. (I prefer to cut these about ½ an inch in thickness to speed the frying process—at a half inch, these cook through in 3 or 4 minutes, which is convenient since you’ll be frying in batches!)
  • 1 can of beer (Ideally a dark ale or stout like Guinness but any type of beer will work here)
  • 1 ¼ cups of all purpose flour, plus another ½ cup or so for dredging, laid on a plate
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 2 tsps of baking powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Whisk together the 1 and ¼ cups of flour, the beer, the baking powder and the salt, working it until completely free from lumps. Ideally, let it sit for about 15 minutes to come together before using. Different brands of all purpose flour will absorb different amounts of beer, but you’re looking for a consistency like very thick heavy cream. You definitely want it thick enough to really get a good coating on, but if it’s too thick it won’t be as crisp.
  2. Once ready to fry, preheat enough oil in a deep fryer for deep frying, or if shallow frying, (what I do) add about an inch of oil to a heavy, high sided skillet that’s sure not to slip around on the stove. If you’ve got a big cast iron skillet, then you are very much in business here!
  3. Heat the oil to 350 degrees for frying (use a deep fry or candy thermometer to check). If you lack this instrumentation, check here to learn how to know when oil is ready for frying.
  4. Once the oil has come to temperature, dredge a few pieces of fish in the flour you’ve got ready for this and then shake off any excess before transferring the floured pieces of fish to your batter.
  5. Dip each piece of fish in the batter and then gently slide it into the waiting oil. Make sure you don’t crowd the pan here—if you have a large-sized pan, you’ll probably want to do this amount of fish in 3 batches.
  6. Let the fish bubble and cook for a minute or so and then flip it over to finish cooking. It is done once the batter is golden brown and the fish is cooked through. ½ inch thick fillets (before frying) will take 3 or 4 minutes to cook through and 1 inch fillets will take about double that time.
  7. Transfer to a plate with paper towels to drain and hold in a warm oven while you wait for the remainder of the fish to finish frying.

Beautiful, easy and ever so crunchy and good!

See a Great Beer Batter Video Demo


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    • profile image


      12 months ago

      Made it, came out perfect, thank you. Here is a pic of my dish:

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      Thank you for sharing! Got some ideas for a crispy battered fish!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This recipe is easy to do and looks yummy to do. I'll pencil it in to try next month, when I get the beer for the batter. Great hub!

    • profile image

      The Doyle's 

      7 years ago

      We had this for dinner tonight...excellent!

    • Vacation Trip profile image


      7 years ago from India

      Wow it looks so delicious. thanks for sharing.

    • ptrg777 profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      Looks easy and delicious! Always love experimenting with new batters for frying fish. Thanks!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great recipe - just right crispiness, light,... thumbs up

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      9 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I've always wanted to try beer battering. It's so sad for me to part with one of my lovely brews though. I think I'll have to get someone else to steal one, and then bring it by as I'm battering something.

    • carrie450 profile image


      9 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      Fish and chips are one of my favorite dishes and this recipe looks absolutely delicious. I am going to try it out soon, thanks

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Man this looks sooooo good! Bookmarked, of course!

      Love and peace


    • G L Strout profile image

      G L Strout 

      9 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Okay, you got my attention! I love fish and chips bit, I agree, most of itis mediocre. I had the best fish and chips ever in Bath, England. I will try this recipe. Thanks.

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      9 years ago from California, USA

      You make it look easy! I love good fish and chips, yet it is so hard to find-don't have a problem making homemade fries or even tartar sauce, but the fish? another issue, entirely! I am going to try this an will let you know if my success rate becomes any better! Thank you!


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