How To Make the Best, Crispiest, Beer-Battered Fish at Home

updated Mar 17, 2021
How To Make Crispy Beer Battered Fish at Home

Fry white fish in a beer batter with rice flour for the crispiest beer battered fish you can make at home.


Prep15 minutes

Cook10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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beer battered fish sits with french fried and lemons on a plate
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

The first time I visited London, I remember insisting on getting fish and chips — I think it was at some little shop on Portobello Road since we were checking out Notting Hill. The fish was served wrapped in newspapers and bundled together with thick-cut chips (aka fries), and I devoured every single bite standing on the sidewalk (after dousing everything with malt vinegar, of course).

Beer-battered fish is such a quintessential English pub dish, and it’s one of those things that you absolutely have to eat fresh out of the fryer. Deep-fried fish waits for no one! It may seem like a hassle to deep-fry at home, but I promise you it’s worth it and not as hard as you think. You can prep the fish and batter while the oil heats up, and you’ll be rewarded with hot, crispy beer-battered fish that’s just as good as anything you can carry home from a restaurant. (Or eat on a London sidewalk.)

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

The Best Fish for Frying

White fish, with its mild flavor and flaky texture, is generally the best for deep frying, but not all types of white fish are the same. Halibut is too dense and pricey; sole is too thin and delicate for the thick batter. Cod and haddock are the best choices, but flounder, pollock, or even orange roughy work well, too. I recommend asking what’s freshest at the seafood counter and then going with what fits into your budget. Instead of going with long strips, cut the fillets into 3-inch-long chunks, which are easier to batter and fry.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

How to Make the Beer Batter

Beer-battered fish is exactly that: fish dipped in a beer batter and deep-fried. While the batter is simply flour and seasonings whisked together with cold beer, I’ve found that adding in some rice flour makes the coating lighter and crispier. In fact, the fish will stay crisp for up to 30 minutes after its fried.

You don’t need any fancy beer here, either — any lager will do. Just make sure it’s straight-out-of-the-fridge cold (which also means you can drink the rest!).

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

Getting the Batter to Stick to the Fish

While most recipes just dip the fish straight into the batter, one small extra step makes it easier to coat the fish and creates a crispier coating: Coat the fish in rice flour first, then dip into the batter before frying. The batter sticks much better, and you have plenty of time to do this step while the oil’s heating up, so it doesn’t really add to the prep time.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

How to Fry Beer-Battered Fish

Six cups of vegetable oil are enough to fry the fish, and you don’t need a deep fryer. Just clip a candy or deep-fry thermometer onto a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot and you’re all set. To ensure the fish cooks and brown evenly, fry it in two batches, making sure not to stack the pieces on top of each other when you drop them in. Give them a stir and a flip occasionally, too — they’ll need about five minutes total to get beautifully golden-brown on all sides. Transfer the fish to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet to drain. This setup works better than paper towels because it lets the excess oil drip off and the bottoms don’t get soggy.

Serve the fish hot with malt vinegar or lemon wedges and creamy tartar sauce. And while this fish is best paired with fries for the ultimate fish-and-chips feast, you can also stuff it in a soft bun for a riff on the Filet-o-Fish, or pile into tortillas and top with cabbage slaw for Baja-style fish tacos.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne
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Here's how to make crispy beer-battered fish.

How To Make Crispy Beer Battered Fish at Home

Fry white fish in a beer batter with rice flour for the crispiest beer battered fish you can make at home.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 6 cups

    (1 1/2 quarts) vegetable, canola oil, or peanut oil, for deep frying

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    skinless flaky white fish fillets, such as cod, haddock, pollock, or flounder

  • 1 1/3 cups

    rice flour, divided

  • 1/2 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 1 cup

    cold beer, such as lager

  • For serving: lemon wedges, tartar sauce, or malt vinegar


  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Candy or deep-fry thermometer

  • baking sheets

  • Wire cooling rack

  • Mixing bowl

  • Whisk

  • Paper towels

  • Large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot

  • Tongs

  • Pie plate


  1. Heat the oil. Heat 6 cups vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until 365ºF. Meanwhile, fit a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Prepare the dry ingredients and fish.

  2. Mix the dry ingredients. Place 2/3 cup of the rice flour in a pie plate. Place the remaining 2/3 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Dry and flour the fish. Pat 1 1/2 pounds skinless white fish fillets dry with paper towels. Check for and remove any bones. Cut the fish crosswise into 3-inch pieces. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Working with one piece at a time, coat the fish completely in the rice flour and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

  4. Make the beer batter. When the oil is around 325ºF, add 1 cup cold beer to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

  5. Fry half the fish. When the oil reaches 365ºF, add half of the floured fish to the batter and stir to coat. Pick up the fish one piece at a time, let the excess batter drip back into the bowl, and carefully place in the oil. Don’t stack pieces on top of each other or they will stick together. Fry, stirring and flipping them occasionally with tongs, until cooked through and golden brown, about 5 minutes.

  6. Drain the fried fish. Transfer the fried fish to the wire rack.

  7. Finish frying and serve. Repeat battering and frying the remaining fish. Serve with lemon wedges, tartar sauce, or malt vinegar.

Recipe Notes

Storage: This is best eaten fresh, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.