There's few dishes I like more than a really good, crispy beer battered fish. This beer batter is the perfect balance between light, crispy and decadent. Not much is worse than fish and chips with too much batter, or even worse, a soggy batter. That doesn't fly here. Only crispy, flaky batter can be found in these parts.
Stop paying $20 for takeout beer battered haddock when you can make it easily and way cheaper at home. It's just a bonus that it's made with very little effort. This beer battered fish recipe ticks all the boxes to impress your friends and family.
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Skip Takeout This Week!
This recipe is based off Nagi's "Crispy Beer Battered Fish" from Recipe Tin Eats with more seasonings and corn starch instead of rice flour!
Forget your typical pan fried fish - beer battered haddock will change the way you do comfort food meals. With the perfect crunch from the golden brown batter, you won't have any leftovers to store (but I do have tips if you need to)!
The best part? This beer batter recipe can be used for deep frying almost anything! If you have any batter left over, feel free to coat your favourite veggies and fry them up for a side that you can feel good about. Get those nutrients!
How to Get the Crispiest Fish
- Carbonation (beer highly recommended). Carbonation and/or fermentation is the magic behind all kinds of fried foods like tempura, buttermilk fried chicken, fritters and the like. The reason beer is so important for this recipe is that we want the batter to rise (from the yeast) and be crispy (from the carbonation). Other alternatives often only have one of these two elements.
- Hot oil. Like really hot! If your oil is less that 375 degrees, it won't crisp up as much and will likely get soggy. Making sure the oil is exactly 375 degrees, if not slightly higher to account for the temperature dropping when the cold fish enters, your batter may disappoint.
- Cold beer. Keep your beer in the fridge as long as possible before mixing, and only mix the batter right before frying. The cold batter will essentially be shocked by the hot oil and puff up and firm more quickly than if it was kind of cold, or even room temperature.
- Corn starch. Any fried recipe that I've fallen in love with for how crispy it is always has either corn starch, rice flour, tapiocia flour or potato starch as well as the flour. Using all corn starch doesn't yield the best results, but when paired with flour it prevents too much gluten development.
If you're sustaining from alcohol, the alcohol in the fish evaporates and doesn't remain in the fish. It also doesn't taste much like beer unless you use a very dark and strong beer. However, if you don't have beer, you can use carbonated water, cider, ginger-ale, champagne or other carbonated drinks.
Keep in mind, some drinks will make the batter more sweet. This recipe was written for beer and may need to be adjusted if you don't have any. IMPORTANT NOTE: beer contains yeast, which aids in the batter remaining thin and not greasy. Substitute beer at your own risk!
I love haddock as it's the perfect balance between light and inexpensive. Cod, halibut, tilapia, catfish or snapper all work! Feel free to try heartier (fishier) fishes like salmon, trout or bass if you're feeling adventurous but know they will be very heavy and rich.
As outlined above, the best way to get your beer battered haddock ultra crispy is: using a blend of flour/corn starch, using very cold beer, making sure your fish is very dry before coating, using oil that's 375°F and making sure to fully de-grease the fish on a paper towel lined drying rack.
Personally, I use the T-Fal Easy Clean Deep Fryer, but any deep pot (like a dutch oven) or cast iron pan will work.
Although I doubt you'll have any leftover, my favourite way is to throw leftover fish in an 380°F air fryer for 5-6 minutes, flipping halfway. If you don't have an air fryer, you can reheat them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.
This beer battered haddock would pair perfectly with my Taylor Farms Dill Pickle Salad (or any coleslaw style salad)! If you need a summery cocktail idea to pair with this, make sure to try the Dave Matthews or an Elderflower Gin and Tonic.
If you don't want fries for your fish and chip carb, I love to substitute them with Diner Style Home Fries.
Looking for other comfort food recipes to keep you full this spring? Try these!
- Taco Bell Chicken Quesadilla
- Sriracha Fried Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Fast Food Burgers at Home
- Roy Choi's French Onion Soup
- Ontario Pulled Pork
Beer Battered Haddock
- Deep Pan (Dutch Oven) or Deep Fryer
- Paper Towel and/or Cooling Rack
- Candy Themometer (if using pot)
- 2 lbs haddock fillets or cod, halibut, tilapia or other white fish
- ½ cup corn starch for dusting
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper or substitute black pepper
- 1 12 oz can of beer pale beer - like a lager
- 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
- lemon wedges
- tartar sauce
- french fries optional
- malt vinegar for french fries, optional
- Using paper towels, thoroughly dry the fish fillets. This ensures that the dredge batter will stick. Do not skip this step - it's important.
- Heat oil in a very shallow dutch oven or deep fryer to 375°F/190°C.
- In a wide shallow bowl, place ⅓ cup of corn starch for dredging.
- Whisk together all the dry ingredients for the batter (flour, corn starch, baking soda, paprika, garlic powder, salt and white pepper).
- Once the dry ingredients are thoroughly combined, slowly add in the beer until the desired batter thickness has been achieved. It should be runny but not thin - close to pancake batter YOU MAY NOT NEED THE WHOLE CAN! Clumps are okay, and actually better. Do not overmix.
- Once the pan or deep fryer has reached 375°F, take your dried fish and sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Dredge in the corn starch, then dip in the batter making sure to shake off the excess.
- Immediately place the fish into the deep fryer or pot, being sure to not overcrowd it. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until the fish is golden brown and cooked through to 145°F.
- Once fully cooked and browned, place the fish on a cooling rack lined with paper towel to absorb the excess liquid. Serve immediately with tartar sauce, a lemon wedge and fries if desired.