The Best Beer Battered Fish

  • Course

    Main

  • Duration

    1 hour

  • Serves

    3-4
Chef’s notes

Beer batter can be contentious. When done right, it is light, airy, and crunchy—perfectly complimenting the fillet within. When done poorly, it can be heavy, doughy, and overpowering.

Beer battered fish takes more attention to detail than other method of frying, so it’s best to work in small batches. Different beers will yield varied flavors. I like a robust beer, like an IPA or stout, but any American light lager (Coors Light, Bud Light, Miller Lite, etc.) works great, too.

Best Fish for Beer Batter
Fish with white fillets are ideal for beer batter. Fish with large flakes, like halibut and redfish, really shine for frying. Cut bigger fillets into one-inch-thick pieces for a good fillet-to-batter ratio.

Best Oil for Beer Batter
I like a mix of peanut oil and lard or beef tallow, but plain vegetable oil is great, too. If you want more options for frying, check out Danielle Prewett’s article on the best oils for deep frying.

Get the oil to 375° F and allow it to recover to this temperature before frying each batch. Use a slotted spoon or strainer for turning the fish and paper towels or wire rack for draining.

Temperature is key for making the perfect beer battered fish. Keep the meat and batter as cold as possible, and the oil as hot as possible. This creates an immediate “puff” of the batter and makes for a lighter, crunchier end product. A digital thermometer is great for precise temperature reading.

Best Beer Batter Recipe
It’s crucial that you season the fish before dipping it in the batter. This is a rule to follow no matter what kind of batter or breading you use.

After your fillets are seasoned, dredge them in the flour mix so the batter will coat the fillets. Once the oil is hot and everything else is ready, the beer can be added—but absolutely don’t add the beer until just before frying the fish. The immediate reaction of the beer and baking powder will create an aerated batter that puffs up. This should be on the thin side of a pancake batter and freely run off the fish, leaving a thin coating stuck to the floured fillet.

In the video above, Kevin Gillespie demonstrates how to prepare this recipe with his own unique perspective.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fish fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. beer
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Also works with

Any firm fish fillet

Special equipment

Deep fryer or large pot, thermometer

Preparation

  1. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl with a whisk.
  3. Dredge the fillets well in the flour mix, shaking off any excess. Refrigerate fillets until ready to fry.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the beer and honey to the flour mixture and stir well. A couple of lumps are preferable, so don’t overwork it. Add a couple ice cubes to the batter.
  5. Dip a couple of fillets into the batter, coating them completely. Allow any excess batter to drain off.
  6. Gently place them into the 375°F oil and fry for 30 seconds.
  7. Flip the fillet, exposing the more-cooked bottom. Drizzle a little bit of batter on top. Flip the fillet back over and drizzle a little batter on top again. Don’t overdo it, but just add a thin layer of additional batter.
  8. Fry the fish until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes total for fish that’s an inch thick. Serve immediately.
Chef’s notes

Beer batter can be contentious. When done right, it is light, airy, and crunchy—perfectly complimenting the fillet within. When done poorly, it can be heavy, doughy, and overpowering.

Beer battered fish takes more attention to detail than other method of frying, so it’s best to work in small batches. Different beers will yield varied flavors. I like a robust beer, like an IPA or stout, but any American light lager (Coors Light, Bud Light, Miller Lite, etc.) works great, too.

Best Fish for Beer Batter
Fish with white fillets are ideal for beer batter. Fish with large flakes, like halibut and redfish, really shine for frying. Cut bigger fillets into one-inch-thick pieces for a good fillet-to-batter ratio.

Best Oil for Beer Batter
I like a mix of peanut oil and lard or beef tallow, but plain vegetable oil is great, too. If you want more options for frying, check out Danielle Prewett’s article on the best oils for deep frying.

Get the oil to 375° F and allow it to recover to this temperature before frying each batch. Use a slotted spoon or strainer for turning the fish and paper towels or wire rack for draining.

Temperature is key for making the perfect beer battered fish. Keep the meat and batter as cold as possible, and the oil as hot as possible. This creates an immediate “puff” of the batter and makes for a lighter, crunchier end product. A digital thermometer is great for precise temperature reading.

Best Beer Batter Recipe
It’s crucial that you season the fish before dipping it in the batter. This is a rule to follow no matter what kind of batter or breading you use.

After your fillets are seasoned, dredge them in the flour mix so the batter will coat the fillets. Once the oil is hot and everything else is ready, the beer can be added—but absolutely don’t add the beer until just before frying the fish. The immediate reaction of the beer and baking powder will create an aerated batter that puffs up. This should be on the thin side of a pancake batter and freely run off the fish, leaving a thin coating stuck to the floured fillet.

In the video above, Kevin Gillespie demonstrates how to prepare this recipe with his own unique perspective.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fish fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. beer
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Also works with

Any firm fish fillet

Special equipment

Deep fryer or large pot, thermometer

Preparation

  1. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl with a whisk.
  3. Dredge the fillets well in the flour mix, shaking off any excess. Refrigerate fillets until ready to fry.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the beer and honey to the flour mixture and stir well. A couple of lumps are preferable, so don’t overwork it. Add a couple ice cubes to the batter.
  5. Dip a couple of fillets into the batter, coating them completely. Allow any excess batter to drain off.
  6. Gently place them into the 375°F oil and fry for 30 seconds.
  7. Flip the fillet, exposing the more-cooked bottom. Drizzle a little bit of batter on top. Flip the fillet back over and drizzle a little batter on top again. Don’t overdo it, but just add a thin layer of additional batter.
  8. Fry the fish until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes total for fish that’s an inch thick. Serve immediately.

Shop

The Essential Meatcrafter Knife
Save this product
Benchmade

A hybrid hunting fixed blade with a fine, smooth edge to trim, debone, or slice your preferred cuts of meat. Makes just as much sense in the back of your truck as it does in the kitchen drawer.

Meater+ Bluetooth Thermometer
Save this product
Meater

With up to 165 ft Wireless Range, MEATER is the first truly wireless smart meat thermometer.

7 Seasonings Gift Pack
Save this product
MeatEater

Bring home the entire Mega Spice Collection and change the way you cook.

The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook
Save this product
MeatEater

The definitive guide to cooking wild game, including fish and fowl, featuring more than 100 new recipes.

Get the latest in your inbox
Subscribe to our newsletters to receive regular emails with hand-picked content, gear recommendations, and special deals.
Our picks for the week's best content and gear
For the whitetail obsessed, with Mark Kenyon
Redefining our connection to food, with Danielle Prewett
Your one-stop for everything waterfowl, with Sean Weaver
Get out on the water with the MeatEater Fishing crew
Technical hunting apparel
Purpose-built accessories for hunting and fishing
Quality elk, turkey, waterfowl, and deer calls
Save this recipe

The Best Beer Battered Fish

Recipe by: Jesse Griffiths
  • Course

    Main

  • Duration

    1 hour

  • Serves

    3-4
Chef’s notes

Beer batter can be contentious. When done right, it is light, airy, and crunchy—perfectly complimenting the fillet within. When done poorly, it can be heavy, doughy, and overpowering.

Beer battered fish takes more attention to detail than other method of frying, so it’s best to work in small batches. Different beers will yield varied flavors. I like a robust beer, like an IPA or stout, but any American light lager (Coors Light, Bud Light, Miller Lite, etc.) works great, too.

Best Fish for Beer Batter
Fish with white fillets are ideal for beer batter. Fish with large flakes, like halibut and redfish, really shine for frying. Cut bigger fillets into one-inch-thick pieces for a good fillet-to-batter ratio.

Best Oil for Beer Batter
I like a mix of peanut oil and lard or beef tallow, but plain vegetable oil is great, too. If you want more options for frying, check out Danielle Prewett’s article on the best oils for deep frying.

Get the oil to 375° F and allow it to recover to this temperature before frying each batch. Use a slotted spoon or strainer for turning the fish and paper towels or wire rack for draining.

Temperature is key for making the perfect beer battered fish. Keep the meat and batter as cold as possible, and the oil as hot as possible. This creates an immediate “puff” of the batter and makes for a lighter, crunchier end product. A digital thermometer is great for precise temperature reading.

Best Beer Batter Recipe
It’s crucial that you season the fish before dipping it in the batter. This is a rule to follow no matter what kind of batter or breading you use.

After your fillets are seasoned, dredge them in the flour mix so the batter will coat the fillets. Once the oil is hot and everything else is ready, the beer can be added—but absolutely don’t add the beer until just before frying the fish. The immediate reaction of the beer and baking powder will create an aerated batter that puffs up. This should be on the thin side of a pancake batter and freely run off the fish, leaving a thin coating stuck to the floured fillet.

In the video above, Kevin Gillespie demonstrates how to prepare this recipe with his own unique perspective.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fish fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. beer
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Also works with

Any firm fish fillet

Special equipment

Deep fryer or large pot, thermometer

Preparation

  1. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl with a whisk.
  3. Dredge the fillets well in the flour mix, shaking off any excess. Refrigerate fillets until ready to fry.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the beer and honey to the flour mixture and stir well. A couple of lumps are preferable, so don’t overwork it. Add a couple ice cubes to the batter.
  5. Dip a couple of fillets into the batter, coating them completely. Allow any excess batter to drain off.
  6. Gently place them into the 375°F oil and fry for 30 seconds.
  7. Flip the fillet, exposing the more-cooked bottom. Drizzle a little bit of batter on top. Flip the fillet back over and drizzle a little batter on top again. Don’t overdo it, but just add a thin layer of additional batter.
  8. Fry the fish until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes total for fish that’s an inch thick. Serve immediately.