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Beer-Battered Fish

Several pieces of beer-battered fish scattered across newspaper with fried onions rings and two glasses of beer.
Beer-battered fish is something that always seems out of reach at home. Forget that notion—this version will show you just how easy it is to make shatteringly crisp, flaky, and delightfully tasty fried fish right at home.
Tasty

Prep 45 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 45 mins
Entree
American
4 servings
579 kcal

Ingredients 

For the fish

  • 1 1/2 pounds cod cut into 1 1/2-inch by 4-inch (4-by 10-cm) strips
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

For the batter

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups lager beer such as Budweiser or Narragansett
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 2 1/2 quarts vegetable oil

Directions 

Make the fish

  • Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C), and set a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the fish with the Old Bay seasoning to fully coat.

Make the batter

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Add the beer and malt vinegar and whisk until smooth.

    TESTER TIP: If your batter seems very loose, whisk in additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is thick enough to coat the fish pieces.

  • In a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Use an instant-read thermometer to check periodically until the oil hits 350°F (177°C), 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Use tongs to dip a few pieces of fish into the batter. Turn to fully coat and then remove, one at a time, allowing excess batter to drip back into the bowl.
  • Carefully lower each piece into the heated oil. Fry, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Move to the prepared rack and baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while frying the remaining fish.
  • Working in batches, batter and fry the remaining fish, taking care not to crowd the fish. Between batches, use a small spoon or spider to remove any stray pieces of batter from the surface of the oil, and allow the oil to return to 350°F (177°C) between batches.

Notes

*What is the best fish for beer-battered fish? 

Generally speaking, you want a thick white fish for uses like this. It's no coincidence that this recipe uses cod, as it's probably the best option—when you think of traditional fish and chips, it's nearly always cod. If you absolutely can't manage it, both pollock and haddock can be used. Cod is a little firmer than the other two options, which is why it's used—it keeps its shape more easily and is, therefore, easier to dip, fry, and stuff in your gob.