Golden, crispy, deep-fried cod is drenched in malt vinegar and then dipped into tartar sauce. The addition of french fries makes this beer battered cod recipe something straight out of a pub.
Every time I visit my Mom in Boston, she takes me to Legal Seafood for a basket of classic fish and chips. I can’t tell you how much I miss that seafood when I’m back home in land-locked St. Louis.
Let me show you how I make this simple and satisfying beer-battered cod, without a deep fryer!
What You’ll Need For This Beer Battered Cod Recipe
To make this easy recipe you’ll need the following ingredients:
Beer: Beer gives the batter its airiness and crunch. Beer’s carbonation, yeast, and cold temperature contribute to making a perfect crust. Opt for a light beer rather than a dark, hoppy beer.
Note: We recommend using ice-cold beer. Cold beer prevents the batter from creating gluten, resulting in a crispier, airier crust.
Rice flour: The combination of rice flour and white flour ensures a perfectly crisp, non-soggy crust. We coat the fish fillets in rice flour before dipping them in the beer batter. We also include rice flour in the batter mixture itself.
I’m using brown rice flour in this recipe but you can use white rice flour.
Baking powder – Baking powder adds even more rise and crispiness to the fish crust. Just as baking powder is used to help cake batters rise, it does the same for beer batter!
All-Purpose Flour – Flour is the hero ingredient in beer batter. It binds the batter together and is the main structure of the crispy coating. It’s also what turns golden brown when frying.
Canola Oil: Use an oil that won’t burn or smoke when heated to a high temperature. I use Canola oil, but you can use peanut oil, vegetable oil, or even grapeseed oil. Make sure your oil is also flavor neutral.
Cod Fillets: Cod is the go-to fish used in most pub-style fish and chips recipes. You can use frozen or fresh cod. Make sure to thaw if frozen before frying. You can use other whitefish as well.
What Beer Should I Use for My Batter?
Use a light beer (Budlight or PBR), lager, IPA, pale ale, or pilsner in your beer batter. Porters and stouts are too dark and will add a trace of bitterness to your batter.
Dark, hoppy, richly flavored beers also discolor the batter, making it difficult to tell when the fish is frying.
Can I Make Beer Battered Cod Without Beer?
Yes! If you don’t have a beer handy, you can substitute soda water, tonic water, Coke, or even La Croix! I find coconut La Croix adds a nice subtle flavor to the crust. No shame in my La Croix game!
If you’re avoiding beer for diet or personal reasons, rest assured that any trace of alcohol is gone by the time the fish is done frying.
What’s the Best Fish for Deep Frying?
Cod is the best fish for deep frying. Cod, a whitefish, has a mild flavor and light and flaky meat layers. However, not all whitefish is ideal for deep frying due to the denseness of the fish or the cost involved.
Do I Have To Use Cod?
Feel free to substitute cod for any whitefish. Try getting the freshest white fish from the seafood counter at your local grocery store. As long as it’s good fish and affordable, snag it and give it a whirl.
You can deep fry any of the following white fish fillets:
- Alaskan Pollock
What Should I Dip My Cod In?
My favorite dipping sauce for pieces of fish is tartar sauce. I’m regarded as a heathen in some parts because I also douse my fish with malt vinegar, but I don’t care! MALT VINEGAR FOR LIFE!
Other typical dipping sauces for fish and chips include:
- fresh lemon juice squeezed over the fillets
- garlic aioli
- buffalo sauce
- cocktail sauce
- honey mustard
- ranch dressing
What To Serve With Fried Cod
As with any fried food, fried fish is best when eaten straight away. This is why it’s most often served with other fried foods, like fried potatoes (chips) or onion rings.
A creative and tasty way to serve your fried cod is to use it as meat for fish tacos! You can also bits of fried cod to your salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section will cover some of the more frequently asked questions about deep-frying fish at home.
How Do I Store & Reheat My Fried Fish?
You can store leftover batter for a few days in the refrigerator. However, keep in mind that it will slowly lose carbonation, so you may need to add more beer and flour before frying.
You can store the fried fish in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. After that, you can freeze your fried fish for 2-3 months in an airtight, freezer-safe bag.
Reheat the fried fish in an air fryer at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or in your traditional oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Don’t use a microwave, as this results in a rubbery, soggy crust.
Can You Eat Beer Battered Cod When Pregnant?
Yes, you can eat fried fish when pregnant. The heat of the oil kills any bacteria and also cooks off any alcohol in the beer batter.
Is Beer Battered Cod Halal?
Beer battered cod is not Halal because the batter is made with beer. Even though all alcohol evaporates when you fry the fish, some consider it too close to “violating divine limits.” You can read various opinions here.
Can You Make Beer Battered Cod in an Air Fryer?
No, you cannot put freshly battered fish in an air fryer. This is a recipe for disaster. But you can reheat leftover fried fish in an air fryer for 3-4 minutes at 350 degrees.
Can I Deep Fry Cod in a Cast Iron Skillet?
Yes, you can deep fry cod in a cast-iron skillet. While I prefer to use a Le Creuset dutch oven, you can deep fry fish with any deep-set cookware.
Use a deep cast-iron skillet, like this one, from Lodge. Lodge skillets come pre-seasoned and are an overall great brand. This skillet has room for 2-3 inches of oil and space for safe oil expansion.
If you don’t have any cookware deep enough to fully fry your fish, you can pan-fry it instead. Check out my Pan-Fried Rockfish Recipe to learn how.
How to Make:
Properly prepared fried fish is airy and greaseless. It’s all about frying at the right temperature for the right amount of time.
Step 1: Begin by thawing your cod fillets if frozen. Pat them dry with a paper towel. If you have large fillets, cut them into 3″ x 1/2″ portions.
Step 2: Next, pour 2″-3″ of canola oil into your dutch oven or other deep cookware—heat oil to 375°F over medium-high heat. It takes 10-15 minutes to reach the proper temperature. Periodically check oil temp with a thermometer.
Step 3: Add 1/4 cup of rice flour to a small bowl. Evenly coat both sides of the cod fillets in the rice flour and set them aside (on a plate or baking sheet).
Step 4: In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients for your batter: rice flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. Add other spices like garlic powder and paprika at this stage if you’d like.
Step 5: Next, whisk in the ice-cold beer. Mix the batter until it resembles pancake batter. Lumps are okay. Don’t overwhisk. If you’ve got thick batter, thin it out by adding beer in 1 tablespoon increments.
Step 6: Dredge a fish fillet in the batter. Let any excess batter drip off. Lower the fish fillet carefully into the hot oil. Fry fish for 3 minutes on one side and then flip and fry for another 3 minutes.
Note: For the best results, don’t cook too many pieces at once. It’s important to leave room for the fish to cook evenly.
Step 7: Set the fried fish fillets on paper towels or a wire rack to drain and crisp up. Tada! You’ve done it. Bon Appetit!
Beer Battered Cod
- 2 lbs cod fillets
- ¼ cup rice flour
- 38 ounces canola oil (5 cups) (Sub peanut oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil)
Garnish & Serving
- tartar sauce
- malt vinegar
- lemon wedges
- Prepare Fish: Thaw your cod fillets if frozen. Pat them dry with a paper towel. If you have large fillets, cut them into 3″ x 1/2″ portions.
- Heat Oil: Next, pour 2″-3″ of canola oil into your dutch oven or other deep cookware—heat oil to 375°F over medium-high heat.
- Pre-Coat Fish: Add 1/4 cup of rice flour to a small bowl. Evenly coat both sides of the cod fillets in the rice flour and set them aside.
- Combine the dry ingredients for your batter using a whisk: rice flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. You can add other spices like garlic powder and paprika at this stage.
- Add Beer: Next, whisk in the ice-cold beer. Mix the batter until it resembles pancake batter. Lumps are okay.
- Dredge & Fry: Dredge a fish fillet in the batter. Let any excess batter drip off. Lower the fish fillet carefully into the hot oil. Fry for 3 minutes on one side and then flip and fry for another 3 minutes.
- Drain: Set the fried fish fillets on paper towels or a wire rack to drain and crisp up. Tada! You've done it. Bon Appetit!
Your Own Notes
The Golden Lamb provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.Love it? Pin it! Share on Facebook
French Fries (chips): You might notice the lack of instructions for making french fries. I prefer the convenience of using my air fryer to make my french fries. And I can make them at the same time I fry my fish.
I hope it was an easy recipe for you to follow! Please leave me feedback and let me know if you think this is the best recipe for fried Cod!
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