Crispy Beer-Battered Fish

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  • Difficulty 4
  • Prep Time 40 mins
  • Cook Time 20 mins
  • Serves 3 to 6
  • Difficulty 4
  • Prep Time 40 mins
  • Cook Time 20 mins
  • Serves 3 to 6
A pub must-eat, golden fried fish isn’t hard to make at home. The keys to our yummy version are an ice-cold pilsner (naturally) and a mix of all-purpose flour and cornstarch. This ensures a super-crispy coating and tender, flaky fish. A quick-and-easy homemade lemon-caper mayo subs in for tartar sauce and adds just the right amount of tang. If you don’t have time to make the sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice is also a tasty topper.

Ingredients for the Lemon-Caper Mayo

  • 1 cup (250 mL) mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) drained capers, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) caper brine from jar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Ingredients for the Fish

  • 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) salt (approx), divided
  • 1-1/4 cups (310 mL) cold pilsner beer
  • 1 egg
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 680 g skinless white fish fillets, such as cod or haddock
  • Lemon wedges

Directions for the Lemon-Caper Mayo

  1. 1. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, capers, caper brine, lemon juice and salt until blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Directions for the Fish

  1. 1. Set a large wire rack over a baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch and 1 tsp (5 mL) salt. Whisk in beer and egg until no lumps remain, about 10 seconds. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. 3. In a high-sided 12-inch skillet or a large, deep saucepan, heat about 1 inch oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°F. Meanwhile, cut fish into 6 pieces (about 115 g each). Pat each piece dry with a paper towel and set aside on a plate.
  4. 4. Once oil reaches temperature, quickly dip fish into batter, 1 piece at a time, shaking off excess (see tips). Working in batches of no more than 3 pieces, gently lay battered fish in hot oil in pan, being careful not to splash. Fry fish until deep golden brown on bottom, 3-1/2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip fish and fry until deep golden brown all over, 3-1/2 to 4 minutes more. (Note: Adjust heat as needed to ensure oil doesn’t dip below 350°F.)
  5. 5. Using tongs, immediately transfer fried fish to prepared wire rack and let drain. Season with 1/8 to 1/4 tsp (0.5 to 1 mL) salt.
  6. 6. Reheat oil to 375°F, about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter, fish and salt.
  7. 7. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and lemon-caper mayo.


  • When you’re deep-frying, maintaining the right temperature is the key to getting crispy (not soggy or oily) results. A deep-fry thermometer is the most dependable way of keeping an eye on the heat level.
  • Doing a quick dip and shaking off any excess batter will give you the crispiest crust on the fish. This is the perfect amount of batter for 680 g of fish, but you can easily double everything for a bigger batch.
  • Slather any leftover lemon-caper mayo on sandwiches or dollop on roasted root vegetables and potatoes.

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  1. Brian Maher says:
    Print versions

    Very good recipe. Really appreciate the cooking advice in the ‘TIPS” section.
    The “print” version is a bit difficult to read with the info about “cookies” superimposed on the recipe.