Beer Battered Cod

Battered cod always reminds me of two things: (1) Lenten fish fries; and (2) my Grandma. I went to Catholic school growing up and like just about every other Catholic church, during Lent ours held a fish fry every Friday. Most parents volunteered, and my parents were among them. In grade school us kids would mill about, running around and playing in the gym, while our parents spent their Friday evenings making and serving food. And without fail, we would all return home smelling like fried fish. My Grandma absolutely adored battered cod sandwiches (which I could never understand as a kid – my seafood palate didn’t extend beyond fish sticks, which for some reason I loved). Anytime we went out to eat somewhere like Eat n’ Park or Kings (local chains), she always ordered a fried cod sandwich. Needless to say, it was her menu item of choice when it came to ordering from the local fish fry and will always remind me of her. Over last couple of years, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I have enjoyed some beer battered seafood while eating both locally and at the beach. I thought that Lent would be the perfect time to try my hand at it at home, so I bought a gorgeous piece of cod and we set about battering and frying it on Ash Wednesday.

I was pleased with how relatively quick and easy it was to make – the longest part was waiting for the oil to heat up in the pot! The batter has a lot of flavor thanks to the beer and a generous amount of seasoning, which complements the fish really well. We ate our cod with tartar sauce and French fries, but I would also love to try it on a hoagie roll with pickles and tartar sauce to mimic that quintessential fish fry sandwich.

This is definitely filed away under “never thought it would be so easy to make this at home!” Just make sure you have some candles to light – your kitchen will smell like fried fish! For me, it’s worth it to be able to make things like this at home, especially after my mom volunteered at the church fish fry last year and came home with some horror stories about the bulk packaged psuedo-food that they were using; a vast difference to how they did things when she volunteered some 20 to 25 years ago when we were in grade school. Such a shame, but I’m thrilled to be able to do it on my own now!

Beer Battered Cod

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


2 quarts canola or vegetable oil
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ pounds 1-inch-thick cod filet, cut into eight 3-ounce pieces
1½ cups (12 ounces) beer, cold


1. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, cayenne, paprika, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl; transfer ¾ cup of mixture to a rimmed baking sheet. Add baking powder to the bowl and whisk to combine.

2. In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, thoroughly dry the fish with paper towels and dredge each piece in the flour mixture on the baking sheet; transfer the pieces to a wire rack, shaking off excess flour. Add 1¼ cups of beer to the flour mixture in the mixing bowl and stir until the mixture is just combined (the batter will be lumpy). Add the remaining beer as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition, until the batter falls from the whisk in a thin, steady stream and leaves a faint trail across the surface of the batter. Using tons, dip 1 piece of fish in the batter and let the excess run off, shaking gently. Place the battered fish back onto the baking sheet with the flour mixture and turn to coat both sides. Repeat with the remaining fish, keeping the pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet.

3. When the oil reaches 375 degrees, increase the heat to high and add the battered fish to the oil with tongs, gently shaking off any excess flour. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the fish to a thick paper bag or paper towels to drain. Serve with your favorite French fries.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

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54 Responses to “Beer Battered Cod”

  1. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on February 29, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Catholic schools, Lent, fish fries, school gymnasiums and fold-up tables, and homemade desserts brought in by the women of the parish, yep, that would be my childhood!


  2. Angela on February 29, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Yum!! One of my most favorite comfort foods is this! Reminds me of my Grandma, she was British and this was one of her favorite meals. Each time I eat fish and “chips” I think of her, and can’t wait to make this one to share with my kids. Thank you Michelle for the great recipe- and photos to make me want to make these now! :)


  3. CouponClippingCook on February 29, 2012 at 1:22 am

    I am so wanting some of these right now! These look so much better than the frozen fish sticks I had when I was a kid!


  4. Blog is the New Black on February 29, 2012 at 5:24 am

    I have to make this for my fiance!


  5. Kiri W. on February 29, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Mmm, now this looks like the perfect comfort food dinner :) Very nice, I love beer battering!


  6. Dana C. on February 29, 2012 at 7:41 am

    This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe!


  7. Erin @ Brownie Bites on February 29, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Battered cod stirs up memories of school room lunches and my friends and I giggling over the fact that the menu actually said “cod nuggets”.


  8. Lauren on February 29, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Yum! I’m doing at least one fish recipe per week inspired by Lent. This looks great and I actually have cod on hand. I may just try it! Thanks for posting. Buzzed you!


  9. Lauren on February 29, 2012 at 8:38 am

    ps. I just looked at it again and my mouth watered and my stomach grumbled! haha


  10. Eric @ Happy Valley Chow on February 29, 2012 at 8:46 am

    That looks delicious! My Dad and I used to drive up to Gloucester, MA every summer to go deep sea fishing for Cod and always did a beer batter for them, sooo good! Going to have to try these. You’ll have to try my Buffalo Nuggets, especially if you like to deep fry! (


  11. Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen on February 29, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I was so excited to see this! I grew up on fish fries too. Did you know there are some places in America where they have no idea what that is?! Its a shame. When I moved to one of those places I had to learn how to make it myself. So delicious!


  12. bungon on February 29, 2012 at 9:58 am

    look so good!! I love fish so much,thanks for your good recipe…


  13. Nina on February 29, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I used to get fried fish with my grandmother when I was little in Germany. It is such a distinct memory. The fish shop is still there too and it hasn’t changed a bit! My hubby would love this, I will have to try it!


  14. Kate on February 29, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Ah, the memories of Lenten Fridays in Catholic school! Our choices, if we didn’t bring lunch, were Long John Silver’s 2 piece fish basket, or Little Caesar’s cheese pizza. Of course, we were a very tiny community – my 5th and 6th grade years were spent in the same classroom, since there were only about 15 of us, total. :) Thanks for posting!


  15. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on February 29, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I love fish fry, but as a kid I was like you and only stick to fish chips. Being from the eat coast fish fry Friday was a huge deal. We have alot of catholics in Buffalo. In California you realry see fish frys, which is kind of sad!


  16. Mireia on February 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

    This looks fantastic, I can totally see why it would remind you of your grandma :)


  17. Jamie on February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Thanks for posting this, looks so good. I have always wanted to try fried fish at home!


  18. Lauren on February 29, 2012 at 10:31 am

    To say that I am in love with beer batter would be a complete understatement! Need to make this immediately!! I can never find fish that’s fresh enough though! Bummer! I’m going to be craving this all day…


  19. Stephanie on February 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

    My mouth is salivating just by looking at the screen. Looks so tasty!


  20. Jen of My Tiny Oven on February 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

    You can never go wrong with fish and chips! YUM!


  21. Sue/the view from great island on February 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I’m so glad you posted this…I made beer battered cod recently but didn’t post it because my batter didn’t stick to the fish very well and it was all a big mess. I will try your method of flouring the fish after the batter. I love this with English Malt Vinegar drizzled all over it!


  22. RavieNomNoms on February 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I love beer battered anything! Looks great!


  23. Tracy on February 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Growing up, we used to go to the Catholic church’s fish fry every Friday during Lent as well, and I just loved their fish sandwiches. I haven’t really been able to find another place that comes to close to the ones they made…I’m definitely going to try your recipe!


  24. modernworkinggirl on February 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    When i moved to England I thought the fish and chips were going to be to die for…sadly, that has yet to be proven! But these on the other hand look amazing.


  25. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on February 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    My husband and 6 year old LOVE fish and chips. Cod is my sons favorite fish too ! These look absolutely perfect!


  26. Shannon @ sweetlessons on February 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Love this recipe! Looks DELICIOUS!


  27. Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt on February 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I love fish and chips, that’s a favorite of mine


  28. Bryan & YiRan on February 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    So good – and no veggies! :) My fave


  29. Villy @ For the love of Feeding on February 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I love beer batter! We actually use it in Greece to cook slices of zucchini, aubergines, cod, squid etc. It tastes awesome!


  30. Amy on February 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Your crust looks perfect! I’ve always been hesitant in preparing my own fish and chips for fear that it would never turn out like my favorite bar grub. Thanks for the recipe!


  31. Kathryn on March 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Great recipe. My church has the best fish fry I’ve ever tasted – so I’ll have to save this recipe for after Lent when I go into fish fry withdrawal!


  32. JeniJ on March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Would a non-alcoholic beer work just as well for this type of batter?


    • HB on September 6th, 2012 at 10:25 am

      I know it’s probably for a religious reason but if you make beer batter, any alcohol from the beer will fry off once you put it in there so I wouldn’t be too worried about it. But like I said you are probably asking for a religious reason so I don’t think you could use regular beer even then.


  33. Hair clip accessories on March 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Yummy!!! I love fish and chips!!


  34. Bob on March 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Why do people comment on things they have not tried. When I look for comments, I want to read how people liked it – not “oh this looks good……..”


    • tash on March 24th, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Know exactly how you feel! Just tried it though – turned out lovely. Batter stayed crisp even though I eat very slowly, and it carried lemon juice squeezed onto it excellently (light, sharp, not soggy). I had it with mushy peas, which was nice.


  35. morri on April 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    We made it for our Saturday dinner. The fish tasted very good, it was tasty even after it got cold, which is uncommon for fried fish. No taste of beer in the batter, but the spicyness was there all right. I fried it the “traditional way”, in a 4mm layer of olive oil, instead of deep frying (I thought the dish would be healthier that way). Maybe that’s why the batter didn’t really have a chance to puff up much, even with the baking powder? I think I’ll try deep frying it next time and see what happens.

    My basic observation about preparation, though? There just wasn’t enough dry mixture to cover all the fish bits twice! I reserved 3/4 of a cup and I ended up having to make another batch! Maybe it’s because I cut the fish into slightly smaller pieces, and I had a lot of very small “leftover bits”, so I need more flour to cover them all. Also: a lot of the dry mixture mixed with the batter I had on my hands, forming hard clumps of sticky goo which I had to scrape off and throw away (I tried frying those bits with the fish, but they weren’t that tasty).


    • HB on September 6th, 2012 at 11:06 am

      It definitely needs to be fully submerged and deep fried in canola or vegetable oil to get that “puffed up” look. The puff is from gases trying to escape as the fish fries but you don’t get the same effect with only pan frying. Hope this helps!


  36. Steph @ Lick My Spoon on August 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Mmm looks so tasty! Great tip on the cornstarch.
    I’m featuring this on my High-Five Fridays! thanks for the inspiration :)


  37. hyenapaw on January 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    We just made this and it turned out incredible. Crispy, perfectly textured, and paired so well with a fresh home made tartar sauce with lots of lemon. Thanks for the excellent recipe.


  38. Alysha on January 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you For the great recipe! It was the best fish I have ever made. It came out perfect and I will make this many many more times.


  39. Amy Wojenski on February 20, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    This was amazing we had it tonight, however I ran out of dry batter and had plenty of the beer batter left. We had this with sweet potato fries and a tomato, mozzarella, cucumber salad it was divine.


  40. Heather on April 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Just made this – delicious. Thanks so much for sharing.


  41. matt on May 9, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Thanks for the recipe and tips. I addd it to my site with some minor tweaks. Great stuff.


  42. Mark Lupus on August 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Made the cod the other night with this recipe – absolutely delicious. I wonder if the batter will work as well on shrimp? Going to try it tonight so let’s hope so!


  43. Chelsy on September 21, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Just made this tonight. Absolutely perfect! So good. A very nice crispy batter and nice moist fish. I added lemon pepper and a little dill to the batter. Lovely :) I will definitely make this again!


  44. Jeanne LaSelva on February 13, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Of course another favorite! Just made this tonight. It’s was my first try with beer battered fish. We loved it! So moist and delicious! It will be my go to recipe for battered fried fish for now on! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!


  45. Lou Ann on March 7, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Tried it tonight. It was excellent!


  46. Charlie on March 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    My wife made this for dinner last night it was great


  47. Tracy on April 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    My husband made this tonight using our turkey fryer. I couldn’t stop eating, it was SO good! Will definitely be makiing this again!!! (Used Killian’s Irish Stout)


  48. Cheska on June 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    I so rarely post comments on recipes, but I stumbled upon this one last night as I was looking for a recipe for some cod I had in the fridge, and it was fantastic! My body can’t process gluten, so I subbed gluten-free flour and beer for this, and I swear no one would have known. It was so good! We put about 3 inches of oil in our dutch oven, and that was enough to “deep fry” all the fish pieces. The leftovers stayed crispy today when I warmed them up in the oven, and tasted great the second time around on toasted bread with spicy mayo and lettuce, “poboy” style. Thank you for sharing!


  49. Rick on March 14, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    I made this last night at home (in Austin, TX) with fresh-caught cod (from off Iceland) bought at Whole Foods. It was wonderful, looked just like your photo, and tasted great. I used our local Firemans #4 beer. I used a Le Creuset round Dutch oven with a mixture of canola and olive oil about 2.5 inches deep. That was enough to get the “puffed up” effect mentioned above but I could only fry 1 or 2 pieces at a time. Another old man told me the best way to reheat left-over fried fish was to use a non-stick frying pan with a tight lid. Heat it up, put the fish in, and let it sit at medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, then turn it and wait again. There’s enough oil left in the breading to make it crispy again.

    I was glad I made it myself, but probably in the future I’ll stick to fish & chips at one of our local Irish-ish pubs here in town. It tasted great, but there’s a fair bit of cleanup involved, and you’re right–it still smells like a fishfry in my house.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.


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