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The BEST Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Jul 24, 2023 | 0 comments

You need just a handful of everyday ingredients to make shatteringly crispy beer-battered fish and chips that rival your favourite takeaway. Plus, I’m sharing my tricks for foolproof deep-frying at home. Serve with tartare (or tomato) sauce and lots of lemon wedges.

Beer battered fish fillet with a pile of chips and a small pot of tartar sauce in baking paper lined plate.

A Kiwi summer isn’t a Kiwi summer without ripping into a package of fish and chips on the beach. That gorgeously golden, ultra-crispy beer batter encasing perfectly cooked, flaky and buttery fresh fish is incredible enough alone, but paired with crispy, crunchy chips? This really is the ultimate, nostalgic comfort food.

But you can enjoy this beautiful meal at any time of year, and it’s surprisingly simple to make it at home. It’s also very quick – fish cooks fast so the longest part of this recipe is waiting for the chips to bake.

And if you’re nervous about deep-frying, I’m sharing the top tips and tricks I’ve learned after a LOT of deep frying at home to help you along the way.


All you need are a collection of simple, everyday ingredients to make the best fish and chips around.

  • Potatoes. You want to use a floury potato variety, rather than anything too waxy. I like Agria, Maris piper or Yukon gold.
  • Polenta. This is the secret little ingredient I use to help create that lovely crispy coating on chips. It’s the same technique I use in these SUPER easy roast potatoes that you don’t have to peel. You could use flour or almond flour if you don’t have polenta.
  • White fish fillets. Firm white fish fillets are best here – cod, hake, snapper, tarakihi, haddock, hoki or tilapia are good options.
  • Beer. Go for a light lager, anything too dark will impact the flavour of the batter.
  • Paprika and ground turmeric. I love to use these two spices for extra flavour (and colour!) in the batter, but you could leave them out if you like.
  • Oil. You want to use an oil with a high smoke point for deep-frying. That means sunflower oil, rapeseed oil or avocado oil, and not olive oil.

Two tricks for nailing deep frying at home

Deep frying at home can feel a little scary, but I promise it’s not as complicated as you think. These two tricks are key to making sure you get the best, crispiest result.

  • Monitor the temperature of your oil. It’s SUPER important for your oil to be at the right temperature when you add your fish (or whatever you’re frying). Too hot, and the batter will burn before the inside cooks and too cold, you’ll end up with a sad, soggy piece of fish.
    • This is especially important in this recipe which relies on the shock of the ice-cold batter hitting hot oil to immediately crisp up the batter. Your oil should be at 180C/356F before you add your fish. The easiest way to monitor this is with a probe thermometer. You can find them pretty cheaply on Amazon and I really do recommend it.
    • If you don’t have a thermometer, use the chopstick test. Hold a chopstick (or a wooden spoon) upright in the hot oil. If the oil bubbles up rapidly around the oil, it’s good to go. If it doesn’t, it’s too cold and needs more heat.
  • Don’t overcrowd your pot. This is also related to the temperature of your oil. If you add too many pieces of fish to your pot at once, the temperature of your oil will drop rapidly and you’ll end up with soggy fish. I recommend just frying one piece by itself first, so you can get the hang of it.

How to make it

Chop your potatoes into chunky chips, then pop them into a large pot and cover with cold water and some salt. Bring to a boil for about 4 minutes, then drain the potatoes and toss with the polenta. Arrange on an oven tray that’s been heating in the oven with your oil, then bake for 35 minutes, until super golden and crispy all over.

When your chips have about 10 minutes left of cooking time, start the fish. Heat your oil in a large pot to 180C/356C. Mix your flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl and pat your fish fillets dry. When your oil is at 180C/356F, pour in your ice-cold beer and whisk into a thick batter.

Dip a piece of fish into the batter, coating both sides. To prevent the fish from sticking to the bottom of the pan, slowly and CAREFULLY lower the battered fish into the oil., holding one end while the part in the batter puffs up. At this point, release the fish into the oil completely. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until the batter is super golden and crispy.

Transfer to a wire rack and scatter with flaky sea salt, then repeat with the other fillets. Serve up with the chips, tartare sauce, tomato sauce (ketchup) and lots of lemon wedges on the side.

Got a question?

Can I make fish and chips ahead of time?

This really is a recipe that needs to be eaten right away – the fish won’t reheat well and you’ll lose the crispiness of the batter. However, there are ways you can get ahead so that the actual cooking is easier. For the chips, you can par-boil the potatoes and toss them in polenta up to 24 hours before you want to cook them (just pop them into the fridge). You can mix the dry ingredients for your batter ahead of time, then mix through the beer when you’re ready to fry.

Is there an alternative to beer?

You could use ice-cold soda water instead of beer for an alcohol-free version.

What else could I serve with the fish and chips?

In my book tartare sauce, tomato sauce (ketchup) and lots of fresh lemon wedges are non-negotiables, but you can bulk out the meal with fresh salads – I like something crunchy and fresh like an Asian slaw, shaved zucchini salad or smacked cucumber salad. Soft garlic butter dinner rolls or no-knead focaccia are also great options, served with roasted garlic butter or wild garlic butter on the side.

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Beer battered fish fillet with a pile of chips and a small pot of tartar sauce in baking paper lined plate.

The BEST Beer Battered Fish and Chips


You need just a handful of everyday ingredients to make shatteringly crispy beer-battered fish and chips to rival your favourite takeaway. Plus, I’m sharing my tricks for foolproof deep-frying at home. Serve with tartare (or tomato) sauce and lots of lemon wedges.



For the chips – 

  • 1kg/2lb potatoes (Agria, Maris piper, Yukon gold or another roasting potato)
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon polenta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon flaky salt

For the beer-battered fish –

  • 4 white fish fillets (cod, haddock, tilapia, hoki, hake, snapper, tarakihi are good options)
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 150ml (2/3 cup) ice-cold beer
  • Flaky sea salt

To serve – 


  1. Par-boil the potatoes. Heat your oven to 250C/480F, then add ¼ cup of olive oil to a large oven-safe dish or tray and pop it into the oven while you prep the potatoes. Chop your potatoes into thick chips (I cut them into quarters lengthways, then cut them into strips). Add them to a large pot with 2 teaspoons of salt and cover with cold water. Place over high heat, bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Drain them in a colander over the sink, then put them back into the dry pot. Scatter over 1 tablespoon of polenta and give the pot a good shake to coat the chips. 
  2. Cook the chips. Once the oil has been heating for at least 15 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and carefully pour the chips into the tray. Toss the chips with 1 teaspoon of salt, then cook for 35 minutes, turning the chips a couple of times throughout cooking. 
  3. Prepare the fish and batter, then heat the oil. While the chips are cooking, remove the fish from the fridge and use a paper towel to pat the fillets dry. Add 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric to a large mixing bowl. When the chips have 15 minutes left of cooking time, pour your neutral oil into a large high-sided saucepan (the oil should come about 1/3 of the way up the side of the pot), then pop over high heat. Set a wire rack over an oven tray, to drain your fish on once cooked.
  4. Check your oil and finish the batter. Once the oil hits 180C/360F, it’s ready for you to start frying. I HIGHLY recommend using a thermometer to measure this for the best accuracy, but you can do the chopstick test if you don’t have one. Hold a chopstick (or the handle of a wooden spoon) upright in your pot of oil. If the oil vigorously bubbles up around it, it’s good to go. At this point, pour 2/3 cup of ice-cold beer into your mixing bowl and whisk to form a thick batter. 
  5. Fry the fish. Dunk a piece of fish in the batter, coating both sides, then carefully lower into the hot oil. I find the best way to do this is SLOWLY – hold one end of the fish as the other end goes into the oil and hold it there for about 5 seconds, then release it. This will help the batter shock and start setting, so it won’t stick to the side or bottom of the pot. Depending on the size of your pot, you can probably fry 2 pieces at once, but you don’t want to crowd the pot – this lowers the oil temperature and will give you soggy batter. Fry the fish for about 3 minutes on each side, until puffy and deep golden. Carefully remove the fish with a spatula or fish slice and place it on your prepared wire rack. Scatter with the flaky salt.
  6. Garnish and serve. At this point, your chips should be looking golden and crispy on the outside. Remove them from the oven, then toss with 1 teaspoon of flaky salt. Pile the chips onto a serving platter, then top with the beer-battered fish. Serve with tomato sauce, tartare sauce and lots of lemon wedges on the side.


STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: Fish and chips is a recipe you need to eat right after cooking it. Over time the batter will start to go soggy. You can store any leftovers in the fridge (they’ll be fine for 2 days), but they’ll never be as crispy as they were after frying. The best way to reheat I’ve found, is on a wire rack in the oven for about 8 minutes at 150C/300F. The chips will be fine for about 4 days in the fridge, and you can reheat them in the microwave or in the oven for 10 minutes at 150C/300F.

INGREDIENT NOTES: If you want to make an alcohol-free version, use ice-cold soda water rather than beer. It’s best to use a light lager here – anything too dark will impact the flavour of the batter.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Tartare sauce, tomato sauce (ketchup) and lots of lemon wedges are imperative, but you could serve the fish and chips with a selection of fresh salads (this crunchy Asian slaw or smacked cucumber salad is great), and some quick, soft garlic butter dinner rolls.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Category: fakeaways
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: new zealand


  • Serving Size: 1 piece of fish

Keywords: fish and chips


I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.





This e-book includes my absolute favourite fakeaway recipes (popular takeaway dishes you can make at home!)

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