Ultra-crispy, light beer batter, super tender fish plus soft brioche buns make the most wonderful mini fish sliders, perfect for parties. Add zesty tartare sauce and crunchy lettuce for the perfect bite that’s easier to make than you’d think.
Finding the perfect spot on a beautiful sandy beach, ready to rip into a hot, newspaper-wrapped package filled with incredibly crispy, light, fluffy beer-battered fish is a quintessential childhood memory for me. Growing up in New Zealand, fish and chips are an undisputed summer classic. These little bite-sized beer-battered fish sliders are my twist on that classic, and one of my favourite snacks to make for parties.
Think of these as a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish taken up several notches. Soft brioche buns, super zesty tartare sauce, fresh lettuce and scallions plus that beautiful fish make a wonderful party bite that’s surprisingly quick to pull together.
There are three important things to keep in mind when making this recipe:
- You need your batter to be ICE COLD. That means the beer you use needs to be refrigerated for at least a couple of hours before you use it. If you can, pop your bowl with your dry ingredients into the fridge too. Cold batter + hot oil = super crispy fried fish pieces.
- Only mix the beer into the batter RIGHT before you’re ready to cook the fish. The longer the mixed batter sits out, the more aeration and carbonation you’ll lose, and the more the gluten in the flour will develop. Less aeration + more gluten = thick, claggy batter.
- Monitor the temperature of your oil. This is when a thermometer comes in handy. I just use a cheap one from Amazon (similar to this thermometer) and honestly, it’s one of my most-used tools. You want your oil to be at 180C/360F – if it drops below this, it’s important to get it back up to temperature quickly so that your batter doesn’t go soggy. This is also why you need to be careful not to crowd your pot – the more cold things you add to it, the colder it gets.
There’s nothing that’s hard to find in this ingredient list – but there are some key points you need to be aware of.
- Fish. Any firm, white fish fillets will do here – cod, hake, basa, snapper, tarakihi or hoki are all great choices.
- Beer. I’m using a light lager – anything light will work well here. It’s important it’s ICE COLD – this will help to create a lovely crispy, airy batter. For an alcohol-free version, use soda water.
- Baking powder. This, along with the yeast and carbonation present in the beer, is what’s going to make our batter SUPER crispy and light, so don’t skip it.
- Oil. For deep-frying, it’s important to use an oil with a high smoke point (so not olive oil). Vegetable oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil or peanut oil are good options.
- Tartare sauce. This zesty, salty, creamy, super savoury sauce is a classic to pair with fish. I love to make my own quick tartare sauce, but you could just use your favourite store-bought one if you like.
- Ground turmeric and paprika. I like to use these spices in the batter for subtle colour and flavour, but you can leave them out if you can’t find them.
How to make them
Pat dry and season your fish with a little salt, then mix the flour, baking powder, paprika, ground turmeric and salt in a large bowl. Prep all your slider fillings and heat your oil in a large pot.
Only add your ice-cold beer to the batter mix once your oil is at 180C/360F (use a thermometer OR hold the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick upright in the oil – if lots of bubbles form around it, it’s good to go). This is because you want to make sure the batter is as aerated – and cold – as possible when you fry the fish. A cold batter hitting hot oil will ‘shock’ it and make it as crispy as possible. Whisk the beer through the flour mix for just a couple of seconds – 5 max. If you mix the batter too much, you’ll lose the aeration and the gluten in the flour will start to develop, resulting in a thick, claggy batter.
Dip your fish into the batter, then slowly and carefully lower it into the hot oil. My biggest tip for making sure your batter doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot is to hold the fish in the oil for about 10 seconds so the batter can puff up – after this, you can release the fish right into the oil. Use tongs to do this if you’re nervous about frying.
PRO TIP: The batter will puff up and basically double in size after frying, so be careful you don’t cut your fish TOO large or you’ll end up with super-sized fried fish pieces (though honestly, that wouldn’t be the end of the world!)
Fry the fish pieces for a couple of minutes, until golden and super crispy. Depending on the size of your pot, you can probably do around 4 pieces at a time. Try not to crowd your pot because this can cause the temperature of the oil to lower and result in a soggy, soft batter.
Transfer the fried fish to a wire rack to drain, and sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt. Then all you have to do is assemble your sliders, and you’re good to go!
Got a question?
Any light lager or ale is the best beer to use – stay away from dark, strong-flavoured beers because they’ll mess with the flavour and colour of the batter.
There could be a couple of reasons – with any deep-frying, it’s important to make sure your oil is staying at the right temperature. If it’s too cold, the batter will turn out soggy, but if it’s too hot, it can burn the outside. This is when I HIGHLY recommend a thermometer so you can easily monitor it. I use a cheap probe thermometer from Amazon, which I also use for cooking meat and it’s one of my most used kitchen tools.
Crowding your pot can also result in soggy batter, and this again is because adding anything to oil will lower the temperature, so adding too much can drop it too far. So fry in batches and keep checking on your temperature for the best results.
Three potato sides to serve with the sliders
Fish and chips is a classic pairing so if you’re looking for a potato side to serve with the sliders, these three are all fab options.
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If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print