Beer-battered fish and chips

By J. Scott Wilson
I, LoopZilla via Wikimedia Commons

Fish and chips is a pub favorite, and in Great Britain it was traditionally served in a cone of newspaper or butcher paper.  It doesn't really matter how you serve it ... just be ready to enjoy!  Note: While Guinness or some other dark British beer is usually used, you can use your favorite. In the U.S., a lighter beer is usually used. Different beers give different flavors! I recommend steering clear of very bitter beers, though.


4 haddock or cod fillets

3 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut into thick chips

2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 tsp. baking powder

1 bottle beer (traditionally Guinness, but use your favorite)

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil for frying


Put chipped potatoes into a large bowl of cold water.  Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in another bowl.  Add beer slowly until you have a thick batter. Add lemon juice (malt vinegar may be substituted for true believers). Allow chips and batter to stand for 30 minutes.

Heat oil to 325 degrees F.  Fry chips, a few at a time, for about 3 minutes. Pull them out before they start to brown and set aside on a rack over paper towels to drain. 

Increase oil heat to 350 degrees.  Put the remaining 1/2 cup of flour on a plate or shallow pan.  Dust fish fillets well with the loose flour (this will keep the batter from sliding off).  Dredge fillets in batter, coating throughly.  Put one fillet at a time in the oil, waiting until the batter is well set on one before adding another.  Pull fillets when golden brown, after 6-10 minutes.  Put on a rack over a sheet pan and keep warm in the oven.

Bring the oil up to 375 degrees, because it's time to finish the chips!  Fry them in small batches for 1-3 minutes until golden-brown perfection is reached.  Season them to taste as they come out of the oil.

Serve with tartar sauce, lemon, malt vinegar or the condiments of your choice. Just don't tell anyone if you use ketchup, OK?

What's your favorite version of fish and chips? Drop me a line at and let me know!

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