buttermilk beer batter fish

buttermilk beer batter fish

Before I tried deep frying at home it was a bit intimidating.  I’d had no problem when I used industrial fryers in commercial kitchens, but somehow they seemed far more safe.  At home all I could imagine was dropping a batter-laden piece of fish into the bubbly vat of oil only to have it spatter up onto my hands, face, eyes… yikes.

Thankfully that has never happened and I enjoy the process of deep frying just as much as eating it.  A lot of people use dutch ovens to fry but I’ve had great results with a large stainless steel stockpot.  I like the high walls, which does help diminish spattering and the temperature never gets away from me.

I made haddock today but any white fish that isn’t too delicate would be just fine.


  • about 1-1/2 pounds haddock, cod or halibut fillets
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon each s&p
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 bottle of beer
  • 1 egg
  • a few dashes Tabasco sauce
  • about 3 quarts peanut oil


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, s&p and allspice; continue whisking and add the buttermilk, beer, Tabasco and egg; set aside to allow flavors to meld
  • In a large stockpot fixed with a thermometer, pour in the peanut oil until it’s 3 or 4 inches deep; with heat on highest setting, heat oil to 365F
  • Cut fillets into about 4-ounce portions; pat dry with a paper towel
  • Going in batches of two or three at a time, coat fillets in the batter then allow excess to drip off; slowly add each fillet to oil by dipping an end into the oil, waiting a few seconds, then gently laying the fillet down
  • Keep an eye on temperature, regulating flame up or down as needed
  • After about 3 minutes, when the fish is a deep golden brown, they’re ready to come out
  • Use a spider or skimmer to gently lift fillets out of oil and onto a rack with paper towel beneath; don’t set directly on a flat surface or the underside will get mushy
  • Continue this process in batches, keeping oil temperature constant and placing completed fillets in a warm oven if desired

fried fishAt this point you could fry up some potato wedges or, if there’s leftover batter, some onion rings.

I reuse frying oil a few times before discarding by straining it through a fine sieve then transferring to a bottle that’s labeled with the date and how many times used.

For the beer I went with a dark lager; a rich pale ale works good, too.  There was a Guinness in the back of the fridge but I decided that would be nicer in a glass…

Whip up a quick bowl of tartar sauce by combining mayonnaise with sweet pickle relish and you’re all set!

13 comments on “buttermilk beer batter fish

  1. Stephanie says:

    I love the use of allspice in this!

  2. The nutmeg would be a nice touch, never thought to add it to a coating batter before. I’ll try it. In my opinon beer batter is the only way to fry fish. Sounds like I need to invest in a thermometer that can be mounted on the side of the pot again.

    • hello and thanks so much for all of your ‘likes’

      there’s a certain flavor i try to capture that is basically allspice and other warming spices ~ i don’t think you can go wrong with the nutmeg and cinnamon… if i was really ambitious, maybe tossing in a bay leaf and letting it sit overnight…?

      the thermometer investment is worth it, ten bucks maybe and so handy

  3. the Jilb says:

    Tasty! I love beer batter fish!

  4. vle124 says:

    mmmm this looks delightful!

  5. Jerry Stolarski says:

    Looks absolutely appetizing. You’ve got my vote.

  6. I find its quite unique to roll myself in flower,drink beer and then go fishing

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