This Beer Battered Cod tastes just like those on many Wisconsin Fish Fry menus but proves that no deep-fryer is required to feast! This easy fish recipe is coated in a beer batter that’s crunchy, crispy, and remarkably light.

Beer battered cod, fries, tartar sauce and a lemon wedge on a plate.

This Wisconsin-style Beer Battered Cod can be made in a heavy-bottomed skillet or a deep fryer, and it will taste delicious either way.

Pair the quick-cooking fish with a homemade tartar sauce and you might just wonder why you ever stocked up on frozen fish sticks.

Recipe ingredients

Beer battered cod ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Vegetable oil: Opt for a neutral oil with a higher smoke point, like peanut, canola, or vegetable oil.
  • Beer: The beer will cook off as you fry the fish, but you can use non-alcoholic beer or club soda in the batter instead.
  • Cod fillets: Frozen or fresh. If you can’t find cod, any white flaky fish such as walleye, hake, tilapia, perch, catfish or even shrimp will do. Look for fillets that are about 1-inch thick, as thicker ones will result in longer cook times.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. To make the tartar sauce, in a small bowl combine mayonnaise, pickles, onion, lemon juice, pickle juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate while frying the fish fillets so the flavors can meld.
Tartar sauce in a small clear portion cup.
  1. To create a warm holding area for the cooked fish, turn the oven on to 200 degrees and place a baking sheet with a wire rack inside it. Then line a dinner plate with a few layers of paper towels and place it next to the stove. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cumin, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Pour 1 inch of oil into a Dutch oven or sturdy-bottomed pot and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. As the oil heats, mix the beer into the flour and spices and whisk until smooth.
Mixing up beer batter for fish.
  1. When you’re ready to start frying, dredge the fish fillets one at a time in the batter. Let the excess batter drip back into the bowl and carefully lower the fillet into the hot oil.
Raw cod dipped in beer batter.
  1. Work in batches, cooking as many fillets as you can without crowding the pot. Gently keep the pieces moving in the oil so the fillets don’t stick to the bottom or to each other. Fry until the fish is golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. When cooked through, the inside of the fish should register 145 degrees.
Beer battered cod deep-fryer in a pot.
  1. Carefully take the cooked fish out of the oil and set on the paper plates to drain off extra oil, then move it into the warm oven while you finish frying the rest. Replenish the oil if the level falls noticeably below 1 inch of oil. Allow if to return to 375 degrees before adding more fish. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.
Beer battered cod on a baking sheet.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes enough batter for about 2 pounds of fish.
  • Storage: Store the batter in the refrigerator and use within 3 to 4 days.
  • Holding:  While frying in batches, keep the cooked fish in a low (200 degree) oven to keep it warm.
  • Oil temperature: Crowding the pan can cool the oil down, resulting in oil-saturated fish. Oil that isn’t in the target temperature means that the fish takes longer to cook, too. Don’t rush it; let the hot oil return to 375 between batches.
  • Thermometer: A trustworthy digital thermometer can keep you on track when frying, or cooking in general. The target temperature for frying fish is 375 degrees.
  • Keep warm: Use a wire rack fitted inside a baking sheet to keep the fish crispy in the oven as you fry additional batches.
  • Thaw completely: If using frozen fish, thaw it completely before battering.
  • Reheating: Leftover fried fish can be reheated in an air fryer or toaster oven at 325 degrees until heated through.
  • Air fryer: Unfortunately this recipe won’t work in an air fryer because it’s a wet batter. We tested it and 0/10 do not recommend.

Delicious side dishes

Beer battered cod, fries, tartar sauce and a lemon wedge on a plate.

Beer Battered Cod

This Beer Battered Cod tastes just like those on many Wisconsin Fish Fry menus but proves that no deep-fryer is required to feast! This easy fish recipe is coated in a beer batter that's crunchy, crispy, and remarkably light.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, British
Calories 525

Ingredients 

For the tartar sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup dill pickles minced
  • 3 tablespoons onion minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the beer battered cod:

  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable oil (see note 1)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup light beer (see note 2)
  • 2 pounds cod skinless, cut into 4 inch by 1 inch strips (see note 3)
  • lemon cut into wedges, for garnish

Instructions 

To make the tartar sauce:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, pickles, onion, lemon juice and dill pickle juice. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper). Cover and allow to chill for 20 to 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

To make the beer battered cod:

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Prepare a plate lined with paper towels as well as a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Pour the oil into a large Dutch oven until it is 1 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne. When the oil is almost ready, add the light beer to the flour mixture and gently whisk until smooth.
  • Using tongs, lift pieces of fish and dredge through batter, allowing any excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Add the fish to the hot oil, gently swimming the fish to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom or to any other pieces.
  • Fry until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit on a digital thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent pieces from sticking to one another.
  • Remove the fried fish from the oil and allow to drain briefly on paper towels. Transfer to the wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven to keep fried fish warm.
  • Allow the oil to return to 375 degrees and batter and fry the remaining fish. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Vegetable oil: Opt for a neutral oil with a higher smoke point, like peanut, canola, or vegetable oil.
  • Beer: The beer will cook off as you fry the fish, but you can use non-alcoholic beer or club soda in the batter instead.
  • Cod fillets: Frozen or fresh. If you can’t find cod, any white flaky fish such as walleye, hake, tilapia, perch, catfish or even shrimp will do. Look for fillets that are about 1-inch thick, as thicker ones will result in longer cook times.
  • Yield: This recipe makes enough batter for about 2 pounds of fish.
  • Storage: Store the batter in the refrigerator and use within 3 to 4 days.
  • Holding:  While frying in batches, keep the cooked fish in a low (200 degree) oven to keep it warm.
  • Oil temperature: Crowding the pan can cool the oil down, resulting in oil-saturated fish. Oil that isn’t in the target temperature means that the fish takes longer to cook, too. Don’t rush it; let the hot oil return to 375 between batches.
  • Thermometer: A trustworthy digital thermometer can keep you on track when frying, or cooking in general. The target temperature for frying fish is 375 degrees.
  • Keep warm: Use a wire rack fitted inside a baking sheet to keep the fish crispy in the oven as you fry additional batches.
  • No beer: The beer will cook off as you fry the fish, but you can use non-alcoholic beer or club soda in the batter instead.
  • Thaw completely: If using frozen fish, thaw it completely before battering.
  • Reheating: Leftover fried fish can be reheated in an air fryer or toaster oven at 325 degrees until heated through.
  • Air fryer: Unfortunately this recipe won’t work in an air fryer because it’s a wet batter. We tested it and 0/10 do not recommend.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 525kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 44gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 1149mgPotassium: 1015mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 205IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 3mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!
Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Tasty! We just made this. Got a hold of fresh cod in Arizona and we can’t find a good Fish & Chips place to save our lives, so we made our own tonight. 3 pounds of fresh caught Candian cod. Sweet dinner so delish!

    Easy, too. Get your oil temp correct. It really matters. Thanks for this!5 stars

    1. Hi Annie, the cumin gives the breading some great flavor along with the cayenne, salt, and pepper. I hope you enjoy it! – Meggan

  2. Great recipe. I do one more step with frozen cod. Since it’s so wet from freezing/thawing, I first pat it dry, drag it thru some flour or cornstarch, shake off excess then into the batter. It helps the batter to adhere to the previously frozen cod better. Fresh cod doesn’t have this issue. But the initial breading is beneficial.5 stars