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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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, British
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 525kcal


For the tartar sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup dill pickles minced
  • 3 tablespoons onion minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice from 1/2 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
  • 1/4 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


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 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 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.



  • 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.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1149mg | Potassium: 1015mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg