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Crispy Beer Battered Pacific Cod

This beer-battered cod is light and crispy on the outside, tender in the inside, and sure to please a crowd. Serve it alongside some homemade tartar sauce and coleslaw or with fresh fries and mashed peas for classic fish and chips. Don’t forget to serve with a little fresh lemon!

Recipe Variations

Pacific cod is ideal for frying due to its firm texture and mild flavor. Lingcod or pollock will also work in this recipe.

If you prefer not to cook with beer, use carbonated water instead. The bubbles are essential for achieving the light crispy texture.

Equipment

4-quart saucepan: Four quarts is the perfect size to give the cod pieces enough space to cook and makes sure the oil is deep enough for frying.

Candy thermometer: Candy thermometers are ideal for frying at home because they clip to the side of the pot to allow for constant temperature monitoring. They can be found for a few dollars in most kitchen departments.

Cooling rack lined baking sheet: Using a cooling rack that fits nicely in a rimmed baking sheet is an ideal place to allow the cod to cool without becoming soggy. If you do not have one, a paper towel-lined plate can be used.

Shallow bowls: Wide and shallow bowls are perfect for mixing the breading ingredients. A pie plate is also excellent for this.

Spider strainer: When you don’t have a fry basket at home, a spider is the perfect substitute. It is a large and shallow wire spoon ideal for scooping the cod out of the frying oil.

What you Need

Canola oil: Canola oil has a high smoke point and affordable price point making it ideal for frying.

Pacific cod: Wild for Salmon Pacific cod portions are perfect for this recipe. Thaw them overnight in the fridge and cut them into 1-inch strips.

White rice flour: White rice flour helps the batter stick to the fish and achieve an ultra-crispy crust.

All-purpose flour: Adding all-purpose flour gives the batter structure.

Paprika: Paprika helps to achieve the perfect golden brown color and lends a subtle flavor.

Garlic powder: Garlic powder adds a touch of flavor to the batter.

Baking Powder: A little baking powder acts as a leavening agent to achieve a crispy crust.

Light beer: Beer adds a light flavor and lots of bubbles to help create the crispy crust. Choose a light or amber beer and stay away from anything dark that will overpower the flavors. Make sure it is chilled before you start cooking.

How to Make the Dish

Set up the frying station. Start heating the frying oil and attach the candy thermometer to the pot. Place a cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set it directly next to the stove.

Mix the batter. Prepare the rice flour for dredging and whisk together the ingredients for the batter. Prepare the tartar sauce and set in the fridge to chill.

Fry the cod. Pat the cod dry, sprinkle on a little salt, and dip in the rice flour. Coat in the batter and carefully put in the hot oil, a few pieces at a time. Once cooked, use the spider strainer to transfer to the prepared cooling rack.

 

Extra Tips

Deep frying at home feels intimidating to some but it doesn’t have to be! Setting yourself up with the correct tools is the ultimate way to succeed. If you plan to deep fry often, or even just a few times, investing in a candy thermometer and spider strainer is highly recommended.

Keep a close eye on the oil temperature. You may have to adjust the heat up and down slightly as you are cooking. Ideally, the temperature will stay between 350-375 degrees F. When you put a new batch of fish in the oil the temperature will drop and slowly come back up. Make sure it recovers fully before frying the next round. If the oil is too hot the fish will burn, and if it is too cool it will soak up oil and become greasy and soggy.

Make sure the pan is not overcrowded. Each piece of fish needs a little space to fry so that it does not become soggy or stuck. Once you place each piece in the oil give it a little nudge with the spider to make sure it is not sticking to anything.

There is a little bit of a timing game involved in this recipe. Make sure the oil is close to optimal temperature before you add the beer to the batter mixture. The longer the beer sits in the batter and warms up, the bubbles will dissipate which will lead to a less crispy crust.

For the Cod:

  • 6 cups canola oil
  • 1.5 pounds Pacific cod, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 cup white rice flour, divided
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup light beer, chilled

For the Tartar Sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons very finely chopped dill pickle
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions 

  1. Add the oil to a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot and attach a candy thermometer to the side. Slowly heat the oil over medium-low heat until it reaches 365 degrees.
  1. While the oil is heating, prepare the cod and batter. Place the cod on a paper towel-lined plate and thoroughly pat dry. If too much moisture remains, the batter won’t properly stick to the fish.
  1. Add ½ cup rice flour to a shallow bowl and set aside. In a second shallow bowl combine the remaining ½ cup rice flour, all-purpose flour, paprika, 1½ teaspoon kosher salt, garlic powder, and baking powder. Set this mixture aside until the oil becomes hot.
  1. To make the tartar sauce, combine the mayonnaise, pickle, lemon juice, mustard, dill, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.
  1. Once the oil reaches 365 degrees, add the beer to the flour and spice mixture and whisk to combine.
  1. Sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon salt over the cod and toss it in the plain rice flour until it is completely coated. Salting the fish too soon will draw out additional moisture so this is best done just before breading.
  1. Dip the floured cod pieces in the batter mixture and make sure they are completely coated. Add them to the frying oil, about 3 at a time, flipping a few times to make sure they cook evenly. Continue to fry for 3-5 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown color and cooked through.
  1. Use a spider strainer to carefully remove the cod and place it on the cooling rack.
  2. Allow the cod to cool for 3-5 minutes before serving along with the prepared tartar sauce

 

 Author Profile 

Marisa Kerkvliet of Lemon Thyme Kitchen is a freelance recipe developer and food photographer with a Master’s degree in Nutrition. She was raised on her family’s farm in Northwest Washington and her appreciation for good food developed at a very early age. She is passionate about creating recipes and beautiful imagery that highlight high-quality seasonal ingredients. Marisa loves all types of seafood, but her favorites are salmon and scallops!
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