Beer Battered Fish

Beer Battered Fish and Chips is an all-time favorite British meal. Though it is usually deep-fried, now you can make it with less guilt by air-frying your beer battered cod. So easy and tasty - perfect with some air fried chips and malt vinegar.

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A fork breaking into a beer-battered fish fillet on a parchment lined basket with chips, coleslaw and a beer in the background.

How to Air-Fry Battered Foods

Batters are one of the few deep fried foods that are a challenge to replicate in the air fryer. That’s not to say you can’t do it, however, and this recipe for beer battered fish shows you how. Batters are, by nature, wet and runny, and as a result they tend to run right off the food they are coating and right through the holes in the bottom of the air fryer basket. However, if you batter the food in a thick batter and then dredge in flour, you create a coating that will stay put when you air-fry and voilà… you have conquered the batter challenge! It won’t be exactly like the traditional deep-fried fish and chips you find in an English pub, but it’s delicious and carries a lot less guilt or remorse afterwards.

Cod fillets, dredged and on a baking sheet.
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Spritz with Oil

First of all, make sure your fish fillet is nice and thick. Because we need to keep this in the air fryer long enough to brown the outside, the fish needs to be thick enough that it doesn’t overcook in that amount of time. Once you have the right fish and have coated it properly, you will need to spritz the coated fish generously with oil in order to make sure that none of the flour is left dry. This might seem excessive to you, but it’s a lot less oil than if you were submerging the fish in a pot of hot oil. If you try to skimp on this step, any sections of dry flour will just stay dry and not cook properly. Don’t be shy – make sure the fish is properly coated with oil. 

Beer-battered cod in the basket of an air fryer.
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Homemade Air-Fried Fish … & Chips

If you’re thinking you’d like proper fish and chips, make your homemade french fries in the air fryer first. Let them sit aside while you cook the fish and then re-heat them quickly in the air fryer for just a couple of minutes while the fish sits and cools to an edible temperature. 

Beer-battered fish and chips in a parchment paper lined basket with a side of coleslaw and tartar sauce.

What to Serve with Fish & Chips

Of course it is nice to have some coleslaw with your beer battered fish too. Here’s a recipe for two different versions. The only other items you might need are some tartar sauce, some malt vinegar and a nice IPA to wash it down. Oh… and maybe some newspaper to serve it on. 😉 Cheers!

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Air Fried Beer Battered Fish

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 12 m
  • Resting Time: 20 m
  • Total Time: 42 m
  • Servings:


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 ounces beer
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pounds cod at least 1½-inches thick, cut into 4 or 5 pieces
  • vegetable oil


  1. Combine the 1 cup of flour, cornstarch and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the beer and egg and stir until smooth. Cover the bowl of batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

  2. Combine the ¾ cup of flour, paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a shallow dredging pan.

  3. Make sure your pieces of fish are at least 1 to 1½ inches thick so they don't dry out in the air fryer. Pat the cod fish fillets dry with a paper towel. Dip the fish into the batter, coating all sides. Let the excess batter drip off and then coat each fillet with the seasoned flour. Sprinkle any leftover flour on the fish fillets and pat gently to adhere the flour to the batter.

  4. Pre-heat the air fryer to 390°F.

  5. Generously spritz both sides of the coated fish filets with vegetable oil and place them in the air fryer basket. Air-fry for 12 minutes at 390ºF. Spritz with more oil during the cooking process if there are any dry spots on the coating.

  6. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, malt vinegar and tartar sauce. It’s perfect with some air-fried French fries and coleslaw too!

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Comments (48)

  1. 5 stars
    I haven’t tried this yet but thank you for this recipe! Can this be used on other foods? Like shrimp or chicken? I love my air frier an now I have a new way to use it! Thank you you rock! I miss you on QVC! ❤️

    1. You could use soda water instead of the beer – not as much flavor, but will definitely work.

  2. 4 stars
    Taste was delicious, but the heavy coating required overcooking the fish a bit. When the fish was flaky and done, the inside of the coating was still wet and uncooked.

  3. I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe – love English style fish & chips! I have one quick question would you turn the fish half way through baking like you do with other things you bake in an air fryer?

    1. Hi Robin. I found that with this particular recipe, there’s no need to turn the fish. In fact, because the batter is a little fragile, it can be difficult to flip without the batter falling off. If you feel up to it, flipping it will certainly crisp the bottom (it won’t otherwise be crispy), but it’s a challenge.

  4. 5 stars
    Made this it came out great. I do see a comment about flipping the fish, yes the batter comes off, so if you do be careful.

  5. Step 3… Dip the fish into the batter, coating all sides. Let the excess batter drip off and then coat each fillet with the seasoned flour again.
    You say “again”. Does this mean you first put in seasoned flour, then fish batter, and then again in seasoned flour?

    1. Sorry Mary – my mistake. No – you put it in the batter first, then dredge it in the seasoned flour (one time). I’ve amended the recipe. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

  6. Do you have a preferred oil spritzer? I’m still looking for one that works nicely. I can’t wait to try this!

    1. I use the EVO oil sprayer and like it. I like knowing how much oil it dispenses with one trigger pull – ¼ tsp. They have plastic jars and glass jar versions too.

  7. Sorry to say that this simply did not work for me and my new Ninja Foodi. Followed the EXACT directions. The batter did not stick. The fish and batter was tasteless. I’m convinced that there simply is no substitute for a good, beer battered fish FRY.

  8. I would like to try your recipe as presented, but I never cooked with beer. Can you suggest a beer to use.

    1. Hi Faye. This recipe would work with any lager or ale. If you or anyone in your household drinks beer, that’s the one I would use. Otherwise, a regular lager is fine – Yuengling would be great.

  9. Ingredients call fo 3/4 cup flour. Directions say to combine flour in batter then combine flour for seasoned flour???

    1. Hi Jim,
      The first ingredient is 1 cup of flour and that is the flour that goes into the batter. The next time flour is listed is the ¾ cup of flour, which becomes the seasoned flour. Sorry for the confusion.

  10. I just cooked this and the fish stuck to the air fryer and the coating tasted like flour. I followed directions exactly. Disappointed

    1. Hi Cindy, I’m so sorry you had trouble with this recipe. It sounds to me like you might not have used enough oil. The fish needs to be spritzed generously with the oil so that it won’t stick and so that the flour is completely coated. If any of the flour is left dry, it will taste like flour because it won’t have a chance to be “cooked” in the air fryer.

  11. 5 stars
    I could not believe how easy and terrific this recipe was. Will be using it to replace messy deep fried fish.

  12. 5 stars
    This came out excellent and everyone thought it had a nice and light covering. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. I tried it today. I was STARVING and had high hopes for the recipe. I found that the amount of flour to coat the fish is far too little. The seasoning, I would also do it to taste. You cannot go wrong if you use a bit more spice. Given the batter is so thick it does require dripping the excess, and the extra flour to ensure it’s covered. I discovered this after it made a terrible mess in the Ninja Foodi basket, as I tried to flip my fish over, all I ended up with was mush. Don’t turn your fish, just wait to see how the batter is at 12 minutes. If needed, cook for a couple of minutes more (I did 5 mins more) to ensure the batter crisps. After messing up 2 fillets on try #1, the second try was edible. I don’t have a spray bottle so I had to cover the fillets in oil. Pam didn’t work on try 1 either. The recipe is okay, the taste is good, but provided my personal failed attempts, I’m not sure it’s easier than just cooking on the stove.

    1. Hi Mimi. I’m sorry you had a problem with your fish. As stated in the recipe, you do not have to flip the fish over – just spritz both sides with oil before placing it in the air fryer. The fish cooks through without flipping. The batter can be delicate but does get nice and crispy in the air fryer. I always recommend oil spritzers over the canned aerosol oil when air frying.

  14. 5 stars
    Tried it tonight, used a nice porter for the beer, so batter little darker, but came out delicious. Made parmesan steak fries in the air fryer as well to go with it.

  15. 4 stars
    This was a great way to get fish and chips as close to deep fried restaurant style as possible. The only trouble I had was with the delicate batter. I probably didn’t get rid of enough so it dripped through the holes making it really difficult to get out. Next time I might try cutting out pieces of parchment and putting the fish on them so I can flip it.

    1. The batter on the fish for this recipe is delicate and it is best not to flip it over. Spray the fish on both sides before placing in the air fryer. It will cook through and get crispy without flipping it over. You could use parchment, but you want to make sure the air can circulate under the fish for even cooking.

  16. 2 stars
    So this wound up being a sloppy mess. I wound up taking the fish out of the Instant pot and finishing it in the oven. From now on, I would just bake it and not bother with trying to air fry it. I will search for another recipe in the air fryer…or just realize that there are limitations on what air fryers can do.

    1. Hi Leisa. So sorry you had trouble with this recipe. It can be a bit messy with the batter and flour, but I do think you get crispier results by air frying and it definitely has less fat and calories than deep-fried battered fish. To help with the mess, makes sure the batter is not too thin and let some of it drip off before coating with the flour. Also do not disturb the fish during the cooking process, the uncooked batter can be delicate and it is not necessary to flip the fish over.

  17. I was disappointed in the batter as it it did not have any taste,. The was cooked adequately.

    1. Hi there. The flavor in the batter will come mostly from the beer you use, so you might like to try a different beer with more flavor next time.

    1. Sorry you had trouble with the batter Joy. I get a lot of great photos from people who make this recipe and the batter seems to work as well for them as it did for me. I could offer a solution if I knew what didn’t work for you.

  18. I tried this last night, and I think it’s great. I will use this from now on because you skip all the mess of deep frying. I spritzed both sides of the fish and did not flip it. It did stick a bit but not bad. Just need to be gentle. Thanks……
    love it!

  19. Hi, this is a random comment as I’m vegan and many of your recipes are heavily meat based, including this obviously being for fish, however I stumbled upon your recipe for air fryer red pepper, that was delicious, and your batter recipe here has worked wonderfully for vegan battered sausage, tofu ‘tofish’ and today sweet potato for Katsu curry, just wanted to share my results. I subbed the egg for egg replacer. I see you have multiple recipes which are vegan however there may be a glitch in that it seems vegetarian recipes load within the vegan section also. I’ll definitely be trying more of your recipes 🙂

    1. Thank for the info, Nicole and good job converting to suit your diet. I’ll look into the categorizing function.

  20. 5 stars
    Tried this Meredith and it was delicious! The only thing I would do differently is put the fish on a rack to kind of air dry after dredging in the flour. It would probably be easier to spray on the oil. I used olive oil spray and it worked well.

  21. I tried this recipe tonight with gluten free flour knowing it was probably going to take some tweaking before getting it exactly right because of the substitution. It turned out pretty good, but I will add another 2 oz or so of beer to the batter next time so it will be a bit thinner. I find gluten free flour tends to hold more water. I’ll report back when I try again.

  22. Hi
    Just did my first attempt in my new ninja foodie. First batch not great. Dry And cooked inside and Outside is pale and not cooked properly. Next batch getting more oil spray. Other half I added curry powder for extra flavour. Excited to see how that goes.

    1. Thanks Shuli for trying the recipe and adjusting it to your tastes. I have not worked with the Ninja foodie but I would suggest using a high temperature for a shorter time to get the outside crispy without drying out the fish. And a generous spritz of oil will help the browning as well.

  23. I think I will go back to deep frying. This was terrible. Fish was overcooked but batter wasn’t crisp even though I had lots of oil spritzed on them

    1. Hi Gord. I’m sorry you didn’t have the success with this recipe that others have had. It’s important for the fish to be thick enough that it doesn’t overcook in the time needed to crisp up the batter. I’m not sure which air fryer you are using, but perhaps it is not running hot enough? Of course, deep-frying fish is always delicious, although the calorie count increases significantly.

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