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British Style Fried Fish & Chips (the Crispiest Ever)

This British-style fried fish and chips recipe is so crispy it actually crackles! When you tap on it with the back of a spoon, it sounds like you’re tapping on glass (watch the video below to hear it). We love this ultimate UK comfort food and it couldn’t be easier to make. I’ve added a few spices for extra flavor and a little beer to the batter which helps it crisp up into a shellac-like outer shell. These fish and chips are perfect for an outdoor southern fish fry and make excellent fish tacos!

A Really Good Fish and Chips Recipe

In NYC we have one of the best fish and chip shops this side of the Atlantic, A Salt & Battery. It’s owned and operated by British transplants (one who trained in her father’s fish and chips shop back in the UK before opening this West Village location).  It’s a perfect pit stop if you’re ever in NYC and want to get your fish and chips fix.

Until then, this recipe will more than get you by! I have to thank the Daring Gourmet for her fish and chips recipe which I used as the inspiration for my version.  If you love this British classic or have never eaten it before and feel like trying it, this recipe is a good place to start. Plus, you can have a fish and chips dinner ready in 30 minutes or less!

Watch This Short Fish & Chips Video To Hear How Crispy It Is

Overview: British-Style Fish & Chips Ingredients

You probably already have everything in your kitchen to make this recipe if you keep fish in the freezer. You can customize this to make spicy fish and chips by using a more cayenne pepper or by using completely different spices if you want. You’ll find full measurements in the recipe card below, but here’s a quick recap of what you’ll need.

For the Fish

  • mild white fish fillets (haddock, flounder, pollock, cod, crappie, bass, etc.) 
  • all-purpose flour
  • light beer or ale
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper 
  • garlic powder

For the Chips (french fries)

  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • peanut oil or other vegetable oil for frying


Overview: How to make Fish and Chips

Making fish and chips is easy even if you’ve never cooked a lot of fish or seafood before. Here’s a brief look at the process, but you’ll find the full instructions in the recipe card below. 

  1. Dry the fish and coat it in flour. 
  2. Fry the chips (1st fry) just until blonde in color and remove to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. 
  3. Mix the beer batter. 
  4. Fry the fish a few pieces at a time until golden brown and crispy and remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Fry the chips (2nd fry) for a second time until golden brown in a separate pot of oil while your fish is frying and drain on paper towels. 

Fish and Chips Step-by-Step Recipe Photos

Fish and Chips Leftovers

This fried fish recipe tastes great reheated the next day even though the crispiness is all but gone after reheating. Some people might think this is utter blasphemy. But if you’re a busy person and don’t mind dipping cold leftovers into your favorite sauce or reheating fish in the oven, then go ahead and make extra.

I like to fry a few extra pieces when I make fish and chips so we can have leftovers for a quick fish sandwich the next day.  And while the texture is different, it’s different in a good way (at least to us). The batter loses its crunch, but it doesn’t fall apart. Instead, it’s a little “chewy” sort of like a cross between a crêpe and a Chinese dim sum glass dumpling wrapper

How to Customize Fish and Chips

Customizing fish and chips is as easy as adding a few different dried seasonings or spices to the batter or giving the raw fish a brushed-on pre-treatment first. Here are a few of our favorite ways to customize crispy fish and chips. This batter works equally well for saltwater and freshwater fish (and seafood of just about any kind).  

  • brush raw fish with curry paste, mustard, or even hot sauce before flouring and dipping it into the batter
  • add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper to the flour to make it spicy
  • add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle powder to the flour for a smoky fish and chips
  • marinate fish in buttermilk and hot sauce for up to 1 hour 
  • make a non-alcoholic batter by substituting sparkling water, seltzer water, kombucha, or sparkling apple cider for the beer

What to Serve With Fish and Chips

I prefer to eat fried fish and chips either totally plain or “John Lennon-style” unapologetically dunked into lots of ketchup. And always with a side of mushy peas and french fries (and even sometimes with a little curry sauce). If you really want to go all out, pick up some British pantry favorites like curry sauce or malt vinegar to dip, dunk, slather, or shake all over the fish and chips. 

How to Know if You’re Oil is the Right Temperature for Deep Frying or Shallow Frying

If you’re new to deep-frying (or shallow-frying in a cast-iron skillet as I’ve done for this recipe), maintaining the right temperature of the oil throughout the frying process is key to getting a well-cooked, light, and crispy fish.  If the oil is too cold, the fish will be a soggy, greasy mess.  If the oil is too hot, the outside will brown and crisp up before the fish has had enough time to cook through on the inside. Here are a few ways to help you fry up perfect fish (or crispy chicken) every time.

  • Use a candy/deep-fry thermometer. This ensures the accuracy of the oil temperature. 
  • Use the ‘match test’ method. To know if the oil is ready, drop a matchstick into the hot oil and if it catches fire it’s ready.
  • Use the wooden chopstick or skewer method. Place the chopstick into the middle of the hot oil and when you see steady vigorous bubbling (which looks like soda carbonation) coming up around it, your oil is ready. 
  • Test a small piece of fish or chicken.  Add a single ‘test piece’ of fish or chicken to the oil to see if the temperature is accurate before frying additional pieces. It’s better to ruin (or have to rescue) one small piece of fish as opposed to four or five pieces.

Fish and Chips Tips & FAQ’s

  • Be sure to flour the fish in the first step making sure to coat all surfaces of the fish because this first coat acts like a “glue” for the beer batter to stick to the filets which allow the fish and batter to both cook up properly in the hot oil without bursting open during frying.

  • Can I make fish and chips batter ahead of time?  Do not make fish and chips batter ahead of time because you want to maintain as many of those bubbles in batter from the fresh beer (or carbonated liquid) as is possible.  This will help make the final fish or chicken super light and crispy.  Always make a wet batter just before using it and use it up as soon after mixing it as you can.
  • How do I make sure the oil temperature is right when deep-frying?  Maintain an accurate oil temperature with a thermometer in order to ensure the chicken is cooked properly or check it the old-fashioned way by throwing a matchstick in the oil and if it ignites, the oil is ready or using a wooden chopstick, place it directly into the middle of the hot oil and if bubbles start to come up around the chopstick (like cola bubbles), then you’ll know your oil is ready. Just practice with a single piece first and make adjust the heat lower if it’s browning too fast or adjust it higher if it’s not cooking quickly enough.
  • What is fish and chips? Fish and chips or the tradition of eating fish that has been coated with flour, dipped in batter, and fried in oil is a British dish that’s a staple across the country and now the world. Fish and chips is to Great Britain what cheeseburgers and fries are to America. When made well, the exterior coating of the fish is so crispy it crackles when you bite into it and it’s never greasy or soft.
  • When was Fish and Chips first invented/eaten?  Fish and chips or the tradition of eating fish that has been coated with flour and fried in oil can be traced back to the early 1800s and its thought that it was bought to Britain by Jewish immigrants from Spain and Portugal, where fish was cooked in this fashion.
  • Where is the first mention of Fish and Chips in writing?  Fish and chips first appeared in Charles Dickens’s book, Oliver Twist.

  • Where do Fish and chips originate from?  Both London and Lancashire claim to be the place where fish and chips were invented and where this dish originated from.
  • What’s typically eaten with Fish and Chips?  What are the best sides to eat with Fish and Chips? In England, a portion of mushy peas is a popular side dish served with fish and chips and you may also find a range of pickles that typically include gherkins, onions, and eggs. In Ireland, Wales, and England, most takeaways serve warm side portions of sauces such as curry sauce, gravy, malt vinegar, or mushy peas with fish and chips.

Let’s get started!

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British fish and chips on wire rack piled high.

British Style Fried Fish & Chips (the Crispiest Ever)

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  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings depending on hunger level 1x


This Fish and Chips is all comfort and it’s a definite crowd-pleaser. This recipe makes the crispiest, crunchiest pub-style, battered fried fish.  In fact, it’s so crispy that you can tap on it with the back of a spoon and it sounds like glass (check out the video in the post). Add a spice or two and a little cayenne pepper to make it extra spicy, or enjoy it just as it is. 


  • 1 to 2 pounds of mild white fish fillets (haddock, flounder, pollock, cod, crappie, bass, etc.) (450-900g)
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (plus more for coating fish) (130g)
  • 1 1/4 cup light beer or ale (311g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (4g)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste (6g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) (5g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional) (1g)
  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, cut, rinsed, and patted dry
  • peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying


  1. Prep the fish. Blot the fish with paper towels to remove excess moisture then dredge each piece in the flour to coat all sides.  Shake off the excess flour and set fish aside in a single layer until ready to dip it into the batter and fry.
  2. Fry the chips (french fries) (1st fry). While you make the batter, preheat a skillet or Dutch oven to 350°F/176°C with approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) of oil in it.  Add cut potatoes frying in batches until they are “blonde” or very lightly colored, but not browned. Remove from the oil to a paper towel-lined platter while you prep the fish. *You can turn off the oil for a couple of minutes at this point while you prep your fish and make the batter just be sure to reheat to 350°F/176C before frying the fish.
  3. Make the batter. In a medium bowl, add  1 cup + 1 T flour (130g), baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder, and whisk to combine.  Add the beer and whisk gently just until there are no large lumps of flour visible in the batter. *Do not whisk too vigorously.
  4. Fry the fish. Working quickly and in batches, dip the floured fish pieces into the beer batter, gently shake off any excess batter by tapping the fish on the side of the bowl, and carefully place each piece into the hot oil making sure not to overcrowd the skillet.  Fry the fish turning over occasionally to ensure all pieces are evenly browned, and remove them to a paper towel-lined platter and pop them into a preheated set to warmer function to keep hot while you finish the french fries.
  5. Fry the chips (french fries) (2nd fry).  As soon as the fish has been cooked, place the chips back into the hot oil for the “2nd fry” and cook until crispy and browned (just a couple of minutes), or fry the french fries in a separate pot of oil while your fish is still cooking. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider whisk, salt immediately, and serve hot Enjoy!


  • For a non-alcoholic batter, substitute sparkling water, seltzer water, or sparkling apple cider for the beer.
  • When adding battered fish to the hot oil, place it into the oil in a direction away from your body so that if it splatters, it’s less likely to hit you. 
  • Use wooden chopsticks or tongs to move the fish around in the hot oil. This is less likely to puncture a hole in the batter which ensures the batter stays crispy and the fish moist. 
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Fish + Seafood
  • Method: Deep Fried or Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: British


  • Serving Size: 2 pieces
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