Air-Fryer Beer-Battered Fish


We love a crispy piece of beer-battered fish, but we don't always want the calories that come with deep-frying. So we turned to the air fryer to develop a recipe with all the characteristics of the traditional dish—a light, crunchy-yet-airy exterior and a flaky, luscious interior. The secret to this recipe is in the method. Traditionally, the fish would go into a wet beer batter and then cook in hot oil. But in order to work in the air fryer, we needed to make some important changes. Get all the step-by-steps below, and learn how we tweaked the process, from the dredge to the oil, to create crispy air-fried fish.

Air-Fryer Beer-Battered Fish
Photo: Charlotte and Johnny Autry
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

The Double Dredge

First, the pieces of fish are lightly dusted with seasoned flour to give the beer batter something to stick to—the flesh itself is too slick for the wet mixture to adhere. After a dip in the batter, it's dredged again in the flour. This serves two main purposes: First, adding flour on the exterior of the battered fish makes it easier to handle and transfer to the air fryer (without it, all the batter would make a mess in the air-fryer basket). And second, the flour is also dry enough to absorb the cooking spray (skipping this step means the cooking spray will slide off the wet batter).

The Batter

Why beer in the batter? It provides that quintessential fish-and-chips tang, but we're mostly after the CO2 it contains. As the fish cooks, the bubbles in the beer froth and suspend in the flour, providing a light and crispy texture. Go for a mellow pale-colored beer (like a lager or amber) as stronger porters or stouts can overwhelm the fish.

The Oil

There's no easier way to apply oil to the exterior of the battered fish than cooking spray. Simply spray the fish with it until no dry flour remains. Using cooking spray during the dredging and air-frying process saves about 150 calories per serving compared to deep-frying.

The Fish

A mild white fish, like cod, pollock or haddock, is ideal for this recipe. They have a meaty yet flaky texture and tend to stay moist when cooked. It's important to use pieces that are about 1 inch thick—any thinner and they'll dry out before the batter turns golden brown, any thicker and they'll take too long to cook properly. And make sure the pieces of fish are patted very, very dry before you batter and air-fry them, otherwise you won't get the crispy results you want.


  • 1 ¼ pounds skinless cod fillet, about 1 inch thick, cut into 8 portions

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided

  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¾ cup beer, preferably lager

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. Pat fish dry; refrigerate while making batter.

  2. Whisk 3/4 cup flour, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a shallow dish; set aside. Whisk the remaining 1 cup flour and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add beer and egg and whisk until smooth (the batter should be thick). Refrigerate the batter.

  3. Preheat air fryer to 390°F (see Tip). Coat the basket generously with cooking spray. Remove the fish and batter from the refrigerator and set a large rimmed baking sheet on the counter. Pat the fish dry again. Lightly dredge each piece of fish in the flour-spice mixture, tapping off excess, and transfer to one half of the baking sheet. Spread the remaining flour-spice mixture on the other half of the baking sheet.

  4. Using 2 forks, dip a piece of fish into the batter, letting excess batter drip off, then place in the flour-spice mixture, gently flipping until well coated. Repeat with the remaining fish. Once all the fish is coated, spray the top side with cooking spray until no dry flour remains. Arrange the fish pieces sprayed-side down in the air-fryer basket, without touching. Generously spray the tops and sides of the fish with cooking spray. Cook until the coating is golden brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 13 minutes. Gently remove the fish with a flexible spatula (some batter may stick to the bottom of the basket). Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and serve immediately.


The full recipe fits in an 8-quart or larger air fryer. If using a smaller air fryer, prep the fish through Step 3, then proceed with Step 4 (dipping in the wet batter and cooking) in 2 batches.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

338 Calories
5g Fat
37g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 5 oz.
Calories 338
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 31g 62%
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 97mg 32%
Vitamin A 484IU 10%
Vitamin C 2mg 2%
Vitamin D 59IU 15%
Vitamin E 1mg 9%
Folate 143mcg 36%
Vitamin K 1mcg 1%
Sodium 484mg 21%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 3mg 17%
Magnesium 61mg 15%
Potassium 688mg 15%
Zinc 1mg 9%
Vitamin B12 1mcg 42%
Omega 3 1g

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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