Authentic Fish and Chips

Crispy fried fish fillets and homemade french fries (chips) deliver authentic, delicious taste!



Prep time:

30 minutes

Total Time:

1.5 hours

Good For:



About this Recipe

When we visited England, we went to several different regions, and my husband’s experiment was to try fish and chips in each of them. His goal: to find the best fish and chips in the country.

I don’t know that he was satisfied with his results, but when we came home, I made it my mission to find an authentic recipe that even I, who don’t love fish, would like. And I found one! This adaptation of that recipe features beer-battered fish (don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off, but it lends the batter a lightness from the fizz and a yeasty flavor) and twice-fried chips (that’s how you get the soft-and-crisp texture we so love). If you want it REALLY authentic, serve it with a side of mushy peas!


For the Fish:

  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 7 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup dark beer, cold
  • 1/3 cup sparkling water, cold
  • 4 (7-ounce) fish fillets (choose a thick, white fish like cod, pollock, or haddock, the fresher the better)
  •  milk, for soaking fish if it isn’t very fresh (optional)

For the Chips:

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 quart/1 liter vegetable oil (or lard), for frying
  1. If you live in a landlocked region like I do and “fresh” fish has those quotation marks around it, soak the fillets in milk for an hour first to take some of the “fishiness” out of it. If you’re using actual FRESH fish (yay!), no need for soaking.
  2. Set aside 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix the remaining flour with the cornstarch and baking powder in a very large bowl. Add the paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Whisk in the beer and the sparkling water to the flour mixture, whisking continually until you have a thick, smooth batter. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into ½ inch by ½ inch sticks. Put them into a colander and rinse under cold running water.
  5. Place the rinsed chips into a pot of cold water. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Drain carefully through a colander, then use paper towels to dry them more. Keep in the fridge covered with paper towels until needed.
  7. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry with paper towels. Season lightly with a little sea salt.
  8. Heat the oil to 350 F in a deep-fat fryer or large, deep pot. Cook the chips a few handfuls at a time for about 2 minutes. Do not brown them. Once the chips are slightly cooked, remove them from the oil and drain. Set aside.
  9. Place the 2 tablespoons of reserved flour into a shallow dish. Toss each fish fillet in the flour and shake off any excess.
  10. Dip into the batter, coating the entire fillet.
  11. Carefully lower each fillet into the hot oil (make sure it’s still at 350 first). Fry for about 8 minutes, turning the fish a couple times, until the batter is crisp and golden.
  12. Once cooked, remove the fillets from the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
  13. Heat the oil to 400, add the chips back in, and cook until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain. Season with salt.
  14. Serve immediately with the hot fish.

From the Books

Fish and chips is mentioned explicitly only in To Treasure an Heiress, but many of my characters who live in or visit coastal regions would have enjoyed them!

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