Mouthwatering fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce. This heaping plate of crispy batter-fried fish and double-fried chips served up with a fresh batch of homemade tartar sauce will have you in the all-you-can-eat line in your very own home. Make sure to try our family’s favorite Baja fish taco recipe as well!
Fish and Chips
Back in the late 1800s, some culinary genius decided to pair these two solo acts and form the most fabulous duet and the world never looked back. Fish and Chips go together like it was meant to be from the start. The fried fish and the fried potatoes compliment each other perfectly in the same way that french fries pair with hamburgers. It just works. I have always wondered though, why do they call them “chips”? They are just french fries, right? It all depends upon what part of the world you are from. In Europe they refer to slices of potato as “chips”, which makes sense, in the US, a slice of potato that is fried is also called a chip, we just get them in a bag usually. At the end of the day, whatever you call them, I think we can all agree there is nothing wrong with a golden fried, crispy slice of potato.
Fish and Chips Recipe
When you are cooking up this fish and chips recipe, there are only a few ingredients, so how do you pick the best?
Fish: We used fresh cod fillets, which is what they use in a traditional fish and chips recipe. A flaky, thick white fish is all that you really need. Other options include Haddock, Flounder, Tilapia, or Halibut.
Potatoes: A traditional chip is cut a little thicker than an American “french fry”, so you will want to avoid waxy red potatoes that take longer to cook through. Look for a good sized Russet Potato or a Yukon Gold. When cutting the potatoes, try to cut them all relatively close to the same size and thickness. This promotes uniform cooking.
Oil: Vegetable oil is the oil of choice for frying chips unless you have some lard which is what they used to use back in the 1800s. Vegetable oil is much healthier and readily available though, so it is not a bad second choice. When cooking the oil, you really have to watch the temperature. The oil must be maintained at a temperature of 365° F for the crispiest fish and chips. This is also why we recommend cooking with room temperature ingredients in small batches. The more you add to the oil, the lower the temperature will drop. If you overcrowd the pan, you will end up with soggy fish and soggy chips. And, don’t throw out the leftover oil; check out How to Clarify Used Cooking Oil so it doesn’t go to waste!
How to Prepare Fish & Chips Batter
This is a simple fish and chips batter recipe that you likely already have in your cupboard. All you will need is:
- Baking Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
Mix together the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and pepper and then add in the wet ingredients (milk and egg) and let the mixture stand for 20 minutes. Keep this at room temperature, a chilled batter will decrease the temperature of the hot oil.
How to Prepare Fish and Chips for Cooking
While your batter is standing you can start to prepare the potatoes and the fish. Cut both to the desired size. We like ours to be a little bigger so we typically will not cut the cod fillets, but some people like to cut them into strips. Whatever you decide, make sure that both the cut potatoes and the fish are dry. Any excess moisture will affect two things:
- The temperature of the oil – As discussed, the temperature of the oil will impact the crispiness of both the fish and the chips and will impact cooking time.
- The adherence of the crust – A fish that has moisture when dipped into the batter will likely have a crust that is watery and falls off easily.
How to Cook Fish and Chips
Working in small batches, carefully lower the potatoes into the hot oil. Adjust the heat source as necessary to keep the temperature steady at 365°F. When the chips reach a golden brown stage, remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel or into a brown paper bag. You will set these aside but we are not done with them yet. Finish up the remainder of the potatoes and move on to the fish.
Dredge the fish in the batter, one piece at a time, and place them in the same hot oil. Fry until the fish is golden brown. If necessary, increase the heat to maintain the 365 °F. Drain well on paper towels. A little trick I learned is that once the chips have cooled a bit you can throw them back in the oil and flash fry them one more time before you serve to double up the crispiness.
You will serve these beauties up with some fresh, made-from-scratch tartar sauce, a traditional seafood condiment. This sauce is so simple. You mix and chill and serve it up with the hot fish and chips. I will sometimes make this up the night before just to have it ready to go. You can make a big batch, it will hold up in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
Tartar Sauce Recipe
To make this tartar sauce you will need:
- Dill Relish – not sweet relish,m this will give your tartar sauce a sweet taste
- White Wine Vinegar
- Whole Grain Mustard (Dijon will work as well)
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
Mix this all up and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the fish and chips. Some people will put this in a food processor and chop it up, but I like the consistency unprocessed.
I also have an Easy Tartar Sauce recipe that would work just as well with the Fish and Chips.
Fish and Chips with Homemade Tartar Sauce
- ½ cup (119.5 g) mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons dill relish
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
Fish and Chips
- 4 large potatoes, cut into even strips
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups (366 g) milk
- 1 large egg
- 4 cups (872 g) vegetable oil, for frying
- 1½ pounds cod fillets
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fish and Chips
- In a medium-size bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and pepper. Stir in the milk and egg; stir until the mixture is smooth. Let stand for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oil in a large pot to 365 °F.
- Fry the potatoes in the hot oil until they are tender. Drain them on paper towels.
- Dredge the fish in the batter, one piece at a time, and place them in the hot oil. Fry until the fish is golden brown. If necessary, increase the heat to maintain the 365 °F. Drain well on paper towels.
- Add the cooked potatoes back into the hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes for added crispness.
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