Beer battered fish, fries, and cold beer in the background
What Does The Beer In
Beer Batter
Actually Do?
By Carly Weaver
Beer can be a key player in both cooking and baking by adding moisture, depth, and flavor to many different types of recipes. Beer batter certainly isn't a foreign concept, as it's on many restaurant menus by way of fish and chips or onion rings, and there’s a reason it works so well.
Typically, beer batter is made by adding beer to a mixture of flour, seasonings, and sometimes eggs to create a thick substance that resembles a pancake batter. This thick consistency allows for the protection of softer, more fragile foods (like fish) while they fry, but also adds flavor, encourages that beautiful browning, and keeps the batter light enough to crisp up into a lovely, airy texture.
The foaming agents in beer act as insulators that take in the high heat of the hot oil, cooking everything inside while the outside becomes crispy. The alcohol speeds up this process without overcooking anything, since it evaporates quicker than other liquids, with the carbon dioxide from the beer’s carbonation expanding the batter to keep the batter extra light.
If you’re looking for the right beer to use, lighter beers like lager and wheat beer will pair best with lighter foods like seafood and chicken. Meanwhile, heavier ales and stouts will work better with heartier meats (like pork, beef, and lamb) and for baking bread or rich, chocolatey desserts.