Crispy and golden lemon batter fish

Beautifully golden and crispy, this lemon batter fish is perfect for a Friday night. Source: Getty Images

I enjoy a feed of fresh fish. Generally, I won’t eat it unless I (or one of the mad-keen fishermen in my family) has caught it though, so sometimes there’s a long gap between fish meals. There’s nothing quite like the taste of reef fish, especially when it’s fresh!

Most of the time I enjoy my fish lightly crumbed. We have a secret recipe in our house (a bit like the Colonel). However, occasionally we’ll do it battered. In this particular recipe, the fish is first dipped in lemon juice, then a flour mixture and then coated in egg. The three steps ensure the batter properly attaches itself to the fish, and also protects the fish from the hot oil while sealing in moisture.

If you want to ensure golden, crispy batter, here’s my advice: be sure your cooking oil has been pre-heated to the correct temperature before you add your fish. Oil that isn’t hot enough can cause your fish to become soggy (because it sits in the oil too long and takes on excess oil while cooking).

Serves 6


  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour, divided
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1kg fish fillets, cut into serving-sized pieces (we used cod)
  • Oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges, optional


  1. Combine 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, combine egg, water and 1/3 cup lemon juice; stir into dry ingredients until smooth.
  2. Place remaining flour and remaining lemon juice in separate shallow bowls. Dip fillets in lemon juice, then flour, then coat with egg mixture.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 2cm oil over medium-high heat. Fry fillets until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork, 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. If desired, serve with lemon wedges.
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