This is the best Beer Battered Vegan Fried Fish! Made from hearts of palm, Old Bay seasoning, and a rich beer batter, the tender fried “fish” is best served with tartar sauce and fries. Just like authentic fish and chips, but better!
Vegans may not eat fish but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy beautifully fried and flaky “fish”. Just like my Vegan Fish Sticks and Tuna Sandwiches, this Beer Battered Vegan Fried Fish tastes even better than the real thing. Perfect if you’ve been missing classic fish and chips!
The flaky “fish” in this recipe is made from a savory mix of hearts of palm, Old Bay seasoning, and nori sheets. No tofu, chickpeas, or artichoke hearts needed!
When coated in the rich and airy beer batter, the fried vegan fish sticks become so crispy and irresistible. Serve them up with Homemade Tartar Sauce, pickles, lemon, and Air Fryer French Fries for the best vegan fish and chips ever!
What’s vegan fish made from?
The “fish” in this vegan fish recipe is made from hearts of palm, breadcrumbs, nori, vegan mayo, and Old Bay seasoning.
Hearts of palm are a meaty and tender vegetable that come from the inner core of cabbage palm trees. They’re used in a lot of vegan seafood recipes, like my Vegan Crab Cakes, because they’re so delicate and have a nice balance between creamy and crunchy.
Combining these with nori sheets and Old Bay is the secret to authentic tasting vegan fish. You can almost always find Old Bay seasoning in classic fried fish, and the nori (dried seaweed sheets) ensures your vegan “fish” tastes like it’s fresh from the sea.
What kind of beer is best for beer battered fish?
A vegan-friendly lager or pilsner is best but any pale-colored beer will work. Darker beers, like stouts or porters, will make the batter much too dark and affect the flavor.
Not sure if the beer you’re using is vegan-friendly? You can double check using Barnivore. They list almost every alcohol brand, letting you know which are made with and without animal products (in the ingredients and processes).
Mixing beer into a fried fish batter incorporates air, which helps the batter crisp up. You won’t taste the beer flavor and the alcohol cooks out as it fries in the oil.
How to make vegan beer battered fish
First, make the fish by pulsing the ingredients together in a food processor. Leave a little bit of texture in the mix (or even some large chunks) so it replicates real flaky fish.
Use your hands to form about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time into small fish filet shapes. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the batter.
Whisk the dry batter ingredients together in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth.
Get ready to fry the vegan fish by heating some oil in a large pot to 375ºF. Dip the chilled fish sticks into the batter one at a time, then fry in the hot oil. Take them out of the oil when they’re golden brown and let them drain on a wire rack. Serve hot and enjoy!
Tips and substitutions
- Cold beer – The colder your beer, the better! It makes the fried fish even crispier.
- Hearts of palm – If you can’t find hearts of palm, use canned jackfruit in brine or artichoke hearts instead. They’ll still have a nice texture but the flavor will be a touch sweeter.
- Thermometer – I strongly recommend using a thermometer when frying food. It’s the best and safest way to tell when your hot oil is ready.
- When frying – Handle the fish sticks gently or they will fall apart. They’re much sturdier once they’re done frying.
Your vegan fried fish is golden brown and ready for all of your guests to enjoy! All you need is some fresh vegan tartar sauce, crispy french fries, lemon wedges, pickles, or potato wedges on the side to make the meal complete.
Frequently asked questions
- Can I make this without alcohol? Yes! Replace the beer with unflavored sparkling water.
- Can it be made gluten free? Swap the all purpose flour in the batter for rice flour or a gluten free 1:1 flour, and use gluten free breadcrumbs in the fish. There are lots of gluten free beers on the market nowadays or you can use sparkling water.
- How long do they last? Vegan fried fish is best eaten hot and fresh but you can store it in a container in the fridge for 1 or 2 days. To reheat, place the leftovers in an air fryer or oven at 325ºF until heated through and crisp (about 5 to 10 minutes).
- Can I air fry or bake them? Probably, though I haven’t tested it. Even if you’re not a fan of deep frying food, it’s SO worth it for this recipe! Baking or air frying just won’t give you that fried fish crunch and richness.
Want more fun vegan food?
Beer Battered Vegan Fried Fish
For the fish
For the batter
- vegetable oil, safe for frying
Make the vegan fish
- To a food processor, add the drained hearts of palm, bread crumbs, vegan mayo, crumbled nori, old bay seasoning and salt.
- Pulse several times to combine, but make sure there is still some texture and even large chunks. Don't process into a paste. If the mixture seems really wet, add another 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and pulse.
- Using your hands, form into fish like shapes, about 2-3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Use about 2 tablespoons per fish stick.
- Place the sticks on a plate lined with parchment paper and let them chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the batter.
Make the batter
- To make the beer batter, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, paprika, old bay seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Gradually whisk in the beer until a batter forms and is smooth.
Fry the fish
- Add oil to a large, heavy bottomed pot about 2-3 inches deep. Heat to 375 degrees F, using a thermometer for best results and safety.
- Quickly dip the chilled fish sticks into the batter one at a time, then place in the hot oil, carefully. I use a fork to dip them in and carefully out of the batter. Handle them gently or they will fall apart, but once they are fried they are very sturdy.
- Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Can’t find hearts of palm? Try using jackfruit or artichokes instead.
Gluten free? Substitute gluten free breadcrumbs and use gluten free beer.
How to reheat? For best results, reheat leftover “fish” in an air fryer or oven at 325 degrees until heated through and crisp, about 5-10 minutes.
Don’t want to use alcohol? No worries, substitute sparkling water instead, unflavored.