The Non-Alcoholic Alternative To Beer Batter For Fried Fish

For a light and airy batter, beer has traditionally been blended with the flour. However, there are times when a lager or a pilsner is not a desirable ingredient. And, in those cases, there are other suitable non-alcoholic substitutions. But first, it's important to understand why beer makes batter better.

The secret all lies with the beer's bubbles, or carbonation, and not in its alcoholic content. Those bubbles escape the batter as it is fried, giving the batter a lightness. Also, the acidity of the carbonated beer prevents gluten from forming as it is mixed with flour to form the batter. As a result, the batter remains soft as it is fried. 

Because it is the bubbles that make the batter lighter, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages can achieve the same result as beer. That includes non-alcoholic beer, but perhaps the flavor of beer is not enjoyable. In that case, still head to the liquor section, but look for an ingredient traditionally used as an alcoholic beverage mixer.

Swap the beer for soda

Found among the beer and wine, but lacking the alcohol, is the perfect swap for beer battered fish: club soda. Full of bubbles due to its carbonation, club soda can give the same lightness to a batter as beer would. Cold club soda should be blended with flour to form a thick batter with which the fish is coated before being fried — just don't whisk too much or the bubbles will dissipate and the batter won't be airy as it should. 

The reason that club soda works well to achieve an airy batter is that it's made from water to which carbon dioxide and other minerals, such as potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate, have been added. Just note that these minerals give club soda a slight taste of salt. To make the batter, combine 16 ounces of club soda with one and a quarter cup of flour and a half cup of cornstarch, as well as some baking powder, salt, and seasoning. While other sodas could be used to make batter, such as ginger ale, club soda has a relatively neutral taste and does not have much sweetness. 

For fluffy fried fish for your next Friday fish fry, use club soda and you won't even miss the beer in the batter.