Easy Tempura Beer Batter For Deep Frying

Easy Tempura Beer Batter For Deep Frying

By:

Meathead

Platter filled with tempura battered fried vegetables

Tempura batter is light, lacy, and ultra crispy. It is ideal for deep frying vegetables and seafood.

When I’m frying chicken, I prefer to dredge it in flour and shallow fry it rather than battering and deep frying it. For seafood and veggies, however, I like a beer batter or tempura batter (they are very similar). Batters coat food more evenly and make a thicker coating. They are wet, so it takes longer for the oil to drive off all the moisture, but in that time, steam bubbles up in the batter, making the finished coating lighter and crispier. Carbonated liquid such as beer in the batter makes it froth even more in the oil, creating a lacier finish.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of SeriousEats.com preaches substituting some of the beer with vodka because it evaporates faster during frying, and I am a Kenji acolyte. The vodka also inhibits gluten formation in the batter and that keeps the mixture liquid longer as you are working with it. The alcohol in the beer and vodka is driven off during frying, but if you must, you can substitute club soda or seltzer water. Just don’t use anything with sugar in it.  And before you start battering and frying, read my article on frying here because it’s soooo much better to fry on the grill.

Easy Tempura Batter Recipe


Platter filled with tempura battered fried vegetables
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
4.22 from 80 votes
Try this batter on vegetables such as zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, pickles, Brussels sprouts, peppers, onion rings, eggplant, okra, and green tomatoes sliced about 1/4-inch thick. For seafood, try shrimp, squid, crab, lobster, or any white fish such as perch or cod.

Serve with: an amber ale.


Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Sauces and Condiments, Vegetable
Cuisine: American, Asian, Japanese
Difficulty: Moderate

Makes:

Servings: 6 servings of vegetables or seafood

Takes:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

For Frying And Serving

  • Enough vegetable oil to fill a frying pot or pan 1-inch deep
  • 6 cups vegetables or 3 to 4 pounds of seafood, depending on how small the pieces are
  • Coarse salt for serving

Dry Ingredients For The Batter

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Morton coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Wet Ingredients For The Batter

  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 ounces beer or club soda
  • 4 ounces 80 proof vodka
About the flour. Cake flour is lower in protein and forms less gluten that all-purpose flour. It works best. Too much gluten can make a heavier bread coating. That said, if you don’t have cake flour, you can use all purpose flour.
Optional. Add some seasoning if you wish. Try 1 teaspoon of hot pepper powder and/or sage.

Method

  • Prep. Chill the beer or club soda. Cold temps help prevent gluten formation.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Beat the eggs lightly in a large bowl. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the eggs and stir. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir but don’t mix aggressively as you don’t want to form gluten. Some clumps of dry flour should still be floating around in the batter, and the consistency should be a bit thinner than pancake batter. When you dunk something in it, the batter should coat the food thoroughly as excess batter gradually drips off. The batter should not be so thin that it immediately sheets off the food. If you need to thicken it, gently stir in more flour. To thin it, add beer, club soda, or water.
  • Fire up. Preheat a 1-inch depth of oil to 375°F, preferably in a cast-iron Dutch oven on your grill.
  • Dunk the vegetables or seafood into the batter. Stir until coated. Note that if you are frying peppers or other pods (like okra), poke some holes in them so they don't explode.
    Dunking a chile pepper into a wet batter.
  • Cook. With tongs, pull the vegetable or seafood out, let some of the excess batter drip off, and slip the vegetables or seafood into the oil. Try to cook pieces of similar thickness together so they are done at the same time. Do not crowd the pot or the oil temperature will drop too low. Try to keep the oil temp above 325°F. Flip the vegetables or seafood often and fry until the batter is pale golden in color, 1 to 2 minutes.  If you are doing chicken this way, fry until the white meat reaches an internal temp of 160 to 165°F or the dark meat reaches 170 to 175°F. Don't worry about the internal temperature of veggies and seafood. They will be safe when the batter is golden. When done, lift the food out with tongs or a spider strainer and spill them onto the grate or paper towels to drain and drip dry for a minute or two.
  • Serve. Sprinkle with coarse salt and serve. Scoop out any bits of fried batter left in the oil before the next batch goes in. These crunchy bits are called tenkasu and can be used in sandwich wraps, as toppings for noodle dishes, and as garnishes for soups.

Related articles

Published On: 8/9/2018 Last Modified: 4/14/2021

  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.


If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and much more!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


Griddle And Deep Fryer In One


The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone’s Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all!

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

Grilla Pellet Smoker proves good things come in small packages

We always liked Grilla. The small 31.5″ x 29.5″ footprint makes it ideal for use where BBQ space is limited, as on a condo patio.
Click here for our review on this unique smoker

Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography
With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review

The Undisputed Champion!


 
The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. The MK4 includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight and rotating display. Don’t accept cheap substitutes.
Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review

Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?


The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal

Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
Click here for our review of this superb smoker

Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here’s A Great Buy!

A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!
Click here to read our complete review