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Sourdough Fish Batter Recipe (Made with Sourdough Discard)

Crispy Fish Batter made from Sourdough Discard

This recipe is a brilliant and different way of using up your leftover sourdough starter. The idea was given to me by one of my very first sourdough workshop students, and I love it because it is super easy and quick to make. (For more ideas on using up leftover starter, check out my article “16 Inventive Ways to Use up Sourdough Discard”)

Nothing beats traditional British fish and chips…….except for a sourdough version of traditional British fish and chips! What better way to relieve the guilt of eating deep fried battered fish than to make a healthier sourdough version!

I made this fish along side carrot fries and tomato sauce and it was delicious! A gorgeous tasting crispy fried batter with a juicy moist white fish inside.

It’s a quick go-to recipe that is easy and simple to make. And as it was such a big hit with my family, I’m sure I’ll be making it a regular week night dinner.

As with all sourdough discard recipes, you may have to tweak how thick or thin you need to make the consistency, as it depends on how you like to keep your starter. For this particular recipe, you need a fairly thick batter to coat the fish evenly. So add flour or water accordingly, until the consistency is like thick pancake batter.

Make sure the fish you use has been dabbed with kitchen paper to take off all the excess moisture, because if it is too moist, all the batter will slip right off!

I shallow fried my fish, but deep frying would work even better as there is no need to flip the fish to cook the other side. If you decide to shallow fry like I did, make sure you don’t flip too early, or you risk damaging some of the crispy even coating. Be sure the batter is crispy before turning over to cook the other side.

The fish will cook through very quickly once it hits the oil, but there’s very little danger of it overcooking. This is a pretty forgiving recipe. The fish stays nice and moist because the batter acts as a protective barrier during the cooling process.

Once the batter has formed and become crispy on both sides it is ready to be drained.

It’s important to note that you do need to drain it REALLY well to get that crispy finish. I left mine to drain on a cooling rack with a good few newspaper sheets underneath to catch the oil.

Be warned, you’ll be surprised at how much oil comes out of the fish while it is draining! (Don’t worry, once you taste it, all you’ll be thinking about is how tasty it is!)

This fish is best eaten fresh while it’s still warm, but had enough time to drain (although in my opinion it still makes pretty tasty leftovers).

I fried the fish first, then left it to drain while I made the fries. So all in all, it must have been draining for about 15 to 20 minutes, by which time, the fish was just about ready to eat.

This recipe will work with any type of white fish such as cod, pollock, haddock, etc. I bought frozen haddock fillets and left them out to defrost on the counter top. As long as the fish has been filleted and deboned, it will be fine for this recipe.

Pair this fish with some homemade potato wedges and mushy peas for a really tasty traditional British lunch!

QUICK TIP: If you have any leftover unused batter, this makes some amazing onion rings! Simply slice some onions and seperate them into rings. Dip them completely into the batter, take out and deep fry. Heavenly side dish. (Don’t forget to drain!)


2 cupsSourdough Starter
1 teaspoonTurmeric
1/2 teaspoonPaprika
1/2 teaspoonBlack Pepper
2 teaspoonsSalt
1 teaspoonBaking powder
4 fresh filletsWhite fish (I used haddock, but cod, pollock or any other white fish will work fine)
2 cupsCooking oil suitable for frying (e.g. canola oil)


In a large mixing bowl, add the starter, turmeric, paprika, pepper and salt and mix until all ingredients are combined well.

Dry the white fish with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat until it reaches about 375F (190C). This is perfect frying temperature to get just the right texture for the batter.

QUICK TIP: If you are not sure about the oil temperature and don’t have a suitable thermometer to hand, place a small amount of the batter in the oil using a teaspoon. If it sizzles, the oil is ready for frying.

Once the oil is ready, add baking powder to the batter mixture and stir well. You will notice it bubbling and increasing in size. (Hope you used a large enough bowl!)

Time to Fry the Fish…

Grab the tail end of the fish with one hand, and dip the whole fish into the batter, making sure it is completely submerged.

Take out of the batter and immedietely place into the hot oil to fry.

Leave the fish in the oil to cook without moving it (this will give you a neat even coating).

After 2 – 3 minutes (or once the batter has become crispy on one side), carefully turn the fish over.

Cook for a further two minutes or so until the batter is a nice golden colour.

QUICK TIP: Don’t move the fish when it goes into the oil until it has formed the crispy batter. If it is moved before the batter has set into place, you’ll get messy looking fish with an uneven coating.

Once the fish has fried, take it out of the oil and place on a cooling rack to drain.

Leave to stand for 15 minutes so the oil has a chance to drain well.

Serve while still hot with fries and tomato sauce.

Want to learn to make amazing soft, fluffy sourdough bread? I’ve just released my brand new online sourdough bread baking course! You can check it out here.

Hi, I’m Aysha

I love spending time making the most helpful content I can so you can become a better sourdough baker.

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Thursday 4th of April 2019

This is an excellent recipe, my family love it and it is a household favourite. Draining it is so important.... I once didn't use a rack and ended up with a crispy top and soggy bottom. But it still tasted really good and the meal was still polished off in no time! Your website is great, so much honest info and lots to learn x

Thursday 4th of April 2019

Thank you :-) I'm so glad the recipe was a hit!

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