A super simple and easy recipe to get a crispy batter that stays crispy for a long time. All the tips you need to know. A gluten-free batter for frying is included.
We don’t deep fry food a whole lot, but every now and then there are recipes that involve deep frying. I’ve tested out several recipes for crispy batter and using different kinds of flour. I think this crispy batter recipe is a keeper for us. It’s not overly complicated and using ingredients that you already have in your pantry. Just simple science!
I use it on pretty much anything that needs to be coated with batter like onion rings, fish and chips, fried chicken, fried tofu, fried vegetables, you name it! If I may suggest that you read through the post to get the best information and tips on how to make crispy batter, the one that stays crispy too!
ANY SECRET INGREDIENT THAT MAKES THE FRIED BATTER CRISPY?
No. You only need 5 ingredients to make this batter. All-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, ice cold water, and baking powder. I found this batter recipe is so crispy and not only that, it stays crispy even after one hour I let the fried food sit at room temperature.
WHY DOES THIS CRISPY BATTER RECIPE WORK?
If you look at the ingredients, they are nothing peculiar and seriously you don’t need to be a rocket scientist. It is all simple science.
1. Ice cold water
There are some arguments about using ice-cold water. Some said it will lower the temperature of the oil too much and resulted in a soggy batter. Some said that the cold batter prevents the flour to absorb the oil too much and therefore resulted in a light crispy batter. Using ice-cold water definitely makes the batter crispy and light (most importantly, stays crispy too!!)
2. Not over-stirring the batter
If you use all-purpose flour, it has gluten in it and if you over stir the batter, gluten will develop and makes the batter gummy and absorbs a lot of oil when you fry it and you know what’s next! SOGGY! This is not so much of a concern if you are preparing the gluten-free batter because the cornstarch doesn’t contain any gluten.
3. Baking powder
The baking powder provides that light and airy-ness to the batter
4. Double frying
It is no longer a secret that double frying will give you that super crispy texture you are looking for. Double-frying has been around for a long time and a common practice among the Chinese cooks. The first frying is usually done over medium heat to cook the food. The second frying is usually done at a higher temperature to crisp up the food
GLUTEN-FREE BATTER FOR DEEP-FRYING
My mom often used cornstarch, potato starch, or rice flour or combination of the three (depending on the recipe she’s trying to prepare) for deep frying. This is actually a pretty common thing to do in Asian cooking. Wheat flour wasn’t as common back in the old days. They were more expensive too. My first choice here for a really crispy batter will be a combination of rice flour and cornstarch. Not so keen about using rice flour alone for deep-frying. The combination of Cornstarch and rice flour gives you that thin, light, and really crispy coating on the food. I used this combination to make this TWICE-FRIED CRISPY PEKING CHICKEN WINGS WITH JING DU SAUCE and they were sooo crispy.
CRISPY BATTER THAT STAYS CRISPY STEP-BY-STEP COOKING GUIDE
1. Mix the dry ingredients
Place the flour/starch (depending on whether you are doing regular or gluten-free batter), baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir/whisk to mix
2. Preheat oil for first frying (about 330 F or 165 C) and add ice-cold water to the flour mixture
3. Do NOT over stir
Use a chopstick to stir. Do not over stir with all-purpose flour
It’s okay to have some lumps in the batter
4. First frying
Coat the food evenly with the batter and fry the food until lightly brown
The first frying is to cook the food and to draw out moisture if any. They won’t get crispy just yet. In the photo below you can see that if your oil temperature is too high, the batter gets dark so quickly but the food may not be cooked through inside
So it’s important to keep the heat at the moderate level for first frying
Remove from the oil to a rack. Let them cool down for at least 10 minutes before you go for the second frying
6. Second frying
Bring oil to higher temperature now, about 375 F. This round is to crisp up the batter and turn the food into deeper golden brown
COOK’S TIPS FOR CRISPY BATTER
1. PREPARE THE BATTER JUST RIGHT BEFORE FRYING
2. PAT DRY
Make sure you pat dry the ingredient you are going to fry really dry. Water is a nemesis here. If the ingredient you are going to fry has high water content, dredging the ingredient in a thin layer of flour before dipping into batter and fry. The flour helps to absorb the moisture
3. MAKE SURE BAKING POWDER IS FRESH
Make sure it is fresh. If you are not sure, scoop about 1/2 tsp of the baking powder and add 1/2 cup of boiling water over it. It should bubble up vigorously. If it’s not, it’s time to toss it away.
4. REST BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND FRYING
I highly recommend to let the food cool down for at least 10 minutes (longer if you have the time) before frying them for the second time. Why? The batter will have a stronger structure to withstand second round of frying
CRISPY BATTER RECIPE FAQ
THE BEST OIL TO USE FOR DEEP-FRYING
One of the most important things in choosing the best oil for deep frying is to ensure that it is heat-stable, which means you want to make sure it has a high smoke point.
Here’s what I would recommend: Peanut oil, Lard, Ghee (not butter), Coconut oil, Avocado oil.
Of course, you choose whichever that is suitable for your recipe. Peanut, lard, and avocado oils are pretty neutral in taste. Coconut oil may impart some coconut aroma to the food, if that’s not what you want, then you definitely don’t want to use it.
DEEP FRYING ON THE STOVE
Not everyone owns an electric deep fryer. I don’t. I usually just use a stainless steel pot or cast-iron Dutch oven to do the job. It works perfectly.
HOW TO KEEP FRIED FOOD FROM GETTING SOGGY
Set up a rack on top of a baking sheet and place the fried food on the rack and keep them warm in the oven by using “keep warm” feature if there’s one or set the temperature to 200 F.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER FRIED FOOD
Refrigerator: Make sure the fried food has cooled down completely before keeping them in the refrigerator. Warm food will create condensation, which in returns will make the batter wet and soggy
Freezer: Fried food can be kept frozen by placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper without touching each other. Let them freeze for about 1 hour (they won’t be completely frozen yet) and then transfer to a freezer bag for longer storage and to save some space
HOW TO REHEAT DEEP-FRIED FOOD
It is best to reheat deep-fried or breaded food using a dry heat like in the oven, toaster oven or an air-fryer. Simply preheat the oven to 350 F and place the fried food on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and crispy. If they are frozen, do not thaw, add about 5-10 minutes extra time for reheating.
WHAT CAN I USE THIS CRISPY BATTER RECIPE FOR?
You can use this crispy batter recipe to fry vegetables, fruits, onion rings, potatoes, seafood like fish, shrimp, oyster, chicken wings, etc.
Do you have any of your favorite batter recipe that you swear by? I would love to hear!
*Recipe is updated on March 2020. I added rice flour to the regular batter recipe and used a combination of rice flour and cornstarch for a gluten-free batter recipe. I found these combinations give a light and crunchy texture compared to when I only use all-purpose flour alone*
Crispy Batter that Stays Crispy (for a long time)
- Cooking oil for deep-frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 140 grams
- 2 Tbsp rice flour 12 grams
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt optional
- 1 cup ice-cold water
- 1 cup rice flour 110 grams
- 4 Tbsp cornstarch 30 grams
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt optional
- ½ cup ice-cold water add more as needed
Prepare the batter only when you are ready to fry (applicable to both regular and gluten-free batter):
- Place the flour/starch, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything. Only prepare your batter when you are ready to fry your food.
- Pour about 1 1/2 to 2-inch of oil into a stainless steel pot or Dutch oven. Preheat the oil to 330 F. It helps if you have deep-fryer thermometer if not, dip a stick end of wooden spatula, bamboo skewer, or chopsticks into the oil. If there are steady bubbles around it, the oil is most likely more than 330 F, but the temperature will drop once you put in the things you are going to fry. As long as it doesn't bubble vigorously, if it is, lower the heat a bit and test again
- Pour in the ice cold water into the flour mixture and use a chopstick to stir. Do not over stir with all-purpose flour. It's okay to have some lumps in the batter. If you over mix the flour batter, it will turn out gummy and absorbs too much oil. If you are preparing gluten-free batter, this is not an issue because cornstarch doesn't have gluten in it
- Coat the food with the batter and fry the food. Another important note is not to overcrowd and frying too many. If you lower the oil temperature too much, the batter will be greasy, soggy, and almost definitely will not stay crispy (if at all). This step is to cook the food inside the batter. Depending on what you are frying, follow the instruction on the time
- Remove from the oil to a rack. Let them cool down for at least 10 minutes before you go for the second frying. You can even stop at this step if you are prepping ahead. Keep the half-fried food in the fridge and do the second frying just right before serving, whenever that is
- Remove any crumbs from the oil and bring it back up to hot again over high heat. This time we need about 375 F. Use a thermometer if you have one. If you don't have one, again, use the stick end of wooden spatula, bamboo skewer or chopstick to test the oil. The bubbles will be steady. When it's ready, fry the food for the second time. This round should be quicker. The food will turn golden brown too. This step is to crisp up the food further
Keep them warm:
- Place the fried food on a rack set on a baking sheet. You can keep the rest warm in an oven at around 200 F and serve when you are done with frying all
- This batter recipe is good for seafood like fish, shrimp, hush puppies, tofu. You can also add spices or seasonings to it if you wish
- Make sure the fish or shrimp are patted dry on both sides. This is important so you won't end up with soggy fried fish or shrimp. Then dredge them in all-purpose flour or cornstarch (for gluten-free version) before dipping into the batter. Do this for ingredient that has higher moisture content
- If using tofu, make sure to press the tofu with a heavy object to make sure you get the moisture out. You'll be surprised by how much water in a tofu. Extra firm is best in this case as less moisture
DID YOU TRY THIS CRISPY BATTER RECIPE?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
Wondering if Tapioca starch will do the same job as cornstarch. Thank you in advance….Mike
So Happy I found your recipe. Came out fantastic. I have tried many types of batter but this one is the best.
Hi Mike, you know, I’ve heard people using tapioca starch with some success too! I might have to put it to test one of these days! I’m glad the recipe worked out for you 🙂
I tried a combination of all purpose flour, rice flour and cornstarch and baking powder before reading this recipe and it yielded a stunning great result, but this recipe meticulously gives a lot of wonderful hints and explains all the details for a great batter. I am your fan now!
Hello Yau, I’m glad you find them useful 🙂
Yesssss finally made the perfect crispy batter. No more searching for that local fish n chip shop that can get it right.Living next to the sea and fishing for snapper and gurnard often so happy I found this recipe
I’m glad the recipe worked for you 🙂 Lucky you get to live near the sea. We love seafood and are just sad that not much seafood selection where I am!
Good day mam, just asking mam how can i maintain the crunchy of the water spinach in a pouch?
It’s very crispy indeed. The fried fish managed to stay crispy until we finished our meal. I used a combination of all purpose plain flour and sweet potato flour. My toddler loves it. Thank u
I’m so happy to know that the recipe worked out for you 🙂 Thank you for letting me know!
maa’m can I use this batter for half & whole chicken..tnk u
Hello, it should work. You may want to add some seasonings/spices for the fried chicken though.
Thank you so much for this very detailed batter recipe. Having all the explanations for ‘why’ something is done is so helpful! I note that you changed the recipe to use rice flour with the AP flour. Many recipes that I have found contained a combination of cornstarch and flour to give a lightness and good crunch. Were you previously using cornstarch? Does the rice flour make enough difference to warrant my ordering it? I may be able to find it at a Korean grocery, not too far away – but a 45 min drive. Many years ago, I was fortunate to join a wonderful Chinese woman in her home, to learn some ‘home-cooking’ secrets. Double frying was one of the methods we learned…and I had forgotten about this until reading your recipe. Thanks ‘for the memories’ – and the help. ;D
Hi Linda, yes, I believe I did use cornstarch before with AP flour in the past and then I learned from a friend that rice flour gives a crunchier texture compared to cornstarch. But cornstarch is still acceptable too IMHO. You can also try using potato starch too if it’s easier for you to get without having to drive so far. And yes…double frying really change the game too. It makes things extra crunchy!
Hi Linda, for the other carrots with shrimp recipe, the post somehow got accidentally published when it’s not supposed to because I haven’t had a chance to write the recipe for that. I will let you know when it’s ready though. Sorry about that!