Beer Battered Fish Tacos (Baja Style)

5 from 17 votes

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Make my beer battered fish tacos for Taco Tuesday! Featuring Baja-style fried fish, crunchy homemade slaw with a tangy dressing, and fresh pico de gallo and salsa as a garnish, they’re a flavorful and filling lunch or dinner idea!

baja style fish taco on corn tortilla topped with purple slaw


Fish tacos come in many shapes and sizes, and sometimes they even include other seafood like shrimp. I’ve already shared recipes like these mahi mahi tacos with fruit salsa, and you could easily whip up some seafood tacos with my perfect blackened shrimp or this salsa verde shrimp. Today’s recipe is all about using beer battered fish as the main filling!

You’ll note that the beer battered fish is done “Baja-style.” Hailing from the Baja peninsula in Mexico, Baja-style tacos feature deep-fried battered fish with a super crispy texture. Paired with the Mexican flavors of the crema dressing for the purple cabbage slaw, this dish will make your taste buds tingle with delight. Check out the video on how to make these below in the recipe card!

I love the idea of serving these as a fun twist on Taco Tuesday or for lunch on the weekends. We’re huge taco lovers in my house, and this recipe is always a hit. You likely won’t end up with leftovers — they’re that delicious!

battered fish tacos on corn tortilla topped with crunchy purple slaw

INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Cod – I typically opt for cod for this taco recipe. You could also use halibut, haddock, mahi mahi, tilapia, or grouper instead.
  • Corn Tortillas – You need a vessel for all of the yummy fillings! 
  • Oil – To fry the fish. 
  • Mexican Beer – You can use your favorite brand. I like Corona, Dos Equis, or Modelo.
  • All-Purpose Flour – The main ingredient (apart from the beer!) for the batter.
  • Egg – To help the batter stick to the fish.
  • Salt & Cayenne Pepper – For more added flavor in the batter.
  • Mayonnaise – A key ingredient for your homemade Mexican coleslaw!
  • Mexican Crema – Also needed for the slaw. I love my homemade version.
  • Green Cabbage – You of course need cabbage for the coleslaw.
  • Limes – For the slaw and the garnish.
  • Cilantro – Opt for fresh cilantro for your coleslaw and as a garnish.
  • Honey – A touch of sweetness goes a long way! Use a tablespoon of honey in the slaw dressing.
  • Pico de Gallo – For your garnish. Don’t miss my recipe!
  • Salsa Verde – Also as a garnish, and yes, I have a recipe for salsa verde too!
photo collage shows steps to make Baja style fish tacos and purple cabbage slaw for tacos

HOW TO MAKE BEER BATTERED FISH TACOS

  1. Season the Fish. Add salt to both sides of your white fish of choice and set aside for later. 
  2. Make the Dressing. Add the mayonnaise, Mexican crema, lime juice, chopped cilantro, and honey to a large bowl and whisk. Incorporate the shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the Batter. Place the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, egg, and beer in a shallow bowl and mix. Make sure that there are no lumps remaining!
  4. Fry. Add the frying oil to a large skillet (I swear by cast iron!) and heat to 350 degrees F. Dip the fish into the batter and allow any excess to drip off. Drop the beer battered fish into the oil and fry on both sides. It shouldn’t take much longer than 5 minutes. Place the fish on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then repeat with all of the fish.
  5. Warm the Tortillas & Assemble the tacos. I typically like to warm my corn tortillas before assembling my tacos — but this step is technically optional. Once they’re warm (or not, whatever you decide) add the fried fish, cabbage slaw, and condiments of your choice before serving, and enjoy!
overhead image: 3 open face battered fish tacos on a wooden serving board

Recipe notes

  • Save prep time: Instead of shredding your own cabbage, buy bagged shreds from the produce section. An 8-ounce bag should be just enough.
  • Frying the fish: You may be able to fry a few pieces at a time, depending on the method. Don’t crowd the pan or fryer, or the temperature of the oil will drop and the fish will be soggy.
  • Storage: Keep each component in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator. Both the fish and the slaw will last for 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: Place the fish in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Or, shallow fry it on the stove until warmed through and crispy.
close up shot of Mexican fried cod on corn tortilla topped with crunchy slaw

FISH SUBSTITUTIONS
While cod is the popular choice for fried battered fish, there are other varieties that will work just as well.
No matter what you choose, be sure to get enough fillets to make 8 even pieces:

  • Halibut
  • Pollock
  • Haddock
  • Mahi mahi
  • Grouper

HOW TO SHRED CABBAGE BY HAND
All you need is a cutting board and a sharp knife to make your own cabbage slaw. Or, if you’re comfortable doing so, use a mandoline slicer. Alternatively, you can shred the cabbage using a food processor.

  1. Peel off the first layer of outer leaves
  2. Rinse and dry the cabbage or use a salad spinner after it’s been shredded.
  3. Cut the cabbage in half with a sharp knife, then cut each half again to make quarters.
  4. Place each quarter on a cutting board, stem side down, and cut at an angle to remove the stem.
  5. Lay a quarter piece on one of the flat sides and cut across it to make thin shreds.
  6. Repeat with each quarter until you have enough sliced cabbage.
side view of seafood taco dinner on wooden board

What Beer is Best for Fish Tacos?

As this is a Mexican-inspired recipe for battered fish tacos, I typically use Mexican beer! Corona, Dos Equis, and Modelo are all great choices. If you aren’t fussed to stick with Mexican beer, I recommend using an American IPA or a Pilsner instead.

What is Beer Batter Made Of?

Beer batter is made with the same ingredients as a regular batter — flour, egg, and seasonings — with the addition of beer. I find that adding about a cup is plenty for recipes like these battered fish tacos.

Is Cod or Tilapia Better for Fish Tacos?

Fish tacos are almost always made with white fish. I like using cod as it holds up well when battered and fried. It also boasts a mild and slightly sweet flavor that I adore. You can use tilapia instead, although cod is generally easier to cook with and is a bit lighter. My advice? Use what you have on hand and/or whatever is easiest to find!

MORE TACO RECIPES TO TRY

If you enjoy the crunch of slaw for tacos, try my Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Apple Slaw. Otherwise, here are some more recipes with a variety of meats:

Still Hungry?

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This recipe post, originally published on Kevin Is Cooking August, 2020, has been updated with new content, photos and/or video in April, 2023.

close up of fried fish taco with cabbage slaw

Beer Battered Fish Tacos (Baja Style)

5 from 17 votes
Beer battered fish is crispy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside. Serve with slaw and a tangy sauce for incredible tacos!
Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb cod (See Note 1)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Oil for frying (See Note 2)

Batter

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Mexican beer (Corona, Dos Equis, Modelo)

Slaw

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups green cabbage shredded

Garnish

Instructions 

  • Season fish on both sides with salt and set aside.
  • Whisk together the slaw dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add the shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Set aside.
  • In a shallow bowl mix together the batter, whisking to avoid any lumps.
  • In a large skillet (cast iron preferred), deep pot or fryer, heat oil to 350°F.
  • Dip fish into batter and allow excess batter to drip off. Carefully drop into hot oil, letting go away from you. Fry fish, turning to brown both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate and season with salt. Repeat with all fish.
  • Warm tortillas over an open flame or in a dry skillet. Add fried fish, cabbage slaw and serve with lime, cilantro and salsas of choice.

Video

Notes

  1. Halibut is a great substitution for the cod fish. Other fish can be Haddock, Pollack, Mahi Mahi or Grouper. Cut the filets into 8 pieces.
  2. Best oils to fry with: Corn oil, a blended oil such as Vegetable oil, Canola, Sunflower, Safflower, Peanut Oil.

Nutrition

Calories: 575kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 552mg | Potassium: 754mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 299IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
A close up of baja fish Taco and salsa

Kevin

Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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53 Comments

  1. Your recipe sucks. The batter was too thin and it all came off when I put it in the oil. Thanks for ruining my dinner

    1. I highly disagree and I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe. I understand how frustrating it can be when things don’t turn out as expected. However, countless others have had success with the recipe as written. It’s possible that there may have been a misstep during your preparation process, maybe incorrect ingredient amounts were not used? Needless to say I stand by the recipe as written.

      1. 5 stars
        I followed your instructions to the letter, and it turned out perfect! Looks like it was a Jeff problem and not a Kevin problem… Keep the recipes coming!

  2. 5 stars
    Very delicious! My family loved it! I used tilapia and Corona beer. Normally I would buy Cod for this kind of recipe but someone else picked up the frozen tilapia and it worked very well. So I recommend if you use frozen fish it will turn out great. (Thawed, of course.)

  3. 5 stars
    Made these 3 separate times. They are delicious! Cut thinly. I use cod or halibut. Dry out on paper towels for few ours ahead. Change towels when damp to new dry ones. If you like heat, add more cayenne. Very tasty and a winner. Recommend can of corn drained and added to. 2.5 minutes each size. Let them brown nice at 350 oil temperature. Place on paper towels. Let temp get up to 350 again and do next batch.

      1. 5 stars
        Umm, these fish tacos were delicious and soo easy to make too! We’re never going out for fish tacos when we can make them better at home (and cheaper). Thanks for the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    This beer batter is so good. I would drain on wire rack and not paper towels to keep the fish more crispy.

      1. 5 stars
        This may have been the most flavorful, delicious slaw recipe I’ve tried so far- yet so simple! 5 stars all around! Thank you so much for the tasty meal recipe. I will make again!

    1. I have not tried it so I can not say, but this recipe has a batter rather than a breading for the fish. It might be a bit messy, but if you do give this a try, please let me know and I will update the recipe card for other readers Caroline.

      1. 5 stars
        My husband loved this!

        We only had club soda in the house (instead of beer), but followed the recipe exactly otherwise.

        Thanks!!

    1. That’s total time, so 2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side, or like in the video you are deep frying, 4-5 minutes.

    1. I would not recommend that. While it can be done, I’m sure the coating with be loose, but if you do, let me know and I can update the recipe card Notes. Thanks Rose!

      1. Great question Shivi. I would choose any of there in order: Corn oil, a blended oil such as Vegetable oil, Canola, Sunflower, Safflower, Peanut Oil.

    1. I have not tried that version with this recipe, but it’s food for thought… I don’t see dipping the fish in the batter, placing on a baking sheet and doing it that way. The batter would just run off. You could season the fish and bake it that way?