This Baja fish tacos recipe serves up fresh mahi mahi coated with beer batter and fried golden, topped with crunchy slaw and homemade creamy fish taco sauce. Perfect tacos!
Today we're serving up fish tacos, my friends, and they're wonderfully satisfying. Fish tacos are always a hit, but when the fish is dipped in beer batter and fried to a nice golden brown, you just can't beat it. If you're in the mood for tacos, whether it is Tuesday or any other day, Baja fish tacos are where it's at.
What is a Baja Fish Taco?
A Baja-style fish taco is a taco filled with white fish that is battered and deep fried, usually topped with shredded cabbage and a creamy fish taco sauce. The recipe originated in Mexico, but grew popular in Baja, California, hence the name, and is heavily influenced by Mexican cuisine.
What I love about Baja fish tacos is the crispness of the fried fish paired with the crunchiness of the slaw and the creamy taco sauce that's just unbeatable when you put it all together.
You don't have to visit Baja, California to enjoy them because you can very easily make them at home. So let's do this! Let's talk about how we make them, shall we?
For the fish batter
- All-Purpose Flour.
- Cayenne. Or use paprika for a milder heat.
- Garlic Powder.
- Baking Powder.
- Mexican Lager.
For the fish
- Canola. Or vegetable oil.
- Firm White Fish Fillets. I used mahi mahi, but try any firm white fish, such as cod or halibut.
- Corn Tortillas. Warmed.
- Cabbage. Finely shredded.
- Avocado. Thinly sliced.
- Jalapeno Slices. Optional, for some heat and flavor.
- Fresh Chopped Cilantro.
- Extra Limes.
How to Make Baja Fish Tacos - the Recipe Method
First, heat the canola oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F. If you are unable to measure the temperature, add a droplet of batter to the oil. It is ready when the batter sizzles. Do NOT bring the oil to a boil.
Next, slice the white fish into 2-3 inch slices, about ½ inch thick. You’ll want 16 pieces total, 2 for each taco shell.
Dip the fish slices into the batter and get them nicely coated.
Add them to the hot oil and fry the the battered fish in batches for 2-3 minutes each, until they are golden brown.
Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Hitting them with salt while they are hot and fresh from the oil will help the salt stick better, and adds a lot of great flavor.
Serve the fish onto warmed corn tortillas with crunchy shredded cabbage. Top with fish taco sauce. I'll show you how to make that below.
Garnish with avocado, jalapeno slices, fresh chopped cilantro and extra lime juice, if desired.
This will make you 8 hearty, filling Baja style fish tacos. Yes! They're so good! But wait, there's more! We still have to make the Baja fish taco sauce!
If you need help on how to cut an avocado, my friend and food scientist Jessica Gavin has a great tutorial. See How to Cut an Avocado.
Baja Fish Taco Sauce Ingredients
- Mexican Crema. Or use sour cream.
- Lime Juice.
- Your Favorite Hot Sauce. Sriracha or chili powder are great here.
- Garlic Powder. Or fresh cloves.
How to Make Baja Fish Taco Sauce - the Recipe Method
Well, it's pretty easy. Just whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Done! Scoop it over your tacos and you're good to go!
Who Invented the Baja Fish Taco?
Fish tacos have been consumed along coastal Mexico for generations, where fish is abundant and easily served wrapped in tortillas, prepared in numerous ways, with a big variety of topping. Fish tacos as we know them today grew popular in the 1950s, it is said in either of the Baja cities of Ensenada or San Felipe, which is debatable, though the fare quickly became street food staples. Hot, crispy, delicious and cheaply made, their popularity spread.
Popularity exploded in the United States when Ralph Rubio fell in love with the tacos on a visit to Baja. He loved them so much, he opened his own restaurant in San Diego, California in 1983, called Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill (now Rubio's Coastal Grill), where he served the up along with other wonderful Mexican food. The restaurant is now a successful chain with locations all across the United States.
And here we are today! With loads of fish tacos available to us, but lucky for us, we can now make them at home as often as we want. How fun!
That's it, my friends! Done! I hope you enjoy your fish tacos, Baja style!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Best fish to use. You can use pretty much any firm white fish for making these tacos. They key is the firmness so the fish doesn't fall apart during the frying process.
- Mahi mahi is a great option, as is cod, swordfish, grouper or halibut. I've used mahi mahi for this recipe, but any firm white fish of your choice will make great tacos.
Storage & Leftovers
Storing your Baja Fish Tacos in an airtight container in the fridge may allow you to store the leftovers for up to 2-3 days. To maximize the storage life, make sure to refrigerate them promptly.
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Baja Fish Tacos Recipe
FOR THE FISH TACO SAUCE
- ½ cup mayo
- ½ cup Mexican crema or use sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lime juice about ½ a small lime
- 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce sriracha is great here
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1-2 fresh cloves, minced
- Pinch of salt
FOR THE FISH BEER BATTER
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cayenne or use paprika for a milder heat
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt + more for finishing
- 2/3 cup Mexican lager + more as needed
FOR THE FISH
- 1 quart canola or vegetable oil
- 1 pound firm white fish fillets I used mahi mahi, but try any firm white fish, such as cod or halibut
- 8 corn tortillas warmed
- 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- Jalapeno slices optional, for some heat and flavor
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Extra limes
FOR THE FISH TACO SAUCE
- Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
- Chill slightly, and set aside until ready to use.
FOR THE BATTER
- Whisk all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. You want to achieve a consistency like pancake batter. If needed, add in a bit more of the beer.
TO MAKE THE FISH
- Heat the canola oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat to 350 degrees If you are unable to measure the temperature, add a droplet of batter to the oil. It is ready when the batter sizzles. Do NOT bring the oil to a boil.
- Next, slice the white fish into 2-3 inch slices, about ½ inch thick. You’ll want 16 pieces total, 2 for each taco shell.
- Dip the fish slices into the batter and get them nicely coated. Add them to the hot oil and fry them for 2-3 minutes each, until they are golden brown.
- Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
- Serve the fish onto warmed corn tortillas with crunchy shredded cabbage. Top with the fish taco sauce.
- Garnish with avocado, jalapeno slices, fresh chopped cilantro and extra lime juice, if desired.