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11 September 2019

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?

Baja Fish Tacos ready to eat

Ingredients Needed

  • 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)
  • FOR SERVING
  • 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

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.

Sliced mahi mahi for our baja fish tacos

Dip the fish slices into the batter and get them nicely coated.

Dredging the fish in beer batter for our baja fish tacos

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.

Beer battered fish for baja fish tacos, draining on paper towel

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!

Creamy Fish Taco Sauce Recipe

How to Make Baja Fish Taco Sauce

Whisk together the following in a small bowl:

  • 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) – chili powder works great here, too
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1-2 fresh cloves, minced)
  • Pinch of salt

Done! Scoop it over your tacos and you’re good to go!

Adding sauce to our baja fish tacos

Best Fish for Baja Fish Tacos

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.

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!

Baja Fish Tacos with added slaw

Such a great recipe. Want some more?

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Mike is stealing a baja fish taco!

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.

5 from 1 vote
Baja Fish Tacos Recipe
Baja Fish Tacos Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
 
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!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: beer batter, coleslaw recipe, fish tacos, mahi mahi, spicy, tacos
Servings: 8 tacos
Calories: 362 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
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
FOR SERVING
  • 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
Instructions
FOR THE FISH TACO SAUCE
  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Chill slightly, and set aside until ready to use.
FOR THE BATTER
  1. 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
  5. Serve the fish onto warmed corn tortillas with crunchy shredded cabbage. Top with the fish taco sauce.
  6. Garnish with avocado, jalapeno slices, fresh chopped cilantro and extra lime juice, if desired.
Recipe Notes

Makes 8 tacos.

Nutrition Facts
Baja Fish Tacos Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 362 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 55mg18%
Sodium 377mg16%
Potassium 492mg14%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin A 335IU7%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 76mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Baja Fish Tacos Recipe - 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! #Tacos #Seafood

2 comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have to say this is one of the most authentic Fish Taco recipes I have seen in a long time. I grew up in San Diego and spent many a weekend in Ensanada and San Filipe. San Filipe was known for its fresh fish and shrimp, but Ensanda was known for its fresh fish and fish tacos (2 for .50) I also remember when Rubio’s opened its first place across the street from San Diego State in 1983, I was a sophomore and was taken back how good the fish tacos were. I could enjoy them anytime I wanted.

    Getting back to your recipes its spot on, I’ve been making Fish Taco’s now for years and I use Red Snapper DO NOT USE tilapia.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Tony, thanks! It is SO GOOD! I won’t change a thing about this recipe. And I agree, red snapper is so much better than tilapia here.

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