It’s surprisingly easy to make Baja Fish Tacos at home, and they taste like they’re straight from California! Fish is tossed in a seasoned beer batter then lightly fried until golden and topped off with a crunchy slaw and cool lime crema sauce. This is the best recipe to have you dreaming of the West Coast wherever you are.

Baja Fish Tacos are an authentic and healthy recipe.

Easy Baja Fish Tacos

Whenever I think back to my most recent trip to Southern California, one thing comes to mind…

Those Baja Fish Tacos. (I know, my life really does revolve around food!)

The thought of that fresh, crispy, beer-battered, fried fish with a snappy slaw and creamy sauce just makes my mouth water.

Since I don’t live anywhere NEAR Baja, I recently tried recreating those delicious tacos at home.

Wow!! They came out incredible. And they were actually MUCH easier to make than I originally thought they would be.

These are hands down the best fish tacos. The whole family will love them.

Don’t forget the Fish Taco Slaw and Lime Crema to really take these tacos over the top!

An overhead shot of fish tacos on a serving platter.

What are Baja Fish Tacos?

Most often found on the West Coast, Baja fish tacos are usually made with crispy and flavorful beer-battered fried fish wrapped in a warm and soft tortilla. Toppings typically include pico de gallo, slaw, and a creamy white sauce. Unlike many American-style tacos, you will rarely find lettuce or cheese. 

They get their name from the Baja Peninsula, the strip of land that is part of Mexico just south of California. These tacos are designed to be held in one hand and simple to enjoy. This delicious meal is found at Mexican restaurants throughout North America.

Fish, beer, seasonings, flour, and cream are the ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

To make this homemade Baja fish tacos recipe you need:

  • Fish. There are many types of fish you can use in these fish tacos. The best options include cod, tilapia, or bass. Aim for a mild-flavored white fish that was sustainably sourced, if possible.
  • Flour. Either an all-purpose flour or a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend will work. Steer clear of grainy varieties for the best texture.
  • Seasonings. For the most flavor, you’ll need a blend of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. While you can sub spices, this combination yields the most authentic taste.
  • Beer. Rather than milk for the liquid base of the batter, beer is used to enhance the flavor and texture. A Mexican beer is the best option. Dos Equis or another light beer is perfect.
  • Oil. Peanut or vegetable oil are needed for pan-frying the fish. Look for an oil with a higher smoke point so your kitchen doesn’t get too cloudy.
  • Slaw. A crispy slaw is delicious on top of these tacos. You’ll need shredded cabbage, cilantro, red onion, jalapeño, and lime juice.
  • Lime Crema Sauce. To make lime crema at home, simply whip up some Mexican crema or sour cream with lime juice, lime zest, and salt.
  • Tortillas. Corn tortillas are usually used. However, you can use flour tortillas if you prefer.

How to Make Baja Fish Tacos

Below, you’ll find the steps to follow to make the best Baja fish tacos:

Make the Fish Slaw

It’s easy to whip up the fish slaw first. Be sure to keep it covered in the fridge if you make it more than 20 minutes before serving.

Add the shredded cabbage, cilantro, red onion, jalapeño, and lime juice to a large bowl. Use tongs or a spoon to stir until everything is thoroughly combined.

Whip Up the Lime Crema

The lime crema sauce is another part of the recipe you can make ahead of time.

Combine the sour cream or Mexican crema along with the lime juice and zest and salt into a small bowl. Whisk well. 

Prep the Fish

Carefully dry the fish with a paper towel. You want to remove any excess moisture on the top of the fish.

Use a sharp knife to slice the fish into strips that are 3 inches by 1 inch. Set these aside while you make the batter.

Fish is sliced into pieces.

Mix Up the Batter

In a large bowl, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir it with a fork.

Gently pour the beer over the flour mixture and whisk until everything is mixed well.

Dredge the Fish

Depending on the size of the bowl used, add a few strips of fish to the beer batter. Turn them until all of the sides are evenly coated.

Pan Fry the Fish

Pour ¼-⅓ cup of oil into a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet and set it to medium or medium-high heat. Be sure you have enough oil to completely cover the bottom of the pan.

Once the oil is hot, use tongs to remove the fish strips from the batter and very carefully place the fish into the pan in a single layer. Be sure there is at least ½-1 inch of space between them.

Cook the fish for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Use a spatula to flip so none of the batter sticks to the bottom of the pan. You’re looking for a fish that begins to flake and has a golden brown and crispy crust.

Remove the fish to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add more oil as necessary to continue cooking the remaining fish strips.

Serve the Tacos

For the best results, warm up the tortillas in a clean skillet for a minute or so on each side.

Then, load up the warm corn tortillas with some beer-battered fish and your favorite toppings like a scoop of slaw, sliced avocados, fresh pico de gallo, and a drizzle of lime crema.

Baja Fish Tacos are an authentic and healthy recipe.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: The slaw can be made 30 minutes ahead of time. But, the lime crema is even better when made the day before.
  • How to store: Keep the fish, slaw, and cream sauce in separate containers in the refrigerator. The fish will last for up to 3-4 days, crema for a week, and the slaw for 3-4 days. However the slaw will lose its crispness after a day or two.
  • How to freeze: Arrange leftover fish in a single layer and freeze for 3-4 hours, then store in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag for up to 3-4 months
  • How to reheat: Put the fish in a 350°F oven or air fryer until heated through.

Who invented Baja fish tacos?

While fish tacos, or something similar, have likely been around for centuries, a man named Ralph Rubio brought them to popularity in America in the 1980s. After tasting these delicious tacos in Baja, he opened a restaurant in San Diego and the rest, as they say, is history.

Beer battered fish are wrapped in corn tortillas and served with slaw.

Dietary Modifications

Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help this recipe fit your dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-free: Opt for a gluten-free 1-to1 blend, use a gluten-free beer, and ensure the corn tortillas are free of gluten.
  • Dairy-free: Stick with a dairy-free sour cream.
  • Low-carb: Skip the tortilla and serve as a bowl.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Dry it off. Ensure there is no excess moisture on the fish so the batter sticks.
  • Be choosy. Go with a firm, flaky, white fish for the best results.
  • Save time. Use a bag of coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage.
  • Make it authentic. Opt for Mexican crema instead of sour cream.
  • Get zesty. Serve with a wedge of fresh lime to squeeze on just before enjoying!

What to Serve with Baja Fish Tacos

Similar to many Mexican favorites, there are a variety of sides you can serve to complete the meal.

Choose a salsa like Tomatillo Salsa VerdeFresh Mango Avocado Salsa or Roasted Tomato Salsa alongside Homemade Tortilla Chips. Don’t forget the Homemade Guacamole.

Sides like Avocado Corn SaladMexican Street Corn SaladCilantro Lime Rice, and Refried Black Beans pair perfectly with fish tacos.

Three Baja fish tacos are served with fresh lime wedges.

More Fish Recipes

Fish is a super healthy dinner option that is easy to turn to any night of the week. Try any of these recipes for a flavorful dinner.

Crispy Air Fryer Fish is quick and simple. 

If you’re a fan of good fish tacos, try these Blackened Fish Tacos or Air Fryer Fish Tacos.

Panko Crusted SalmonMiso Glazed Salmon, and Blackened Mahi Mahi are sure to become family favorites.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Baja Fish Tacos

It's surprisingly easy to make Baja Fish Tacos at home, and they taste like they're straight from California! Fish is tossed in a seasoned beer batter then lightly fried until golden and topped off with a crunchy slaw and cool lime crema sauce.
Yield 6 servings
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Ingredients 

Baja Fish:

  • 1 ½ lbs. white fish cod, tilapia, or bass
  • 1 cup flour all purpose or gluten-free
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup Mexican beer Dos Equis or another light beer
  • ½ cup oil peanut or vegetable

Fish Taco Slaw:

  • 14 oz. bag coleslaw mix
  • ¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 lime juice
  • 1-2 jalapenos finely chopped, optional
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste

Lime Crema:

  • ½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ½ tsp. lime zest
  • ⅛-¼ tsp. salt
  • Serving:
  • 12 Corn tortillas
  • 2 avocados cut into slices

Instructions 

  • Dab the fish with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture on the surface. Cut the fish into 3-inch long by 1-inch thick strips. Set aside while preparing the batter.
  • Mix together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Pour in the beer and whisk until everything is combined.
  • Add the fish strips to the batter and toss until they’re well coated.
  • Add ¼-⅓ cup of oil to a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. You want enough oil to completely cover the bottom of the skillet.
  • Using tongs, remove a fish strip from the batter, making sure every side is coated, and carefully add it to the hot oil. Add more strips to the skillet in a single layer, with at least ½-1 inch of space between each one. Cook the fish for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the crust is golden and crispy and the fish flakes easily with a fork. When flipping the fish, use a spatula to ensure the crust doesn’t stick to the bottom of the skillet.
  • Once cooked, remove the fish from the skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate to let drain. Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the skillet and continue cooking the remaining strips. You may have to cook the fish in 2-3 batches, depending on the size of the skillet.
  • While the fish is cooking, add all of the Fish Taco Slaw ingredients to a large bowl. Toss until they’re well combined and set aside until ready to use.
  • Whisk together the lime crema in a medium-sized bowl until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • To Serve: Toast the corn tortillas over medium heat in a clean skillet for a minute or so per side. Add the fish, slaw, sliced avocados, and sauce to each tortilla. Enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Video

Notes

  • Nutrition facts calculated with corn tortillas, avocado slices, and only 3/4 of the batter being used.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: The fish slaw can be made 30 minutes ahead of time. But, the lime crema is even better when made the day before.
  • How to store: Keep the fish, slaw, and cream sauce in separate containers in the refrigerator. The fish will last for up to 3-4 days, crema for a week, and the slaw for 3-4 days. However the slaw will lose its crispness after a day or two.
  • How to freeze: Arrange leftover fish in a single layer and freeze for 3-4 hours, then store in a freezer safe Ziploc bag for up to 3-4 months
  • How to reheat: You can use a 350° oven or air fryer to warm the fish back up until heated through.

Nutrition

Calories: 578kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 67mg, Sodium: 859mg, Potassium: 950mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 821IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 142mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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