Crispy beer-battered fish tacos are my favorite tacos ever. They always remind me of living in San Diego and eating at mariscos seafood trucks. In my recipe, we dip flaky cod in a crispy beer batter and fry it up to perfection. My favorite toppings are tangy cabbage and creamy chipotle sauce, plus all the fresh pico de Gallo. Then we throw it all on a charred corn tortilla–absolute heaven.
How to make beer-battered fish tacos
You can make crispy beer-battered fish tacos with just a handful of fresh ingredients. Prepare for the best tacos of your life!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Fish. A flaky, firm, white fish is best here. I love using cod, but halibut, mahi-mahi, and sea bass are all substitutes.
- Beer. Beer makes the batter extra crispy. Use a lighter-bodied beer (not a stout) like a Mexican lager, pale ale, or German beer. I’m partial to Shiner Bock!
- Spices. We’re adding a couple of spices to our beer batter like chile powder, cumin, and onion powder for flavor.
- Oil. Since we’re frying our fish, you’ll need good frying oil. My favorite is canola but peanut or vegetable will also work.
- Chipotle. To make our creamy chipotle sauce, you need canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. You can find them in the Hispanic aisle at any grocery store.
- Tortillas. I’m partial to corn tortillas here, but feel free to swap flour in if that’s what you prefer.
- Cabbage. I love cabbage on fish tacos and it’s traditional for Baja-style fish tacos in particular. I toss mine with a bit of lime juice, chopped cilantro, and sliced radishes.
Preparing beer-battered fish tacos
- Make your batter. The first step in making beer-battered fish tacos is to make our batter. Whisk together the flour, beer, and spices and refrigerate your batter for 30 minutes before frying. Cold batter is essential to crispy fish tacos.
- Heat your oil. Fill a heavy pot or dutch oven with about 1 1/2 inches of canola oil. Heat to 365 degrees F and use a probe thermometer to keep track of the temperature. The temperature will go down as soon as you add fish, so make sure your heat is fairly high to keep the oil hot while frying.
- Prepare your fish. If your fish isn’t already cut, cut into 1″ thick pieces about 4″ long. Pat them very dry with paper towels and lightly season the fish with salt and pepper.
- Make your cabbage. In a large bowl, toss your cabbage, sliced radishes, and cilantro with the juice of a lime. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper and set aside for later.
- Make your chipotle sauce. In a small food processor, combine the mayo, crema, chipotle chilies, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and set aside.
- Fry the fish. Remove the batter from the fridge and whisk briefly to smooth the batter out. Dip 2-3 pieces of fish in the batter and let any excess drip off. Gently lower the fish into the oil and fry for 4-5 minutes, turning the fish halfway, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining fish.
- Assemble. Place the fried fish on warmed corn tortillas and top with cabbage, chipotle sauce, and pico de Gallo. Serve with lime wedges.
Beer-battered fish tacos FAQs
What’s the best kind of fish to use?
Use a firm, white fish for beer-battered fish tacos. I like using cod, but halibut, mahi-mahi, and sea bass would work.
What kind of beer is best for beer-battered fish tacos?
Opt for a pale, crisp beer any time you make a beer batter. You want to avoid heavy, dark beers like stouts and porters. I’m partial to using Mexican lagers, pale ales, or German beers. I used Shiner Bock in this recipe.
Does beer make the batter crispy?
It does! The bubbles from the CO2 in the beer create a light and airy batter vs a heavy and dense one. The sugar in the beer also creates the golden-brown color of the crust.
Do I have to use beer?
You can swap in sparkling water, like topo chico, for beer. I would add a tiny bit of sugar to the batter to balance it out and just be aware that it might not brown as much. You will not get drunk off beer batter as the alcohol cooks off when frying.
How long do beer-battered fish tacos keep?
I try not to make extra, but if you have some leftovers reheat it in the air fryer for a few minutes to bring back the crispy exterior.
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