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Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Calories: 945
Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with sesame slaw on corn tortillas on a plate

Crispy beer-battered fish tacos, loaded with a slightly spicy, creamy coleslaw and topped off with a lime-spritzed crema, are pure heaven in a tortilla.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos: AKA Beach Day on a Plate

Juicy-tender on the inside, and so very light and crispy on the outside, these beer-battered fish tacos are one of the best things we’ve cooked up in a long time. They require deep-frying, and they’re not the very simplest recipe in the world, but (as you might imagine) beer-battered and fried fish, piled high into a tortilla and topped with a creamy, spicy, lime-y slaw and dressed with a drizzle of crema makes for a meal that it 100% unforgettable. It’s a treat for your family, or serve it up as a beachy, summery feast for your friends—however you enjoy it and whoever you share it with, there’s no way that this crispy fried fish taco recipe doesn’t knock it out of the park every last time. Beer-battered fish tacos are often called “Baja-style” tacos, and while this recipe is certainly inspired by that yummy So-Cal classic, we’ve put our own twist on the original by incorporating some of our favorite ingredients like sriracha, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

flour, white fish, red cabbage, carrots, oil, sesame oil, cilantro, and corn tortillas

What Kind of Fish Is Best for Fish Tacos?

Any kind of firm white fish is terrific for these fried fish tacos. You can use whatever is affordable and abundant at the market—if you’re talking to the fishmonger, ask for a flakey, firm white fish. If you’re feeling flush, go for halibut! It’s meaty, so firm, mild and almost creamy. Cod is our go-to, because it’s always pretty darn affordable and we love its mildness and firmness. It seems to always hold up really well to the deep-frying process. Even snapper, tilapia or haddock would work great.

sesame slaw with cilantro, carrots and red cabbage in a bowl
spicy mayonnaise sauce in a owl made with lime juice, rice vinegar, sriracha

What Kind of Beer Do You Use for Beer Battered Fish?

And does beer make batter crispy? Yes, you betcha! In fact, that’s exactly why we’re using it (no, it’s not just an excuse to buy a 6-pack). Using beer batter for making fried fish is a great way to keep the crust crisp and airy instead of heavy, thick or gloppy. Beer also has natural sugars that add to the crispy golden-brown color of the beer battered crust. We love to use light beers for beer-battered fish, like pale ales, pilsners, or even light IPAs would be delicious.

beer batter for fish tacos in a bowl next to a can of beer
beer batter in a bowl and a plate with flour and spices with white fish
Beer-Battered Fish frying in oil
Beer-Battered Fish on parchment paper on a baking sheet

Our 2 Favorite Beer-Battered Fish Taco Toppings: Coleslaw & Crema

The secret of these two delicious fish taco toppings is that they use basically the same ingredients. The lime-sriracha crema—our very favorite fish taco sauce, ever—is made up of just a few of the ingredients you’ll use to make the coleslaw, so it’s no extra work or energy to remember to grab the ingredients for both! If you’ve got the stuff you need to make the red cabbage coleslaw, you’ve got what you need to make this simple fish taco sauce. Here’s everything you’ll need to make the two fish taco toppings:

  • Limes

  • Mayonnaise

  • Rice vinegar


  • Sriracha

  • Honey


  • Sesame oil

  • Salt

  • Purple cabbage

  • Carrots


  • Cilantro

  • Black sesame seeds

Beer-Battered Fish on parchment paper

How to Make Fried Fish Tacos

These are not the simplest tacos in the world, but they are worth every ounce of effort that you put in (and then some!). Here’s how to make these beer-battered fish tacos:

  1. Make the coleslaw! Toss the shredded cabbage, carrots, cilantro and sesame seeds with lime juice, mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sriracha, honey, sesame oil and salt.

  2. Make the fish taco sauce! Whisk mayo, lime juice, sriracha, rice vinegar.

  3. Make the beer batter! Whisk beer, flour, baking powder and salt until the batter is completely smooth.

  4. Prep some seasoned flour for dredging. Flour, salt, cayenne and garlic powder. Dipping the fish in flour before the beer batter will help the batter to stick to the fish.

  5. Flour and batter the fish. Dip each piece of fish in the flour mixture first, then give it a good dip in the batter to coat.

  6. Time to fry the fish! If you’re new to deep fat frying, no worries! It isn’t as hard as you might imagine. You’ll need a deep-fat thermometer, but otherwise it’s very simple. Begin by heating about three inches of vegetable oil to 350°F-375°F. Working with one piece at a time, gently lower the fish into the hot oil. Each piece of fish that you add will drop the oil temperature a bit, so keep an eye on the temperature and if it drops 350°F, stop adding the fish for a while until the oil comes back to temperature. If the oil gets too hot, try adding a little more oil.

  7. Make the fried fish tacos! Fill each tortilla with one piece of fish, a serving of coleslaw, a drizzle of crema, a few radishes, some cilantro and black sesame if desired.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with sesame slaw and a spicy cream on a plate with radishes and cilantro

Tools You’ll Need

More Seafood Taco Recipes to Try

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with sesame slaw and a spicy cream on a plate with radishes and cilantro
Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with sesame slaw and a spicy cream on a plate with radishes and cilantro

A Seriously Upgraded Taco Night

This fresh, crispy, loaded fried fish tacos recipe is about as opposite from taco-packet ground beef in a flour tortilla as tacos can possibly get (though we have plenty of love in our hearts for high-brow and low-brow tacos!). Try this beer-battered taco recipe, and let us know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Calories: 945

Ingredients

Coleslaw

  • 1 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 3 cups Purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup Carrots, grated
  • 1/3 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for serving
  • 1 Tbsp Black sesame seeds, plus more for serving

Spicy Crema

  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha

Beer Battered Cod

  • 12 oz Pale ale (or other light beer), 1 can
  • 2 1/4 cups Flour, divided
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1-1 1/4 lbs Fresh cod, roughly cut into 1” x 5” inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Cayenne (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • Canola oil or vegetable oil (enough to fill a large saucepan three inches deep)
  • 12 Corn tortillas, warmed or toasted
  • Thinly sliced radishes

Method

Coleslaw

  1. n a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sriracha, honey, sesame oil and salt until smooth. Add the cabbage, carrots, cilantro and sesame seeds, toss to combine with the dressing and refrigerate.

Spicy Crema

  1. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until crema is smooth.

Beer Battered Cod

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the beer, 1 1/4 cups flour, the baking powder and 2 teaspoons salt until there are no longer any lumps left. The batter consistency should be a little bit runnier then pancake batter and completely smooth, set aside.
  2. In a large pot, pour in oil about three inches deep and heat to 350°-375°F with a deep fat thermometer.
  3. In a pie pan or a rimmed plate mix the remaining 1 cup flour with 1 tablespoon salt, cayenne and garlic powder together until very well incorporated.
  4. To prepare the fish, season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Coat each piece of fish with the flour mixture, then dredge in wet batter. Make sure that your fish is completely coated, then allow any excess batter to drip off while still holding it. Gently lower the fish into the hot oil. If your fish sticks to the bottom, lower it in more slowly or quickly scrape it off the bottom of the pan using a slotted spoon. After 3-4 min, flip the fish. Cook for 2-3 more minutes and remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. Adjust the heat up or down between the batches so that the fish are always frying at around 350°F. Try not to overcrowd the pot.
  5. Once your fish is all cooked, assemble the tacos. Fill each tortilla with one piece of fish, a serving of coleslaw, a drizzle of crema, a few radishes, some cilantro and black sesame if desired.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

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