Crunchy Baja Fish Tacos are beer-battered fish tacos that are light and crispy and topped with a crunchy radish pico de gallo, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime. Dairy-free!
Recipe first posted in April 2016. Last updated November 3, 2022.
I’m going to keep this brief: make these tacos!!
Not only do they offer all the crunch and chew and fluffiness that you want in a stellar fried fish taco but they also offer a spring twist on the classic summertime salsa, Pico de Gallo, by using radishes in place of tomatoes.
I was so in love with this salsa that initially I was just going to post the recipe by itself but then came across a lovely looking fresh fillet of cod and knew I had just met a match destined for each other.
That being said, any flakey white fish would work here; mahi mahi, catfish, even halibut if you fancy. I know frying can be a little bit of a pain in the butt, so maybe this isn’t an I’m-exhaused-what’s-for-dinner-recipe. Try it this weekend when you’re a bit more relaxed.
The beer batter only uses half of a beer so you can drink the rest while you’re cooking—see I’ve got you covered. By the way, I usually use Negro Modelo because I like it’s malty flavor in the batter and to drink but you could use whatever kind you like. I also sometimes go for something lighter like Stella, just remember a really light beer is not going to lend a ton of beer flavor, it’s up to you.
These truly are some of the best fish tacos around. Enjoy!
Ingredients To Make Baja Fish Tacos
For the Pico de Gallo
- Red onion
- Kosher salt
For the Tacos
- Vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
- Cod or other white fish
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Ground cumin, you can also add chili powder if you’d like
- Corn tortillas
- Avocado, for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Crema, for serving (or leave out for dairy-free)
How To Make Baja Fish Tacos
Make the pico de gallo. Chop the radishes, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and onion into very small dice.
Mix. Add all the pico ingredients to a large bowl, squeeze lime juice over the top and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Stir then taste and add more lime or salt as needed. Set aside. This would also be a good time to warm the tortillas. Keep warm in a tortilla warmer or clean kitchen towel.
Prep fish. Cut fish into strips about 2-inches thick and 2-inches long. Place in a mixing bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the flour. Season well with salt and pepper.
Prepare batter. Combine remaining flour, baking powder, and cumin in a large bowl. Season flour mixture with salt and pepper, then slowly add beer while whisking until a smooth batter forms. It will be thin.
Heat oil. Pour oil into a large, deep frying pan and place over medium-high heat. If you have a deep-fry thermometer, attach it to the side of the pan and bring the oil temperature to 350°F. If not, test the oil to see if it is ready by sticking a wood chopstick or skewer into the oil. It should immediately be covered in bubbles. It takes about 4-5 minutes for the oil to get hot enough. Keep checking until it is ready.
Batter fish. Before beginning, line a baking sheet with paper towels and set near the stove. Dip the fish strips one at a time into the batter, turning to coat.
Fry fish. Place in the hot oil. Do in batches, adding only 2-3 pieces at a time. Let cook, undisturbed for a minute or so. If they stick to the bottom, gently nudge with a pair of tongs until they loosen. Turn and cook until they are golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining fish.
Serve. Place fish inside warm tortillas and top with radish pico de gallo, avocado (or guacamole), and serve with lime wedges for squeezing.
One more thing, a cabbage slaw is pretty typical with Baja-style tacos like these. Here’s a good recipe if you’d like to give it a try: Cilantro-Lime Coleslaw. A creamy Baja sauce is also traditional, try this recipe with chipotles and adobo sauce.
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Take a Trip To Baja California
Without leaving your kitchen—these crispy beer-battered fish tacos will transport you there. Let me know when you make it by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
For the Pico de Gallo:
- 1 bunch radishes (about 6 ounces), scrubbed, stemmed, and diced
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed and diced (seeds removed if you'd like it less spicy)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion (about 1/4 of an onion)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Tacos:
- 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 pound cod, cut into 1-inch thick strips
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 ounces pale ale or lager-style beer, such as Negro Modelo or Stella
- 8-10 warm corn tortillas
- ripe avocado slices, for serving
- lime wedges, for serving
For the Pico de Gallo:
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and add more salt and lime juice as needed.
For the Tacos:
- Toss fish in 2 tablespoons of flour and season with salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl combine remaining 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, and cumin. Season mixture with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.
- Make a well in the center and add beer. Whisk beer into flour mixture until a smooth batter forms.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. It is best to attach a deep fry thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. You want it to stay at around 350°F so raise or lower the heat as you are frying accordingly. If you don't have a thermometer you'll know when the oil is ready when a piece of bread browns in 30 seconds.
- Line a baking sheet with paper towelsand set near the stove.
- When oil is ready, dip a few pieces of fish into the batter then carefully slide into oil. Leave undisturbed for a couple minutes then gently nudge any that have stuck to the bottom of the pan with a pair of tongs. Let cook until golden and crispy on all sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Remove to the baking sheet and try to fish out any floating pieces of batter with a bamboo skimmer.
- Repeat with remaining pieces of fish.
- To serve place fish in warm tortillas, top with pico de gallo and a few avocado slices.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
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