Beer-Battered Fish Tacos Recipe

Most taco nights feature tortillas filled with the classics — ground beef, shredded chicken, or even carnitas — but if you're looking to switch things up, it's time to add beer-battered fish to the rotation. A fresh fish taco paired with cabbage, cilantro, and radishes helps liven up the standard taco to offer something different ... but this special recipe doesn't stop there. "My favorite part of this recipe is the lime salt that is sprinkled onto the fried fish. It will change your life," raves recipe developer Michelle McGlinn of her special ingredient. "It's tangy and salty and brightens the fish so much. You only need a pinch for each piece. The batter is flavored with cayenne and chili powder, which gives the fish a little more flavor, but sprinkling on flavor post-fry really brings it to the next level." 

So if your mouth has started watering, get ready to make your Taco Tuesday shine. And, in addition to whipping up this killer recipe for beer-battered fish tacos, make sure you round out your menu in south of the border style — McGlinn suggests pairing the tacos with "rice and beans, a margarita, and chips with guacamole!"

Gather the ingredients for beer-battered fish tacos

The ingredient list for these fish tacos may be a little long, but it includes everything you'll need to batter and season the fish, as well as all you'll need to fill those tacos to the brim. 

To make and season the fish, you'll need cod, all-purpose flour, a lager or ale beer, chili powder, cayenne pepper, vegetable oil for frying, a lime (you'll be using the zest for the fish and the juice for the crema), and sea salt. 

To make the chipotle crema, you'll also need to pick up mayonnaise, sour cream, a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (you'll be using both the sauce and chipotles), and a little more salt.

Finally, to assemble and serve the tacos, plan on picking up white corn tortillas, a red cabbage, cilantro, radishes, and cotija cheese. 

Mix together the beer batter

Start by mixing up the beer batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Pour the beer on top, and stir until a batter forms — it should be smooth and thick. 

Dredge the fish in the beer batter

Prep the fish by patting it dry, then piece-by-piece, dredge the fish in the beer batter, coating it completely. Set the pieces aside. 

If you're not a fan of cod, don't worry, McGlinn says there are other options. "You can definitely use halibut or whitefish instead of cod, but cod is super accessible and affordable and works just as well for a dish like this. Cod is great for frying because it is a dense but flaky fish and won't fall apart in the oil. It can hold a heavy batter and is very neutral in taste and texture, so works well with all of the flavors in the batter and toppings," she says. 

She also adds that you're welcome to use fresh or frozen fish for this recipe, but warns that if you opt for frozen, "you have to thaw it completely first ... and be sure to pat it very dry before using." 

Fry the beer-battered fish

Pour roughly 2 inches of oil into a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. It's important to bring the oil to 350 F before you start to fry the fish, so use a thermometer to gauge the temperature. If you don't have a thermometer, McGlinn offers a back-up method: "Test [the] oil by sticking a wooden chopstick into the oil," she explains. "Touch the bottom of the skillet with the chopstick. If small, rapid bubbles form, the oil is ready." 

Once the oil is at 350 F, add the battered fish to the oil, frying until it's golden and crispy. Each piece should take about 5 minutes, and you may need to flip the fish halfway through the cooking time. For the most efficient cooking time, cook the cod in batches — frying several pieces at a time, but allowing enough room between the pieces to keep them from sticking together.

After each batch finishes cooking, remove the pieces of fish from the oil and set them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Dash fish with lime zest and salt

Now that the cod is fried, this is where the magic happens. Stir the lime zest together with the sea salt in a small bowl, then sprinkle the hot fish with the special flavor blend, distributing the seasoning as evenly as possible. 

Make the chipotle crema

Now it's time to whip together the chipotle crema. In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, sour cream, adobo sauce, and a single chipotle chili with the lime juice and salt. Stir well, using the back of your spoon to crush and break up the chili so it mixes evenly with the rest of the sauce. 

Build the fish tacos and serve

With all your components prepped, there's just one thing left to do: Build those fish tacos! Simply distribute two or three pieces of cod on top of 2 layered tortillas and top with your favorite toppings. Here, McGlinn uses shredded cabbage, cilantro, radish, a spoonful of the chipotle crema, and a little bit of cotija cheese. However, she says you should feel free to use whatever toppings you like. "I went for a Baja fish taco, but you could do guacamole, pico de gallo, or a simple lettuce topping as well," she says. 

And as to why she suggests using two tortillas per taco? Well, it's a personal preference. "I always make my tacos with 2 tortillas — you definitely don't have to, but it helps hold it all together so much better. No risk of the shell breaking — or rather, if one breaks, the other holds it together," she explains. And as much as we love tacos that fall apart, tacos that stay together? That sounds like the perfect dinner entree. 

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos Recipe
4.7 from 43 ratings
This beer-battered fish tacos feature perfectly-fried cod that's bursting with flavor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
beer-battered fish tacos
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup lager or ale
  • 1 pound cod, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • zest from 1 lime, about ½ tablespoon
  • ½ tablespoon Maldon sea salt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons adobo sauce (from chipotles in adobo can)
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce (from can)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 white corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage, for serving
  • ½ cup cilantro, for serving
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  1. Mix flour, chili powder, and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl. Pour in the beer and stir until a thick batter forms.
  2. Pat cod completely dry. Dredge each piece of fish in the beer batter and set aside.
  3. Pour 2 inches of oil into a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Heat to 350 F over medium heat.
  4. Once oil is heated to 350 F, carefully place battered fish into oil and fry until golden and crispy, flipping if needed, about 5 minutes per piece. Work in batches to allow room for each piece of cod to fry without sticking to other pieces. Once crispy and cooked through, remove fish from oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Once fish are fried, stir lime zest and sea salt together in a small bowl and sprinkle over hot fish.
  6. To make the chipotle crema, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, adobo sauce, chipotle chili, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl until well combined, crushing the chili with the back of a spoon to break apart.
  7. To build tacos, place 2 to 3 pieces of cod into 2 layered warm tortillas. Top with cabbage, cilantro, radish, a spoonful of chipotle crema, and a sprinkling of cotija cheese to serve.
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