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Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 12 to 16 tacos.

Servings: 4-6

The fish taco, one of Mexico’s most creative tacos, was made first by street vendors in the Baja California port of Ensenada. It’s filled with crisp, beer-battered fresh fish and garnished with shredded cabbage and a spicy tartar sauce.


For the spicy tartar sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. minced pickled jalapeño
  • 2 Tbs. dill pickle relish
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. yellow American mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

For the fish:

  • About 2 qt. vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup beer
  • 2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
  • 1 lb. firm fillets of mild, white fish (such as bass, cod, or haddock), cut into strips about 4-1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide, or 1 lb. frozen batter-fried fish fillets

For serving:

  • 12 to 16 corn tortillas (5 to 6 inches wide), warmed
  • 1-1/2 cups finely shredded green or purple cabbage (about 1/2 small head)
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • Pico de Gallo 

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 680
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 390
  • Fat (g): 44
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 19
  • Cholesterol (mg): 80
  • Sodium (mg): 970
  • Carbohydrates (g): 48
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 21


  • Make the sauce: Mix all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl; refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • If using fresh fish: Fill a large, deep, heavy pot with vegetable oil to about 11/4 inches deep. Heat the oil to about 350°F. (To check the oil temperature, use a deep-fry thermometer, or add a cube of bread to the oil, which should bubble immediately.)
  • Meanwhile, prepare the batter: Mix the flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and stir in the beer until smooth. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
  • Season the fish with salt. To cook the fish, work in batches of about three or four pieces at a time. Using kitchen tongs, dip each piece in the batter, let any excess drain off, carefully submerge the fish in the hot oil, and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  • If using frozen batter-fried fish fillets: Bake them according to the package instructions.
  • To serve: Just after the fish comes out of the fryer (or oven), arrange in a heated dish on the table. Next to it set the tartar sauce, hot tortillas, shredded cabbage, lime quarters, and pico de gallo so each person can assemble his or her own tacos.


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Reviews (12 reviews)

  • mmmKeller | 04/30/2020

    Everyone really enjoyed these! Made my own pico de gallo but everything was great from the recipe. I was worried about the american mustard and tartar sauce but they were perfect! I don't have a deep fryer so I used a deep small sauce pan filled with enough oil to submerge pieces of Cod and worked perfectly with the thermometer. Will definitely make this again. Was really good the next day as well!!

  • User avater
    magstoria | 08/31/2011

    Amazing!! You will get addicted! I use the spicy tarter sauce on everything!! Enjoy!

  • JMHeller | 05/15/2011

    Insane tacos!!! I highly recommend this recipe. The tartar sauce was excellent. I will not make fish tacos any other way.

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