Why bother with boring ground beef tacos when you can make these fried cod fish tacos with Baja cabbage slaw and fresh lime? Follow our simple recipe below and make restaurant-worthy fish tacos at home without much effort at all!
Deep-fried cod tacos hit the beautifully sweet spot between delicious Mexican classics and rich fish and chips!
The first time we tried fish tacos, we were hooked, line and sinker! That was terribly cheesy. And we’re sorry. But these fish tacos are seriously amazing.
Though traditionally Mexicans have enjoyed stuffing grilled fish into their signature corn tortillas for centuries, the modern fish taco was born on the peninsula of Baja, in the streets of either Ensanada or San Felipe, sometime around the 1950s.
Baja is technically a Mexican state, but it borders California, giving it a unique cultural fusion and some pretty rad street food, too.
We built our easy fried fish tacos recipe around the classic recipe - lots of creamy, umami flavor, with a tangy slaw that cuts the richness nicely.
Follow our steps below to make this modern Mexican favorite - grab your taco holder and enjoy your next taco night!
Baja Fried Fish Tacos Recipe: Delicious Street Tacos
1 lb fresh cod filets
8 corn flour tortillas
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large egg
1 c. Mexican beer
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. Mexican crema
2 fresh limes, juiced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp raw honey
2 c. green cabbage, finely shredded
2 fresh limes, cut into wedges
Pico de gallo
Fish taco slaw & Baja dressing
Fish taco topping
Heat a few inches of your cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat or in a deep fryer.
Season all sides of your fresh cod fillets with salt, then slice into 8 even pieces.
Shred your cabbage with a sharp chef’s knife or a mandolin slicer.
Directions for the fish batter
Place all of your batter ingredients in a shallow mixing bowl - all-purpose flour, sea salt, cayenne, egg, and Mexican beer. Whisk together the mixture until you create a smooth batter. Set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the Baja fish taco sauce recipe - mayonnaise, crema, lime, cilantro, and honey.
Once well mixed, toss in the sliced cabbage mix until well-coated. Set aside.
Directions for frying the fish
Grab some heat-safe tongs or use your fingers to dip each piece of cod into the batter bowl. Hold the cod above the bowl for a few seconds to allow the excess batter to drip off before carefully placing it into the preheated oil.
Fry the cod in the oil until both sides brown; you’ll likely need to gently flip the fish over halfway as it often floats at the top.
Remove the fish with a stainless steel mesh scoop, then transfer to a large dinner plate lined with a few paper towels. Lightly salt.
Continue the deep-frying process until you’ve cooked all your cod.
Putting the tacos together
Use a tortilla warmer to heat your tortillas, then top them with a piece of cooked fish.
Top with your cabbage slaw in Baja sauce
Add your final fish taco toppings - a squeeze of fresh lime, cilantro, salsa verde, or pico de gallo.
Immediately serve and enjoy your fried fish tacos with slaw!
Best fried fish taco recipe - FAQ
Can I substitute for other fish instead?
Absolutely! We think cod is the best fish for fried fish tacos, but you can use plenty of other whitefish types with delicious results.
It’s best to stick to light-tasting fried fish for tacos, like halibut, pollock, mahi-mahi, grouper, or haddock - all of the fish and chip favorites!
How long should I fry the fish?
When it comes to knowing how long to fry fish, it’s all about the looks - look for the batter to reach a deep, evenly browned tone. If you’re deep-frying on medium-high, this tends to be 5-8 mins.
If it’s your first-time deep-frying fish and you’re nervous you’ll undercook it, use a food thermometer to check the fish’s temp - it’s safely cooked when it hits 145°F.
Are these Baja fish tacos gluten-free?
These tacos aren’t naturally gluten-free, as we use all-purpose flour in our fish taco batter recipe. You can make an easy substitution for a gluten-free flour blend.
Stick to one of the pre-made flour blends, as they’re less likely to mess with the texture of your crispy fish tacos than a single-ingredient, gluten-free flour.
Can I skip the deep-frying?
If you’re worried about the calories in fried fish tacos, you can use a healthier cooking method instead that uses less cooking oil. You can easily make a few minor adjustments and bake your fish, though you’ll want to remove the fish's batter and lightly bread it instead.
Here’s a simple breading recipe for baked fish tacos:
- 1 c. panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1 egg, whisked
Bread the fish and bake for 10 mins in an oven preheated to 375°F.
What is Mexican crema?
Crema is a thicker version of sour cream with a 30% fat content that’s not quite as thick as creme fraiche. You can use the crema straight or thin it out with a bit of fresh-squeezed lime juice. It adds a beautiful rich texture to our Baja dressing.
Final notes: Storing your Baja-style fish taco
These Baja fish tacos are absolute dynamite, but they do have one downside - they don’t store well. You can try to put any leftovers in the fridge, but once the cod is deep-fried, it tends to get pretty soggy. We haven’t quite figured out how to make fish batter that doesn’t turn soggy later!
For the best results, enjoy your deep-fried cod tacos immediately!
Bookmark our recipe and learn how to make fried fish tacos for your next taco night!
Liked this recipe? Check out our recipes for shrimp tacos, tuna tacos, or salmon tacos!
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