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These beer battered fish tacos are the best crispy fish tacos around! The easy-to-make batter creates a crunchy coating around tasty, tender white fish which is served on warm corn tortillas with a simple slaw and a smoky chipotle sauce. They're irresistible!
If you love fish tacos (and who doesn't?), then make sure to also check out our Baja fish tacos with southern slaw and aji guacamole.
This recipe was originally published back in 2014. We've updated the post with some new photos and more information. We've also tweaked the recipe so that it's a little easier to make – but it's still every bit as delicious!
Beer battered fish tacos
These beer battered fish tacos are everything that crispy, deep-fried dreams are made of:
- Tender fish wrapped up in a deliciously crisp blanket.
- Sitting on top of a warm corn tortilla.
- Topped with crunchy lime coleslaw.
- And the whole deal drizzled generously in smoky chipotle sauce.
Read more: if you love seafood tacos, also try our shrimp tacos recipe!
How to make crispy fish tacos
There are four parts to making beer battered fish tacos, and most are very easy. After you put the coleslaw ingredients into a bowl, mix the chipotle sauce ingredients in another bowl, and warm the tortillas, you'll be ready to make crispy fish.
- Begin heating the oil over medium heat. Then, mix some flour, onion powder, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl and toss the fish in this flour mix.
- In a large bowl, whisk some more flour with baking soda, salt, and pepper. Pour the cold beer into the bowl and whisk it for 4-5 seconds. Dip a piece of fish into the batter.
- Carefully drop the battered fish into the oil then repeat with 5-6 more pieces and cook them for 3-4 minutes.
- When the first batch is finished, put them on a baking sheet and continue to cook the rest of the fish.
Tips for frying fish at home safely
- Choose a large, high-sided skillet or a medium-sized pot. Most people feel less intimidated by shallow frying in a skillet as it's a little like sauteeing only with a lot more oil.
- Fill the pot NO MORE than half full as the oil will bubble up when you add the fish.
- Always keep pot handles turned towards the back of the stove – a handle facing out can get bumped which can cause the pot to spill dangerously hot oil. This is a good habit anytime you cook, but essential if you're deep frying.
- Note the smoke point of the oil you are using. If it starts to smoke, carefully move the pot off the heat.
- NEVER put liquid (such as wet, unbattered fish) into hot oil as it will splatter dangerously.
- Don't walk away from the stove and definitely don't leave the kitchen while you're frying these beer battered fish tacos. Give all your attention to frying the fish. (Don't worry, the frying process won't take longer than 20 minutes.)
What kind of oil should I use?
For frying, you want to use a neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point. Avocado, sunflower, peanut, and canola oil are all good options.
What kind of fish is best for fried fish tacos?
We like to use inexpensive white fish such as lingcod (pictured), cod, rockfish, or tilapia. We've also made this recipe with salmon, and it's delicious.
What kind of beer should I use for the batter?
A light beer, such as a lager, works best in this recipe. Avoid porters, stouts, IPAs, and wheat beers as the flavor won't work in this recipe.
Can I use store-bought coleslaw?
Yes! A bag of coleslaw makes this recipe even easier.
Why do you dust the fish with flour before you batter it?
The key to crispy fish is making sure that it is completely dry before you dip it in the batter. The light coating of flour ensures that it is dry. Plus, we add some spices to this layer to make the fish extra tasty.
Can I reheat the leftovers?
Yes! You can reheat the crispy fish in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
What to serve with beer-battered fish tacos
It would be (almost) wrong to eat one of these delicious fish tacos without sipping on a fizzy lime margarita; the two go so well together. And while you can easily serve these tacos as a meal all by themselves, if you want to add some sides, here are a few we love:
The Chipotle Sauce
- ¼ cup EACH: mayo and plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (see note #1)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 clove garlic (finely minced)
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 tablespoons EACH: oil and lime juice
- ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
The Beer Battered Fish Tacos
- Oil (for frying (see note #2))
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (divided)
- 2 teaspoons EACH: garlic powder and onion powder
- 1 teaspoon EACH: baking soda, salt, and pepper
- 1 ½ lb. white fish
- 1 ½ cups light beer (ice-cold (see note #3))
- 18 corn tortillas
- Mix the chipotle sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.¼ cup EACH: mayo and plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 clove garlic, A pinch of salt and pepper
- Mix the slaw ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.2 cups shredded cabbage, ½ cup chopped cilantro, ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons EACH: oil and lime juice, ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
- Pour 2-inches of oil into a large, high-sided skillet or medium-sized pot and begin heating it over medium heat. If you have an oil thermometer, attach it to the pot.Oil
- Mix ½ cup of the flour, garlic powder, and onion powder in a shallow bowl.1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons EACH: garlic powder and onion powder
- In a large bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup of flour, baking soda, salt, and pepper.1 teaspoon EACH: baking soda, salt, and pepper
- Cut the fish into small pieces no more than 1″ wide. Dry them well with paper towels then add them to the shallow bowl and toss them with the flour.1 ½ lb. white fish
- When the oil reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit (see note #4) it's time to fry the fish. Pour the beer into the large bowl of flour and briefly mix it for 4-5 seconds. Dip a piece of fish into the batter and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Carefully put it into the hot oil. Repeat with 5-6 more pieces, making sure not to crowd the pan. Let the fish cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the batter is golden all around and the fish is cooked through.1 ½ cups light beer
- Using tongs, remove the fish from the oil and place it on a cooling rack set up over a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fish until all the pieces are cooked.
- Warm the tortillas (see note #5) then serve them piled with slaw, chipotle sauce, and crispy fish.18 corn tortillas
- Cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the Latin section of most grocery stores. Check out our other chipotle recipes to use the rest of the jar.
- You'll need at least 3-4 cups of oil to properly shallow fry the fish. Opt for canola, avocado, or sunflower oil. After cooking, let the oil cool completely then strain it into a jar to use the next time you fry something.
- Light beer, such as a lager or pale ale, works best in this recipe. Avoid IPAs, stouts, porters, or wheat beers.
- If you don't have an oil thermometer, you can drop a tiny bit of the batter into the oil to test the temperature. If it sizzles and turns golden in 3-4 seconds, it's ready. And if you notice the oil smoking, carefully remove the pot from the heat as it is too hot.
- The easiest way to warm tortillas is to wrap them in a paper towel and microwave them for 10-20 seconds. You can also warm them in a pan, although they can dry out easily that way.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.