Baja Fish Tacos

A West Coast favorite! Eat them outside under the sunshine!

Photo by Allison of Culinary Cupcake

Modern Baja Fish Tacos come from Baja California in Mexico. The tacos are filled with deep fried battered fish, and garnished with spicy mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, salsa, and lime wedges. They are a variation on the original fish taco invented by the indigenous people that lived in coastal areas of Mexico. Many historians believe the Baja fish taco came from Ensenada, Mexico, while others feel like it came from San Felipe, Mexico. Some historians believe that the deep fried aspect of the fish taco was influenced by Japanese tempura, for Japanese fishermen came to Mexico during the 1950s and 1960s attracted to Baja California’s aquatic biodiversity.

These tacos are a favorite of my husband’s. If he hears of a restaurant that cooks Baja fish tacos well, he will order them immediately. This is one of the dishes he was most excited for me to cook when we came to California. We understood that we could get fresh local ingredients to really make the flavors of this recipe pop! Please enjoy!

Baja Fish Tacos Recipe

Yields 2 servings

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 6 minutes

Beer Pairing Suggestion: Lager or Pilsner

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Chardonnay


1/2 pound cod or tilapia, cut into 1 x 3-inch strips

Oil for frying


1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup of beer, lager or pilsner

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/8 teaspoon paprika


1/8 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup cabbage, shredded

To serve:

Flour or corn tortillas

pico de gallo



lime wedges



Mix together all the slaw ingredients, cover, refrigerate, and set aside.

Stir together all the batter ingredients until smooth. Dip the fish in the batter and coat the fish slices evenly.

Heat oil in a pot to 350 F. Gently place the beer battered fish pieces into the oil. Fry the fish for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

When the fish pieces are crispy, place on paper towels to drain excess oil.

Place on warm corn tortillas. Warm tortillas on dry skillet or in the microwave under a wet paper towel.

Serve hot with pico de gallo, cilantro, jalapenos, lime wedges, and avocado.

Fresh homemade tortillas taste best with this dish, they really set up the flavors for the fish well!

Red or green cabbage will work well in the slaw. Use what is local and fresh in your area!


Tag @culinary_cupcake when you upload your photo on Instagram and hashtag #culinary_cupcake


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