Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Sauce

I make fried beer-battered fish tacos. Let’s face it – deep frying something makes its flavor better. Until recently, I had constantly used a boxed blend for the fish batter. I hadn’t found a recipe I favored that used primary ingredients and yielded light and crispy fish portions. I was really happy when I came across this one. It uses basic pantry staples and fries up beautifully. It’s the perfect foundation for some tasty tacos.

Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Sauce
Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Sauce


For the cilantro-lime sauce

  • 2 cups (packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the fish

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 – 1 cup light beer
  • 1 – 1 1/4 pounds mild white fish (tilapia, cod, halibut, etc)
  • Canola oil for frying

For serving

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 6–8 corn or flour tortillas, warmed until pliable
  • Pico de gallo, either store-bought or homemade (see my recipe for easy pico de gallo)
  • Lime wedges, for serving, optional


For the cilantro-lime sauce

  1. Put all ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

For the fish

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, a pinch of salt and pepper. Add 3/4 cup beer and whisk to combine. The batter should be slightly liquid but still thick enough to coat the fish. Add more beer to thin batter if necessary.
  2. In a deep, heavy fry pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 1 inch. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. While the oil is heating, pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Cut the fish into pieces about 3 inches long by 1/2 inch square. Working in batches, dip the fish pieces into the batter, and then carefully slide the fish into the hot oil. Fry the fish, turning the pieces regularly, until they are golden brown and crispy, about 4-7 minutes. Drain the fried fish on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the rest of the fish.

For serving

  1. Toss the shredded cabbage with 2-3 tablespoons of the cilantro-lime sauce.
  2. Place the desired amount of cabbage slaw on a warm tortilla, top with fish and a spoonful of sauce and pico de gallo. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired, and serve.


Recipe for batter adapted from Serious Eats.

Recipe for cilantro-lime sauce adapted from Rice Epicurean Markets Cooking School.

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