Easy, Crispy Baja Fish Tacos

Deep-frying fish creates a crispy crust that provides texture to the taco and maintains the fish soft and protected because it cooks. My venture turned into to recreate that identical delicious chunk, minus the deep-frying.

Easy, Crispy Baja Fish Tacos
Easy, Crispy Baja Fish Tacos


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha hot sauce
  • Juice of 1 medium lime (about 1 tablespoon), plus wedges for serving
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless white fish fillets, such as cod, halibut, snapper, flounder or tilapia
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon butter or ghee (optional)

For serving:

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped or left whole
  • 1 medium Hass avocado, sliced
  • Pico de gallo or salsa, for serving (optional)


  1. Stir the mayonnaise, Sriracha, and lime juice together in a small serving bowl. Taste and season with salt if needed; set aside.
  2. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or another heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 1 tortilla and heat until warmed through. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel or aluminum foil to stay warm, wrap it up, and repeat with the remaining tortillas; set aside.
  3. Stir the flour, panko, chili powder, salt, and pepper together in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then toss to coat evenly in the flour-breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Heat the oil in the same pan used to heat the tortillas over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches if needed, add the fish and immediately using a flat spatula to firmly press down on it so that it adheres to the pan. (Make sure to press the ends and not just the center.) Cook until the fish is opaque about halfway up the sides and the bottom is deep golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Using a sturdy spatula, flip the fish over (if it sticks to the pan, give it about 15 to 30 seconds longer and try again). Cook until the fish is cooked through and easily flakes when gently prodded with a fork, 3 to 6 minutes more. If the pan looks dry at any point or during the last minute of cooking, add the butter, ghee, or more oil, swirling it around the pan. Remove from the heat.
  6. Use a fork to break the fish apart in roughly 2-inch pieces, or as best you can depending on the shape of the fish. Divide the fish between the warmed tortillas. Serve with the Sriracha mayonnaise, cabbage, cilantro, avocado, and salsa.


Make ahead: You can make the spicy mayo one day ahead and store covered in the fridge.

Heating tortillas: You can heat the tortillas wrapped in a clean kitchen towel in a microwave for about 20 to 25 seconds. You can also heat them in a 200°F oven until warmed through, wrap them in aluminum foil, and keep warm in the oven.

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