Beer-Battered Fish Tacos


In this taco recipe, IPA adds depth to the crunchy coating on beer-battered cod fillets while the fish inside cooks to flaky and tender perfection. The tacos also feature bright homemade pickled red onions and a cabbage slaw that gets tart creaminess from lime crema and a hint of sweetness from honey. (If you can't find crema Mexicana, use four tablespoons of crème fraîche or sour cream mixed with half a teaspoon of lime juice.) Everything gets piled into charred corn tortillas and garnished with thinly sliced radishes, cilantro sprigs, and a drizzle of reserved lime crema, plus more fresh lime juice if you'd like. To prevent the fish from sticking to the bottom of the pot when frying, hold the fillet halfway into the oil for a few seconds in order to create a skin on the batter, and then slowly lower it fully into the oil.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Hannah Greenwood
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


Pickled Red Onion

  • 1 small (about 7 ounces) red onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar

  • ¼ cup water

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Cabbage Slaw

  • ¼ cup crema Mexicana

  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh juice (from 1 large lime)

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 3 cups thinly sliced green and/or red cabbage (about 11 ounces total)

  • 1 cup grated carrot (from 1 large carrot, use largest holes on grater)

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Beer-Battered Fish

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless cod fillets (3/4 inch-thick), cut evenly into 12 (1 1/2-inch x 2- to 3-inch) pieces

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle IPA beer

Additional Ingredients

  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

  • For serving: thinly sliced radishes, cilantro sprigs, and lime wedges (optional)


Prepare the Pickled Red Onion:

  1. Place onion in a pint-size glass jar or a small heatproof bowl. Bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally. Pour vinegar mixture over onion, ensuring onion slices are fully covered. Let stand, uncovered, until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the Cabbage Slaw:

  1. Whisk together crema, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Measure 2 tablespoons mixture into a medium bowl, and reserve in refrigerator for serving. Add honey to remaining crema mixture in large bowl; stir until combined. Stir in cabbage, carrot, and cilantro; toss until fully coated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the Beer-Battered Fish:

  1. Fill a Dutch oven with oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Heat over medium-high until oil reaches 360°F. Meanwhile, pat cod pieces dry; sprinkle evenly with chili powder, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in egg and hot sauce. Gradually whisk in beer until fully combined (it's OK if batter is slightly lumpy).

  2. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels; set a wire rack in baking sheet. Working in 2 batches, dip cod pieces into flour mixture to fully coat, letting excess drip back into bowl. Fry in hot oil until crust is golden brown and fish is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes, flipping cod pieces halfway through cook time. Using tongs or a spider, transfer cod to prepared wire rack to drain. Return oil to 360°F in between batches.

  3. Heat a small skillet over high. Cook tortillas, 1 at a time, in skillet until slightly charred on both sides, 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Transfer charred tortillas to a plate, and cover with aluminum foil. Place 1 piece Beer-Battered Fish on each charred tortilla. Top evenly with Cabbage Slaw and Pickled Red Onion. Garnish with radish slices and cilantro sprigs; drizzle with reserved lime crema, and, if desired, serve with lime wedges.


If using gas range, heat burner on high. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, place tortilla on burner grate; cook until edges begin to char, 15 to 30 seconds per side.

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