Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Beer-Battered Fish TacosSo have you guys been to Rubio’s? They’re known for their fish tacos, and with good reason. I’ve only been once (thanks Natalie!) but I can attest: those tacos are legit.

Beer-Battered Fish TacosI was reading a magazine a while back and saw a fish taco recipe that claimed to be like the ones at Rubio’s. Homemade Beer-Battered Fish Tacos became my new life-mission.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

By the way, I totally don’t drink beer. I bought a 24oz can of Tecate for this recipe and dumped the rest down the drain. Crazy, I know. (Except not really for me. I thought it smelled like barf.) I’m LDS and don’t drink. I do cook with alcohol though, when I can’t find a decent substitution. Beer is cheap so I went for it this time. Plus, what would you sub for beer in beer-battered tacos? I don’t even know.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

I still felt pretty awkward buying it though. I’m this blonde 20-something getting my thousand pounds of produce, whole milk, flour, and a giant can of beer. Do you remember your first time buying alcohol? I held back from saying anything to the cashier, but I was so ready to talk about how this was my first time. Besides cooking wine. Do you want to see my ID? Because I totally have it.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

I almost stopped this lady in the beer aisle to ask her what to get, but thought I might freak her out. “Hi, I’m really sheltered and don’t know anything about alcohol, can you pick out my beer please? It’s only for tacos I swear.” Yeah, no.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Speaking of alcohol, I bet most of you would be surprised at how little peer pressure I’ve had to deal with over the years. It’s actually kind of refreshing. Even in high school. I bet I’ve been offered alcohol less than 5 times in my life. And once people find out I’m LDS they back off and are totally respectful. Go humans.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

I guess my tilapia was more nugget-shaped than cut in strips. Whatever works.

My sister Nikki and I both love to dance; she used to get me to sneak her into the school dances when I was in college and she was married with kids. We tore it up. Now that I’ve conquered these fish tacos, my new life-mission is to go clubbing all night in a foreign country with a bunch of drunk people. Preferably alongside Nikki, who apparently doesn’t need any alcohol to be taken for drunk.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

So these are probably some of the best homemade tacos I’ve ever had. The pickled onions! The coleslaw! The crispy fish! It’s pretty much the best crunchy combination ever. These are obviously best served right away, but if you have leftovers, bake them at about 400 F for 5-10 minutes and they will crisp up again. I used the leftover frying oil to fry up a few corn tortillas. You could use flour too. Warming them up in the microwave (covered) would work too. These would go fabulously with some homemade Horchata.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Yield: Serves 4


    For the pickled onions:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 lime)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • For the coleslaw:
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 small (about 1 pound) green cabbage, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped or sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • For the fish:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup beer (such as Corona, Tecate or another lighter beer)
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets*, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick strips
  • 8 corn tortillas (flour works too)
  • avocado, to garnish
  • limes, to squeeze


  1. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of lime juice into a small bowl. Stir in the salt and pepper, then add the sliced onions and stir to coat. Set aside. Toss it every now and then as you prepare everything else.
  2. Combine the sour cream and 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice in a large bowl. Stir in the salt and pepper. Add the sliced cabbage, jalapeño, ad cilantro. Toss and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, chili powder, baking powder, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of this mixture to a large plate. Whisk the egg and beer into the remaining flour mixture until smooth.
  4. Add a 1/2 inch canola oil to a cast iron or deep skillet. Turn the heat to medium and wait about 5 minutes. It should get to about 350 F. You will know it is hot when a small sprinkle of water jumps. Place a cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set it next to the heated oil.
  5. Work in batches to coat each piece of fish with the dry flour mixture, shaking off the excess flour. Dip each piece in the beer batter. Let the excess drip off, then carefully add each piece to the hot oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the batter is golden brown, then use metal tongs to flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. The fish should be opaque throughout. Remove to the prepared cooling rack.
  6. If you have leftover oil, use it to fry the tortillas for about 30 seconds per side, setting them on paper towels to cool. If you want to skip this step, just warm the tortillas covered in the microwave.
  7. To assemble the tacos, add fish, slaw, pickled onions, and avocado to a tortilla. Squeeze some lime juice over the top and stuff. This would be fabulous served with some horchata.


I used frozen tilapia filets that I had thawed out. I used 4 filets and it was just about a pound.

To reheat leftovers, bake at 400 F for 5- 10 minutes until crispy.

Source: Woman’s Day






  1. Sarah says

    These might just motivate the purchase of my first beer. I love fish tacos. Once on our anniversary I had some battered with Dos Equis. “I don’t usually eat beer-battered fish tacos, but when I do…” Stay crunchy, my friends.

  2. says

    The batter on these looks insane. This may be the one recipe that finally convinced me to try my hand at fish tacos…. as long as I’m brave enough to enter the liquor store. I don’t drink alcohol, but I would be willing to make an exception for these babies. I’d probably get carded though since I’ll look like a teenager who has no idea where to go and what to get, haha.
    Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! recently posted…Banana Split CakeMy Profile

  3. says

    I luuuuurve fish tacos! I was cracking up at this story, because my mother in law is always mortified when she buys alcohol as well. She doesn’t drink but does cook with alcohol occasionally. She swears she always runs into someone from her church when she buys beer. That’s like a law or something right? The moment you’re doing something you’re at all self-conscious about you’re definitely going to run into someone you know.
    Courtney @ Neighborfood recently posted…50 Recipes to Use Up Leftover Egg WhitesMy Profile

  4. says

    I don’t drink either, so I’ve been really nervous to make anything like beer bread or beer battered tacos. My dad drinks beer nearly every night and even used to brew his own, but when it comes to any type of alcohol, I don’t have a clue what to buy! I’d be right there with you questioning the other grocery store patrons. Although living in a college town, I’d probably wait until a respectable adult came to the aisle… I just don’t trust college kids’ opinions. ;) But anyway, YES I’ve had Rubio’s fish tacos — only once — but they were SO good! As soon as we have our Chipotle date, we should totally have a Rubio’s date. Or we can swap that order. It’ll be so fun!
    Amy @ Amy’s Healthy Baking recently posted…Whole Wheat Strawberry Banana MuffinsMy Profile

  5. Misty says

    haha I made beer cupcakes for the jamboree last year and every time I went to go get a beer I felt so weird. I had to test different beers to see which reduction would be strong enough in a cupcake. But my house smelled like beer forever after that, it was horrible! Anyways I totally miss going to dances with Nikki! I think you were too young to ever get to go but those were some good times She seriously knows how to let loose! I love it!

    • says

      okay, beer cupcakes?? Were they gross?? That sounds gross. But I know your cupcakes are always amazing. Next time we are all together we need to have a dance off. Nikki? You in? Maybe you could bring the beer cupcakes, Mis, and we can all pretend to be drunk.

  6. says

    I bought a bottle of red wine this summer to make the world’s best beef broth. It was the first time I had ever bought alcohol and I seriously wished there was a book entitled “Buying Booze for Dummies (and Mormons.)”
    When the cashier carded me, I smiled in all my forty-one year old glory and said, “You are so sweet.” Getting asked for i.d. at my age is the best compliment ever.
    Ami recently posted…Breakfast of champions.My Profile

  7. Misty says

    Haha Nikki has already won the dance off! And I couldn’t bring myself to taste them but Paul loved them! And they went over very well at the jamboree. The headliner was the guy who sings the song about the red solo cup so I had to do a beer cupcake in his honor! I’m doing more appetizing flavors this year! You guys have to come one of these years, just the people watching is great!!! Plus I guarantee you gain 10lbs in sweets! haha

  8. stephanie says

    i know this is an old post but these look so good, i’m putting them on the menu for next week.

    also… i totally remember my first time buying alcohol. i have a late birthday and started school “early” so i’m used to always being the youngest, so i was also never the one buying the booze. when i turned 21, my boyfriend and i stopped at the liquor store to get some beer for a party he was having with the bonus of me finally being able to do the buying. but, used to a routine & without thinking, he bought all the beer and we got back in the car and he was like, “wait. you didn’t get to use your ID!”

    and he made me go back in the store by myself to buy something. but i didn’t want anything else! so i picked out…a giant bottle of smirnoff ice. and the cashier didn’t even card me. and i don’t even like smirnoff ice. like your beer, most of it went down the drain. gross. the end :p

    • says

      Stephanie!! This story made me laugh so hard. I’m glad I’m not the only one pouring alcohol down the drain. Haha!! I can’t believe she didn’t even card you. What is the point of even being 21???


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