Crispy Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Sauce

Crispy Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Sauce - lightly battered and fried fish served with a fresh, spicy homemade sauce! simple and delicious. |

Hey summer! and hey hey heyyy beautifully delicious summer food eaten on a patio in the sunny sun.

Welcome. Stay in our lives forever. We ❤ u.

Especially us lonely winterers here in Minnesota who have not seen the out of doors for billions of days. Yesterday it was blisteringly hot out there (meaning 80 degrees here in M-N) and I was in summer sun patio heaven. I positioned my chair to face directly into the sun, right next to my newly purchased basil plant from the farmer’s market, and together we soaked up the hottness while I ate a little snack and it felt guuud. Then I panicked about all that sun on my basil and dumped my water bottle all over it to cool it down. Does basil love water bottle showers? Or does it need sun? The leaves are starting to look weird and my black thumb is feeling guilty. Halp.

Crispy Fish for spicy fish tacos - made with a simple cornmeal beer-battered crust and fried to golden brown perfection. |

I’m sorry not sorry to say that my favorite summertime foods = things like beer-battered fried fish tacos (hey! that’s today), corn dogs, mini donuts, French fries, onion rings, and the like. I know. I’m a horrible person and why can’t I just grill something? True story – I tried to grill something last week so I could be a Fresh Healthy Summer Blog Person and guess what? It was not delicious. I couldn’t blog about it in a million years and it made a mess, like, all over our yard. I’ll try again next year.

When I think of summer food, I think of eating outside and that makes me think of things like the State Fair and outdoor concerts and festivals and amusement parks. And as long as we’re on that topic, I am declaring today that I have officially reached the age of never going on any roller coasters ever again. No more. It’s time to just embrace the fact that my ride spirit is either non-existent or prefers rides meant for 3-5 year olds.

My food spirit, however, embraces the so-bad-but-so-good food at said amusement parks and so no worries – we’ll go, you’ll ride, I’ll eat, and we can all still get along. Today’s recipe is some kind of mashup between that yummy fried food of summer outdoor events and the good feeling of making a fun summer meal yourself, at home, with a freshy umbrella drink if you’re cutesy and have a perfect life.

Crispy Fish for spicy fish tacos - beer-battered and served with cilantro, lime, and a homemade jalapeño sauce. So good! |

The fish in these tacos is crispy and delicious >> CRISPY FISH TACOS. It’s crispy because it’s beer-battered with a few unique ingredients that give it extra crunch, like cornmeal. Crispity-crunch, that shooore tastes goooood. It turns a nice golden brown, and I know I just said this in a post recently but it’s worth repeating: truly that golden brown is the best food color. I love it.

I kept the toppings pretty simple for these tacos because I embrace minimalism and simplicity and zen-ness all the time. And/or/also, I didn’t want to go to the grocery store for any more ingredients when my fridge is overflowing with stuffs. That’s zen, right?

It ended up being perfect. The zingy spiciness of the sauce, along with its cool creaminess, had the perfect well-rounded balancing effect to the spicy, golden brown, crispy cornmeal beer-battered fish. A little Cotija cheese crumbled on top gave a little texture and saltiness, and those few little cilantro leaves added a fresh-green-pop look that tied it all together.

So this weekend was this –> I ate a few yummy tacos at home, sat in the sun with the basil plant, and then went out with friends where I sat on a rooftop deck and watched the sunset and felt very happy. These good feelings brought to you by summa summa summmmaaah.

Crispy Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Sauce - lightly battered and fried fish served with a fresh, spicy homemade sauce! simple and delicious. |

4.8 from 16 reviews
Crispy Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Sauce
Serves: 12 tacos
Jalapeño Sauce
  • 1 large jalapeño (if you like spicy, leave the ribs and seeds in there)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup green onions
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Fish Tacos
  • 2 lbs. firm white fish like cod
  • 1 cup flour (see notes)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or spicy seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light beer, such as Corona
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 12 flour or corn tortillas
  • cilantro for topping
  • Cotija cheese for topping
  1. Puree all the jalapeño sauce ingredients in a food processor until your desired consistency is reached. I sometimes add a little more oil or water at the end to make the sauce less gloppy and more drizzle-able.
  2. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and cut into 2-3 inch pieces. Put ½ cup flour in a shallow bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk ½ cup flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, chili powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the beer and the beaten egg; stir until combined to form the batter.
  3. Pour enough oil in a frying pan so that the fish will be partially submerged while frying. Heat the oil until a drip of water sizzles across the top. Dip each piece of fish in the plain flour, then the batter, then transfer to the hot oil. Fry on each side for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the frying pan and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt while still hot; let cool slightly.
  4. Arrange your tacos with a few pieces of fish, cilantro, Cotija cheese, and jalapeño sauce. Yummy!
About the flour: I've used both whole wheat flour and white flour. White flour is more traditional but whole wheat works, and that's what's pictured here. The cornmeal adds a unique texture but you could use flour in its place for a more traditional beer-battered fish texture.

About the batter: If the batter sits for a while, the cornmeal will sink to the bottom. Stir it up again to get everything mixed before dipping the fish in it.

{No nutrition facts today because, um, it’s fried and delicious. Enjoy it! and we’ll get a salad up in here real soon. #summer}

Crispy Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Sauce - lightly battered and fried fish served with a fresh, spicy homemade sauce! simple and delicious. |
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  1. Glad you’re enjoying your lovely summer; it’s windy winter down here in Oz – that’s ok though, because winter food and layering is a lot of fun and comforting too. :) These crispy fish tacos look so good! Beer battered anything tastes amazing, especially fish – one of my favourite ingredients, and hugged in tortillas with a jalapeno sauce – wow – what a classic recipe – perfect all year round! Thank you.

  2. Your fish tacos look amazing, something I’d enjoy while on the beach at sunset and accompany it with a big glass of lemonade.

  3. The end of the post with the no nutrition facts killed me – so funny! Sometimes ignorance is bliss right?
    Fish tacos. Jalapeno Sauce. Eating outside. Summer. This recipe/post is pretty much everything that one human could ever want out of life. Pinned!

  4. Hey Lindsay, this is my kind of food! Gosh I’m drooling just thinking about it lol I really love the way you write is super entertaining! I have been on the hunt for a good fish taco recipe, living in the UK that’s kind of hard to find. I’m excited to try this out and I don’t even cook! :)

  5. Fish tacos are my husband’s favorite! Thanks for this recipe – it looks delicious and very doable!

  6. They look amazing! Don’t know why this poor family has never tried fish tacos yet.
    Changing that this summer!

    And my basil aint’ lookin’ so hot this year either. It looka withered. Last year it did great. I’m bummed! So I’ll stop back for all the lovely tips everyone is going to leave so I can cash in a vibrant harvest of pesto this year.

    Have a wonderful Monday Lindsay!

  7. That was weird (up above). It somehow submitted my comment with Kelly’s info.

  8. These look absolutely perfect! And that sauce looks STELLAR. :)

  9. When fried fish and jalapenos makes your mouth water at 7:22 am, it’s a good recipe! Pinned! :)

  10. As always, your food looks incredible. I really am liking the dressing! Not that I have anything against fried fish :) I am just generally too lazy to fry.

  11. These look amazing! Can’t wait to give the jalapeño sauce a tasting. Looks like another great one, Lindsey. Happy Summer!

  12. We used to have some tacos similar to these at a restaurant I worked out and they were our most popular and my favorite. Yours sound and look even better! Can’t wait to try these out! Pinned :)

  13. I’m totally with you on the roller coaster thing. I used to loveeeee to go on all the dizzy rides, till I developed chronic vertigo a few years back. Now I just get to spin all the time for free :)…saves money right!

    I totally love embarrassing my teen by making a bee-line for the kiddy rides. The older I get the more I regress into my childhood and well, I just like being a little quirky too :)

    Great post as always, your recipes always make my tummy rumble :)

  14. I made fish tacos that weren’t fried a couple of summers ago…a big, wet mistake! I can’t wait to try these!

  15. This just SCREAMS summer! All of the aforementioned fried things, I’m all about in the summer. Especially those mini corn dogs, I think I could eat like 50 in one sitting. Although I’m trying to eat mostly healthy, there is ALWAYS room for some fried fish tacos! Always. You just can’t so no to them.

  16. Looooove Fish tacos and yours looks amazing! Love the pictures too 😉

  17. We love fish tacos and a jalapeño sauce, yum! Can’t wait to try these!

  18. How did you know this is like.. my FAVORITE meal?! Ugh! Love.

    Oh, and you think you like summer? Come to Memphis, where it’s already 96º and 100% humidity.. ha! I’d gladly summer in your guest room if you don’t mind. 80º sounds amazing!

  19. It’s funny isn’t it how here in MN (we are an hour north of you), 80 seems hot? :) Would Pollock work for this? It’s a bit cheaper and easier to find up here than cod. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

    • I don’t know – I haven’t tried polluck! It’s pretty adaptable though – you just want something that will hold together enough for you to fry it nicely. :)

      • Oh, and by the way, being that you’re not that far away from us, I’ve found that actually cod is the easiest fish for me to find at my grocery store that’s both wild caught and sourced in the US. I don’t know why but for whatever reason that’s really the only fish that I trust the sourcing from at my local grocery store! It’s still not “local” (which reminds me – walleye would be amazing in these) but I feel really good about the quality of it.

  20. Yum, these tacos look amazing! I love how you created a jalapeno sauce, definitely a must try!

  21. These are absolutely awesome. Love the sauce!

  22. These made me hungry almost immediately. Thank you for this.

  23. Basil plants or almost essential during the summer. They don’t need a lot of attention. Lots of sun and water once or twice a week. Nice tacos! Pinned.

    • I am like an anti-green thumb, but I was successful with basil last summer (until Iknocked it off the balcony). This summer, the slugs ate my basil, but its comments like these that keep my hopes high. Round two is coming up this weekend.

    • Once or twice a week! Geez, I am drowning that thing. Good to know!

  24. And now I want fish – crispy fish in tacos, out of tacos – bathed in that sauce – your fish sounds incredible and it looks killer! I so hope your basil plant makes it through the summah!

  25. I’ve never had a fish taco in my life but they have a cult like following sooooo apparently they must be pretty freakin good!

  26. I’m all about eating what you want and enjoying life to the fullest. That being said crispy anything is top on my list of things to indulge on. Love the fish tacos!

    PS: I would chill the sauce and have it with fresh hot fish in the tacos. Combination of hot and cold: yum!

  27. I recently bought 2 basil plants – I bought a second one that looked too gorgeous to pass up at a Trader Joe’s after I bought the first one. The TJ’s one for some reason withers really fast if I don’t give it daily water (and full sun), but I’ve brought it back to life a few times already! My other basil plant doesn’t seem to be as finicky but I think in general lots of sun and water both are a good thing for basil :)

    • Yeah – that’s what I thought too, but I think I maybe overwatered. I’m going to let it dry out for a day or two and see what happens… fingers crossed! come on little basil!

  28. Umm, yes, please!!! These look awesome! Oh, and I like your policy on nutritional info for these! :)

    As for the basil, it does indeed like sun. Down south (the location from which I hail), basil grows all summer out in the full sun, so its definitely going to be up for the Minnesota sun. If your basil is anything like me, it will be wondering where the heat is – I’m in Boston for the summer and I’m pretty sure I’ve had goosebumps at least once a day since I’ve been here. My cousins are from Minnesota. They’d mock me.

    In any case, you’ll want to keep the soil moist (not let it dry out), but don’t keep it sopping or you run the risk for root rot…not fun! It really isn’t so difficult – maybe your black thumb will turn into a green one?!

  29. Ah! I just blogged about fish tacos last week, too. So good and you are so right – they just scream summer! I usually prefer grilled but this is a good recipe to have when I inevitably have a craving for a fried fish taco. One thing’s for sure – beer battered is the best battered! (Sorry, I live in Wisconsin so everything is beer-battered). Yum!

  30. I, too, love summer after a long winter. And fish tacos. And jalapenos. Thanks for this recipe! I’ve got tilapia on hand, so I’m going to try it with that. The Cojita, cilantro, and jalepeno sauce sound like the perfect toppings for a fish taco. Thanks, again, for the recipe. Pinning it.

  31. It’s winter over here but this beautiful, summery post is making me decidedly happier. I adore tacos at any time of the year and the idea of eating one stuffed with fish and jalapeno sauce. So yum. Thanks for the inspiration!

  32. yum yum yum yum yum yum yum!!! That’s more than just a pinch of yum, FYI. My mexican-food-loving tummy is REALLY in love with this post!

    • Thanks Mary! Have you been able to find any good Mexican food in Vietnam? We had one amazing Mexican restaurant in Cebu that was our go-to!

  33. Yum! These look perfect Lindsay!

  34. Always wanted to try fish tacos, the images look so scrumptious!


  35. Haha, I’ve been trying to do the grilling thing this summer and last week I literally burned off part of my hair when my BBQ had a little explosion. Woops! Anyways, these fish tacos look delish and I had a little giggle at your “Fitting fish tacos into a basket is my job now” post on social media :)

  36. I am not a fan of the roller coaster. I’m happy to go along, see the sites, eat the food, but don’t think for a second that I will joining in on those rides.
    These fish tacos look amazing. I’m suddenly feeling like fish tacos for lunch 😀

  37. As mentioned above, your basil should be fine with a lot of sun (and is probably happy about it). What you should avoid, however, is to water your basil from above/give it a shower (especially when the sun is shining onto it). The water works like a lense then and the leaves burn – that’s why they start to look weird. Only water the soil, best time for it is in the evening or early morning (same goes for all other plants actually). If your basil lives in a pot and not in a flower bed, you can fill your sink with water, put your basil in and leave it for a while, then put it back into the pot. The soil will soak up as much water as it can hold and you won’t get rotten roots!
    Hope that helps! :)

    • I think that’s what I did! eek! I sunburned my basil. Great idea about soaking it and then putting it back in the pot. Thanks for the green thumb tips Laura!

  38. Fish tacos are one of my favorite foods on the planet and yours look amazing! I prefer grilled fish over battered so I am going to tweak the recipe a bit. Sorry to hear about your grilling disaster, would love to hear the details. Don’t wait until next year, get right back on that grilling horse!

  39. Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a
    hard time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something
    completely unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  40. What’s up everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this site, and article is really fruitful for me, keep up posting such articles or reviews.

  41. Lindsay L. says:

    I made these tonight for dinner, and they were so good!! I was surprised at how easy they were–it looks like a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, but it’s all pretty quick (like most of your recipes!). I used tilapia because that’s what we had on hand and a White Ale from Millstream Brewing. I also halved it which worked well. We will be making these again this summer!!

  42. just made the jalapeno sauce as a dipping sauce for the fish – left out the cilantro cuz I’m not a cilantro fan (gasp!), and sautéed a bit of shallot in some olive oil instead of onion greens because that’s what I had on hand. Everybody kept going for seconds. They all said what a nice change it was. Thanks so much! we will be making that jalapeno sauce many more times as fishing season is just getting started 😀

  43. This looks really good – looking forward to trying it very soon! Spicy, crunchy fish tacos and ice cold beer – yes please!

    As for your basil plant, my Dear, try not to water it during the hottest part of the day and not over the top of the leaves if you can help it. I was having the same problem a couple of years ago and an expert at the local nursery told me to water it (on the dirt at the bottom of the plant) in the early evening and/or in the morning before the sun got really hot. She told me that pouring water over the top, on the leaves in the hot sun is like putting a magnifying glass on it – burns them up pronto! Makes sense. Good luck and thanks for the recipe! 😀

    • That’s what I’ve been doing (per the advice of Wikipedia) and I’ve moved it to a new spot where it doesn’t get nearly as much sun and it seems to be doing so much better. Yay!

  44. I plan on making the jalapeno sauce tonight to serve with another meal. If I make a big batch of it and jar it, how long do you think it will keep in the refrigerator?

  45. az_malisa says:

    Awesome recipe! I found this on pinterest on friday night and tried it for dinner the next night! Every one in my family gave it 2 thumbs up! The beer batter was perfectly crispy and the sauce was yummy! We also garnished with shredded cabbage and a little squeeze of lime. Delicious and we’ll definitely be making these again!

  46. Probably will not attempt to make this again. I found the batter to be a little heavy and with cod I usually prefer it blackened. The jalapeño sauce was very delicious, but next time I would use a little less cilantro and add some siriacha. Also the cotija was very difficult to find and had to substitute with feta. All in all really was not worth all the effort

  47. Mmm, this is totally my kind of summer meal! Love the sound of the sauce and the beer batter. I hate frying stuff in my house but I may have to suck it up and get over it so I can try this out! Great recipe, Lindsay!

  48. Delicious! I had my in-laws for dinner tonight and they loved the fish tacos, thanks Lindsay

  49. Noel Venter says:

    Hi Lindsay, these really do look “lekker”, (South African for Yum! Love your Jalapeño sauce recipe, it looks good too. Now that Basil, I wonder if you literally gave it a “shower” ? If so then I think you need to rather tip the water into the pot, not getting the leaves wet. Water on leaves in the hot sun could be fatal to said leaves. The droplets can burn them, as with a magnifying glass! Hope this helps, I concur with the other posts that say keep the soil damp not soggy.

  50. I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I stumbled across this in my hunt for something concerning this.

  51. my girls (ages 5, 3, 1) love these. their plates are clear in minutes. thanks for this awesome recipe!

  52. Hannah Clingan says:

    I made these last night with my dad – we LOVED them! I was a little apprehensive as I don’t usually fry food at home. The beer battered fish was incredibly flaky and held together perfectly in the oil. The sauce was incredibly flavorful and complimented the fish wonderfully. I will definitely be making these again sometime this summer :)

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