Crispy Fish Tacos With Red Cabbage Slaw
Crispy Fish Tacos With Red Cabbage Slaw

These Baja-style fish tacos are made for hot summer days! Crispy, flavorful fish on a bed of crispy russet slaw, all piled high on a tortilla – just add ice cold drinks and lots of laughter for a party. Taco Tuesday has never tasted so good!

In this recipe

  • Why Make Crispy Fish Tacos?
  • Batter vs. Breading
  • Tips for frying the fish
  • The best fish for tacos
  • Cut the fish
  • The best oil for frying
  • What to serve with fish tacos
  • Preparing Fish Tacos

If you think that dishes turned into foam and served on porcelain plates are a stronghold of modern haute cuisine. Then a fish taco party might just be the best beach party you’ll ever go to.

These fish tacos are assembled at the table and eaten with your hands. They can turn any gathering of respectable people into a group of unruly friends with roars of laughter. There is no pretense here.

Why Make Crispy Fish Tacos?

I mean really, what’s not to love about fish tacos? A crunchy breading loaded with chili powder and citrus encasing tender, flaky white fish? It’s perfect.

And the crunchy flavor of honey-lime slaw that balances the heaviness of fried food? All I can say is, “I’ll have more of that, please!” And the cumin, garlic and citrus cream that adds a little creaminess to every bite? I love everything and I want you to love it too.

Crispy Fish Tacos: Batter vs. Breading

There is a difference between breaded fish tacos and breaded fish tacos.

  • Dough based on liquid, often with added beer. Fish is quickly dipped in a beer flour bath and then fried.
  • Bread is when you dip the fish in a liquid, usually milk or buttermilk, and then press it into a dry coating of panko, breadcrumbs, or a flour mixture.

Tips for frying fish for tacos

For this recipe, I dipped the fish in milk, breaded it, and then fried it. I like to bread the whole fish before I start frying it. I do this for two reasons:

  1. Leave the breading on the fish for a few minutes to help the breading stick to the fish.
  2. Breading makes your fingers messy. It’s easier to bread the whole fish, clean up the mess, and then fry it.

The best fish for fish tacos

Firm-fleshed white fish is usually the best choice for breaded fish tacos. They have a mild taste and keep well when fried. Two of my favorites are cod and walleye.

In testing this recipe, I used two different brands of frozen fish that I thawed at home. I noticed a fairly significant difference in the quality of the fish between brands. I’ve used private label from both my local grocery store and a Whole Foods.

The cod from my local grocer wasn’t as thick or firm. It kind of slid apart when I pressed it and it didn’t stick together well when I fried it. Whole Foods 365 Brand Wild-Caught Cod Fillets were firm, held their shape when gently pressed and held up well during frying.

If you’ve cooked battered or breaded fish before and it didn’t turn out the way you envisioned, it could be the brand. Try sourcing from a different company next time and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Slice the fish for the tacos

I like to cut the fish portions at an angle (oblique cut). This cut makes for longer strips that fit nicely inside the taco shell. Make each cut about 1 inch thick and you’ll have the perfect piece every time.

The best oil for frying

High heat oil is best for frying food. Good choices are canola, safflower, and sunflower oil.

What to serve with fish tacos

Honestly, two to three tacos are pretty filling, even for big eaters. But if you want to present a feast to your friends and family, then serve these tacos with one of these tasty side dishes.

  • Jicama Salad
  • Mango Avocado Salsa
  • Watermelon salad with cotija, jicama and lime
  • Mexican fruit cocktail

Don’t forget drinks! I often serve celebratory soft drinks at parties, but alongside these drinks I always offer a selection of spirits such as vodka, gin or tequila. This way my non-alcoholic friends can enjoy a zero proof cocktail and still feel part of the celebration. And for those who want to add a little schnapps to their drink, you can drink as you please! I only have to prepare a drink and everyone has a choice. It’s a win-win situation.

  • Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca
  • Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca

However, if you’re drunk all the time, try one of these delicious concoctions.

  • Blender Pina Colada
  • Classic margarita
  • panache

Can I make fish tacos ahead of time?

Say you want to throw a party and fish tacos are on the menu. You can make almost every component at least two to three days in advance. Then do the final breading and frying just before serving.

For the cream, mix everything together and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Some of the liquid may separate during this time, but don’t worry. You can only stir it briefly.

For the taco coleslaw, I prefer to chop everything up and keep the fresh ingredients in one container, then make the dressing and keep it in another. This is because the color of the red cabbage bleeds into the other ingredients. Do this up to two days before the party. Then, just before serving, shake the dressing well and mix with all the vegetables and herbs.

For the fishDefrost and cut into wedges 24 hours before the party. You can prepare the flour mixture up to a week in advance. Half an hour before you plan to serve the tacos, bread and fry. Dinner is ready!

Need more tacos in your life?

  • Bang bang shrimp tacos
  • Grilled Fish Tacos with Strawberry Pineapple Salsa
  • BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Tacos
  • Hawaiian SPAM tacos with pineapple

Crispy Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw

preparation time
30 minutes

cooking time
20 minutes

total time
50 minutes

up to 5 servings

10 tacos

This recipe makes about 10 small street style tacos.


For the coleslaw:

  • 1 1/2 Lemonsdivided

  • 2 tablespoon honey

  • 2 tablespoon avocado or rapeseed oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced Red cabbage (about a 1/2 small head from cabbage)

  • 5 radishcut into matches (3/4 cup matchsticks)

  • 1/4 Cup chopped Red onion

  • 1/2 Cup fresh coriander

  • 1 Jalapeno chillicored and chopped

For the cream:

  • 1/2 Cup sour cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the fish:

  • 1 limedivided

  • 1/2 Cup all purpose flour

  • 1/4 Cup meal with cereals

  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher saltplus more for seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 Cup whole milkwhipped cream or buttermilk

  • 1 1/2 lb skinless cod filletsfresh or thawed from frozen food

  • Fresh ground black pepper

  • 4 cups high temperature oil such as rapeseed oil

  • 10 small (5 inches) flour tortillasStreet taco style


  1. Prepare the coleslaw and crema:

    Grate the zest from both limes, then cut each in half. In a medium bowl, add the lime zest and lime juice from 1 1/2 limes, honey, oil, salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, radishes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper. Throw to combine. Put aside.

    For the crema, mix together the sour cream, juice from the remaining half of the lime, chilli powder, garlic powder, cumin and salt. If the crema seems too thick, you can always thin it out with a little milk or extra lime juice. put it aside

  2. Prepare the roast:

    Line a plate with kitchen paper to drain the oil from the fish after frying.

  3. Prepare the fish and breading:

    Zest the lime onto a medium-sized plate. Add flour, cornmeal, paprika, kosher salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. put it aside

    On another medium-sized plate, add the milk and juice of half the lime. The milk thickens and looks slightly curdled.

    Cut the fillets diagonally (obliquely) into strips about 2.5 cm thick, season with the juice of the remaining half of the lime and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  4. Heat the oil:

    In a large Dutch oven add the oil. Heat it to 360°F. It will take about 15 minutes for the oil to come up to temperature.

    If you don’t have a thermometer to check the temperature, sprinkle some of the breading into the oil. When it sizzles and pops, it’s done.

  5. Bread the fish:

    While you wait for the oil to come up to temperature, dip the fish in the milk. Then roll in the flour, spices and cornmeal mixture. Bread the whole fish before you start frying it.

  6. fry fish:

    Once all of the fish strips are breaded, carefully place them, piece by piece, in the hot oil. Depending on the size of your Dutch Oven, you can probably fry 4 to 6 pieces at a time.

    Fry the fish in batches so you don’t lower the temperature of the oil too much. Fry until the coating is a deep amber brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

    Remove from the oil and drain on the prepared paper towels.

  7. For self-assembly:

    Place the fish on a platter and serve with the tortillas, coleslaw and crema. Let everyone build their own tacos. Start with some coleslaw, add a piece of fish and drizzle with the crema.

nutritional information (per serving)
1097 calories
51g Fat
114g carbohydrates
48g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!