Fresh SoCal Style Fish Tacos Recipe


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If Southern California has a signature dish it has to be fish tacos. This fish tacos recipe has been perfected by my family and is a summertime favorite. I’m also sharing tips on how to properly defrost your fish, a white sauce and pico de gallo recipe and what toppings are a must. 

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Fish Tacos Recipe

I have fond memories of weekends in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. I’d camp in a tent on the sand, shop in the outdoor markets and eat fish tacos at a tiny stand. Those tacos were stuffed with freshly caught battered fish, chopped cabbage, a creamy white sauce and a pico de gallo salsa. And they literally cost about 50 cents each!

What’s better than cheap fish tacos? How about practically free? I love when my husband goes out fishing and comes home with dinner! Even if you don’t have a fisherman in the family, you can still serve up a tasty fish dinner like we have in SoCal. Choose a firm white fish like cod or yellowtail. Here’s a tip on how to know if the fish is fresh – it shouldn’t smell “fishy”. Fresh fish won’t have any odor.

These are the tips on how to defrost and prepare fish for cooking:

  • All fish should be frozen shortly after being caught. The deep freeze helps to eliminate bacteria.
  • When you’re ready to defrost fish, do not rinse with water (this can introduce bacteria). Simply remove from packaging and wrap in a paper towel. Place an additional paper towel at the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Set the wrapped fish on top and place in the refrigerator.
  • The following day, replace the paper towels with fresh towels. The fish may take several days to defrost depending upon the thickness. 
  • Never defrost fish outside of the fridge! This is a slow process that keeps the fish fresh so make sure to plan meals ahead to allow 1-2 days for proper and safe defrosting. 

SoCal Style Fish Tacos Recipe

SoCal Style Fish Tacos Recipe

Recipe for battered and fried Southern California style fish tacos


  • 8 pieces of white fish, like cod or yellowtail, defrosted properly
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • (Can sub in 4 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning for the above two seasonings)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bottle of beer (preferably Mexican style)
  • Cooking oil, like vegetable, canola or coconut oil


  1. Defrost fish properly in paper towels in the fridge 1-2 days before cooking.
  2. Remove fish from paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In medium bowl combine flour and seasonings.
  4. Beat one egg and then add to the dry mixture.
  5. Slowly add beer to the mixture, and stir with a wire whisk until a thin batter is created.
  6. Heat cooking oil in a deep pan on the stove or in a fryer.
  7. Dip each filet into the batter, allowing excess to drip off. Carefully submerge into the hot oil.
  8. Cook until golden brown then flip over.
  9. Move cooked fish to a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  10. Serve immediately.


Instructions for defrosting fish - Wrap each filet in paper towel and place in a paper towel lined casserole dish. Defrost only inside the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Replace paper towels on second day if fish is still frozen.


White Sauce for Fish Tacos Recipe

This is our family recipe for fish taco white sauce. Or as my son calls it, “special sauce”.

I mix equal parts plain Greek yogurt with mayonnaise, about 1/2 cup each. Stir in 1 heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic, 1 tsp of Lawry’s seasoned salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

White Sauce Recipe for Fish Tacos

White Sauce Recipe for Fish Tacos

Creamy white sauce to top beer-battered fish tacos

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp of Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.


Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Add a drizzle of milk if necessary to thin the sauce. Dollop onto beer battered fish tacos.

How to Top Your Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

A taco isn’t complete without these amazing toppings. Take the time to get all the sides ready in the fridge so that when the fish is ready to eat you can dig in!

  • Corn Tortillas – Skip the tortillas at the supermarket. If you have a tortilleria or Mexican restaurant in your area, pick them up fresh. I warm my corn tortillas directly over an open flame on the stove top with a pair of tongs. Wrap them in a tea towel or use a tortilla box to keep them warm.
  • Pico de Gallo – Chopped fresh tomatoes, cilantro leaves, white onion, finely chopped jalapeno, salt and lime juice.
  • Chopped cabbage
  • White sauce
  • Lime wedges to squeeze the juice on top




Have you ever tried making fish tacos at home? It’s really a tasty and fresh dinner that goes together quickly. Add a side of brown rice and black beans and you have a well-rounded meal that doesn’t break the bank!

Fresh SoCal Style Fish Tacos -recipe


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