Why we love it
These are my baja fish tacos with a twist. While classic baja tacos would use cod fried in a seasoned beer batter, I chose to go a little healthier (and easier) on this one and crumb them before baking in the oven (#rebel 😉).
- A creamy, slightly smoky, spicy chipotle sauce.
- The easiest tangy slaw.
- Perfectly seasoned crunchy fish.
- The combined flavours are sensational.
These tacos are seriously yum! The combination of the seasoned fish, then the tangy slaw and that spicy, cream sauce, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla are everything! Each component is amazing but together – bam, so good.
If you love this, you’ll also love these Mexican short rib tacos.
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What are baja tacos?
Baja style refers to food from the Baja region of Mexican on the Californian peninsula. Due to it’s location, seafood features heavily in it’s cuisine. Most well-known is the Mexican style fried fish in batter, that was created there. The fish is classically served in a taco with a tangy cabbage slaw and creamy, spicy sauce.
While I’ve stayed true to the baja style flavours in these fish tacos, I have used a little creative license in the coating. With the idea in my mind of an easy family dinner, that’s quick to cook, nutritious and less messy than frying with oil, I chose to coat my fish pieces in panko crumbs, and bake all of them at one time. No batches, no oil splashes, and not greasy, baking the baja fish is a great hack.
Ingredients you’ll need
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
- Fish: The most important ingredient has to be the fish. Traditionally, baja fish tacos are made using cod. The best fish to use is a good firm white fish and ones with at least finger thickness fillets. I used snapper but other good ones (depending on where you are) would be tilapia, halibut, catfish, dory, blue eye, monkfish or bream. Ask your fishmonger for their suggestion if you aren’t sure.
- The fish seasoning: The fish seasoning is made up of just 5 spices: fine sea salt, paprika, onion powder, ground cumin and freshly cracked black pepper. This is mixed through plain flour (all purpose flour).
- Bread crumbs: I use panko bread crumbs for this one but feel free to use your favourites.
- Eggs: The eggs are used to help the crumbs stick to the fish.
- Vegetables: The tangy slaw is a combo of just two vegetables in a dressing: red cabbage and red onion. You can use green cabbage if you like or a mixture of colours. You can also add some sliced avocado.
- The tangy slaw dressing: The dressing is made up of mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, dried oregano, sugar and a pinch of salt simply mixed together.
- The lime chipotle crema: This creamy smoky and spicy sauce is amazing! A combo of sour cream, mayonnaise, fresh lime juice and zest, garlic and chipotle in adobo. For that last one, sometimes the cans available will be minced others will have whole chipotle peppers in a sauce. Whichever one I buy, I just blitz the whole can to a puree and freeze it in ice cube trays so I always have it at the ready and nothing gets wasted.
- To serve: I love to serve these in flour tortillas but you can serve it in hard or soft corn tortillas too. Some slices of jalapeño and plenty of fresh cilantro / coriander is delicious.
How to make baja fish tacos (step-by-step)
Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, these are very quick to put together. Make the sauce and tangy slaw while the fish is baking and you’re ready for dinner.
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
The baja-style fish
- Prep the fish: Start by cutting the fish into sticks about the size of your index finger and give them a quick dry with paper towel.
- Bread the fish: Combine the seasoning mix and roll the fish pieces in it. Coat them in egg, letting excess drip off then coat them in panko bread crumbs, pressing them on really well.
- Bake: Line up the fish pieces on a large baking sheet with wire rack (if you have one), give them a quick spray with spray oil and bake the fish for 12- 15 minutes.
The chipotle lime crema
This is so easy. Just combine all the ingredients in a mini food processor or blender and process until fully combined.
The tangy slaw
- Prep the vegetables: Finely slice both the cabbage and onion. Set aside.
- Make the dressing: Add the dressing ingredients directly to the bowl you’re going to serve the slaw in and mix them well until fully combined.
- Combine it all: Add the cabbage and onion and toss well to coat.
Want to make the classic fried fish baja tacos? While I love the ease, texture and flavour of the oven-baked crumbed fish, I did test a fried version as well and it’s super yum.
- Leave out the panko crumbs and eggs.
- Increase the flour to 1 cup and add ½ teaspoon of baking powder.
- Leave the spices as they are.
- Hat ½ an inch of neutral-flavoured vegetable oil in a deep non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat until a wooden spoon bubbles when you dip it in.
- Right before cooking, stir in 1 cup of cold beer (or cold soda water if you don’t like beer batter) into the flour and whisk to combine.
- Dip the pieces of fish into the batter and then straight into the hot oil.
- You may need to cook the fish in batches, so the heat of the oil doesn’t drop too much and add extra oil if you see it getting low. Make sure to reheat the oil between batches.
Shrimp tacos: You could use the same crumbed recipe to make prawn / shrimp tacos too. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Baja California, Mexico is where baja tacos originated and the area is famous for these delicious fish tacos now.
Most commonly baja fish tacos are made using cod. If you can’t get cod where you are, any good white firm fish with at least finger-thick fillets will work. Speak to your fishmonger for the best options where you are.
The fish for these tacos are best eaten freshly baked, however if you have leftovers they will keep perfectly well in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can reheat the fish in the oven at 180C/350F for 10 minutes.
The coleslaw will soften as time goes on. Again, keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or tightly covered with plastic wrap.
Did you try this baja fish tacos recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
FOR THE FISH
- 500 g firm white fish (notes 2)
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons plain flour (all purpose flour) (notes 1)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 eggs
CHIPOTLE LIME CREMA
- 1 medium lime, zest and juice (notes 3)
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (notes 1)
- 4-6 teaspoons minced chipotle in adobo (notes 4)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 3 ½ cups thinly shredded cabbage (about ½ small head of cabbage total)
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (notes 1)
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- pinch salt
- 12 taco flour or corn tortillas
- Fresh coriander/ cilantro, sliced jalapenos and lime wedges to serve sliced jalapenos and lime wedges to serve
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- PREPARE THE FISH:Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan) / 425F. Line a large baking sheet with foil then place a wire rack on top, if you have one.
- Cut the fish into strips, the size of your index finger. Dry the strips with paper towel.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, paprika, onion powder, pepper and cumin. In a second bowl beat the eggs. In a 3rd bowl place the breadcrumbs.
- Using one hand, coat a fish piece in the flour mixture. Using the other hand coat it in egg, and let the excess drip off. Now drop it into the crumbs and use the first hand to coat it well. Place it onto the baking rack and repeat with the rest.
- Bake 12-15 minutes until cooked through (145F/63C)
- PREPARE THE CHIPOTLE LIME CREMA:Place the lime zest and juice, sour cream, mayonnaise, chipotle and garlic into a blender or small food processor and blend until smooth. Chill until required.
- PREPARE THE TANGY SLAW:Combine the cabbage, onion, vinegar, mayonnaise, dried oregano, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Toss well to combine. Chill until required.
- ASSEMBLE:Prepare your tortillas either by warming in the microwave or toasting over a flame.
- Place some tangy coleslaw into a tortilla, followed by the fish and top it with your chipotle crema.
- Top with coriander and jalapenos if using and serve with a wedge of lime on the side.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (this is equal to 4 teaspoons worldwide). Many countries use a 15ml tablespoon so check first so you can measure the correct amounts for the recipe.
- The best fish to use is a good firm white fish and ones with at least finger thickness fillets. I used snapper but other good ones (depending on where you are) would be tilapia, halibut, catfish, dory, blue eye, monkfish or bream. Ask your fishmonger for their suggestion if you aren’t sure.
- Always zest the lime first, then juice it. Much easier than the other way round.
- Chipotle in adobo sauce: This comes in cans of either chopped or whole chipotles in an adobo sauce. I blend up the whole can of it in my mini food processor until it’s a puree then freeze it in ice cube trays so I can just thaw what I need when I need it.
- Other chilli or hot sauce can be used too. Start with half a teaspoon depending on the type/ heat level and add more to taste.
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