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Rubio’s™ Fish Tacos Recipe

This is what started it all for Ralph Rubio in San Diego, CA.  This is also what started my quest for restaurant recipes.

When you say the words “fish taco” to anyone who’s never had a real Rubio’s™ Fish Taco, you’ll usually get a grimaced look on their face and a very loud “Ewwwww”.  Honestly this was my first reaction to the thought in the late 80′s when Rubio’s opened in Mission Beach.

For some reason the combination of a warm corn tortilla, a crunchy hot piece of mild fish and the crisp freshness of shredded cabbage is a mouth tantalizing sensation.  Add to this the mild zing of Rubio’s™ white sauce and some smokey flavored hot sauce and you’ll be craving these yourself.

Before you get to the recipe, let me make a couple of notes for you.  The tortilla is critical to the taste.  Most tortillas you buy in a grocery store are thin, dry and tasteless.  If you want the authentic taste of a real tortilla, I HIGHLY recommend Porkyland brand tortillas. Last I knew, this is the same company Rubio’s™ uses to make their tortillas.  Rubio’s has a special recipe but, you can still get your hands on these amazing tortillas through Amazon.com.  These are only $3.15 per dozen (in a pack of 6-Dozen) with shipping included.  It’s WELL worth the time to order these tortillas.


Rubio's™ Fish Tacos Recipe
  • 12 pieces (1.5 oz each) of mild tasting fish (Rubio's™ uses Pollock but any cod will work)
  • 12 Corn tortillas (see note above)
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying. Amount will vary depending on your fryer.
  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Cup beer. I recommend dark beer such as Guiness
  • Garlic powder to taste. Start with less and add as you like.
  • Black Pepper to taste. Start with less and add as you like.
  • 1 Cup of Rubio's™ White Sauce
  • 3 Cups of finely shredded cabbage
  • 3 medium tomatoes diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 Limes cut into wedges
  1. Combine the flour with the garlic powder and black pepper. Mix this with the beer and let it sit for a while. It's best to let it sit at least an hour.
  2. Wash the fish in water with a bit of salt or some lime juice then dry it completely.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees. You can check the oil temperature by dropping a 1" cube of bread and watching for it to float. If it takes a while to float it's not hot enough. Don't overheat the oil or your batter will burn and the fish won't cook.
  4. Vigorously whisk the batter before dipping the fish. This will help make the batter lighter and crispier.
  5. Dip the fish into the batter and immediately into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, turning as necessary.
  6. While your frying the fish, begin warming your tortillas. The best way to do this is to heat them on a dry hot skillet until hot. Place the hot tortillas in a tortilla warmer and keep covered. You can also try one of these cool new "tortillas ovens."
  7. Make up the "Pico de Gallo" in a separate bowl. Combine the tomato, onion and cilantro. Set this aside in the refrigerator. This is pronounced "pee-ko dah guy-oh"
  1. Place a warm tortilla on your plate.
  2. Place a piece of the fish on the center of the tortilla.
  3. Spoon a small amount of the white sauce over the fish. Be liberal with it, but you don't want it to drip out while you're eating.
  4. Spoon some of the "pico de gallo" over the fish.
  5. Put a small handful of the cabbage on top
  6. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the top
  7. Add Rubio's™ hot sauce to taste.
  8. Fold up the tortilla and enjoy one of the greatest tastes you'll ever experience.
  9. I don't think you're going to find a more comprehensive set of instructions for making authentic Rubio's™ Fish Tacos. If you enjoy this recipe, please help spread the word.


Thank you so much for posting this! I recently made the trip back to Southern California and made the necessary stop to Rubio's. I was so glad to find this so I don't have to make the expensive trip to get cheap, delicious tacos! The white sauce is so simple and made up of two ingredients that I loathe, but it really is what makes it a Rubio's fish taco! It's important to get the ratios down: Lots of fish, lots of sauce, a little less cabbage, and even less of the pico de gallo (especially if it has too many onions in it, like mine did). It was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!!

marie williams
marie williams

OMG!!!!! thank you sooo much I grew up in San Diego and 8 years ago had to move to Ohio :( and if anyone asked what I miss most (besides the weather) it was RUBIOS FISH TACOS!!!!people out here just dont get it. I have tried sooo many times to create the same thing to no avail. Thank you so much!!! They were great!!

Chef Pablo
Chef Pablo

yes, because it's a batter and not just breaded, the fish need to "float" in the oil to cook properly. You can usually do this on the stove, but REMEMBER: Leave enough room in the pan for the fish to "boil" up a bit... you don't want that oil to run over on the the stove. The best bet is to use a deep fryer.


Hi, I made these and fried the fish in a non stick skillet and they stuck to the bottom like crazy. Did not brown as all the brown particles stuck to the pan. Where did I go wrong? Must you have deep oil to fry them in? I don't have a deep fryer. Any suggestions? Thanks


I also grill cheddar cheese on the tortilla, by putting it cheese side down on the greesed skillet until melted and toasty. Sooo good. This is step 1!


  1. [...] Rubio’s Fish Tacos This is what started the Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill franchise.  A great tasting combination of crispy mild fish, tangy white sauce, a soft warm corn tortilla and crispy fresh cabbage. [...]

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