Fish Tacos

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Fish tacos are a healthy twist on a family favorite. I love that everyone can still get creative with the toppings and make each taco their own, but the ingredients remain colorful, fresh, and nutritious.

Fish is such a quick and easy protein to cook and this 5-step recipe gets dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. The recipe below makes 6-8 tacos, perfect for two. If you’ve got a family of 4 or more, it’s very easy to double or even triple, if needed.

Ingredients on tortilla

Ingredients

ingredients for fish tacos, see text for details

For Fish

  • 4 tilapia or cod filets
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼  teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

Fish Taco Sauce

  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Taco Toppings

  • Shredded purple cabbage
  • Grated cotija cheese
  • Lime wedges
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Corn Tortillas

How to Choose the Best Fish for Fish Tacos

For these fish tacos, a flaky and mild-flavored fish that holds up well while cooking is best. I prefer tilapia or cod. Both are mild enough that the fresh flavors of the toppings won’t get lost and they’re firm enough to hold up to cooking.

Some other options are salmon, mahi-mahi, or halibut. Salmon is particularly delicious when you grill it for fish tacos.

Instructions

Here’s how to make these quick and delicious fish tacos. Note that your cooking time may vary depending on the size of your fish filets.

Step 1 – Season the Fish

Seasoned fish on chopping board

Get a large skillet or frying pan heating over medium heat. Once it’s heated up, add a little drizzle of olive oil to the pan and let it get warm.

While the pan is heating up, mix together your cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Season the fish filets on both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle your cumin spice mixture over both sides and gently pat it into the fish with your fingers.

Step 2 – Cook the Fish

cooked fish in frying pan

To your hot pan with oil, add each fish filet one at a time, being sure not to overlap too much or crowd your pan.

Let the filets cook on one side for 3 minutes. Flip the fish using a flexible spatula and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness.

You’ll know the fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork and is opaque white with no translucent pink color left.

Step 3 – Cook the Tortillas (Optional)

Tortilla in frying pan

Heat a second, smaller frying pan over medium-high heat. Add just a drop or two of olive oil or vegetable oil in the pan and cook the tortilla for about 1 minute on each side.

This step is optional but I think it adds a great flavor. It also changes the texture of the tortillas to make them stronger and less likely to fall apart when you add your toppings.

Step 4 – Make the Sauce for Fish Tacos

sauce for the fish tacos

In a small bowl or ramekin, add your mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, cumin, and garlic powder. Use a fork or small whisk to combine. 

Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to your liking. 

Step 5 – Assemble the Fish Tacos

Ingredientes on tortilla

Now the fun part! Take one of your cooked tortillas, add a small bed of purple cabbage and then top it with big chunks of cooked fish.

Sprinkle some cilantro, cotija cheese, a drizzle of the fish sauce, chunks of avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Sit back and enjoy!

Cookware Used 

10-inch Skillet: A 10-inch (25cm) skillet was the perfect size for my four fish filets. A 12-inch skillet would also work if you have bigger filets. I used non-stick, but a cast iron skillet could give the fish a delicious outer crust if you prefer to use that. 

Flexible Spatula: I recommend using a flexible spatula and staying away from tongs to flip your fish. Even though we use a firm fish for fish tacos, fish filets are still pretty delicate, so flipping with a spatula is preferred.

Ramekins: Small ramekins come in so handy for mixing spices and mixing sauces. I use several when I make fish tacos for mixing and also for holding all my toppings.

Alternative Ways to Cook Fish Tacos

There are several ways you can make delicious, flaky fish for fish tacos. This recipe uses the sautéing method, but you can also bake or grill the fish as well with the same flavorful results.

Baked Fish Tacos

To bake fish for fish tacos, you will need a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Place the seasoned fish filets on the parchment and bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for about 20 minutes. The fish should be cooked through and just lightly brown on the edges.

Grilled Fish Tacos

If you’d prefer to grill fish for fish tacos, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Rub olive oil on the fish filets and then sprinkle with the fish taco seasoning. Brush the grill grates with olive oil and grill the fish for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness. 

How To Make Flavorful Fish Tacos

A delicious fish taco is all about how you season the fish and the toppings you choose. Don’t be afraid to be bold and try new flavor combinations that you and your family love.

Fish Taco Seasoning

My favorite fish taco seasoning is a Baja-style seasoning with Mexican spices like cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. But you can mix up different spice blends to find your favorite combination. 

Try adding lemon pepper, dried dill, and dried oregano, too.

Sauce for Fish Tacos

The sauce for fish tacos is very important. I alway serve mine with a sauce. If I don’t have mayonnaise or sour cream on hand, I have even made my sauce for fish tacos with whole milk Greek yogurt. 

Use the same spices from the recipe above, but use a full ⅓ cup of yogurt in place of the sour cream and mayonnaise.

You could also add a bit of chipotle pepper and adobo sauce to the recipe above for a chipotle cream sauce for fish tacos.

Fish Taco Toppings

Fish taco toppings are the best part! You can use some of the most colorful produce to add crunch, flavor, and texture to fish tacos. Plus, the toppings up the nutrition factor. I love classic purple cabbage and avocado, but some other delicious options are:

  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Jalapenos
  • Asian slaw
  • Mango
  • Guacamole

Now, It’s Your Turn!

fish taco on plate

I hope you’re ready to start building your own tacos with tons of colorful, fresh ingredients. The next time your family wants a taco night, whip up these quick and easy fish tacos. 

They’re ready in less than 20 minutes and you’ll have so much fun creating your own healthy flavor combinations.

Print

Fish Tacos

A different version of the traditional taco recipe for those who are not huge fans of meat but still would like to have  a healthy protein intake.

  • Author: Beatriz Garcia
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 68 tacos 1x
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

Scale

For Fish

  • 4 tilapia or cod filets
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼  teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

Fish Taco Sauce

  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

 

Taco Toppings

  • Shredded purple cabbage
  • Grated cotija cheese
  • Lime wedges
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Corn Tortillas

Instructions

Season the Fish

Add a little drizzle of olive oil to a pan on medium heat and let it get warm.

While the pan is heating up, mix together your cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Season the fish filets on both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle your cumin spice mixture over both sides and gently pat it into the fish with your fingers.

Cook the Fish

To your hot pan with oil, add each fish filet one at a time, being sure not to overlap too much or crowd your pan.

Let the filets cook on one side for 3 minutes. Flip the fish using a flexible spatula and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness.

Cook the Tortillas (Optional)

Heat a second, smaller frying pan over medium-high heat. Add just a drop or two of olive oil or vegetable oil in the pan and cook the tortilla for about 1 minute on each side.

Make the Sauce for Fish Tacos

In a small bowl or ramekin, add your mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, cumin, and garlic powder. Use a fork or small whisk to combine. 

Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to your liking. 

Assemble the Fish Tacos

 Take one of your cooked tortillas, add a small bed of purple cabbage and then top it with big chunks of cooked fish.

Sprinkle some toppings.

Tried this Recipe?

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