Fish Tacos Recipe

August 14, 2019

These Fish Tacos are so good that you’ll likely even find seafood haters loving them! You get deliciously seasoned, tender and flaky fish pieces layered over hearty corn tortillas along with the best tacos toppings, and it’s all finished with a rich and creamy fish tacos sauce. It’s such a flavorful recipe!

These are super easy to make and the end result is always sure to impress.

Row of fish tacos on a black slate serving platter.

Fish Tacos Recipe

Summer isn’t complete with a night of fish tacos! The great thing about this recipe though is that it can be made year round. I’ve included instructions for grilling, baking or cooking the fish on the stovetop.

So you can always just do what’s most convenient for you. Or try all three and pick your favorite method (my personal favorite is grilled).

These fish tacos are the best! I’ve been using this recipe for years and it’s just a foolproof, all around delicious recipe for fish tacos. Usually I use talapia but this time I went with cod to switch things up.

Then feel free to swap out my toppings of choice with other favorites you may have (lettuce, tomatoes, mango salsa, corn, etc). You could even get crazy and double up on the seasonings if you want bold flavor. It’s tacos, we make them how we want!

Ingredients in fish tacos.

Fish Taco Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil or canola oil – this is used in the marinade to keep the exterior of the fish from drying out.
  • Lime juice – this is the best flavor in these tacos it really brightens them up.
  • Fresh garlic and garlic powder – I like raw garlic in the marinade but powder in the sauce so it’s not overwhelming. If perferred arlic powder can be used in this marinade as well, use 1/4 tsp.
  • Chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper – these classic Mexican spices add a well seasoned layer of flavor to the fish.
  • Talapia, cod or mahi mahi – the idea is to use neutral flavored white fish. If you use talapia look for thicker fillets that won’t fall apart easily.
  • Corn tortillas – I like to warm them in a little vegetable oil or olive oil so they aren’t bland and dry until they get just a few golden spots then flip and cook on the opposite side.
  • Shredded purple cabbage – this adds that classic crunch we crave in seafood tacos.
  • Avocado – use a nice ripe avocado, it’s always a game changer.
  • Cilantro – feel free to add more to taste.
  • Cotija cheese – this optional ingredient adds a nice light tang, it’s one of my favorite Mexican cheeses.
  • Sour cream and Mayonnaise – these are used to make a creamy fish taco sauce. I like to use full fat for a rich sauce but low fat will work great too.

It may look like a long list of ingredients but to see how much it is in the photo above you’ll realize it’s not as lengthy and daunting as it may seem.

Making marinade for fish tacos.

How to Make Fish Tacos:

  • Make marinade: in a mixing bowl whisk together canola oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 3/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper).
  • Briefly soak fish in marinade: Place fish into a dish or gallon size resealable bag and pour marinade over fish (if using a bag seal bag and gently move bag around to evenly coat fish with marinade), allow to marinate in mixture 20 minutes (and no longer than 30 minutes).

Spooning marinade over fish in baking dish.

Grill Method:

  • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill grates with oil and place fish on grill.
  • Grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish).

Oven Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place fish on prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 10 – 15 minutes (fish should flake easily with a fork).

Stovetop Method:

  • Preheat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle lightly with vegetable oil.
  • Remove fish from marinade and cook about 3 – 4 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Fish taco sauce ingredients in a wooden bowl before mixing.

How to Make Easy Fish Taco Sauce:

  • In a bowl whisk all sauce ingredients: while the fish is cooking whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Season with salt to taste.

How to Assemble Tacos:

  • Layer all ingredients over heated tortillas: break fish into pieces, layer over warm tortillas. Top with cabbage, avocado, cilantro, cheese if using, and fish taco sauce.

Mexican seasoned fish fillets on a baking sheet after baking.

Tips for the Best Fish Tacos:

  • Don’t marinade longer than 30 minutes or the acidity of the marinade can break down the fish and make it mushy.
  • Preheat oven, grill or skillet. Don’t start out with a cool temp.
  • Careful not to over-cook the fish so the texture will be tender and flaky.
  • When possible use wild caught fish if you have access to it.
  • If you want more fish per taco throw an extra fillet in the marinade, or recipe doubles well too.

Close up image of fish tacos layered with purple cabbage, avocado, fish taco sauce, cod, talapia, and cotija.

What Sides to Serve with Fish Tacos?

 

Two fish tacos on parchment paper on a plate.

More Delicious Taco Recipes to Try:

Fish Tacos

5 from 4 votes

These Fish Tacos are so good that you'll likely even find seafood haters loving them! You get deliciously seasoned, tender and flaky fish pieces layered over hearty corn tortillas along with the best tacos toppings, and it's all finished with a rich and creamy fish tacos sauce. It's such a flavorful and impressive recipe!

Servings: 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, or more to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb tilapia*, cod, or mahi mahi

For Serving

  • 8 corn tortillas**, warmed
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup Cotija cheese (optional)

Fish Taco Sauce

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together vegetable oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 3/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper).

  2. Place fish into a dish or gallon size resealable bag and pour marinade over fish (if using a bag seal bag and gently move bag around to evenly coat fish with marinade), allow to marinate in mixture 20 minutes (and no longer than 30 minutes).

Grilling Method

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill grates with oil and place fish on grill.

  2. Grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish). 

Oven Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Place fish on prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 10 - 15 minutes (fish should flake easily with a fork).

Stovetop Method

  1. Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle lightly with vegetable oil. Remove fish from marinade and cook in skillet about 3 - 4 minutes per side, until cooked through.

To Make the Sauce

  1. While the fish is cooking whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Season with salt to taste.

To Assemble Tacos

  1. Break fish into pieces, layer over warm tortillas. Top with cabbage, avocado, cilantro, cheese if using, and fish taco sauce. 

Recipe Notes

  • *If using frozen begin with 1 1/4 lbs then thaw fully. I recommend using talapia that isn't really thin, otherwise it can fall apart on the grill and cooks too quickly. The thicker fillets work better here.
  • **To cook tortillas I like to heat in just a little vegetable or olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown spots appear on each side, or carefully torch edges over a gas stove.  
Nutrition Facts
Fish Tacos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 487 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 332mg14%
Potassium 831mg24%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 1198IU24%
Vitamin C 33mg40%
Calcium 160mg16%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: fish tacos
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe originally published February, 2015. Recipe has been updated.