Traditional recipes

Perfect Fish Tacos

Perfect Fish Tacos

A fish taco dream come true: crispy, light-as-air fried fish, balanced by a creamy slaw and fiery, cooling, and crunchy fixings.



  • 2 pounds skinless red snapper or other mild white fish fillets
  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 8 cups)


  • 16 small corn tortillas (32 if you would like to use 2 per taco)
  • Sliced avocado, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and lime wedges (for serving)

Recipe Preparation


  • Remove any pin bones from fish fillets (using tweezers makes this easy). Cut each fillet in half lengthwise. Cut each half on a diagonal into 1” strips. (Work with the natural shape of the fish as you cut; this will help the pieces stay together instead of falling apart when frying.)

  • Whisk all-purpose flour, rice flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in club soda until no lumps remain; adjust with more club soda or rice flour as needed to make it the consistency of thin pancake batter—it should be pourable, but thick enough to coat the fish.

  • Fit a large pot with a deep-fry thermometer and pour in oil to measure 2”. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°.

  • Working in batches of 5–7 pieces at a time, coat fish in batter, letting excess drip off, then carefully place in oil (to avoid splattering, lower fish into oil pointing away from you). Don’t overcrowd the pot: The oil temperature will drop dramatically and fish may stick together.

  • Fry fish, turning occasionally with a fish spatula or slotted spoon and maintaining oil temperature at 350°, until crust is puffed, crisp, and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet; season immediately with salt.


  • While fish is frying, use tongs to heat tortillas one at a time directly over a gas burner, moving them often, until lightly charred and puffed in spots, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate; cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm. (If you don’t have a gas stove, wrap up a stack of tortillas in a sheet of foil and heat in a 350° oven until warmed through.)

  • Top tortillas (we like two per taco) with fish, slaw, hot sauce, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeños. Serve with lime wedges.

,Photos by Christopher Testani

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 530 Fat (g) 14 Saturated Fat (g) 1.5 Cholesterol (mg) 40 Carbohydrates (g) 72 Dietary Fiber (g) 5 Total Sugars (g) 0 Protein (g) 29 Sodium (mg) 550Reviews SectionI've never deep fried before, but am an avid cook for our family. This worked out really well. Had to run several batches to not crowd. Had everything ready on the table beforehand......teens and I thought it was great and reminded us of times we spent eating street tacos in a s all Mexican surf town. Lots of cleanup but worth it! Our son an I caught the fish o. The Oregon coast!stefan_loPortland OR01/05/20funny and entertaining thanks for something different.AnonymousLos Angeles01/20/19

Easy Fish Tacos

These Fish Tacos are the best! Easy to make, fresh, and flavorful with seasoned white fish, crunchy cabbage, avocado and the best creamy fish taco sauce! This fish taco recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make, so it’s perfect for a weeknight.

We just can’t get enough of these fish tacos! They’re so simple to put together and the flavors are truly delightful. Tender seasoned fish, crunchy cabbage and buttery avocado are wrapped in tortillas and drizzled with cool, creamy fish taco sauce. This is a meal that is sure to go into regular rotation in your house!

Many fish taco recipes seem overly complicated and too much to handle on a busy night. My goal with this recipe was to keep it simple without sacrificing any flavor. You won’t have to make a slaw for the fish tacos – crunchy cabbage stands on its own as a satisfying fish taco slaw, especially combined with the fish taco sauce. The sauce comes together in minutes with just a few simple ingredients. And a few pantry seasonings bring spicy, smoky flavor to mild white fish.

These homemade fish tacos are completely crave-worthy. This is the perfect recipe for a midweek taco night!

Perfect Fish Tacos

I know this because I’ve been on a secret mission for the last 10+ years trying to figure it out. It’s a tough job, but I’m happy to investigate on behalf of all of us. Fish tacos are a big deal. It’s really all about perfectly flaked fish with a hint of spice and citrus, guacamole (obviously), a smoky salsa and some kind of zippy slaw – in this case curtido!

Curtido is that life changing cabbage slaw that you see on pupusas and today I’m throwing it on my favorite kind of fish taco! The fish on these is beyond simple. It’s seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and thrown on the grill and then doused with some freshly squeezed lime and orange juice to brighten things up once it’s done.

How to Make Fish Tacos &ndash the Recipe Method


Toss together the shredded red cabbage, shredded green cabbage, roasted jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, honey and salt in a large bowl. Make sure everything is evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Whisk together the mayo, crema, lime juice, hot sauce, garlic and salt in a medium bowl. Refrigerate the cream sauce until ready to use. This is a huge flavor builder. So good.


Season the Fish. Remove the skin from the fish and slice the fish into strips. Mix together the seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the sliced fish.

Cook the Fish. Heat the oil in a pan to medium heat and add the fish. Cook gently for 5 minutes, turning the fish every minute, until it is cooked through. Remove from heat.

Assemble the Tacos and Serve. Serve the pieces of fish onto warmed tortillas, then top with sliced avocado, crunchy cabbage slaw and dollops of creamy fish taco sauce. Don&rsquot forget the hot sauce!

Boom! Done! Your delectable fish tacos are recipe to serve! Don&rsquot they look amazing? So easy to make and always satisfying. I&rsquom not kidding when I say this is the best fish tacos recipe around. Perfect every time.

Baja Fish Tacos

The best fried fish taco can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places, such as a stand located in a petrol station in San Diego. Inspired by the seafood-rich Bajaregion of Mexico, this dish simply requires a proper batter, a slaw and a good tortilla.

Serves 4, Prep 15 mins, Cook 12mins

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 lb skinless rock cod or similar white fish,

1 ²⁄³cups plain (all-purpose) flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

12 fl oz dark Mexican beer

12 small corn or flour tortillas (about 5 inches in diameter

½ small green cabbage, thinly sliced

8 radishes, sliced into matchsticks

2 tablespoons crema or sour cream

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Place the onion in a small bowl. Pour the lime juice over and toss to combine. Stir occasionally while prepping other items.

Heat 3 inches of oil in a large casserole dish or heavy saucepan to 375°F.

Prepare a wire rack set over a baking sheet and set aside.

Pat the fish dry and divide into 13 cm (5 in) portions. Season.

Place 60 g (2 oz) of the flour on a plate and lightly coat the fish, shaking off any excess flour.

Combine the remaining flour, the baking powder, cornflour, egg, beer and 3 teaspoons salt in a large bowl and whisk well. Coat the fish letting any excess run off and carefully lower into the hot oil. Fry in 2–3 batches for 3–4 minutes, flipping once until deep golden. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature. Place the fish on the prepared rack and lightly season with salt. Repeat with the remaining fish.

Meanwhile, toast the tortillas over a direct flame until lightly charred in spots, about 1 minute. Flip and repeat.

Place the cabbage, radishes and crema in a bowl and lightly toss to combine. Season.

Divide the fish among the tortillas, top with the cabbage mixture, reserved onions and hot sauce, if liked.

Recipe courtesy of Eat California by Vivian Lui, Photography by Con Poulos (Smith Street Books, US$35.00/CDN $47.00).

Recipe Summary

  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise
  • 2 ½ cups shredded red cabbage
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into strips
  • 8 (6 inch) flour tortillas
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix sour cream and lime juice together in a large bowl season with salt and black pepper. Reserve about half the mixture in another bowl for serving. Mince half the jalapeno pepper save other half for later. Toss cabbage, green onions, and minced jalapeno half in remaining sour cream mixture until slaw is well mixed.

Heat olive oil and remaining jalapeno half in a large skillet over medium heat swirl oil to coat skillet evenly. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper. Pan-fry fish strips in the skillet in 2 batches until fish is golden brown and easily flaked with a fork, 5 to 6 minutes. Discard jalapeno half.

Heat tortillas in the microwave on high until warm, 20 to 30 seconds.

Serve fish in warmed tortillas topped with cabbage slaw, reserved sour cream mixture, and cilantro.

5. Elote&zwnj

Sure, a simple corn on the cob is already fantastic as it is, but since you&rsquore serving a Mexican dish for dinner, why not make Mexican style corn as well? Elote is just grilled corn, but you top it with a bunch of Mexican elements to elevate it to a whole new level of awesomeness.

It&rsquos very easy to make &ndash just slather grilled corn with a mayo and sour cream mixture, chili powder, and cotija cheese. Squeeze a little bit of fresh lime juice on top and serve.

And, because elote is sweet, spicy, and refreshing, it balances out the richness of fish tacos, giving you an exceptionally harmonious meal.

The Perfect Fish Tacos

To me fish tacos might just be the perfect food&mdasha healthy protein topped with lots of crunchy veggies all wrapped in a corn tortilla. More often than not, you will see fish tacos served with fried fish. Don&rsquot get me wrong, fried foods are delicious, but I feel like fried fish makes this meal too heavy. Instead I like to toss my fish in lots of flavorful herbs and spices then sauté it on the stovetop.

One of the most important parts of this recipe is the quality of the fish. Make sure to buy good quality fish. Ask your local fishmonger or fish counter at the grocery store to recommend a type of fish if halibut or cod is unavailable. I like flaky white fish in this dish because it is the most neutral tasting. Also feel free to substitute peeled and deveined shrimp for the fish.

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The recipe also calls for pickled red onion. I know the word pickling sounds a little scary but these are easy, I promise. There are two kinds of pickling: a quick pickle and a fermented pickle. The difference between these two is huge. A quick pickle is when a hot liquid made up of vinegar, sugar, and salt is poured over a vegetable and within a couple minutes you have the world&rsquos most perfect condiment that is crunchy, salty, and a little sweet. It is handy in everything from salads to tacos. A fermented pickle are things like kimchi or sauerkraut where vegetables are fermented for weeks using salt and the vegetables own lactic acid. Fermented pickles are really healthy for you and are available at most grocery stores. The pickle in this recipe is a quick pickle. If you don&rsquot have the time to do the red onion pickle, don&rsquot worry about skipping it, the taco will still taste delicious.

Photos by Amanda Frederickson


Quick-Pickled Red Onions
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Fish Tacos
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 to 3 radishes, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound flaky white fish, such as halibut or cod, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 avocado, skin and pits removed, sliced
  • 1 package corn tortillas, warmed
  • sour cream, lime wedges, and jalapeños for serving


In a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat, combine the vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar has dissolved. Add in red onion slices and combine. Cover red onions and allow to cool. Set aside.

Combine cabbage, radish and cilantro in a medium sized bowl. Toss with lime juice, remaining sugar and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine paprika, cumin, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.

Toss fish with 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture and save remaining mixture in an airtight container.

In a non-stick pan over medium high heat warm canola oil. Add fish and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until fish is firm and starting to flake.

Assemble the fish tacos by layering fish, cabbage mixture, avocado and pickled onions in a corn tortilla. Serve with additional pickled onions, sour cream, lime wedges and jalapeños.

Grilled Fish Street Tacos

These grilled fish tacos take no time at all to whip up. You can even make everything you need on your grill. We used a cast-iron skillet on the grill to cook the fish and you can also make the red cabbage and corn in a skillet as well so there’s no need to be cooking both indoors and outdoors.

What to pair with grilled fish in tacos

  • Salsa
  • Lettuce, tomato, cheese, and onion
  • Mexican-inspired rice
  • Our homemade slaw recipe (below)
  • If you want to get a little crazy, a staple in California is a California burrito (Carne Asada and fries). This burrito is often made with fish too. Make it taco-style, the kids will love it.

The best fish to use for tacos

  • Cod (which we used)
  • Flounder
  • Snapper
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Mahi-mahi

What I love about these tacos is you can grill the slaw and fish at the same time and have a healthy meal ready to eat in about 10-minutes (20-minutes with prep time).

About street tacos

Street tacos use the smallest corn tortillas and are normally made with ground beef, pork, or chicken. They are meant to be more of a snack than a full meal, however, we find that most Mexican restaurants that we go to will serve three as a meal with assorted sides such as chips, refried beans, or rice.

They are small, quick and easy to put together, and very tasty. My son always chooses chicken street tacos when we eat out at Mexican restaurants. However, that’s not to say you can’t use fish, it might not be traditional, but it is healthy, and delicious.

Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Not a fan of tilapia or shrimp? Make some fish tacos with seared tuna instead! Not only does the combination of silky rare tuna and creamy avocado fit a boatload of healthy fat into the palm of your hand, but the flavors are tough to beat, especially when crowned with a spicy slaw and the tang of a few pickled onions.