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A mouthwatering recipe for Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw and the best fish taco sauce ever! Pan-sear, grill or bake in under 30 minutes. Video.
Here is one of our “go-to “dinners when time is short and I want something healthy on the table, fast! Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw.
The fish is perfectly seasoned with Mexican spices, and depending on the season can be grilled, or baked in the oven or quickly panseard on the stovetop. Paired with the tangy Cilantro Lime Slaw and optional Fish Taco Sauce ( Chipotle Mayo) the combination is out of this world! I seriously could eat this every day!
how to make Fish Tacos!| 45-sec video
Why this recipe works!
Besides the flavor, what I love most about these fish tacos is their adaptability! These can be cooked on the grill, on the stovetop or baked in the oven. AND they can be made vegan using TOFU – perfect for mixed households where both vegans and non-vegans live in the same house!
Fish Taco Ingredeints
- Best Fish: tilapia, mahi-mahi, red snapper, black cod, cod, seabass, or even shrimp. Or sub Tofu!
- Spice Rub: chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, chipotle powder, (or smoked paprika) salt and sugar
- Mexican Slaw: Cabbage, lime, cilantro, jalapeno, salt
- Tortillas: Fish tacos are typically made with flour tortillas, but a blend of flour and corn work well too.
- Best Fish Taco Sauce: This Chipotle Mayo is our favorite with fish tacos. Or for something different, try Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Verde), Vegan Cilantro Crema, Fermented Hot Sauce,
- Favorite Toppings: Avocado, Cotija Cheese, cilantro, lime, pickled red onions
How to make fish tacos
Step 1: Make the spice rub! Stir together the Mexican spices and season the fish with it on both sides.
Step 2: Make the Taco Slaw. Either chop the cabbage or buy pre-chopped cabbage in a bag and place this in a medium bowl. Add onion, cilantro, jalapeño, salt and fresh lime juice and toss well.
Step 3: Cook the fish. Grill the fish (my favorite), pan-sear it on the stovetop, or bake it in the oven. See recipe notes. Squeeze with lime.
Step 4: Warm the tortillas. If you are grilling, warm the tortillas on the grill, or use the the stovetop, or oven! They are done they start to bubble.
Step 5: Assemble the Tacos. Place the seasoned fish in the warm tortilla, top it with the crunchy, cool taco slaw, drizzle with our Chipotle Mayo, add avocado and cilantro. Serve with lime!
I love how simple and flavorful these fish tacos are while staying clean and lean.
And the best thing, the leftovers can be repurposed into lunch or dinner the next day by creating an easy “Buddha” bowl. Add cooked rice or grain to a bowl, and top it with the leftover fish (or tofu) and the Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw- which tastes even better the next day!
These Perfect Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw are such a delicious and healthy meal that comes together in 30 minutes flat.
What to serve with fish tacos?
Fish Taco Faqs
Most mild-flavored white-fleshed fish work best in fish tacos. Our favorites include: Tilapia, mahi mahi, red snapper, wild cold, black cod, sea bass, halibut, grouper, and flounder.
Consider serving Mexican rice and beans on the side when serving a fish taco dinner. Margaritas are a bonus!
Fish tacos are typically served with flour tortillas, but using a blend of flour and corn tortillas work well too!
Fish tacos are typically served with a Mexican-style taco slaw made with cabbage and lime, and a creamy sauce, aka “Mexican Secret Sauce” made with mayo and chipotle peppers.
Yes! Use the same rub on strips of tofu and pan sear!
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Enjoy the tacos and please leave your comments and rating below!Print
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8–12 tacos 1x
- Category: main, vegan, fish, tofu
- Method: stovetop, grill, baked
- Cuisine: mexican
Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw and Chipotle Mayo that can be made using a grill, stove top or oven! Vegan & gluten-free adaptable- sub tofu for the fish! A fast, easy and healthy dinner that comes together in under 30 minutes.
- 1 lb white fish (tilapia, mahi-mahi, red snapper, halibut, black cod, grouper, flounder) or 1 pound extra firm tofu
- 8–12 x 5-inch flour tortillas (or a blend of flour and corn)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (or sub cayenne and a little smoked paprika)
- for more smoky flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw:
- 12 ounces shredded cabbage (green and purple is nice) about 6 cups
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, more to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (packed), 1/2 of a large bunch
- 1/4 –1/2 of a jalapeño, finely chopped, more to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Chipotle Mayo- our favorite!
- Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Verde) Vegan-Adaptable,
- Vegan Cilantro Crema,
- Avocado Sauce (Vegan!),
- Fermented Hot Sauce
Garnishes: Lime wedges, Avocado slices, Cotija Cheese, Cilantro
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat or preheat the oven to 400F.
- Prep the fish: Pat dry the fish. (See notes for tofu) In a small bowl make the spice rub- stirring the spices and salt together. Sprinkle all sides of the fish lightly with the spice rub (you most likely will not need all). Set aside.
- Make the Cilantro Lime Slaw: Place the shredded cabbage in a medium bowl. Toss with the salt. Add the onions, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, olive oil and toss well. Adjust lime, salt, and jalapeño, adding more to taste– you want this to taste tangy and flavorful.
- Make optional Fish Taco Sauce: Make any accompanying sauce. Chipotle Mayo is nice here- feel free to do this ahead. Or sub avocado.
- Cook the Fish: Grill Grease the grill well before placing fish on it. Turn heat to medium. Grill each side for a few minutes, letting grill marks develop and use a metal spatula to flip. Cook until the desired doneness (center is flaky, opaque, roughly 140F) and squeeze with a little lime juice. OR BAKE: place fish on a parchment-lined sheet pan, bake 6 minutes then flip. Continue baking until cooked through- time will depend on thickness (another 4-6 minutes). Fish is done when opaque in the middle, flakey, and registers 140F in the center. Squeeze with lime juice. Pan-sear: Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Carefully add fish, and sear until golden, 3-4 minutes, flip, lower heat to medium, continue cooking until cooked through- until center is flakey, opaque. Timing will depend on the thickness of the fish. Squeeze with lime.
- Heat the tortillas– either quickly grill the tortillas on the grill, in the oven directly on the oven rack, or directly over a gas flame (on the stovetop).
- Assemble Tacos: Place fish in the warm tortillas, top with cabbage slaw and any garnishes. Drizzle with the optional (but delicious) Chipotle Mayo if you like.
- Serve immediately!
TIP: To make this recipe a little faster, buy pre-shredded cabbage, and make the spice rub ahead, and any sauces you plan to use, ahead.
TOFU: If using tofu, place a block of firm tofu on paper towels and press down gently to release more liquid, patting dry. Cut into 1-inch thick, 3-inch long strips for easier grilling. Coat strips lightly with spice rub, grill on a well-greased grill, or pan-sear the tofu, in a skillet with olive oil until crispy, or bake the tofu (spray the seasoned tofu with olive oil spray before baking) until golden crispy, approx 30 mins.
The Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw is enough for 2 pounds of fish ( feel free to halve) but I like to make a big batch and keep the leftovers – and use it on everything (bowls, sandwiches, wraps, side salad…) during the week. If your slaw tastes bland- add more lime and salt. 😉
Left-over fish will keep up to 3 days in the fridge. Great in bowls, wraps, etc.
- Serving Size: 2 tacos (without sauce)
- Calories: 233
- Sugar: 2.1 g
- Sodium: 163.2 mg
- Fat: 7.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 29.2 g
- Fiber: 3.9 g
- Protein: 15.5 g
- Cholesterol: 29.2 mg
Keywords: fish tacos, fish taco recipe, fish taco, easy fish tacos, perfect fish tacos, grilled fish tacos, fish tacos with taco sauce, fish tacos with cilantro lime sauce, baked fish tacos, pan-seared fish tacos,
Very easy and fresh, but I found the slaw to be a underwhelming–I added radishes but it easn’t enough, so I chopped up some fresh pineapple (peach/mango would also work) with a good sprinking of tajin for a salty/sour/spicy/sweet and juicy kick and it was perfect. Didn’t have mayo but I made a quick sauce with smashed garlic/lime juice/olive oil into greek yogurt with some salt & pepper.
The slaw really needs to be adjusted to taste (with salt, jalapeno and lime) to be optimal here. 🙂
I made this with sea bass that I was afraid wasn’t up to normal prep after having had to freeze. The flavor was amazing! Between the top grade fish, delicious rub and then the slaw, nothing else was needed! I was concerned because I didn’t have mayo to make a sauce but I am glad because the flavors were so fresh as it is. No cheese either (one of those nights!). The only sides were warmed tortillas and a can of chili beans. So glad my pantry was lacking so I didn’t muddy up any of the delicious fresh flavors of this recipe. Definitely will make again (even without the sea bass!).
So happy you enjoyed this!
An absolute in our family. Fresh, tasteful and healthy! A 5 stars
Great to hear Lou!
delicious and easy to make, thank you!
Thanks Eva 🙂
So easy. Made these tacos for my family visiting this summer.
Nice Nicole, glad you enjoyed!
Just made this for ‘Taco Tuesday’ and it was delicious as all your recipes are Sylvia. Even my fish fussy teens had a go! It will become a staple in our house over the summer. Thankyou for sharing such tasty, healthy recipes.
Great to hear Angela!
This was a delicious recipe. My only criticism is that this took me 1.5 hrs to make. I’m not sure if you used a food processor and your a professional chef, but frim someone whose been cooking 40 years this was time consuming but well worth it. I just wish the time allocation was more accurate.
Hey Lisa- there are little short cuts you can take to make this faster. I will add to the recipe notes. 🙂
I can’t do gluten, so I just threw the fish on top of a huge helping of the slaw and drizzled the suggested mayo on top. Amazing! I regretted having to share the rest with my family, lol.
Haha, sounds yummy Krista.
These are my husband’s and my favorite fish tacos! We’ve been following this recipe for a few years now and we still keep them in our favorite routine recipes! So easy, quick, and DELICIOUS!
Thanks Katy, great to hear!
Made these along with your Chipotle mayo recipe, and they were DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for the great recipe!
Great to hear!
Sylvia, I’ve made enough of your recipes to trust the seasonings absolutely. These fish tacos, cabbage slaw, and chipotle mayo were outstanding. So flavorful.
Thanks so much!
Thanksk Kathy! Glad you enjoyed this!
Does this really only make 4 tacos? We have a family of 5 and I imagine each person would want to eat 2 tacos, but I’m not sure if I need to double the recipe or not!
Hi Jason- no, it serves 4 people (2 tacos each). I see your confusion and updated the recipe car to make it more clear1
WOW, this is fantastic! I followed the recipe exactly, grilled the fish, and served it with the slaw and your chipotle mayo. Best fish taco I’ve ever had. Sylvia, your blog is quickly becoming my go-to for great recipes – thank you!!
So happy to hear this Paula! We are so glad you found us!
Made these tacos tonight….SOOOOOO YUMMY! I’ve tried so many recipes from you now, and all have been SUPER yummy. I’m so glad I stumbled across your page last year. Thank you ❤️.
So happy you enjoyed this!
I normally don’t enjoy cabbage, but this recipe looked so good, I decided to make it. And am I happy I did! This was over-the-top delicious! Thank you so much Sylvia! I’ve made several of your recipes and each one has been a star. Your food blog is my favorite!!
Supremely delicious! So much flavour for so little effort.
Thank you thank you 🙏 thank you!
Aww…so happy you enjoyed Beverly!
MUCHAS GRACIAS! Delicious ingredients definitely will lead to delicious tacos! Can’t wait to make them.
Awesome and great to hear!
OMG! These fish tacos are the top request from my grown adult children and husband at every family gathering. So easy to make and taste amazing.
Awesome and great to hear!
I used flounder and corn tortillas pan seared in avocado oil. The slaw should be made the day prior, or cook the fish and reheat it, i thought it better reheated with fresh tortillas
Mmmmmm! So easy anddd sooo tasty, thank you!!
thanks so much Liz- glad you enjoyed!
Hi Sylvia, I love all your recipes and I would love them even more if each one gives gluten free options as I am gluten free.
Hi Diane- we will try to be more vigilant about this. We usually do, but sometimes forget.
These were delicious! I used tilapia and served with Peruvian green sauce made with vegan mayo.
Nice Melissa! Thanks for sharing.
Do you think you could sub shredded brussel sprouts for the slaw?
Yes,Katie,I think that should work ok! Finely slice them, maybe massage them with a little olive oil and salt first to soften?
You think I could add mango to this slaw?
I still have a mango in my fridge which must be eaten. Other option is to make the shrimp taco recipe. What do you suggest?
Yes, Louise, I think that would work well here!
I knew I was going to be making these on a busy night so I prepped the cabbage slaw the night before. As a result, these came together so quickly that they were faster than takeout (and WAY more delicious!)