Looking for a fish taco recipe with simple ingredients and ready in about twenty minutes? With just a few pantry staples and a white fish fillet, this easy fish taco recipe is a weeknight meal lifesaver. Grilled tender and flaky and loaded with flavor.
There are two basic types of fish tacos. Simple grilled fish tacos and battered and fried Baja style tacos. Many fish taco recipes come with complicated instructions, lots of ingredients and a fair amount of fuss to make a slaw topping.
For this recipe, we’re using minimal ingredients, keeping things fresh and light and making grilled fish tacos. This is a simple fish tacos recipe that is healthy without sacrificing flavor.
By keeping just a few common taco pantry staples you’ll always have a meal ready to go when the taco craving hits. There’s no marinade time, no fuss time, just a fresh healthy fish taco recipe that you’ll want to add to your weekly meal plan schedule.
Easy, fresh, healthy and twenty minutes from fridge to table. What’s not to love.
Ingredients, and Pantry Items to Keep on Hand
If you get into the habit of picking up just a few Southwestern pantry essentials taco meal planning becomes a breeze.
- White Fish Fillet: The best fish for fish tacos is a white fish fillet. Anytime you can find wild caught, blast frozen white fish fillets for sale, grab a few and keep them in your freezer. Cod, halibut, lingcod, mahi mahi or even sablefish (black cod) are all good examples. I’m not a fan of tilapia. So many tilapia fillets are very thin, making them finicky to cook. So many time turning mushy and not friendly to flaking.
- Cilantro: Just pick up a batch on your weekly shopping trips.
- Limes: Same with cilantro. Just keep a few limes on hand at all times.
- Mexican Seasoning: For this recipe I’m using New Mexico Red Chile Powder.
- Salt and Pepper, are always in your pantry.
- Cotija Cheese: Cotija cheese is a cheese that you always want to have on hand for tacos. Perfect for fresh taco recipes like these easy fish tacos. A little bit salty, perfectly crumbly and oh-so perfect in texture. And did I mention it’s inexpensive. You’ll find it in the produce department along side Mexican Crema and other Mexican style cheeses.
- Avocado: Always keep 2 – 3 avocados in your refrigerator. Sliced, they are a must for any Taco Tuesday garnish.
- Corn Tortillas: Soft white Corn tortillas store well in the refrigerator. I always have a package on hand. Put them on your master shopping list so you always have a supply. And they freeze well.
Ingredient Swaps and Substitutions
- Tortillas: White corn tortillas are my choice for fish tacos because of their mild sweet flavor. You can also use yellow corn tortillas, which have a stronger corn flavor and even flour tortillas. If you purchase flour tortillas, buy the street taco size. It simply would take too much fish to fill a large size flour tortilla.
- Cheese: Cotija cheese for me is the most perfect choice, but you can also use shredded Monterey Jack (It won’t melt, but the creamy texture is good). Queso Fresco is another excellent choice for fish tacos.
- Chile Powder: Ancho chile powder will work, taco seasoning is good, chili powder, or even chipotle chile powder for a smoky twist.
How to Make Easy Fish Tacos
Grilling is the easiest way to make fish tacos. And the best way to make a healthy fish taco recipe.
- Start by patting the fish fillet dry and then seasoning with Red Chile Powder, preferably New Mexico Chile Powder, and salt and pepper.
How to Grill White Fish
White fish is easy and quick to grill, you just have to pay attention. Be mindful of the size of the fillet, if the fillet is skinless or skin on, and the thickness of the fillet.
- Place an oiled grill pan on your grill and heat the grill to 450 degrees. Once the grates and pan are hot, turn down to 350 degrees and place the oiled and seasoned fish on the hot pan.
- For Skin On: Place the fish flesh side down and cook until you get a good sear. Just a minute or two. Turn the fish over, skin side down and let the fish cook about 10-15 minutes with the lid closed or until the fish flakes easily. The skin will act as a pocket to easily cook the fish through.
- If the fillet is skinless, watch it close, turning only once. Place the fish on the hot grill pan for two minutes to get a good sear. A good sear will insure that the fish doesn’t fall apart or turn mushy. Turn the fish over and cook until the fish starts to flake, about -75 more minutes. Depending on the thickness of the fillet.
- Build Those Grilled Fish Tacos: Remove the fish to a platter and with a fork, separate the meat from the skin. Place the fish on warmed corn tortillas and top with avocado, onion, cotija cheese and cilantro.
More Fish Taco Toppings
I like to keep it simple to let the mild fish flavor to shine on that sweet corn tortilla. And simple fresh ingredients without a creamy slaw will keep this a healthy fish taco recipe.
Accompaniments may change, but there’s always lime, avocado, red onion and cilantro.
But if you’re looking to embellish and celebrate the flavors of Mexico, here are some more ideas.
- Diced Tomatoes
- Shredded Lettuce, Iceberg works great here.
- Salsa, I’d recommend the fresh flavors of Pico de Gallo, but Mango Salsa works well or Homemade Salsa. And give a salsa verde a try. Store purchased salsas are very strong in flavor and may overwhelm and smother the fresh taste of the delicate fish.
- Crema, What kind of sauce do you put on fish tacos? A simple drizzle of Mexican Crema is a nice compliment to fish tacos. Mexican Crema is a little tarter and thinner than sour cream = perfect. Or try a drizzle of Jalapeno Aioli.
- Purple Cabbage, Purple or red thin sliced cabbage is a stunning topping for fish tacos. The color and the crunch is amazing.
- Radishes, Thin sliced radishes are common place topping for any Mexican food.
- Pickled Onions = wow. Give this a try. Pickled Red Onions are a customary topping for fish tacos. Truly a treat.
Tips and FAQ’s
Removing the moisture from the fish fillet will create a better sear and keep the texture from becoming mushy. Use a paper towel to blot the fillet dry before seasoning and grilling.
Absolutely. Use a stove-to grill pan or a cast iron skillet. Use a paper towel to coat the pan with olive or canola oil. Heat the skillet over medium high heat until the skillet is hot. Add the oiled and seasoned fish fillet. Cook 10 – 15 minutes, turning once, or until the fish is starting to flake. Cooking time depends on the size and the thickness of the fish. Tip: For a hands-off method. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Use a skillet to sear and crisp one side of the fish stove top. Transfer the fish, seared side up to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Finish cooking in the oven for about 15 minutes or until fish is starting to flake.
You can’t just take a corn tortilla out of the package and eat it. Warm the corn tortillas by wrapping them in a damp paper towel or damp very clean cloth dish towel. Place them in a plastic zip lock bag, but don’t seal the bag. Cook them in the microwave for for two minutes at 50% power. Then let them sit for another minute. Remove from the bag and build that taco.
Yes. If you use corn tortillas, this recipe is gluten free.
What to Serve with Fish Tacos
What is a good side dish for fish tacos? Most of the time, we don’t serve a side dish with tacos. We’ll have two tacos each and feel perfectly satisfied and full. But here are some ideas
Easy Fish Taco Recipe
I hope you give this fish tacos recipe and try, and if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating. And leave a comment about your experience with the recipe. And if you have a favorite easy fish taco recipe, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
More Weeknight Taco Recipes
- Saucy Chicken Soft Tacos
- Simple Chorizo Breakfast Tacos
- Swiss Chard Vegetarian Tacos
- Slow Cooker Roast Beef Tacos
- Roasted Cauliflower Caramelized Onion Tacos
And if you’re looking for even more Taco Recipes, don’t miss my Taco Category. You’ll find lots of Taco Tuesday ideas, including the most popular taco recipe on my site for Tacos al Pastor.
Easy Fish Taco Recipe
- 1 pound White fish fillet
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon New Mexico Red Chile Powder or Ancho Chile Powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 White corn tortillas soft corn tortillas
- Sliced avocado
- Sliced red onion
- Chopped cilantro
- Cotija Cheese
- Salsa of your choice optional
- Heat a grill to medium high heat, 400 – 450 degrees. Add a grill pan to the grill grates for easier control when cooking the fish.
- Pat fish dry and then rub with olive oil.
- Season with salt, pepper and red chile powder
- Once the grill and grill pan are hot. Add the fish fillet. turn the heat down to medium. If the fillet has skin, place the fillet flesh side down and sear until lightly browned. Turn the fillet over and simply close the lid and let the fish cook for about 15-20 minutes or until fish starts to flake. This time all depends on the size and the thickness of the fish.
- If the fish fillet has no skin, turn once while cooking. See notes below for more details
- In the meantime, heat your corn tortillas. Warm the corn tortillas by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and cooking them in the microwave for for 2 minutes at 50% power.
- Remove the fish to a platter and flake the meat into pieces.
- Once the tortillas are warm and steamy, build your tacos by placing 1/4 of the fish onto two taco shell. Add toppings of your choice. Suggestions: Cotija Cheese, slices of avocado, red onion, or pickled red onions, a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro.
Easy Fish Taco Recipe … It’s What’s For Dinner