Easy grilled fish tacos are a staple in our house year round. It took some time for me to find just the right affordable but delicious fish to feed all four of us and develop a recipe that wasn’t too labor intensive. But by golly we’ve got it and now my secrets are yours. Dig in!
If nothing else is sure in life, it’s that fish is expensive. And it seems like the prices just keep climbing. And if I’m going to buy it, I want to make sure it’s all going to get eaten. That’s why you need a killer recipe that’s more than just boring grilled snapper and steamed vegetables.
And in our house, even my picky eater likes these. It took her two years to try them but once she did, she’s hooked. Here’s how I make these easy grilled fish tacos approachable for both your budget and your time.
What fish is best for grilled fish tacos?
To make the best grilled fish tacos, you need a flaky white fish with a mild flavor but firm texture. My most favorite fish is red snapper, but the price is a bit cost prohibitive for me ($15 for two fillets). So after much trial and error, I’ve settled on Mahi Mahi fillets. Coming in at about $9 for four fillets, that’s a bit more in my budget.
Other white fish like cod, grouper, or halibut might work but it seems like every time I buy those I get something that ends up not tasting as good as it should. Mahi Mahi has a nice clean flavor and good texture so it’s our winner.
What seasoning do you use for grilled fish tacos?
For a long time I only did salt, pepper and a bit of oil before I put the fillets on the grill. Now I’ve gone to sprinkling mine on both sides with homemade taco seasoning just for a little extra punch but that’s totally optional. I don’t really recommend the pre-packaged taco seasoning. I think the flavors are just too strong so if you don’t have any homemade, just go with salt and pepper.
What toppings go on grilled fish tacos?
My version uses a fresh cabbage slaw that’s been seasoned with lime and salt (P.S. this slaw is a MUST!) and it brings such brightness and crunch to the tacos. Plus we like either a straight guacamole or an avocado cream on ours. If that sound intimidating, don’t worry. It’s basically guac with some sour cream in it. Fresh tomatoes can be a great addition as well but I always put them in my avocado cream so I don’t add any extra to the top, and purple cabbage can be swapped in to the slaw for more color if you’d prefer.
What’s a good side dish for fish tacos?
Tips for the best grilled fish tacos
- Thaw your fish and pat it dry well before seasoning and grilling. You can grill your fish outdoor or inside in a grill pan. I like to brush my fish with a little oil that can handle the high heat without burning. Avocado oil is a great choice for this.
- You can make your avocado cream an hour ahead and place a layer of plastic wrap right against the surface to keep it from turning brown. Keep it in the fridge until ready to use.
- Feel free to swap in your favorite cabbage in the slaw, but make sure to slice it really, really thinly. I think bagged cabbage is just too big. Buy a head, save yourself money and slice it yourself. Napa cabbage or red cabbage would work here.
- Use fresh ingredients. It matters. Buy fresh cilantro, and use fresh limes. Bottled stuff and dried herbs just won’t create the flavors you’re looking for.
Easy Grilled Fish Tacos
For the Avocado Cream
- 1 large tomato seeded and diced small
- 1/2 jalapeno ribs and seeds removed, diced small
- 1/2 medium red onion diced small
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 3 limes
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
For the slaw
- 4 cups fresh red, green or Napa cabbage very thinly sliced
- 2 limes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the fish
- 4 Mahi Mahi fillets about 12 ounces, thawed if frozen
- 1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or a sprinkle of homemade taco seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper or a sprinkle of homemade taco seasoning
- 4-6 street size corn tortillas
Make the avocado cream
- In a medium bowl, mash the avocados until mostly smooth, but some chunks remain. Add the tomato, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro and stir.
- Juice the limes (if your limes are very juicy start with 2) into the avocado mixture and add the sour cream, salt and pepper and stir. Taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed or add more lime juice as needed. Place a layer of plastic wrap against the surface and place in the refrigerator until serving.
Make the cabbage slaw
- In a medium bowl, add the thinly sliced cabbage, juice from the limes and salt. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lime as needed. Set aside while you cook the fish.
Make the fish
- Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium high. Pat the fish dry well on both sides and brush with oil. Add the salt and pepper or taco seasoning if using and cook the fish until it flakes when a fork is inserted, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- In a dry skillet or over the burner of a gas stove, warm the tortillas until they start to get a little brown on them and are warm.
- Flake the fish into pieces and assemble: add fish, avocado cream, and top with the cabbage slaw. Serve warm with street corn or black bean salad.