Recipe: Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

fish taco recipe (with cilantro lime slaw)

fish tacos with cilantro lime slaw

I’m pretty sure that tacos are the answer to all of life’s problems. They’re certainly the easiest answer to “What’s something easy we can make for dinner?” You can load ’em up with cheese and sour cream and guacamole (or as we call ’em in this house, “supreme style”), or go a healthier route and make them with grilled chicken, seafood, and a citrusy slaw. The latter option is one we turn to regularly when we want all the satisfaction of Mexican food at home, but none of the guilt of ordering takeout enchiladas. I’ve made lots of varieties of these fish tacos with fresh cilantro lime slaw, but I’d never written down what I did, and figured it was high time to add this one to my official recipe box.

I mention this at the end of the recipe, but I really love this particular recipe with shrimp. It’s not always Joe’s fave though, so recently for dinner, we swapped in a cod filet and it was just as good. If you’re new to cooking with fish, for something like this taco dish, you want a fish that will hold up well as you cook it — if it’s too flaky and fine, it’ll all just fall apart in the pan. A thick cut filet of cod or mahi mahi is great; if you can get a good deal on it, snapper or halibut will be delicious too!

I’m a huge fan of adding a final dollop of sour cream on these (sometimes I’ll thin sour cream out with a little milk or cream, add a bit of lime zest in it, and presto, you’ve got a “lime crema” that you can drizzle over the top). The only reason you don’t see it here is the other night, when I popped open a container of sour cream we had on hand, it had molded over. #FridgeCleanoutFail. Even without it though, these tacos are delicious and satisfying (and pretty guilt free, in my opinion!). Here’s how to make ’em:

easy fish taco recipe

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Serves 2

I know it looks like there are a lot of ingredients here, but I promise you, if you have everything on hand, you can get dinner on the table in 20 minutes. A lot of the spices and things we always keep in our pantry, so it’s just a matter of shopping for the veggies and fish. If you’re really in a time crunch, swap out the cabbages and carrot for pre-bagged cole slaw mix, then just add in all the ingredients from the cilantro on. Note that while this recipe yields 3 tacos each for 2 people, the slaw recipe easily makes enough to serve 4 (you can double the fish and tortilla proportions if you’re serving 4).

For the slaw:
2 cups thinly shredded green cabbage
1.5 cup thinly shredded red cabbage
1 large carrot, grated
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt (season to taste based on the salt you’re using)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
— a few dashes of Tabasco sauce

For the fish:
1 lb code filet, deboned and cut into 1″ cubes
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Juice of 1/2 a lime
— kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

The assembly ingredients:
6 corn tortillas, warmed (you can use 12 if you want to layer the tortillas on top of each other to create a thicker, sturdier base, so they won’t fall apart — this is common in taquerias!)
1 avocado, seeded and sliced
— lime wedges for garnish (optional)
— cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
— sour cream for garnish (optional)
— cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)

Mix all the slaw ingredients together in a large, non-reactive bowl until the seasonings and liquids are well distributed. Set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use; I recommend letting it sit for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors come together.

Meanwhile, add the fish to a medium sized bowl, and toss with the remaining fish seasoning ingredients. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add all the fish and marinade into the pan. Cook over medium to medium high heat for 5-8 minutes, gently turning the pieces of fish occasionally with a fish spatula, until the meat is cooked through. You’ll know it’s done when the pieces begin to flake when you poke at them.

To assemble the tacos, add a few pieces of fish inside each tortilla, pile high with the slaw and your favorite garnishes, and devour. Best with a cold beer!

Variations: Joe doesn’t always prefer shrimp, but it’s my favorite. While I loved these fish tacos, I’ve also made these exact ones with peeled and deveined shrimp, and liked those even more! You can use the exact same marinade on shrimp, or any other fish that you want in the tacos.


  1. 7.29.14

    There’s a fish taco joint on the opposite end of the city with outrageous lineups but omg it is sooo worth it. Is it weird that I’ve never really thought to make em’ myself? Totally going to try this!

  2. 7.29.14

    This is definitely going on the weeknight dinner rotation! The lime crema idea is genius! Have to admit though that I had to look up what a fish spatula is ha.

  3. 7.29.14

    Looks absolutely delicious.

  4. 7.29.14

    I really enjoy Mexican food but it’s hard to find some good restaurants in Paris.
    I will try your recipe soon, it looks delicious!
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. 7.29.14

    Fish tacos are one of my staple summer dishes, these look fabulous. Love the addition of the cilantro/lime slaw.

  6. 7.29.14

    yum yum want.

  7. 7.29.14
    Chelsea said:

    Fish tacos are my favorite!

  8. 7.30.14
    laura said:

    i love tacos.. and i think those are top!!

  9. 8.21.14
    Maddy said:

    These look amazing! I can’t wait to make them and stretch out this summer food season… yum. I want to eat summery foods while snuggled up in fall fashions, and this will be the perfect combo!

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