Fish Tacos with Honey Lime Cilantro Slaw – The BEST fish taco recipe! Perfectly cooked fish with a yummy cabbage slaw & tomatillo ranch. These are easy, fresh, and delicious! (Gluten Free)
Fish tacos are one of my happy places.
Most of my favorite food-related happy places involve either avocados or chocolate, but tacos? They totally make the list (and bonus: I usually sneak some avocado in there). I love them. They’re quick and easy, packed with flavor, and also TACOS.
So what makes these fish tacos so great? (The best fish tacos, even?) Well, it’s all in a few easy tips and tricks…
WHAT MAKES THESE FISH TACOS AMAZING:
FIRST OFF: THE SPICE RUB. My fish tacos recipe use a simple spice blend to add big time flavor without big time effort. I combine classics like cumin and chili powder (and a few other little things) and make sure that all the fish gets the spice-rub treatment.
NEXT: I COOK THEM QUICKLY. I use a cast-iron pan which maintains heat and can give you a really nice sear without any needed flour or breading. (If you don’t have a cast iron pan, I totally recommend one–they’re pretty inexpensive and can literally last generations. If it’s not in the cards right now or tacos are calling immediately, you can absolutely use whatever pan you have in the house. Just be sure you’re getting medium to medium-high heat so the fish can cook quickly and get a nice sear without overcooking the middle)
THEN, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GOODIES. I love fish tacos with slaw best. This one brings plenty of flavor with fresh lime, a tiny bit of honey, and cilantro. Then, I drizzle the fish tacos with a little something creamy to finish them off–either my favorite tomatillo-ranch or citrus avocado sauce does the job.
The combination of smoky spices, bright slaw, and creamy drizzle on top all wrapped in a warm corn tortilla is flavor and texture perfection. Can you see why these are the BEST fish tacos?
FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST FISH TACOS:
WHAT KIND OF FISH DO YOU USE FOR FISH TACOS? This works with any flaky, white fish. Cod, halibut, and tilapia all work well in fish tacos. You could also try mahimahi or catfish if you needed to. Just know, the length of time you need to cook it will be impacted by how thick your fillet is. (i.e. If your fillet is 1/2-inch thick, it’ll cook faster than if it’s 1-inch.)
LET’S TALK HEAT (THE TEMPERATURE ONE). As I mentioned above, I like cooking my fish fairly quickly over a hotter pan. A cast iron pan is my go-to because of the way it retains heat so well. I can get a really nice sear on my fish over medium heat in my cast-iron pan. If you don’t have one, you can totally use whatever you have. Just be sure you have your heat set to at least medium or medium-high so you get a nice sear and cook the fish through without overcooking it.
NOW, LET’S TALK HEAT (THE SPICY ONE). These fish tacos aren’t super spicy as written. I’d categorize them as mild or possibly medium if you have a very low spice tolerance. They’re very flavorful, but won’t heat your mouth up significantly. Want to kick up the heat? There are lots of ways to do it! Try adding a generous sprinkle of chipotle chili powder to your spice blend or a little minced jalapeño to your cilantro slaw. Or, add a little heat via your creamy drizzle…(see my next note!)
DRIZZLE AND TOP YOUR TACOS! Exactly what you want to drizzle over your tacos is up to you. Since my slaw doesn’t have a creamy element, I add that with a little something drizzled on top. I love using my tomatillo ranch (my top pick!), or citrus avocado sauce since they’re bright and fresh and a nice contrast to the heat. You could also swap in my chipotle ranch for some extra kick!
GUESS WHAT GOES GREAT WITH FISH TACOS?
- Tomatillo Ranch Dressing
- Citrus Avocado Sauce
- Chipotle Ranch
- Instant Pot Charro Beans (Seasoned Pinto Beans)
- Pineapple Guacamole
- Chipotle Salsa (Restaurant Salsa Copycat!)