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Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Tomatillo Ranch Dressing. Plated with sliced jalapeños and lime wedges.

Fish Tacos with Honey Lime Cilantro Slaw

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 30 reviews

  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Our favorite fish tacos recipe! Perfectly cooked fish with a yummy cabbage slaw & tomatillo ranch. These are easy, fresh, and delicious. (Don’t miss the notes section for lots of tips on adding a little kick, different topping ideas, and more!) 



For the Fish:

For the Fish Taco Slaw Recipe:

  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage or coleslaw mix (with green & purple cabbage & carrots)
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 12 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

To Serve:

  • Corn tortillas (or flour tortillas, if you prefer)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • A creamy drizzling sauce, like my Tomatillo Ranch, crema, or Citrus Avocado Sauce
  • Lime wedges
  • Hot sauce


Prepare the Cabbage Slaw:

  1. If you haven’t already, wash and shred cabbage and purple cabbage (I like to use a food processor with a shredding blade, but you can also use a sharp knife).
  2. In a medium or large bowl, combine green and white cabbage, cilantro, lime juice (start with 1 Tbsp), honey, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. 
  3. Taste and add additional lime juice or honey as desired. Set aside until ready to serve. The salt and lime juice will help soften and break down the cabbage. You can cover and chill the slaw in the refrigerator 1-2 hours in advance to give it time to soften and let the flavors meld, if desired. 

Prepare Your Fish:

  1. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and salt.
  2. Place fish in a shallow container (or zip-tip bag). Pat dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel (this will help your seasoning mix stick).
  3. Rub with all of your seasoning blend, coating generously.
  4. Heat avocado oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, cook fillets 3-4 minutes per side or until fish is opaque and cooked through.
  5. Repeat with remaining fish. Gently use a fork to separate cooked fish into small sections or large flakes for tacos.

Assemble Your Tacos:

  1. To assemble your tacos, spoon slaw and fish into corn tortillas.
  2. Add your favorite extras, such as avocado slices, additional fresh cilantro, etc. Drizzle with tomatillo ranch, citrus avocado sauce, or a dollop of guacamole.


What kind of fish can you use? This works with any flaky, white fish. Cod, halibut, and tilapia all work well in fish tacos. You could also try mahi mahi 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 these 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 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 or cayenne pepper 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!

**Nutrition facts calculated assuming 1/4 of the fish and cabbage slaw per person, plus 3 street-taco sized corn tortillas. Does not include avocado or tomatillo ranch.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican