The BEST fish taco recipe! Perfectly cooked fish with a yummy cabbage slaw & tomatillo ranch. These are easy, fresh, and delicious. Feel free to use any flaky white fish here–cod, halibut, tilapia, mahimahi, etc. They all work! (PS – Don’t miss the notes section for lots of tips on adding a little kick, different topping ideas, and more!)
For the Fish:
- 1 1/2 lbs. cod (about 4 (6oz) fillets), thawed if frozen
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp avocado oil (or another high-heat oil)
For the Cilantro Slaw:
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage or coleslaw mix
- 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime (1–2 Tbsp)
- 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Prepare the Cabbage Slaw:
In a medium or large bowl, combine green and white cabbage, cilantro, lime juice (start with 1 Tbsp), honey, salt and pepper. Taste and add additional lime juice or honey as desired. Stir to combine well and set aside until ready to serve. The salt and lime juice will help soften and break down the cabbage.
Prepare Your Fish:
In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and salt. 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). Rub with all of your seasoning blend, coating generously.
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. Repeat with remaining fish. Gently separate cooked fish into small sections for tacos.
Assemble Your Tacos:
To assemble your tacos, spoon slaw and fish into corn tortillas. 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 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 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 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.
- Category: Main Dish, Tacos
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keywords: fish tacos, street tacos, cilantro slaw, honey lime cilantro slaw, gluten free fish tacos, the best fish tacos