Grilled Fish Tacos

Here’s how to make flavor-packed grilled fish tacos! Season the tender white fish with fajita seasoning, then top with pico de gallo and creamy sauce.

Grilled fish tacos

When it’s grilling season, we want to bust out the grill for just about everything…including tacos! These grilled fish tacos are an impressive grilled dinner that’s full of beautiful flavor. Imagine: tender, flaky white fish grilled up with cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Top it with the zing of pico de gallo and a tangy, creamy taco sauce, and a bit of crunchy cabbage for good measure. Piled in a charred tortilla, it’s everything you want a healthy dinner to be! (That or Grilled Shrimp Tacos, of course.) Here’s what you need to know to make this tasty Mexican-inspired meal.

What fish to use for grilled fish tacos

What’s the best fish for grilled fish tacos? There are lots of options, but here are our top options:

  • Tilapia: This white fish has a mild, sweet flavor and a tender flaky texture. It’s easy to find and often used in fish tacos.
  • Cod: Cod surprises a lot of people: because it’s darn good! Cod has a beautiful mild flavor that even people on the fence about fish can tolerate.
  • Mahi mahi: Mahi mahi is more expensive and harder to find, and tastes meatier. It’s a good option if you can’t find the first two.
Fajita seasoning

Seasoning for grilled fish tacos: homemade fajita blend!

The best seasoning for grilled fish tacos? It’s our Homemade Fajita Seasoning! Now, you can also use our Fish Taco Seasoning, make especially for fish tacos. But we actually prefer the fajita seasoning here. We suggest making it homemade because its quick and easy (read: 5 ingredients!) and it has the best flavor. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (or standard sweet paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

It takes just 2 minutes to whisk up, and you’ll have a bit left over to make this recipe again. If you really want to use purchased fajita seasoning, watch out! Many of these storebought brands have added salt. Check the label and if it has salt, use less salt when you’re salting the fish before the seasonings (about 3/4 teaspoon total).

How to make grilled fish tacos

How to grill fish for tacos

How to grill fish for tacos? After seasoning, throw it right onto those hot grates. Here are a few tips to know about grilling fish:

  • The temperature for grilled fish? Medium high heat, or 375 to 450 degrees.
  • How long to cook grilled fish for tacos? Cook it 3 to 4 minutes skin side down, then 3 to 4 minutes skin side up! The fish is done when it starts to flake when pulled with a fork. Or, pull it when it reads 130 degrees Fahrenheit with an internal thermometer (stick it right into the thickest part of the fish).
  • How to keep fish from sticking on the grill? Here’s the secret: don’t turn it too soon! Wait until the fish is cooked enough that it releases from the grates, then flip it.
Grilled fish tacos

Toppings for grilled fish tacos

Toppings for grilled fish tacos can get a little labor intensive if you’re not careful! So for this recipe, we included only the basics. Then we’ve got a few ideas for how to dress them up if you’d like to add more!

  • Creamy taco sauce: Our favorite is this Fish Taco Sauce: it takes just 5 minutes to mix up. Or try our Cilantro Lime Crema or Cilantro Lime Ranch: a sauce with bright, tangy flavor.
  • Pico de gallo: It’s easy to find pico de gallo at the grocery these days, or a salsa fresca. You can also make your own pico de gallo or salsa if you have great ripe tomatoes on hand.
  • Cilantro: We almost always top our tacos with fresh cilantro. It’s required!
  • Avocado or guacamole (optional): Some people swear by avocado in fish tacos!
  • Queso fresco or feta cheese (optional): The flavor require it: these tacos taste great as is. But if you love cheese in your tacos (and we do), it steps it up a notch.

Variations: dairy free and gluten free!

Want to change up the ingredients in these grilled fish tacos to make them dairy free or gluten free? Here’s how:

  • Dairy free: Use a dairy-free taco sauce like Chipotle Sauce or use Spicy Mayo (with Mexican hot sauce).
  • Gluten free: Use corn tortillas! Make sure to find a good brand: some brands can become brittle and break, or have an overwhelmingly strong corn flavor.
Grilled fish tacos

Sides to serve with grilled fish tacos

These grilled fish tacos are a fantastic healthy dinner idea that works for weeknights, or for parties and entertaining! (the best kind of recipe, right?) In the recipe below, we have a note about serving size. This recipe is for 1 pound of fish: which makes about 8 tacos. But when we’re hungry, Alex and I can polish off that whole recipe if we don’t have time to make side dishes to go with it. If you’re feeding 4 very hungry eaters, we suggest increasing the fish and seasonings to 1 1/2 pounds of fish. Or, simply make some side dishes to serve alongside. Here are some easy side dishes to go with tacos:

This grilled fish tacos recipe is…

Pescatarian, dairy free (see above) and gluten free (see above).

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Grilled fish tacos

Easy Grilled Fish Tacos


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos (see Notes) 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s how to make flavor-packed grilled fish tacos! Season the tender white fish with fajita seasoning, then top with pico de gallo and creamy sauce.


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Grill the fish: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Bring the fish to room temperature as the grill preheats.
  2. Pat the fish dry with a clean towel. Rub it with the olive oil and sprinkle it with the kosher salt. Then cover it with the homemade fajita seasoning on all sides.**
  3. Grill the fish*** over indirect heat for 4 minutes, until it releases from the grates. Flip and cook another 2 to 4 minutes, until the internal temperature is 130 degrees (right when the fish starts to flake when pulled with a fork). When the fish is done, break it with a fork into bite sized pieces.
  4. Make the sauce: Make the Fish Taco Sauce.
  5. Season the cabbage: Thinly slice the cabbage, then spritz it with the lime juice and a few pinches kosher salt.
  6. Warm the tortillas: If desired, char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. Or, you can also wrap them in a foil packet and place them on the grill for a minute or two, until warm.
  7. Serve: Assemble the tacos by topping the tortillas with cabbage, fish, pico de gallo and sauce. Top with chopped cilantro and if desired, chopped avocado and feta crumbles (optional).

Notes

*If you’re serving 4 hungry eaters, you may want to increase the fish to 1 1/2 pounds, with 3 tablespoons fajita seasoning and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Also increase the taco sauce by doubling or 1.5. Or, make sure to serve with a filling side dish like refried beans (purchased or homemade) or Mexican salad.

**We highly recommend the homemade seasoning: it’s only 5 ingredients! If you must use storebought fajita seasoning, check the label to see if it has salt. If so, use a little less salt on the fish (around 3/4 teaspoon).

***Alternative method: If you’re feeling lazy or want to make this recipe in the off-season, you can broil the fish. Use the same preparation method, but place the fish on a baking sheet. Broil on high for 2 to 3 minutes per side (4 to 6 minutes total), until cooked through and it flakes with a fork.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Grilled fish tacos

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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