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Salmon Tacos

Salmon Tacos with Avocado Sauce

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos (4 servings) 1x


These salmon tacos are bursting with flavor, pairing blackened fish with pineapple pico and a creamy green avocado sauce. Dinnertime win!



For the salmon

  • 1 pound wild caught salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each chili powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus one drizzle
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or more olive oil for dairy free)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

For the tacos

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 handfuls fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo (aka fresh salsa, available in the grocery refrigerated section)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple rings, optional (see Step 6)
  • 8 flour or corn tortillas
  • Red onion, for garnish


  1. Bring the salmon to room temperature. (This is important so that it sears properly; otherwise the inside will be cold when the exterior is cooked. You can also do this by brining it, which helps to ensure there is no “white stuff” or albumin. In a large shallow dish, whisk together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until dissolved. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes.)
  2. Mix the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder in a bowl. Pat the salmon dry with a clean towel. Rub it with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle it with the 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided between the filets, then the mix of seasoning.
  3. Heat a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet (not non-stick*) over medium high heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the salmon skin side up and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until cooked about halfway to the center of the thick part of the salmon.
  4. Flip the salmon (a fish spatula makes easy work of it). Tilt the pan down slightly and quickly spoon the pan juices over the top of the fish a few times. Drizzle with the lime juice and spoon the pan juices a few times again. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 Fahrenheit in the center when removed)**. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then flake the salmon into large pieces with a fork. Taste and add additional pinches of salt if necessary. 
  5. Make the Easy Avocado Sauce: Cut the avocado in half, pit it, and scoop both halves into a food processor (or small blender). Add the Greek yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, and kosher salt, and blend until smooth. Store in a covered jar for up to 5 days refrigerated: it stays green for the entire storage!
  6. Make the pineapple pico (optional): Finely chop 1 cup pineapple rings. Then mix it with 1/2 cup pico de gallo, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Or, just use 1 cup pico de gallo to keep it simple! 
  7. Warm the tortillas: Warm and 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. (See How to Warm Tortillas.)
  8. Serve: Layer the tacos with salmon, salsa and avocado sauce. Top with minced red onion and chopped cilantro and serve. 


*You’ll get the best sear from a stainless steel or cast iron skillet.

**If the salmon is not up to temperature by the time the outside is cooked, set your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and finish it in the oven until the temperature is reached.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Salmon tacos, salmon tacos recipe