Grilled Fish Tacos are easy to make, super healthy, and full of great flavor! Citrus marinated fish is grilled to perfection and topped with a Grilled Corn and Cabbage Slaw and Avocado Crema.
This taco recipe makes a great weeknight dinner or entertaining dinner on the weekend.
Grilled Fish Tacos
We’re a little obsessed with tacos around these parts. I’m pretty sure I eat tacos for lunch at least 5-6 days a week. It’s also our go-to use for any leftover meat, like these recipes for brisket tacos, ribeye tacos, or pulled pork tacos.
It’s not hard to make great grilled fish tacos. It comes down to:
- A simple marinade for your fish
- Not overcooking your fish
- A delicious cabbage slaw
- Avocado crema
- Tasty toppings
What Type of Fish to Use for Grilled Fish Tacos
Many white fishes, like Mahi-Mahi, Cod, and even Halibut are rich in texture and work great for grilled fish tacos, as long as you add a little flavor with a marinade.
Chef’s Tip: Look for thicker cuts of fish for better grilling. Tilapia for example is pretty thin and dries out when grilling. We don’t want to dry out our fish!
It doesn’t take long to grill fish, so don’t walk too far from the grill. It will be done in around 8-10 minutes, total.
While it may seem like a few steps to accomplish this recipe, I can assure you this dish so EASY and quick to make. Many of the ingredients are used in all three steps, so you are really just reusing several components. Pay attention to the ingredient list to see where the same ingredients are use 2-3 times.
The best part of this dish is that it is healthy, yet filling, and jam-packed citrusy-spicy-creamy deliciousness. Meat-lovers rejoice!
Since we are using a white fish, it can definitely benefit from added flavor or seasoning. So to make the fish full-flavored, we marinate it for 30-60 minutes. The fish marinade ingredients are:
- Savory flavors with garlic and shallots.
- Citrus with freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice.
- Bite with cayenne, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, and salt.
Grilled Corn Slaw
If you see corn on the cob at your local market then throw a couple ears on the grill for the slaw while the fish is cooking. Adding this second layer of grilled flavor really takes these fish tacos over-the-top. Once the corn is cooked, remove the kernels and combine it with finely shredded cabbage, shallots, diced jalapeño, fresh lime, salt and pepper.
I love this part of the fish taco. The mixture of avocado and Greek yogurt adds a nice cooling counterpart to the jalapeño and cayenne pepper in this recipe. It’s super simple, but adds great creaminess to the finished tacos.
Building the Grilled Fish Tacos
Start with a warmed corn tortilla, lay down a base layer of Avocado Crema, top that with the grilled fish, next add the crunchy grilled corn slaw, and finish with a little more Avocado Crema. The rest is up to you… do you want a fresh squeeze of lime, maybe a little cilantro, or Cotija cheese? Whatever you add, it is sure to be delicious!
Wine Pairing for Grilled Fish Tacos
You’ve got some spice from the marinade, some char from the grill, more spice and herbs from the coleslaw, and a creamy cooling effect from the cream sauce. The only real rule I like to follow is to avoid red wines! Red wines and white fish with lots of citrus flavors (like in these tacos) is a hot mess waiting to happen.
Stick to fresh, light to medium-bodied, citrusy white wines for this. You could go for a Sauvignon Blanc if you’re feeling zippy. Vinho Verde if you’re feeling for something light, super refreshing, and low alcohol. Grüner Veltliner can work well with its herbal flavors, complimenting the coleslaw and cream sauce. Even a nice Pinot Gris (Grigio) can cool the palate if you chose to make these spicy.
Me? For some reason I’m always drawn to Spanish white wines with fish tacos. The fresh fruity flavors of Albariño for example stand up so well to the multitude of flavors in these tacos.
More Delicious Taco Recipes
- Pulled Pork Tacos
- Smoked Brisket Tacos
- Spicy Grilled Chicken Tacos
- Chipotle Honey Grilled Chicken Tacos
- Carne Asada Skirt Steak Tacos
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This recipe was originally published in January of 2016 and updated January of 2021 with more recipe details, guided steps, and specifics on the marinade. The recipe remains the same.
Easy and Healthy Grilled Fish Tacos
For the Marinade:
- 1 lb thick white fish (cod, mahi mahi, or halibut)
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
- 2 tablespoons shallots, diced (about 1/2 medium sized shallot)
- 1 teaspoon jalapeño, finely diced, about ¼ medium jalapeño (save the rest for the coleslaw)
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped (you will use more cilantro in the cream sauce and to top the tacos)
- The juice of one Meyer lemon (about one quarter cup)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper just a couple twists
- pinch of cayenne
For the Grilled Corn Slaw:
- 1 ear of corn, grilled (can use 1/2 cup warmed up frozen corn if you don't have any fresh in season)
- 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shallots, chopped (4 tablespoons, or approx 1 medium shallot)
- 1 tablespoon jalapeño, finely diced (about ½ medium jalapeño)
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice, approximately ½ a lime (save the other half for the Avocado Cream Sauce)
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the Avocado Cream Sauce:
- ½ avocado (save the other half for topping the tacos)
- ½ cup thick Greek yogurt (could also use sour cream or Crème fraîche)
- The juice of ½ a lime + more for preferred flavor
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
- A couple dashes of hot sauce (optional)
For the Tacos:
- 6-8 corn tortillas
- Optional Toppings: avocado slices, Cotija cheese, lime wedges, more cilantro
For the Marinade:
- Place the fish and all marinade ingredients in a large bowl (or large freezer bag). Place in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
To Grill the Fish and Corn:
- On a charcoal grill preheat coal and then set for direct cooking.
- Add ears of corn over direct heat, turning quarter turn every few minutes. You are looking for a charred exterior but not burnt. If the heat is too hot, then move to indirect to soften corn, and then finish over direct heat, turning the corn frequently. When done, allow to cool enough to handle, then remove the corn kernels (and save for the coleslaw).
- Remove fish from marinade and discard the marinade while corn is cooking.
- Over the direct heat, along side the corn, cook the fish for approximately 5 minutes on one side, or until you can pull the fish away from the grill without it sticking to the grill grates.
- Flip the fish to other side and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, then remove.
- You’ll know the fish is done when the fish is white all the way through but still moist.
For the Cole Slaw:
- Toss all coleslaw ingredients (including the grilled corn) together in a large bowl. Taste and adjust flavors to your preference.
For the Avocado Cream Sauce:
- Place all ingredients (except hot sauce) into a food processor. Pulse until well combined and creamy. Taste and adjust flavors. Add a couple dashes of hot sauce if you feel so inclined!
To Assemble the Tacos:
- Heat up a corn tortilla. Layer the taco with about 1 tablespoon of the Avocado Cream Sauce, grilled fish, coleslaw, top with more cream sauce, and add preferred toppings (avocado slices, Cotija cheese, squeeze of lime, more cilantro).