Easy Grilled Fish Tacos Recipe — Plus Wine Pairing

5 from 4 votes
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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, cabbage slaw, and Avocado Crema. This is the best fish tacos for an easy and flavorful meal.

Healthy Fish grilled Tacos on a plate.

This taco recipe makes a great weeknight healthy dinner or entertaining dinner on the weekend.

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.

Recipe Highlights

  • Whether a gas grill or a charcoal grill this is an easy recipe to adapt to your style of grill.
  • You can use any white fish filets from mahi mahi to cod.
  • The secret to flaky fish is a hot grill and clean grates or just using this for your leftover fish.

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. If it’s your first time then here is what you need:

  1. A simple marinade for your fish
  2. Not overcooking your fish
  3. A delicious cabbage slaw
  4. Avocado crema
  5. Tasty toppings
How to grill fish for the perfect tacos.
Grill over direct heat, it will cook quickly.


  • Start with a good savory marinade. Ours focuses on savory flavors and some heat.
  • The main ingredient is white fish fillets 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.
  • Instead of a traditional coleslaw mix we opt for a grilled corn version.
  • Top with an avocado crema more along the line of a Baja California taco.

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!

The Marinade

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 kosher 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.

Grilled Fish Tacos on a white plate garnished with limes and cilantro, and Wine Pairing

Avocado Crema

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.

Related Recipe: You can swap the corn slaw for a mango salsa.


White fish cooks quickly so do not leave the grill unattended and be sure you have a good instant read thermometer like the Thermoworks Thermapen One to make sure you don’t overcook it. The cook times will depend on the thickness of the fish.

  1. The key is a hot grill using the direct cooking method and 500 degrees Fahrenheit in the cooking chamber. Be sure the grill grate is clean. For gas grills this would be medium-high heat.
  2. Place fish over the direct heat and grill for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Flip fish and grill additional 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove and rest.

Alternatively you can use a grill basket for fish. The timing is about the same.

Building the 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

Pairing Wine with 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

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This recipe was originally published in January of 2016 and updated August of 2022 with more recipe details, guided steps, and specifics on the marinade. The recipe remains the same.

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Healthy Fish Tacos
5 from 4 votes

Grilled Fish Tacos Recipe with Citrus Marinade

An easy and healthy recipe for grilled fish tacos topped with a grilled corn slaw and creamy avocado sauce. Comes with wine pairing recommendations.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Marinating the Fish: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 tacos


For the Marinade

  • 1 pound thick white fish, (cod, mahi mahi, or halibut)
  • ¼ cup Meyer lemon, juices, About 3 Meyer lemons
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, diced (about 1/2 medium sized shallot)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped , (you will use more cilantro in the cream sauce and to top the tacos)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeño, finely diced, about ¼ medium jalapeño , (save the rest for the coleslaw)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Fresh ground pepper, just a couple twists

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)
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • The juice of ½ a lime, + more for preferred flavor
  • 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.


  • 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.

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!

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).


Quick note on the Avocado Cream Sauce: The consistency of this sauce should be thick, like a pureed guacamole. If you prefer a thinner or more runny sauce then you can add more lime juice, red wine vinegar, a tablespoon of olive oil, or even a bit of water (just a teaspoon at a time). I like it thick though. It also makes for a great dipping sauce for chips. Yum!


Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 247mg | Potassium: 369mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 161IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating the Fish: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Grilled Fish, seafood
Servings: 8 tacos
Calories: 223
Keyword: easy fish tacos, fish tacos, fish tacos recipe, grilled fish tacos, grilled fish tacos recipe, healthy fish tacos
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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Good way of explaining, and nice article to take facts concerning
    my presentation topic, which i am going to present in university.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe screams all sorts of YUMMY! Your pictures are absolutely stunning. I LOVE grilled fish tacos, and your recipe has so many delicious ingredients that I never think to add to tacos. Thanks! I can’t wait to make fish tacos this weekend.

    1. I think we outdid ourselves with those tacos. I’m still thinking about them. I think they’re going to become a weekly taco Tuesday staple!

  3. I’m going to try to trick my husband into eating fish by making these. lol. I also just shared your blog on my timeline. Everyone knows I’m picky about even trying a recipe I find on the internet. Yours, though, I trust. 🙂

    1. Haha! Good luck tricking your husband 😉 Mine had NO problem downing three of these in a row!!!
      And thanks so much for sharing the post on your timeline!!! 🙂