Grilled Fish Tacos

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“South of the border, down Mexico way.
That’s where I fell in love where stars above, came out to play.
And now as I wonder, my thoughts ever stray.
South of the border, down Mexico way…”

~Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr


We first enjoyed fish tacos while vacationing in Maui. There’s a great little Mexican place in Lahaina’s Cannery Mall called Compadre’s that served some of the best Mexican food we’ve ever eaten. When we get a craving for this dish we’ve found it’s best to just make it at home because, sadly, the Mexican restaurants in Minnesota don’t even come close to recreating the tacos the way we remember them.

The fish for these tacos can either be deep fried in beer batter or grilled. This time we opted for the lighter grilled fish, but the tacos are fabulous both ways.

Grilled Fish Tacos

Grill 16 to 20 oz. fresh, mild fish (such as cod or haddock) that has been rubbed with a little cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

Rub a little olive oil on both sides of 10 small corn tortillas. Working in batches, lightly brown them in a skillet.

Grate a few cups of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Mix a small bag of coleslaw mix with coleslaw dressing, 3 chopped green onions, cumin, dill, salt and pepper (to taste)

Chop 5 Roma tomatoes and put them in a bowl with 3 minced garlic cloves

Stuff warm tortillas with cheese, fish, slaw, and tomato topping.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the tacos.

Top with a little sour cream.

Season with plenty of Sriracha hot sauce if you like spicy.

Cooking Tip: Many people already know the trick for removing the scent of fish from your fingers…LEMONS! But here’s a trick I learned from my Italian grandma, Darling…to effectively remove the scent of fresh garlic, rub your hands with a handful of coffee grounds. Works every time!




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  31 comments for “Grilled Fish Tacos

  1. Sandy
    May 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Can the fish be Talapia and pan fried in a cast iron pan? I usually dip in Italian seasoning, beaten egg and back to the seasoning. Do you think this would work? I don’t like cod or haddock….

  2. May 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    You could use any fish you like, and prepare it your favorite way. Tilapia would work just fine. And if you like crab, lobster, shrimp or scallops…these would be great too. Let me know how your version turns out!


    • Sherry
      March 22, 2013 at 10:20 am

      To get rid of the garlic / onion / etc smell from your hands… Here is another trick – simply wet your hands and then rub them on your chrome or stainless steel faucet!!

  3. Kimber Dunn
    May 26, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    YUMMMOOOOO!!!! Shrimp & Fish tacos are a favorite!!! I always order them when I’m out, but need to make them at home more. So fabulous!

  4. January 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    These look like some very healthy and tasty fish tacos! That Sriracha must make them spicy! My kind of tacos! Beautiful pictures and a great recipe!

    • Melissa
      January 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      they’re awesome! one of my favorite treats from the grill. xoxo and thanks for commenting!

  5. February 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Fish tacos are the best. Your picture has me CRAVING for one NOW! hahaha. And you also reminded me I need to pick up some more Sriracha. I have an addiction and put it on everything. Great tip to removed garlic from your hands. I have also found success in toothpaste πŸ™‚

    • Melissa
      February 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Hee hee…I’m craving them too!(always) and I also have a Sriracha addiction. Did not know the garlic tip! will file that away. another great trick I learned from my Italian grandma…coffee grounds! not only removes the garlic smell, caffeine is good when applied to the skin. who knew? πŸ˜‰

  6. March 9, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I love grilled fish tacos. Yours look spectacular. I’ve never thought to pump up the heat with Sriracha!

    • Melissa
      March 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Hi Katie! Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, these tacos are my favorite. I’ve made the Baja style ones before (all deep fried and lovely) and they’re good too, but there’s nothing quite like fresh grilled fish. I put Sriracha on everything! hee hee. xo

  7. Michelle
    December 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Exactly the place where I first had a fish taco! It never appealed to me before and, just like you Melissa, I have NEVER been able to replicate that Maui fish taco in Michigan or anywhere else really! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Melissa
      December 2, 2012 at 1:36 am

      I think it must have something to do with that exquisite island air πŸ™‚

  8. Sandra
    January 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Love the recipe. Just wanted to mention that simply rubbing your hands on the stainless steel sink with the water running on top also removes garlic odor from you hands. Some cooking shops even sell little stainless steel “soap bars” for this but the sink works just fine. This is what chefs do.

    • Melissa
      January 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      Hi Sandra! I know the stainless trick, but my Nana and her Nana and her Nana….passed the coffee trick to me. they don’t have stainless sinks. earthenware and enameled porcelain. appreciate the tip though! nothing works as well as coffee IMHO πŸ˜‰

  9. Patsy
    May 31, 2013 at 6:38 am

    These look awesome. I’ve been looking for a grilled fish taco recipe to try.

    • Melissa
      May 31, 2013 at 9:16 am

      One of my favorite recipes, Patsy! Thanks for visiting πŸ™‚ enjoy!

  10. Ruth Cobb
    July 25, 2013 at 11:08 am

    This look so good. I’ve only had a Greek version of a grilled fish taco, but loved it too. Tangy green and red cabbage, grilled fish fillet and served with a Greek pasta salad with feta.

    Will try this version. Love simple tasty recipes.

    • Melissa
      July 25, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Hi Ruth! the Greek version sounds heavenly! do you have a recipe you’d be willing to share? I’d love to try those! Enjoy, this is definitely one of my favorite summer dishes! xo πŸ™‚

      • Ruth Cobb
        July 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        I had it at a shop in Morgantown, WV, called Taziki’s. I’ll look next time I go there and see what the item says. It might have an online presence that you could see too. I love their baklava, their pasta salad, hummus, dolmedes, shrimp salad, a beef tenderloin sandwich is my brother’s favorite with a garlic sauce. Nice place. I only get to go there when we are up for doctor’s appointments.

        • Melissa
          July 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

          can’t wait to hear more about these. I’ll look them up and see if I can find them online πŸ™‚ thanks, Ruth.

  11. October 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    When I vacationed in Charleston I ate at a place called Taco Boy in Folly Beach and they have amazing fish tacos!!!! That was the first time I had them and I am hooked, I am so excited about finding this recipe! They used Mahi Mahi and it was mild and delicious. I also recommend a Mojito to go with it, it really brings out the flavors!

  12. alyssa
    November 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    This is a wonderful recipe, but I just wanted to point out that when I had fish tacos in Mexico they were almost always served with a little fresh cilantro. I don’t usually like cilantro, but it really can enhance the rest of the flavors in this recipe.

    • Melissa
      November 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Alyssa,
      I agree, when I was in Mexico they almost always served their fish tacos with cilantro (and almost every other dish too, for that matter.) I didn’t add cilantro to this recipe on purpose. πŸ™‚ Here is a more comprehensive post that includes a sort of list of my experiences making and eating fish tacos.

      I hope you enjoy,

      • alyssa
        November 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm

        Thanks, Melissa, they all look amazing!!!!

        • Melissa
          November 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

          My pleasure πŸ™‚ xo

  13. Wendy A Chase
    February 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Dear Melissa,
    Thank you for a great recipe! Do you have a reccommended coleslaw dressing recipe? I think I will try this with cilantro as well. I am a recently decided vegetarian and found a great recipe for chic pea tacos. Basically you toss taco seasoning spices with a can of chic peas and place in taco shells and top with lettuce and taco sauce. Yum!

    • Melissa
      February 15, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Hi Wendy! I’m so pleased you like the recipe! When I make slaw for fish tacos I usually either do a simple dressing of mayo, sugar and lemon juice (with a little chipotle pepper or something for spice) or I do a dressing made of olive oil, white wine vinegar, sesame oil, onion powder and sugar πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  14. britany
    December 12, 2014 at 8:31 am

    This recipe is absolutely amazing!!! I’m not a big cole slaw fan but my family is and they love the flavor the green onion gives the cole slaw on this fish taco. For myself I usually fill my Taco with fish, shredded cabbage, cheese, sour cream, green onion and a little siracha and it’s absolutely amazing. When I first made this recipe I loved it so much I made it for a week straight! Thank you for the wonderful recipe that is now in my cookbook and family’s heart.

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