Earlier this week I made a big batch of sunny and fresh Cumin Lime Coleslaw, but I didn’t intend to just eat coleslaw all week. So, I used the coleslaw as a topping for these super simple fish tacos. I love making tacos for dinner because they’re so easy, fresh, and not too heavy, which is great when it’s 100 degrees outside. I like to keep my tacos pretty simple (in this case just fish, slaw, jalapeño, and avocado), but I’ve got some suggestions for extra toppings below if you want them! ;)
Originally posted 3-27-2015, updated 7-15-2021.
What’s in a Fish Taco?
For this fish tacos recipe, I seasoned some white fish filets with a simple mix of chili powder, cumin, garlic, and salt, then cooked them up quickly in a skillet. I topped them with tangy Cumin Lime Coleslaw, a slice of creamy avocado, and a couple of super thin slices of jalapeño. It’s the perfect mix of earthy, spicy, creamy, and tangy.
What Kind of Fish is Best for Tacos?
I used cod fillets for my fish tacos because they have a mild flavor that can be easily paired with any seasoning or toppings. You could also use something like tilapia, halibut, mahi-mahi, snapper, or grouper. I usually get the best prices on frozen fillets, and they usually come individually wrapped, so you can thaw as many as you need and keep the rest in the freezer for later.
More Fish Taco Toppings
Tacos are fun because you can get creative with the toppings. If you want to swap out some of the toppings I used for something else, or just want to add to what is listed in the recipe below, here are some ideas:
- Corn salsa
- Cotija cheese
- Pico de gallo
- Lime crema
- Fresh red onion
- Avocado dressing
- Pickled red onion
- Sour cream
- Pineapple Salsa
What Kind of Tortillas?
Corn tortillas are the traditional option for tacos, but go ahead and use whatever you like best. Cooking is about doing what works for you. So if you like flour tortillas or crunchy taco shells better or happen to have those on hand, use them. :) If you’re using corn tortillas, make sure to toast them before making your tacos so they get that deliciously toasty corn flavor (otherwise they kind of taste like nothing). And keep in mind that if you use larger tortillas you’ll get fewer tacos out of the ingredients listed below.
What to Serve with Fish Tacos
Two tacos do not a meal make, so here are some ideas for sides dishes:
- Quick Seasoned Black Beans
- Easy Taco Rice
- Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad
- Cumin Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Warm Corn and Avocado Salad
- Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad
Easy Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw
Cumin Lime Coleslaw
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise ($0.40)
- 1 lime (1 Tbsp juice) ($0.50)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne ($0.01)
- 1/2 tsp sugar ($0.01)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
- 1/2 16oz. bag coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) ($0.75)
- 2 green onions, sliced ($0.22)
- 8 small corn tortillas ($0.80)
- 2 tsp chili powder ($0.20)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
- 1 lb. cod fillets* ($4.96)
- 1 avocado, sliced ($0.99)
- 1 jalapeño, sliced ($0.15)
- Toast the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat until browned on each side. Stack the tortillas and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Make the cumin lime coleslaw next. For the dressing, stir together the mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp lime juice, cumin, cayenne, salt, and sugar.
- Place the coleslaw mix and sliced green onions in a bowl, pour the coleslaw dressing over top and stir to combine. Refrigerate until you're ready to build your tacos.
- Next, season the fish fillets. Combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Cut each fish fillet into smaller taco-sized pieces. Season both sides of the fish with the spice mix.
- Add half of the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add half of the fish and cook for a few minutes on each side or until the fish is cooked through (it will feel firm, look opaque, and be easily flaked). Repeat with more oil and the second batch of fish.
- Top each toasted tortilla with a piece of fish, a slice of avocado, a small scoop of the cumin lime slaw, and a couple slices of jalapeño. Enjoy warm.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Fish Tacos – Step by Step Photos
If you’re using corn tortillas you’ll want to toast them before making your tacos. This gives them more flavor and helps make them a bit more sturdy. I do this in a dry skillet over fairly high heat, but if you have a gas range you can do it right over an open flame (just a second or two on each side). You can keep them warm on a plate covered with foil.
Next, prepare the cumin lime coleslaw so it’s ready to go when the fish finishes cooking. To make the dressing, stir together 1 Tbsp lime juice, ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp slat, ⅛ tsp cayenne, and ½ tsp sugar. Place ½ of a bag of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) in a bowl with 2 sliced green onions. Pour the dressing over top. You can also wait to pour the dressing over until just before serving, if preferred.
Stir to coat the vegetables in dressing, then refrigerate until ready to build your tacos.
Next, make the seasoning mix for the fish. Combine 2 tsp chili powder (this is a mild blend of chiles and other spices), ½ tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder, and ⅛ tsp salt. Cut 1 lb. fish into taco-sized pieces (in this case I had four fillets, so I cut each in half for one piece per taco). Season the fish on both sides with the prepared spice mix.
Heat ½ Tbsp cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add half of the fish and cook for a few minutes on each side, or until cooked through (the fish will be opaque and easily flake when cooked). Repeat with a little more oil and the second batch of fish.
To build the tacos, place one piece of fish in each tortilla, add one slice of avocado, a small scoop of cumin lime coleslaw, and a couple slices of jalapeño.
If you have leftover lime from making the slaw, slice it into wedges to serve with the tacos.
Enjoy that summery goodness!
My oven has an air fryer, do you think I could cook the fish that way instead of pan frying?
We are incorporating more fish into our diet and this was an excellent way to start. Thank you so much, I absolutely LOVE your recipes!
Keep em coming!
So good and so easy! That coleslaw really steals the show!
These were so good!!
Really wonderful recipe, thanks so much. We had everything but jalapeño, of course that would make it even better!
To quote my husband, “This is the only way I ever want to eat fish now.” And the coleslaw is sooo good that I ate it by the spoonful.
This one is a keeper!
Do you think I can use Greek Yogurt instead of mayonnaise? I really don’t like mayo…but I want to try this recipe!
I think that’s just going to be a matter of personal preference. Personally, I don’t think Greek yogurt is a good sub because it’s quite tart and not nearly as creamy, but I know many people substitute it for mayo all the time and enjoy it. Since you already have a lot of acid here from the lime juice, the added tartness of the yogurt might end up being too much.
We’ve been pairing this slaw with fish tacos for what feels like forever! The cumin lime slaw was one of the very first recipes we ever made from Budget Bytes (only tweak is cutting the mayonnaise with a little sour cream for SO). The slaw with tacos (or just as a side for grilled meat) is wonderful.
I found it needed a bit more of a push, so I ended up topping ours with Trader Joe’s chili lime seasoning. Otherwise, delish!
Watch the oil in the pan, I definitely used too much on my first batch. Still, good, just a little too greasy.
This looks wonderful. Cod is on sale at our market this week too. Can’t wait to try!
❤️ all your recipes.
Delicious, easy and fast! Thank you for your fantastic recipes.
The slaw really makes these tacos. I used corn tortillas, blistered on an open burner, and tajin seasoning on the fish (along with the chili powder but omitting the salt, since there is salt in the tajin). I skipped the corn kernels since I didn’t have any on hand. I served with half of an avocado, and some pickled jalapenos and carrots on the side. Delicious!
I used Tajin to season my fish, too–that stuff is seriously delicious!! I frequently use it on chicken, too. Corn tortillas for us, and I agree the slaw was terrific!
Made these tonight, and they were a hit! Used tilapia and white corn tortillas.
Yum! loved this. so easy and tasty. Perfect way to change up a fish dish. Everything went beautifully together. Not as good as the your blackened shrimp tacos but that’s an all-time fave around here :) Will definitely make these again.