Easy Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw

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.

Overhead view of fish tacos on a platter, toppings on the sides

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:

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:

Side view of fish tacos on a platter

Fish tacos on a platter with toppings on the sides
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Easy Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw

These super easy Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw are light, fresh, and the perfect quick dinner for hot summer nights, or any night!
Total Cost: $9.17 recipe / $2.29 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4 (2 Tacos each)

Ingredients

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)

Tacos

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*You can use just about any type of white fish for this, like tilapia, mahi mahi, or halibut.
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Nutrition

Serving: 2 TacosCalories: 437 kcalCarbohydrates: 33 gProtein: 25 gFat: 24 gSodium: 424 mgFiber: 9 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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How to Make Fish Tacos – Step by Step Photos

corn tortillas being toasted in a skillet

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.

Cumin lime slaw ingredients in a bowl, dressing being poured

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.

finished cumin lime coleslaw in bowl

Stir to coat the vegetables in dressing, then refrigerate until ready to build your tacos. 

Seasoned fish fillets

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.

Fish cooked in the skillet

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.

Tacos being built

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.

Fish tacos on a platter with toppings on the sides

If you have leftover lime from making the slaw, slice it into wedges to serve with the tacos.

close up of a fish taco in a hand

Enjoy that summery goodness!

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