It seems when I order fish tacos there is always something missing, something that would make them just a tad more interesting.
I finally started to put together my own recipe after ordering some very disappointing, extremely expensive poolside soft tacos from a very famous restaurant in Las Vegas.
These easy fish tacos are what I believe to be the best fish tacos. Fresh ingredients, tons of flavor and let’s face it- they are pretty to look at!
The two factors that set these apart from the rest are a vinegar based hot sauce and unique citrus fish marinade. Most fish tacos don’t use a marinade at all for the fish. I see that as just another way to add another layer of sophistication and flavor.
In fact, in Mexico, seafood marinades are made using sour oranges instead of any vinegar. Both acidic, sour orange is hard to find in the states, so vinegar is a nice substitute.
Citrus can tenderize fish, but it can also make it tough if left too long, which is why this quick marinade is perfect!
Traditional fish tacos (any soft taco really) are made with corn tortillas, which can be chewy. Heating them in the oven or charring them on the grill will make them softer.
You can also opt for a flour tortilla and no one will judge, I promise. If you do use corn tortillas, use any leftovers to make homemade tortilla chips.
I’m also going to share a little tortilla secret. Mix spices with extra virgin olive oil or canola oil and baste directly onto the tortilla before assembling your soft taco.
What's In This Article
Fish Tacos Ingredients
The list is long, but these are all actually simple ingredients. Easily found at your local grocery store, this is a great recipe for
Fish Taco Marinade
- Cod fillets – I prefer cod, but you can really use any white fish fillets that you prefer. Different types of fish include tilapia, bass, grouper mahi mahi or snapper. Some can be found at local grocery stores, others are more regional.
- Canola oil – A little oil is need to make the marinade. You can use any type of neutral oil here. Canola is my personal favorite, but you can also use vegetable oil or even avocado oil if you’d like to.
- Lime juice – To add some acidity to our marinade, I like to add lime juice. Fresh lime juice is always preferred over the bottled variety, as the flavor of more pungent.
- Ancho chili powder – No need for a fancy seasoning mix. We want the flavors of the fish to shine, so this and maybe a little garlic powder are all you really need.
- Honey – To add just a touch of sweetness to our baja fish tacos, I use a bit of honey. You can also you agave if that’s what you have on hand.
- Pico de gallo – A blend of red onion, tomatoes and fresh cilantro, this is one of the most popular taco toppings. I recommend making your own because fresh pico de gallo just can’t be beat.
- Limes – A squeeze of fresh lime juice on flaky white fish is a great way to brighten up any kind of fish taco. The acidity helps balance out the flavor of the fish.
- Queso fresco – You can really use any type of cheese that you prefer, but I think queso fresco really sends these tacos over the top. Cotija cheese is another great option.
- Sour cream – In addition to the cream sauce to top your tacos, sour cream brings a nice tang and coolness to these baja-style fish tacos.
- Red cabbage – Crunchy cabbage is a nice way to add some color, flavor and crunch to these homemade fish tacos. You can also use purple cabbage too.
- Avocados pitted and thinly sliced
- Creamy fish taco sauce – This creamy sauce is made with a blend of hot pepper sauce, white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, sea salt and black pepper.
- Tortillas – You can use either fresh corn tortillas or flour tortillas for these tacos. Warm tortillas are key to bringing this whole taco recipe together.
- Extra virgin olive oil – We need these to get the seasoning to stick to our tortillas. Just enough to baste on the flavor.
- Cumin – To season these warm corn tortillas, we just need a little bit of cumin and a dash of salt. Simple and easy but definitely effective.
How to Make Fish Tacos
- Prepare fish. Wash and pat dry fish.
- Make marinade. Combine canola oil, lime juice, ancho chili powder, water and honey in a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Add cod, place in refrigerator. Flip to other side and return to refrigerate again.
- Make taco sauce. Make the signature fish taco sauce by combining hot sauce, white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne peppers, ancho chili powder, salt and pepper. Whisk well.
- Warm tortillas. Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and place in oven on low heat to warm.
- Cook fish. In medium frying pan, spray cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place cod fillets in the pan until they flake easily with a spoon. Remove from pan and slice into thin strips.
- Add seasoning to tortillas. Combine extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl and whisk with cumin and fine sea salt. Baste onto corn or flour tortillas before assembling.
- Serve. To serve you can place in an assembly line along a counter for guests to make their own or you can place a strip or two of fish, shredded cabbage and a slice of avocado in each tortilla and then place the other fixings on the side. Enjoy!
Storage and Freezing
Storage: You can store leftover fish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The other elements of these tacos, besides the sauce, will not hold up well and are better served fresh.
Freezing: Cooked fish can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. However, I do no recommend freezing the other elements of these fish tacos.
More Mexican Inspired Dishes
- Tropical Beef Tacos
- Chipotle Chicken Rice Bowls
- Crispy Pork Tacos
- Mexican Lasagna Rolls
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Green Chile Chicken Lasagna
- Mexican Pizza
- Loaded Chicken Nachos
- Chicken Quesadillas
- Chorizo Cheese Dip
Fish Taco Recipe
Fish Taco Marinade
Fish Taco Sauce
- Wash and pat dry fish.
- Combine canola oil, lime juice, ancho chili powder, water and honey in a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Add cod, place in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Flip to other side and return to refrigerate for additional 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare other items.
- Make the signature fish taco sauce by combining hot sauce, white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne peppers, ancho chili powder, salt and pepper. Whisk well.
- Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and place in oven on low heat to warm. Room temperature corn tortillas are rubbery. You can also heat up a small amount of oil in a large frying pan and heat them on either side for 20 seconds. Don’t go too long or else they will crisp and then you will be having fish tostada (worse things can happen!)
- In medium frying pan, spray cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place cod fillets in the pan, 3 minutes on each side or until they flake easily with a spoon. Remove from pan and slice in ½ thin strips.
- Combine extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl and whisk with cumin and fine sea salt. Baste onto corn or flour tortillas before assembling.
- To serve you can place in an assembly line along a counter for guests to make their own or you can place a strip or two of fish, shredded cabbage and a slice of avocado in each tortilla and then place the other fixings on the side. Drizzle hot sauce in the taco or place a small bowl on each plate for dipping. These can get messy- you’ll be tempted, but don’t put too much in one taco! Garnish with lime wedges, squeeze on top of tacos. You can also make a miniature assembly line on individual plates as seen above. Enjoy!
- If you liked this recipe, make sure to come back and let us know in the comments!