My Recipe Box

Grilled Fish Tacos


Serves 6-8

Yields 12 tacos

  • by from Barbecue Nation

A grilled fish taco is a beautiful thing to eat. San Diego and Baja California are where they originated. Although the classic Baja fish tacos are fried, the grilled ones really stand out and are much lighter.


Watch the video: author Fred Thompson demonstrates how to grill the fish for the tacos without it sticking and falling apart.

For the lime-cilantro sour cream sauce:
  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
  • Grated zest of 1 lime 
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
For the tacos:
  • 2 tsp. ground ancho chile powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 3 lb. firm-fleshed whitefish fillets (halibut, snapper, mahi-mahi, cod) 
  • 2 dozen 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded green cabbage 
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage 
  • Pico de Gallo 
  • 4 limes, quartered
To make the lime-cilantro sour cream sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a 2-cup measuring cup and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate up to 4 hours until ready to use.

To make the tacos:

In a small bowl, combine the ancho powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper and stir to mix. Add the oil and whisk until a loose paste is formed. Rub the fish with the spice paste and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.   

Light a charcoal fire or preheat your gas grill on high. Oil the grill’s cooking surface. Let the coals burn down to a medium-hot fire or adjust the gas grill burners to medium-high.

Grill the fish until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

Divide the tortillas into 2 stacks and wrap each in aluminum foil. Place on the grill until heated through, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the green and red cabbage.

To assemble the tacos, take 2 tortillas, top it with chunks of fish, a dollop of the sauce, a spoonful of the Pico de Gallo, and some of the cabbage. Squeeze a wedge of  lime over the filling, fold the tortillas, and eat.

Author's Note: Meredith Deeds grew up in San Diego and taught me the ins and outs of the fish taco. These are an adaptation of her mom’s recipe. 

Photo: Brian Hagiwara

The Spice Rub on the Fish is perfect! I made mine using quick pickled cabbage & onions and shredded cilantro on top. It kept the mayo out of the recipe for me. Very tasty.

These were SO good, and so easy! The cilantro-lime cream was the star of the show. I used cod, and while did fall apart a bit on the grill, I think that was on me for using a piece of fish that was too big to easily flip. I will definitely be making these again.

Marinade is delicious, and the lime-cilantro sauce is perfect with fish (we grilled catfish). Will definitely be making these again.

Delicious and easy. Love the spice rub. Used plain yoghurt instead of sour cream.

These were amazing! We used halibut and substituted ground red chipotle peppers for the ancho chili powder. Our entire group loved the fish and thought it was a great recipe.

Lacked flavor on fish. I used Mahi maybe next time I will try something else. I marinated it for 2 hours. Just not my favorite

Love these, have them every Christmas and anytime of year. Thank you for this amazing addition to my family.

easy and flavorful. we use various fish, talapia, salmon, etc. sauce goes well with all of them. this dish is a go-to weeknight recipe.

Loved these! I HATE cilantro so I wasn't sure I'd like the sauce but the taste wasn't overpowering. The amount of fish and sauce the recipe makes is a bit excessive though. We'll be making these again and again.

Great flavor and easy to prepare. I use greek yogurt in stead of sour cream.

Addictively delicious.

YUMMY and so easy!

Outstanding! A similar recipe recommended thin sliced red onion marinated in red wine vinegar as another accompaniment. It added a nice sour/tangy flavor.

Made this with some fresh Mahi Mahi that we got off the NC coast. Super delicious. The lime-cilantro sour cream was phenomenal. Read more including pictures here

Absolutely hands down the best fish tacos I have ever had! My husband was floored. I used Cod, being that Halibut is $22.99/pound and Cod is $6.99/pound. I marinated the fillet for about 6 hours before throwing it on the grill. I also made the Cilantro Sour Cream Sauce about 8 hours in advance, so the flavors could mend. I did use homemade mayonnaise in the sauce, though it didn't have any depth of flavor so I added about a tablespoon of vinegar, a tablespoon of garlic powder and about a teaspoon of kosher salt. It ended up excellent. I will absolutely make it again. It's a crowd pleaser and my husband couldn't stop telling me how wonderful it was.

Very good! Used tilapia and that worked fine. Even the kids had seconds.

My husband loved them. I used tilapia. I will probably use a different fish next time. He liked the white sauce. I served them with some salsa and guacamole on the side as well.

Perfect for a hot summer day! Did not use the sauce, and it was not missed.

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