Grilled Fish Tacos


Instead of deep-frying the fish for these tacos, we coat the fish with a flavor-packed chili rub and grill it.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
6 servings, 2 tacos each

What Type of Fish Is Best?

We recommend lean white fish such as mahi-mahi or Pacific halibut because they are mild in flavor with a firm texture that holds up well to grilling. Make sure the fillets are no more than 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick so they cook quickly.

What's the Best Way to Grill Fish?

Sometimes flipping fish on the grill can be tricky since the fish can stick to the grill or fall apart. The solution is to invest in a grill basket that easily holds 4 to 6 fish fillets and secures the fish for easy flipping. If you don't have a grilling basket, make sure the grill is hot and the grates are well oiled before adding the fish.

How to Cut Cabbage for Coleslaw

In a pinch, you can use packaged shredded cabbage to make coleslaw, but we recommend prepping it yourself. Here's how to do it:

A wedge of cabbage sitting on a cutting board next to a knife
Carolyn Hodges

Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise through the stem end.

Next, cut each half in half through the stem end (you should have 4 quarters).

Cut off the bottom of each quarter at an angle to remove the core.

Close up of slicing a a quarter head of cabbage
Carolyn Hodges

Place a cabbage wedge cut-side down on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into very thin strips. For shorter strips, cut the wedge crosswise.

To learn more about how to cut cabbage, check out our full step-by-step guide.

How to Serve Fish Tacos

You can serve these tacos family-style by passing the grilled fish, coleslaw and tortillas around the table. Garnish with your favorite toppings, such as sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and lime wedges. For some heat, try our Homemade Hot Sauce.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


Chili-Rubbed Fish

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder, preferably made with New Mexico or ancho chiles (see Note)

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 2 pounds mahi-mahi or Pacific halibut (see Note), 1/2-3/4 inch thick, skinned and cut into 4 portions


  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream

  • ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 teaspoon lime zest

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 3 cups finely shredded red or green cabbage

  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed (see Tip)


  1. To prepare fish: Combine chili powder, lime juice, oil, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub chili rub all over fish. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes for the fish to absorb the flavor.

  2. To prepare coleslaw: Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; mix until smooth and creamy. Add cabbage and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. Preheat grill to medium-high.

  4. Oil the grill grates (see Tip) or use a grilling basket. Grill the fish until it is cooked through and easily flakes with a fork, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a platter and separate into large chunks.

  5. Serve the tacos family-style by passing the fish, coleslaw and tortillas on the table.

    Grilled Fish Tacos




Mildly spicy dried chiles, such as ancho or New Mexico, add moderate heat and rich flavor to dishes. Look for whole dried chiles in the produce section of large supermarkets and New Mexico or ancho chili powder in the spice section of large supermarkets or online.

Mahi-mahi (also called dorado) from the U.S. Atlantic and halibut from the Pacific are both sustainably fished.


Two ways to warm corn tortillas: (1) Microwave: Wrap stacks of up to 12 tortillas in barely damp paper towels; microwave on High for 30 to 45 seconds. Wrap tortillas in a clean towel to keep warm. (2) Oven: Wrap stacks of 6 tortillas in foil; place in a 375°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap tortillas in a clean towel to keep warm.

To oil grill grates, dip a folded paper towel in cooking oil, hold it with tongs and rub it over the grates. Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.

To make ahead

Prepare coleslaw (Step 2) up to 4 hours ahead.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

333 Calories
11g Fat
30g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 2 tacos
Calories 333
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 3g
Added Sugars 1g 2%
Protein 31g 62%
Total Fat 11g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 113mg 38%
Vitamin A 894IU 18%
Vitamin C 17mg 18%
Folate 28mcg 7%
Sodium 735mg 32%
Calcium 100mg 8%
Iron 3mg 16%
Magnesium 88mg 21%
Potassium 831mg 18%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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