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

EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2010; updated October 2022


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

20 mins
50 mins

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
Credit: 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
Credit: 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


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Preheat grill to medium-high.

  • 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.

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




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

2 tacos
333 calories; protein 31g; carbohydrates 29.6g; dietary fiber 4.9g; sugars 3g; fat 10.5g; saturated fat 2.2g; cholesterol 113mg; vitamin a iu 893.5IU; vitamin c 16.6mg; folate 28.2mcg; calcium 99.7mg; iron 2.9mg; magnesium 87.9mg; potassium 831mg; sodium 735mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 1g.

2 starch, 4 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat