Instead of deep-frying the fish for these fish tacos, we coat the fish with a flavor-packed chile rub and grill it instead. Make sure the fillets are no more than 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick so they cook quickly. 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 in the basket for easy flipping. If you don't have a grilling basket, make sure the grill is hot and well oiled before adding the fish.

Bruce Aidells
Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2010


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

50 mins


Adobo-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 adobo 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 rack (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, tortillas, coleslaw and taco garnishes separately.


Ingredient Notes: Mildly spicy dried chiles, such as ancho or New Mexico, add moderate heat and rich flavor to Mexican sauces like mole. Chili powder made from these chiles has more flavor than American-style blends. Look for whole dried chiles in the produce section of large supermarkets and New Mexico or ancho chili powder in the specialty-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 and considered best choices for the environment.

Tips: 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 degrees F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap tortillas in a clean towel to keep warm.

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

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

Nutrition Facts

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.

Reviews (28)

Read More Reviews
28 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 22
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
Very versatile rub! I love this recipe. I actually used it for a client who had diabetes. The rub has become a staple and I've used it in ground meat for burgers slatheredon whole chickens that were roasted. It's virtually a staple in our home. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious! Had a friend tell me she didn't think fish and taco should be in the same sentence and LOVED this recipie. The slaw makes the taco! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
These were delicious fish tacos! There's a place in town that I always go to for their fish tacos but these were almost just as good. I used cod that had been previously frozen so I can't wait to make these again with fresh mahi mahi or halibut. Definitely give this recipe a try! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Absolutely delicious!!! These fish tacos are incredible! They are quick and super easy to make. Everone loves them! They were such a hit with the family and friends I've made them 4 times in the last six days! The first time I used fresh tilapia but since then I've used frozen tilapia from Trader Joes and Stater Brothers. To save time I use packaged shreded cabbage/coleslaw. Otherwise I've followed the recipe as written and every time they've been excellent! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Grilled Fish Tacos These tacos are great whether grilled outdoors or pan grilled inside. I added some chopped sweet onion chopped fresno chile and sweet red pepper to the slaw for more veggies and crunch. Even my hubby who loves everything real spicy didn't feel the need to add any salsa-it would probably overpower the delicate fish. I've tried it with both tilapia and flounder--will try grouper next. Pros: quick and easy Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious I actually used some fresh Bluefish that was given to my husband and I. Bluefish is generally very stong tasting and IMHO hard to cook well. This recipe nailed it. The firm flesh of the fish held up well to grilling and the slaw added a nice crunchy counterpoint to the fish as well. I will definitely keep this recipe and make it again. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Good fish recipe! I used tilapia and the tacos were delicious. The rub is very tasty! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Since we moved from San Diego to the east coast 8 years ago we have not found good fish tacos. Now we can make them at home! This recipe is too awesome for words the spice and slaw are excellent. I had to substitute 3/4 normal chile powder and 1/4 chipotle chile powder for the new mexico chile powder and that worked great plus I tried it kabobed with some halibut chunks I got at my gourmet grocer but found the skewers still stuck to the grill despite a ton of oiling. This recipe is so good I'm buying a fish basket for my grill for the future thanks for ending our 8 year taco quest eating well! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Freakin' Awesome should be a rating! I've made fish tacos at home before but these were PHENOMENAL! The rub/adobo is soooo tasty and makes this dish. The slaw sent it over the top! I didn't even make it ahead of time I just made it while the fish was marinating in the rub. It was still delicious. I could even see tweaking it by adding some heat with either chopped serrano or jalapenos. We had our meal with some mexican beer and it was a perfect little dinner. YUMMM! Pros: Flavorful fast healthy Cons: Can't think of any. Read More