Spicy Fish Tacos

by heidi on April 28, 2014

Family and food. They go together like butter and biscuits. It’s what every foundation of every civilization is built upon. To sit down to a meal, with forks in position and a wealth of new and old stories to tell.

Spicy Fish Tacos foodiecrush.com

I too often forget how much I love these simple dinners with the whole gaggle of extended family about. I have to remind myself it really isn’t that hard to send a text, give a call and have someone bring the salsa and chips, someone else grab a dessert.

Because we all want to be involved. It’s half the fun. Especially when everyone else digs in and starts doing the dishes. Best part ever.

So to prep for Cinco de Mayo and test out some new recipes on our loved ones aka guinea pigs, my man and I sent out the call and the flock arrived, ready to chow down on some scrumptious eats.

Basically I was just itching for an excuse to make these Spicy Fish Tacos.

Good news everyone! They received a table-full of hearty thumbs ups.

Spicy Fish Tacos foodiecrush.com

Spicy Fish Tacos foodiecrush.com

While a deep fried, Baja style, street fish taco is my ultimate favorite, it wasn’t my inclination to break out the fry daddy and deal with a lot of last minute grease for our impromptu olé shindig.

Instead, my trusty cast iron skillet with a scant tablespoon of oil did just the trick to create a beautifully crusted piece of fish.

I used tilapia for my tacos, one of the mildest of fishes, and sturdy too. It gets bonus points for easy flipping and staying snug in the tortilla while munching. But if you’re looking for an alternative, red snapper, halibut or cod would make great back up swimmers.

But what makes a taco truly special is the fixins’. You won’t see shredded cheddar or green leaf lettuce on these tacos. I like to keep it simple but full of flavor and contrasting texture. Don’t be bashful, load it how you like it.

Spicy Fish Tacos foodiecrush.com

Spicy Fish Tacos foodiecrush.com

My homemade spice mix is the key to these tacos, with chili powder, cumin, onion powder and my favorite smoked paprika adding an earthy touch. Kosher salt brings it all together like a queen bee championing her drones.

I’m usually a flour tortilla kind of gal, but fish tacos call for a sturdier binder. I prefer white corn tortillas and take the edge off of them by heating them in my hot cast iron pan for about 3 minutes or so, or until they begin to puff. No oil, no spray. Just heat and some tongs and wa-la, we have supple tortillas.

And a whole house full of happy eaters. #winning.

Spicy Fish Tacos foodiecrush.com

Spicy Fish Tacos

Yield: serves 4

Spicy Fish Tacos


1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 3 ounce pieces of tilapia, skin removed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 white corn tortillas
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cotija cheese
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 avocado, sliced
2 limes, quartered


  1. Mix the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder and kosher salt in a small bowl. Season the tilapia pieces well with the spice mix.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet on high and warm the tortillas on both sides, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per tortilla.
  3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in the cast iron skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on both sides, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  4. Top each tortilla with a slice of fish, jalapeño slices, pickled carrots, cotija cheese, avocado slices and cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges.

adapted from Donna Hay


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Posted in: entrees,meat and seafood,recipes

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda April 28, 2014 at 7:01 am

Spicy fish tacos have got to be one of my favorite all time dishes, order it every time I see it on a menu. Can’t wait to try it your way! :)


Ali | Gimme Some Oven April 28, 2014 at 7:01 am

You are speaking MY foodie love language here. ;)

These look fantastic! And I totally prefer these to the fried version anyday.


Marie Saba April 28, 2014 at 7:20 am

Gorgeous as always Heidi!! I can’t wait to try these — fish tacos are my favorite! I always serve them with this cilantro-lime sauce (just four ingredients!) http://cocinamarie.com/best-ever-cilantro-lime-sauce-good-on-everything-and-i-do-mean-everything/


Christine @ Cooking with Cakes April 28, 2014 at 7:50 am

these look lovely Heidi!


Lauren @ Living the Savory Life April 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

Beautiful! And the pickled carrot is such a lovely addition.


Christine from Cook the Story April 28, 2014 at 8:06 am

I love your choice of spices for this fish! YUM!


Liz @ The Lemon Bowl April 28, 2014 at 8:25 am

I was just thinking about picking up some cotija cheese – my favorite!! I love fish tacos. These are gorgeous!


danielle April 28, 2014 at 8:33 am

These sound perfect!


Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 28, 2014 at 11:19 am

Love fish tacos and your spice mix is a must-try!


bev @ bevcooks April 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I love how the entire fillet sits perfectly in the taco and not all flaked up. Gawg-ush.


Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog April 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm

I love the addition of the carrots and cheese in this recipe!! I loooove a good fish taco, especially a spice rubbed one, and these look super fantastic! Yum, will definitely try next time I make Tilapia Tacos!


heidi April 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I’m such a sucker for pickled carrots :)


Kristy @ Sweet Treats & More April 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Mmmm, can I be a part of your family?! Love fish tacos and these look amazing!


Tieghan April 28, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Spicy and fish?? my very favorite kind of taco!


Kathy @ Olives & Garlic April 29, 2014 at 7:33 am

These tacos look divine. I must admit that fish tacos are my favorite, even more so than pork. I love adding pickled red onions to mine.


Molly @Doughvelopment April 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Love fish tacos, don’t get to have them that often, but this recipe makes me want to try them at home! Especially since there is no deep frying involved!


Jennie @themessybakerblog April 30, 2014 at 10:49 am

Having volunteers to do this dishes is the best! These tacos look so fresh.


Russell at Chasing Delicious April 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

These tacos look incredible! I find craving fish tacos way too much, and not eating them enough. I think I need to go ahead and just make these to fix that!


Cecile@My Yellow Farmhouse April 30, 2014 at 9:37 pm

I hate to admit this… but I’ve never eaten a Fish Taco. I guess they’re just not sold very often here in the middle of the state of Massachusetts! But these look amazing – and now I can just make my own!!


Lauren H. May 12, 2014 at 8:33 am

Scrolling through your blog I see so many fresh wholesome foods and it makes me so happy! It’s so refreshing to read all your recipes. I can’t wait to try the recipe. I’m a blogger as well with an only slightly different cause…gardening. I love thinking about where food comes from so I work with a company called Cayisa to promote learning gardens, sustainable gardening, and reforestation. They’ve educated 78,000 kids about where their food comes from through their Seed for Seed program! Cayisa also sells some awesome jewerly to support their cause. You should check out the website (www.cayisa.com) and the blog (www.cayisa.wordpress.com)! Thanks!


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