Discover the secrets to creating delicious fish tacos in the comfort of your own kitchen. From seasoning the fish to assembling the tacos, follow our step-by-step guide for the perfect homemade meal.

Cade loves fish tacos, so being the kind and considerate wife that I am😁, I worked for months to get this recipe just right! I wanted the breading to be light and flavorful and for the fish taco sauce to be perfection. This homemade fish tacos recipe is sure to be a hit for all our seafood lovers! And Cade can’t get enough of them!

a photo of a tray full of fish tacos with shredded cabbage, sliced jalapenos, sliced avocados and a creamy sauce

What is the Best Fish for Fish Tacos?

For fish tacos, you want a white fish that is firm and mild in flavor. For this recipe, we are using cod, but other good options would be tilapia, halibut, or mahi mahi. If you’re not in the mood for fish, shrimp would work great for this recipe too!

Ingredients for Fish Tacos

There are three different components to this recipe – the fish with the ingredients for the breading, the toppings for the tacos, and the items needed to make the fish taco sauce. Here is what you will need…

  • Buttermilk: helps marinate the fish and helps the breading stick to the fish pieces
  • Cod: the fish should be cut into strips that are 1″ by 3″, see section below for choosing good fish
  • Flour: main component for the breading on the fish
  • Seasonings: smoked paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper
  • Peanut Oil: has a neutral flavor, is very affordable and has a high smoke point so that fish cooks quickly
    • TIP: Use corn oil, canola oil or vegetable oil as a substitute if needed.
  • Butter: combines with the oil to pan fry the fish pieces
  • Corn Tortillas: Vista Hermosa brand is our favorite for corn tortillas
a photo of several pieces of lightly battered, golden brown fried fish

Toppings:

  • Green and Purple Cabbage: adds freshness
  • Limes: adds acidity
  • Cilantro: adds flavor and freshness
  • Jalapeno Slices: adds heat
  • Avocado: adds creaminess and flavor

For the Sauce

  • Seasonings: garlic powder and smoked paprika
  • Cilantro: adds flavor and color
  • Mayonnaise: adds creaminess
  • Sour Cream: adds creaminess
  • Lime Juice: adds acidity, fresh limes are always preferred

NOTE: If you want to add some heat to the sauce, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of sriracha sauce.

The measurements for all the ingredients can be found in the recipe card below so keep scrolling for all the details.

a photo of several fish tacos sitting side by side on a plate topped with shredded cabbage, sliced avocados and jalapenos and a creamy sauce

How to Choose Good Fish for Fish Tacos

When you are picking out fish for fish tacos, you want it to be firm in texture, and even in color with no darkened areas. It should appear moist and almost look translucent. Another tried and true way to check the quality of fish is to smell it. There should be no fishy smell.

What are the Best Tortillas for Fish Tacos?

We are obsessed with Vista Hermosa brand of corn tortillas. They hold up well and don’t crumble like so many corn tortillas do.

a photo of several homemade fish tacos sitting next to each other on a plate topped with sliced jalapenos, avocados, shredded green and purple cabbage and white fish taco sauce

How to Make Fish Tacos

Making fish tacos at home is actually quite easy. We are going to start by prepping and frying the fish, then we will assemble the tacos with bright fresh toppings and the most delicious fish taco sauce. Here are the basic steps…

  1. Pour the buttermilk in a bowl and add the fish.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the breading in a shallow dish.
  3. Get some peanut oil heating in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. See section below for using an air fryer.
  4. Take the fish, one piece at a time, from the buttermilk and dredge it lightly in the flour mixture.
  5. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt, then place the fish pieces in the pan. Let them cook until they are golden and gently flip each piece and cook them for another minute or two.
    • TIP: Don’t crowd the fish. You will need to cook the fish in batches.
  6. Remove the fish to a plate lined with a warmed paper towel and sprinkle them with salt. Repeat all these steps until all the fish is cooked.
  7. Warm the tortillas in a separate cast iron skillet. Add a piece or two of fish to each tortilla and then add the toppings and sauce.
  8. For the sauce, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

The complete instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

a photo of several lightly breaded golden pieces of fish sitting in a piece of brown parchment paper

Can I Use an Air Fryer for the Fish?

Yes, an air fryer works great for cooking the fish for fish tacos. Heat the air fryer to 350 degrees and drizzle the dredged fish with a little olive oil or non stick spray. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Open the fryer and add a little pat of butter to each top, cook 2-3 minutes more. Remove from the air fryer and serve with the warmed tortillas, toppings and fish taco sauce.

What to Eat with Fish Tacos

These fish tacos go great the just about an Mexican side dish. Some of our favorites are…

a photo of a fish taco with golden tender fish topped with shredded cabbage, slice jalapenos, chopped cilantro a creamy taco sauce.

Additional Fish Taco Toppings

The toppings are always my favorite part of tacos! Here are some other options:

How to Store Fish Tacos

Tacos don’t store well once they have been assembled, so if you know you are going to have leftovers, store everything separately. Everything will keep for up to 2-3 days in separate airtight containers.

Reheat the fish in a skillet on the stove top. Do not reheat the fish in microwave. The microwave just cooks too quickly with too high of heat for fish. The fish will end up rubbery and tough.

a photo of a golden pan fried piece of fish in a corn tortilla topped with shredded cabbage, sliced jalapenos and a creamy sauce.

These fish tacos are made with lightly breaded pan fried white flaky fish and topped with fresh ingredients and a delightful creamy fish taco sauce. They are easy to make, fresh and dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes.

More Taco Recipes to Try:

Easy Homemade Fish Tacos Recipe

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Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Pound Cod, or other firm white-fleshed fish, cut into strips about ½" wide by 3" long
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 Cup Peanut Oil, plus a splash more for greasing pan
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Corn Tortillas
  • 2 Cups Green and Purple Cabbage, shredded
  • Limes
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeno Slices
  • Avocado

For the Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Cilantro, minced
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream, or mexican crema
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

Instructions

  • Pour buttermilk into a bowl and add the fish. Set aside.
    1/2 Cup Buttermilk, 1 Pound Cod
  • In a shallow dish, combine the flour, smoked paprika, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
    1/2 Cup Flour, 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper
  • Pour 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil into a 12-inch cast iron frying pan and place over medium-high heat until it shimmers or use an air fryer – see note*
    1/4 Cup Peanut Oil
  • Remove the fish pieces from the buttermilk and dredge them lightly through the flour mixture, shaking to remove excess.
  • Add the butter to the pan and let it melt. Place some fish pieces in the oil, without crowding them, and cook until deep golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a fish spatula gently and carefully flip and cook for 1 minute more.
    2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Remove to a warmed, paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining fish.
  • Warm the tortillas in the empty and wiped out cast iron pan and then add a little fish, sauce, and toppings!
    Corn Tortillas, 2 Cups Green and Purple Cabbage, Limes, Cilantro, Jalapeno Slices, Avocado

For the Sauce

  • Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
    1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, 1 Tablespoon Cilantro, 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise, 1/2 Cup Sour Cream, 1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

Notes

Air Fryer Instructions – Heat to 350 and drizzle the dredged fish with a little olive oil or non stick spray. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Open the fryer and add a little pat of butter to each top, cook 2-3 minutes more. Remove and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tacosCalories: 444kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 24gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 280mgPotassium: 664mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 933IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 105mgIron: 2mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: Over 500 Family Dinner Recipes Ideas

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a photo of a fish taco with golden tender fish topped with shredded cabbage, slice jalapenos, chopped cilantro a creamy taco sauce.