Blackened Fish Tacos with tender chunks of white fish encrusted in a flavor-packed seasoning and drizzled with a creamy cilantro lime sauce. These are the fish tacos of your dreams!
These easy fish tacos are a healthier choice for taco night or a great way to lighten up your game day menu.
We are big lovers of mahi mahi and pretty much obsessed with tacos in this house, so it was a natural thing for me to bring them together in this completely crave-worthy Blackened Fish Tacos recipe.
Tender, mild fish with a kick from Cajun seasoning, crunchy cabbage, creamy cilantro lime sauce and chunks of avocado. This combination is so satisfying that a sprinkling of Monterey Jack cheese is totally optional.
We hail from California where fish tacos are just about as common as burgers and fries. We’ve enjoyed the best of the best from Santa Barbara all the way up to the Northern California coast. The good news is that it’s easy to recreate these flavors at home and Blackened Fish Tacos are pretty darned healthy too!
You’ll be craving these tasty tacos over and over again.
Table of contents
- Versatility – A variety of types of fish work well for fish tacos, depending on what you find available.
- Spice – You can easily control the level of spice by making your own Cajun seasoning mix.
- Wholesome – Blackened Fish Tacos are a delicious, family-friendly way to incorporate more seafood into your diet.
- Servings – Perfect for serving up to six or double the recipe to feed a crowd.
- Fish Taco Sauce – The easy Cilantro Lime Sauce is completely irresistible!
- White fish fillets – Skinless white fish like mahi mahi, halibut, or cod. See the FAQ section below for more fish tips.
- Oil – I use olive oil but you can use a neutral, high smoke point oil like vegetable or canola oil, if you prefer. You can add a pat of butter to the oil for more flavor, if you’d like.
- Blackened seasoning marinade – The Cajun seasoning consists of onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme and oregano, salt, pepper, and a little cayenne pepper. This powerful blend is combined with a little olive oil and lime juice to create the marinade.
- Tortillas -We love fish tacos with toasted street taco size flour tortillas. These little tortillas are available in flour, corn, and a 50/50 blend. I like them all!
- Cilantro lime sauce – This completely irresistible sauce includes light or regular sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and minced garlic.
- Optional for serving – Bagged coleslaw mix or angel hair cabbage, avocado, finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.
I’ve included a scaled down version of my Kickin’ Cajun Seasoning Mix for this recipe but I always keep a big batch in my pantry. In addition to these tacos and my Blackened Mahi Mahi, I use it as an all-purpose seasoning for grilled meats, to season burgers, meatloaf and so much more!
How to Make Blackened Fish Tacos
- Combine the seasonings with olive oil and lime juice in a plastic storage bag.
- Add the fish, moving it around to coat it with the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the marinated fish. Cook, undisturbed, until well seared on one side.
- Flip the fish over and continue to cook until completely cooked through and internal temperature reads 140 degrees F, an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Transfer the blackened fish to a cutting board and slice it, then use a fork to chunk up the slices into smaller pieces that will fit well in the tortillas. Squeeze the juice from half a lime over the fish.
The Cilantro Lime Sauce
This crazy-good sauce could not be easier to make! Just add the sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and minced garlic to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate the cilantro lime sauce until you’re ready to serve.
Toasting the Tortillas
Toast tortillas in a dry nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 to 60 seconds, per side, or until nicely toasted and golden brown in spots. I can fit 4 street taco size tortillas in my large 14-inch nonstick skillet.
A cloth tortilla warmer works really well to keep batches of tortillas warm until you’re ready to serve.
Assemble the Blackened Fish Tacos
Load up the toasted tortillas with chunks of blackened fish, cabbage, avocado, pico de gallo, and a drizzle of creamy cilantro lime sauce.
FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
A skinless mild white fish like mahi mahi, halibut or cod is best for blackened fish tacos. Mahi mahi is by far my favorite choice. It has an excellent, firm texture that holds up well while cooking and wonderful flavor. Any mild white fish you love will work well.
Yes! I buy packages of individually vacuum sealed mahi mahi and cod fillets from Costco. It is super convenient to be able to thaw out the exact number of fillets I need. Just be sure to safely and completely thaw the fish overnight in the refrigerator before starting.
If you order blackened fish at a restaurant, it will typically have a mild to medium spice level. One of the benefits to making blackened fish tacos at home is that you can easily control the level of heat in the Cajun seasoning by decreasing or increasing the cayenne pepper to suit your taste.
To create a nice crust, the best method for cooking blackened fish is directly in fat in a hot skillet. But, if you’re trying to reduce your use of oil, I’ve included alternate instructions for cooking the fish on the grill or in an air fryer on the recipe card below.
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Blackened Fish Tacos
- 1 ½ pounds skinless white fish fillets, mahi mahi, halibut, or cod
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the Blackened Seasoning Marinade
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lime, halved and divided
Cilantro Lime Sauce
- ½ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ½ of a bunch of cilantro, thick stems removed
- ½ jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
For the Rest
- 12 to 14 small street taco size (4½-inch) flour tortillas, (or corn for gluten free)
- Bagged coleslaw mix (no dressing)
- Finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Pico de gallo
- Lime wedges
Marinate the Fish
- Combine the seasonings in a shallow dish or gallon size plastic storage bag. Add ¼ cup olive oil and the juice from half a lime and whisk until well combined. Add the fish and toss to coat it well with the marinade. Cover the dish or seal the bag and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
Make the Cilantro Lime Sauce
- While the fish is marinating, add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Stovetop Method (see alternate methods below)
- Place a large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When hot, add the marinated fish. Cook, undisturbed, for several minutes, until well seared on one side. Flip the fish over and continue to cook until completely cooked through and internal temperature reads 140 degrees F, an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Transfer the fish to a cutting board to slice it, then use a fork to chunk up the slices into smaller pieces to fit the tortillas. Squeeze the juice from half a lime over the pieces of blackened fish.
Toast the Tortillas
- Toast tortillas in a dry nonstick skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat for 30 to 60 seconds, per side, or until nicely toasted and golden brown in spots. Transfer toasted tortillas to a tortilla warmer and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Assemble the Fish Tacos
- Serve the fish on toasted flour tortillas with toppings and drizzled with sauce.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Cilantro Lime Sauce adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron