Seared Cod Fish Tacos with Sweet and Tangy Slaw
Seared Cod Fish Tacos loaded with a sweet and tangy slaw and lots of chipotle sauce! These grilled fish tacos are loaded with flavor and packed with protein. Grill cod, tilapia, or any other white fish of choice, toss together with my house cabbage slaw, heat a few corn tortillas over an open flame, and serve this alongside a batch of my quick chipotle sauce! Guaranteed to be a hit all around!
Fish tacos like you’ve never had!
These fish tacos are straight up inspired by a local restaurant from way back when Anees and I met.
I don’t think I’ve tried anything off their menu other than the fish tacos, because who could pass up a chance to have them, be it the summer or the deep of winter. That place has long since closed down, but these cod fish tacos have been on repeat over here for the last decade.
Up until recently, I don’t know why I didn’t think to share it with you. Sure this is the lightened up, can-have-every-week sort of recipe. The original recipe had fried fish pieces, and I couldn’t fathom doing that on a weekly bases. Not because I don’t love fried fish tacos, lord knows I can’t deny that. I just hate frying things because it’s always such a mess!
But pan searing the fish in a skillet? That we can do.
And in all honesty, you could probably season the fish with anything you like. The real star of this show is the house cabbage slaw. Pro tip: cut down on the prep time for the slaw by buying pre-shredded angel hair cabbage, I almost always do! It’s sweet, tangy, a little spicy, and it pairs so well with the fish taco sauce.
Ingredients for the best cod fish tacos recipe:
- Cod Filets: You could also use tilapia, dover sole, or any other lean white fish that you prefer here instead.
- Greek Yogurt: I’m using full fat greek yogurt and a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise to keep these fish tacos on the lighter side! Feel free to make my chipotle sauce from my Baja shrimp tacos if you want something more mayonnaise-based. Feel free to swap the greek yogurt with some sour cream if you want to do that!
- Mayonnaise: Keeping things on the lighter side means we’ll only use 2 tablespoons of mayo for the sauce.
- Citrus: We’re using a whole lot of limes in this recipe! We’ll use a bit of fresh lime juice in the chipotle sauce and then you’ll also need some of the tangy slaw recipe. You’ll also need a tbsp of orange juice. Feel free to use freshly squeezed or the stuff in the bottle.
- Seasonings: You’ll need chipotle chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and tajin seasoning. Tajin seasoning may not be available everywhere so you can also use a chili lime seasoning (TJs makes one as well.) Here in Texas Tajin seasoning is sold in the fruit section of our grocery stores as well as the hot sauce aisle! You’ll also need some kosher salt.
- Oils: You’ll need an oil such as avocado or olive oil to cook the fish in and to use for the slaw. I also like to add a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil to the slaw! It gives it the most delicious smoky flavor.
- Serrano: I like to finely mince up a serrano with the seeds and ribs removed and add it to the slaw for the tiniest kick! Feel free to use jalapeños here if you’d like or even a dash of cayenne pepper instead.
- Tortillas: Use whatever you prefer! The restaurant we went to serve these wrapped in a corn tortilla followed by flour tortillas. However, I usually just serve these in a single tortilla. We get the flour and corn mix!
- Cilantro: We’ll use a substantial amount of cilantro for the cabbage slaw. I know not everyone loves cilantro, so feel free to omit it or use parsley in place.
- Honey or agave: Just a squeeze goes into the slaw to balance out the tart elements and the heat.
- Red bell pepper + red onions: Adds a bite and the most delicious natural sweetness to the slaw. These ingredients might not sound like they belong in a cabbage slaw, but they totally do! I like to slice both of these on my favorite mandoline.
- Shredded cabbage: the base of our slaw! I use angel-hair green cabbage but feel free to use whatever color you like here.
How to make fish tacos with cabbage slaw:
- Make the sauce. Combine the yogurt, mayo, a squeeze of lime juice, and chipotle chili powder in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and adjust with more chipotle or lime juice as desired. I usually go a full 2 tablespoons of lime juice because I love the acidic punch from the sauce!
- Sear the fish. Combine the garlic powder, ground cumin and tajin seasoning in a small bowl. Pat down the cod loin/pieces until dry and sprinkle this seasoning all over to coat all sides. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and cook the fish for 3-5 minutes per side until it’s opaque and no longer raw in the center. Flake the fish with forks.
- Make the slaw. Combine sesame oil, lime zest, juice, orange juice, seasonings, minced serrano pepper, and agave in a mason jar or a small bowl. Taste and adjust with agave or salt as desired. Toss the cabbage, red bell peppers, onions, and cilantro in a bowl. Pour the dressing on top and toss to combine. Taste and adjust with more seasonings as desired.
- Load it up. Heat the tortillas over an open flame – that the only way I do it! Then top with the prepared slaw, flaked fish, and pour the sauce over the fish. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top and enjoy!
If you like this recipe, you might also like these taco recipes:
- Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Smashed Avocados
- Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos
- Cheesy Birria Tacos (Quesabirria)
- Ancho Chicken Street Tacos
- Blackened Salmon Tacos with Jalapeño Lime Crema
Fish + Chipotle Sauce:
- 1 (5.3 ounce) container Greek Yogurt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 ¼ pounds cod, tilapia, dover sole, etc.
- ½ teaspoon EACH: garlic powder AND ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Tajin seasoning (or any chili lime seasoning mix)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 8 tortillas (corn, flour, or mix)
Sweet and Tangy Slaw:
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
- Zest of 1 lime + 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: garlic powder AND kosher salt
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed + minced
- 4-5 teaspoons agave (or honey)
- ~4 cups shredded cabbage (any color)
- ½ red bell pepper cut into strips
- ⅓ cup EACH: sliced red onions AND chopped cilantro
- SAUCE: Add the yogurt, mayo, 1 tbsp lime juice, and chipotle chili powder to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust with more chipotle or lime juice as desired.
- FISH: Pat the fish loins/filets dry. Combine the garlic powder, cumin and Tajin in a bowl and sprinkle the seasonings over the loins making sure to coat both sides. Heat a non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and cook the fish for roughly 3-5 minutes on each side until the fish turns opaque, taking care not to over/under cook it. Remove from heat. Flake fish with fork.
- SLAW: Add the sesame oil, lime zest + juice, orange juice, minced serrano, garlic powder, salt, and agave to a bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust with more agave or salt as desired. Add the shredded cabbage, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to coat. Taste and adjust as desired.
- ASSEMBLE AND SERVE: Heat the tortillas over an open flame, if desired. Add some slaw to each tortilla, top with crumbled fish, and drizzle with sauce before serving with additional lime wedges.