OMG! Just in time for Cinco De Mayo, AS IF you even need a reason to eat a taco! Our crew eats a ton of tacos. Soft tacos, hard tacos, walking tacos, street tacos, pulled pork tacos, and our big favorite of the bunch is fish tacos!
Fish tacos are the bomb! These works of art are full of flavor and texture that delight your tastebuds. Of course, the fried crunchy fish is not to be outdone by the layers of additional flavors that bring it all home. The sweet chili-dressed cabbage slaw was layered with a touch of cotija cheese and then the creaminess of the avocado cilantro cream. This is followed by the secret weapon that brings these fish tacos to the next level, topping the taco with pickled jalapeno and red onions! Boom! Flavor bomb!
You can make fish tacos with any fish, but I prefer to use a nice white fish. I have used cod in the past, but wholly heck the prices of the tenderloin on the cod, like all the groceries these days, have skyrocketed. So, I went to the next option in the seafood case and used tilapia here.
We could debate whether frying the fish is healthy or not but honestly (eye roll) why waste the effort. If frying is not your jam, I am sure there are plenty of other unfried taco recipes. Drop the fish in that hot oil for my crew and get these tacos ready to eat!
- 1 Ingredients for Crispy Fish Tacos With Slaw
- 2 How to make the best crispy fish tacos
- 3 All about the slaw
- 4 Cilantro Avocado Crema
- 5 Pickled jalapenos and red onions
- 6 Batter up these crispy fish tacos
- 7 Some Assembly Required
- 8 TIPS & TRICKS:
- 9 Best Crispy Fish Tacos With Slaw
Ingredients for Crispy Fish Tacos With Slaw
• 1 small head of green cabbage
• 1 bottle Sweet chili sauce
• 3 limes juiced, 1 zested
• 1 avocado, chopped
• Sour cream or Greek yogurt, or non-dairy yogurt Vegan option
• 1 bunch of cilantro
• 1 medium red onion
• 4 small jalapenos
• 12oz of Seasoned Rice Vinegar
• Kosher Salt.
• Tsp of fresh lime juice
• 1 Quart of Vegetable oil for frying (*)
• 3-4 eggs (*)
• Panko bread crumbs (*)
• 1 pound tilapia, raw
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Favorite Taco Seasoning
• 8 tortillas, preferably warmed with char
• cotija cheese, for crumbling (*)
(*) Not pictured
How to make the best crispy fish tacos
As I mentioned there are several components that need to be prepped before you even get to work on that amazing fried Tilapia fish for these fish tacos.
All about the slaw
Next, we are going to tackle the slaw. You could buy a pre-sliced bag of cabbage if you wanted. I traditionally purchase my own head of cabbage and slice it thinly because it is so much cheaper and fresher. But hey, it’s a no-judgment zone, so you do YOU here.
To the bowl with the sliced cabbage, you are going to add fresh lime and sweet chili sauce. The sweet chili sauce can be found in the international section of your grocery store. Just a couple of tablespoons here, and a touch of salt and you are good to go. If you add too much you will get limp cabbage that no one will care for so exercise caution.
Cilantro Avocado Crema
Ok, so almost there…. Now you are going to make the cilantro avocado crema. Into a bowl, add the yogurt (can be non-dairy yogurt, Silk brand makes a good one we use), avocado, cilantro, lime, and stir. It helps to cream the avocado first before adding it to reduce some of the clumps.
Pickled jalapenos and red onions
First, let’s start by pickling our jalapeno and red onions.
Super easy, just get the seasoned rice vinegar, salt, and fresh lime juice in a small bowl. Take your red onion and cut it in half lengthwise and slice the onion into very thin pieces, add it to the bowl.
Then, glove up because you do not want to have the jalapeno oil on your hands and risk touching your face! You are going to slice the jalapeno into little circles slices. Try to keep them even in thickness, and I prefer to keep them a bit thinner because they ARE still jalapeno, so a little bit goes a long way. Now add these to the bowl, give the bowl a good stir and set it aside for a least 30 minutes.
Batter up these crispy fish tacos
Here fishy, fishy! Time to get the fish battered up!
Heat oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat to 350 degrees.
While oil is heating, clean and dry tilapia and cut into 2-inch pieces.
Season the pieces with your favorite taco seasoning. As I mentioned, we eat tacos so much, that I always have a mason jar in which I store homemade taco seasoning. You can simply buy it in a packet or use this recipe from the recipe critic on which I tend to lean. Find it here: The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning | The Recipe Critic
Back to it, dip in the egg mixture and then into the panko. Pat the fish in the panko to ensure each piece is covered completely with panko. Panko provides the best crunch trust me!
Test oil temperature by adding a few drops of panko to the oil. If the Panko begins to bubble and float you are good to go!
Lower fish pieces carefully into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. You want to watch your oil temp here. You will have to adjust the heat up or down to keep the oil at that 350-degree target.
Fry until golden brown for about 3- 4 minutes max! Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and salt to taste. Keep repeating the process until you have beautiful fried fish pieces ready for assembling.
Since I have such a large crew, I cook about 4-5 pounds of tilapia. I mean these fish tacos fly off the platter. So, this process takes me a bit of time, but I love to see the gang enjoy the effort I put into it.
Some Assembly Required
Now assemble the fish tacos!
While, a preference, we like to warm our tortillas. The best way is to take your tortillas to the flame of a gas stove if you are fortunate to have one to get some char on them. Be careful of course! If not, you can use an iron skillet or large frying pan and warm them up.
Fill tortillas with fish. Top with slaw, a touch of Cotija cheese, drizzle the avocado cream, and add the pickled onions and jalapeno, for perfection. I usually serve this with Mexican rice and sometimes even some spicy black beans. I will be putting those recipes up in the future so keep an eye out for them.
If you are looking for an appetizer starter for this meal, check out my Easiest Mexican Dip With Just 4 Ingredients, a family favorite served with your favorite chip!
If you are in the mood for seafood and want to see other options, my Cod With Lemon Butter Sauce In 20 Minutes, Authentic Asian Teriyaki Stir-Fry With Shrimp, or the Salmon Glazed In An Honey Orange Sauce In 20 Minutes will not disappoint either.
TIPS & TRICKS:
• Mix and then take a piece of Saran Wrap and cover the crema itself to ensure no surface area is exposed. This will keep the avocado from browning.
• Take your tilapia out of the package and place it on a cooling rack over a sheet pan. Pat the filets to get the extra moisture out and then place them in the refrigerator unwrapped while you start to prep the other items. The airflow will help dry out the fish, so the batter adheres.
• After you batter your fish, place it in the freezer for about 5 minutes or so before frying it. This helps the batter rest, and I have found it to help the batter stick!
Sweet Chili Slaw
- 2cups sliced green cabbage
- 3tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 1lime juiced
Cilantro Avocado Crema
- 1avocado, chopped
- 1lime, juiced + zested
- 3tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt, or non-dairy yogurt Vegan option
- 3tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Pickled Red Onion & Jalapeno
- 1 medium red onion, sliced lengthwise and sliced thinly
- 4 small jalapenos
- 12oz of Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 2 Tsp of Kosher Salt.
- 2 Tsp of fresh lime juice
Panko Battered Tilapia
- 1 Quart of Vegetable oil for frying.
- 3-4 eggs, scrambled in a pie dish with a bit of water.
- 2 Cups Panko for dredge
- 1 pound tilapia, raw
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Favorite Taco Seasoning
- 8 tortillas, preferably warmed with char - Serving Size is 2 Tacos per
- Cotija cheese, for crumbling
1. Combine the ingredients for the Sweet Chili Slaw. Mix well and refrigerate.
2. Combine all the ingredients for the cilantro avocado crema. Mix and then take a piece of Saran Wrap and cover the crema itself to be sure no surface area is exposed. This will keep the avocado from browning. Refrigerate.
3. Pickle the red onion and the jalapeno by adding all the ingredients listed and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
4. Heat oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat to 350 degrees.
5. While oil is heating, clean and dry tilapia and cut into 2-inch pieces.
6. Season the tilapia pieces with your favorite taco seasoning.
7. Dredge in egg mixture and then the panko. Pat the fish in the Panko to be sure each piece is covered completely with Panko.
8. Test oil temperature by adding a few drops of Panko to the oil. If the batter begins to float you are good to go!
9. Lower fish pieces carefully into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
10. Fry until golden brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes max! Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and salt to taste. 11. Warm tortillas either on the open flame of a stove-top or in a large frying pan to soften the exterior and provide char.
12. Fill tortillas with fish. Top with slaw, a touch of Cotija cheese, drizzle the avocado cream, and add the pickled onions and jalapeno, for perfection.