Fire In The Taco Shell: Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos

I’ve been making Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos for years, and they always get rave reviews! The combination of fresh-caught fish and zesty spices is a match made in heaven. The flavors meld together beautifully, and the result is a delicious, filling meal. Plus, it’s surprisingly easy to make! Whether you’re grilling outdoors or indoors, these Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos are sure to become a family favorite.

Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos Recipe

Prep Time

25 mins

Cook Time

8 mins

Additional Time

17 mins

Total Time

50 mins


3 servings

Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos


  • 3 (6-ounce) white fish fillets (such as tilapia, cod, or mahi mahi)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges


  • Preheat an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan to medium-high heat.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Rub the spice mixture onto both sides of the fish fillets.
  • Place the fish fillets on the preheated grill or grill pan and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the fish and cook for an additional 4 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
  • While the fish is cooking, warm the tortillas on the grill or in a skillet over medium-high heat, about 1 minute per side.
  • Once the fish is cooked, remove from the heat and flake into small pieces using a fork.
  • To assemble the tacos, place a few pieces of fish in each warmed tortilla. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cotija cheese, and cilantro.
  • Squeeze a lime wedge over each taco, if desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 313
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Sodium: 721mg
  • Cholesterol: 48mg
  • Fiber: 3g
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What types of fish work best for spicy grilled fish tacos?

The types of fish that work best for spicy grilled fish tacos include tilapia, mahi-mahi, cod, and salmon. These types of fish have a mild flavor that will allow the spices used to enhance the flavor of the tacos. Tilapia and cod are especially good choices because they are both flaky and mild, while mahi-mahi and salmon are both thicker and can hold up to the spicier flavors.

When selecting a fish, it is important to look for a firm fish with a bright color, as this indicates that it is fresh. Additionally, it is best to purchase wild-caught fish as this is the most sustainable option.

When grilling the fish for the tacos, it is important to season it with spices that will complement the fish. For a spicy grilled fish taco, a combination of cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, and paprika will give the fish a nice kick. Other spices that work well include ancho chili powder, coriander, and cayenne pepper.

Once the fish is cooked, it can be served in tortillas with toppings such as salsa, guacamole, lettuce, and sour cream. The combination of the mild fish with the flavorful spices, and the other toppings, will create a delicious and spicy grilled fish taco.

What are the key ingredients for a flavorful marinade?

The key ingredients for a flavorful marinade are acid, oil, and spices. Acid helps to tenderize the fish, oil adds richness and helps to keep the fish moist, and spices add flavor and complexity.

When making a marinade for fish tacos, a good combination of these ingredients can produce an incredibly flavorful mixture. For an acid ingredient, consider adding citrus juice such as lime or lemon. The oil can be olive oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil, depending on your preference. To add flavor, you can use a combination of garlic, onion, cilantro, and chili powder. Additionally, you may want to add some sweetness to the marinade by adding honey or brown sugar.

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The longer the marinade sits on the fish, the more intense the flavor will be. For optimal flavor, try to let the fish marinate for at least an hour or two before cooking. When ready to cook, place the fish on the grill and let it cook for a few minutes on each side.

Once cooked, the fish can be used to create delicious and flavorful grilled fish tacos.

What are some tips for grilling fish tacos to perfection?

Start by marinating the fish. To get the most flavor, use a marinade with a few simple ingredients like garlic, olive oil, lime juice, and a variety of seasonings. Let the fish marinate for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

  • Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel before placing the fish on the grill.
  • Grill the fish for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until it is cooked through. Use a spatula to turn the fish to ensure it does not stick to the grill.
  • While the fish is cooking, prepare the taco shells. Heat a skillet over medium heat and lightly toast the taco shells for 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Place the cooked fish in the taco shells, add your favorite toppings, and serve.
  • To make the tacos extra flavorful, add a few drops of hot sauce or chili powder to the fish marinade. This will give the tacos a slight kick of heat.

What type of toppings pair well with spicy grilled fish tacos?

Fresh, crunchy toppings are a must when it comes to spicy grilled fish tacos. The heat of the fish can be balanced out with cooling and flavorful ingredients like diced tomatoes, shredded cabbage, creamy avocados, and tangy cheese. To make these tacos even more flavorful, add a dollop of sour cream or a drizzle of hot sauce. A hint of lime juice adds a bright and refreshing taste, while diced jalapenos add a kick of heat. Finally, top off your tacos with a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro for an herby flavor. With these toppings, your spicy grilled fish tacos will be bursting with flavor.

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What types of sides can accompany spicy grilled fish tacos?

There are many delicious side dishes that can accompany spicy grilled fish tacos. These sides can include salads, rice, salsa, guacamole, refried beans, and more. Here are some of the most popular sides to pair with spicy grilled fish tacos:

Salads: Salads are a great way to add freshness and balance to the spicy tacos. A simple green salad with a light citrus dressing can work well. Or, for something heartier, try a corn and black bean salad with a creamy ranch dressing.

Rice: Rice is a classic accompaniment to tacos. To make it more flavorful, try adding in some cilantro and lime juice.

Salsa: Salsa is a must-have for any taco night. Make sure to choose one that packs enough heat to stand up to the spicy tacos.

Guacamole: Avocado is the perfect way to add a creamy texture and flavor to tacos. Try mixing in some diced tomatoes, jalapeños, red onions, and cilantro to make a delicious guacamole.

Refried Beans: Refried beans are a classic side for tacos. Try making them extra flavorful by adding in some chilies, garlic, and cumin.

No matter what sides you choose to accompany your spicy grilled fish tacos, they are sure to be a hit. With the right combination of ingredients, you can create a meal that is both flavorful and satisfying.

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