Blackened Fish Tacos
If you’re a fan of fish tacos, trust me, you need to try this recipe. Made with flaky white fish pan-fried in blackening seasoning, layered with crunchy slaw, and topped with zesty cilantro avocado crema, this blackened fish tacos recipe is packed full of flavors and textures, while being quick and easy to prepare.
What is blackened fish made of?
Blackened fish is made of blackening spice using the blackening cooking method. Blackening spice is a Cajun seasoning made of a combination of spices and herbs with a spicy taste, while blackening is a cooking method, popular in Cajun cuisine, that involves dipping fish in butter, before coating it in blackening seasoning and cooking it in a very hot cast-iron skillet.
Traditional blackening spice is a combination of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, peppercorns, and a bit of chili pepper, however, there are many different interpretations of blackening seasoning today, including variations with smoked paprika, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper. Regardless of the exact mixture, blackening seasoning is a punchy but not too spicy seasoning that works well on just about everything from steak to tofu to chicken to seafood and is a great way to increase the flavor in fish tacos without hitting the deep fryer.
Blackening seasoning is one of my go-to spice mixtures when I want to create a lot of flavor without much effort. I suggest mixing a large batch of the seasoning and storing it in a jar for quick, easy, and flavorful weekday meals.
What type of fish is best for fish tacos?
While any firm white fish that can hold up over heat will work well in tacos, each fish will provide its own unique flavor and texture.
- Cod: One of the most popular types of fish for tacos, especially deep-fried, cod is the traditional choice for Baja California-style fish tacos.
- Haddock: Another popular fish for deep-frying, haddock is a lean fish that flakes nicely after cooking, which makes it great for blackened fish tacos.
- Snapper: This lean and moist fish has a firm texture, which is great for grilling and pan-frying.
- Mahi Mahi: With a fairly firm texture, although not quite steak-like, this fish is great for tacos and has a slightly sweet, mildly pronounced flavor.
- Halibut: A great option for grilling or pan-frying as it has a steak-like quality.
- Tilapia: While tilapia is not as firm as other white fish, it is an inexpensive fish that also works well in blackened fish tacos.
In addition to the above, any white fish local to your area will arguably work well, not to mention, that you can also make fish tacos with salmon or shrimp.
You can also use fresh or frozen fish for tacos, however, if you’re using frozen fish, ensure that it’s completely thawed before adding the seasoning and blackening it in the pan. If the fish is still frozen it will not cook well or yield the best texture or flavor results.
Regardless of what fish you choose, this blackened fish tacos recipe is a well-balanced meal that is complete with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and full of vibrant colors and flavors.
How to Make Blackened Fish Tacos
Blackened fish tacos are incredibly quick and easy to make and only require a few simple steps:
- Combine the spices to create the blackening seasoning.
- Gently pat the fish dry, sprinkle with blackening spice, and rub into the fish until well coated.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy bottom pan with oil and cook the fish untiled blackened and flaky.
- Add the blackened fish to wheat or corn tortillas and top with toppings of your choice.
- Serve and enjoy!
Honestly, even the most beginner of cooks can easily prepare blackened fish and create a delicious and healthy taco dish that is impressive enough to feed a crowd!
Toppings for Blackened Fish Tacos:
As with any taco recipe, there are so many toppings you can add, however, some of my personal favorite toppings for fish tacos include:
- Avocado crema (a mixture of avocado, sour cream, garlic, and cilantro)
- Cabbage slaw
- Shredded cabbage
- Fresh cilantro
- Pickled red onion
- Cotija cheese
- Sliced jalapenos
- Mango salsa
- Tomato salsa
- Pico de Gallo
- Diced tomatoes
- Baja Sauce (a mixture of peppers, parmesan cheese, spices, and mayonnaise)
In addition to tacos, blackened fish works well as a main course, on a bed of rice, or topped on a salad. Not to mention, the fish can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge, so it also makes a great meal prep idea.
Is blackened fish high in sodium?
The sodium level of blackened fish depends on the salt content of the blackening seasoning. Fortunately, when you make homemade blackening season, this is highly adaptable, and you can adjust the salt content to meet your personal needs. This recipe contains 208.1mg of sodium per 2-ounce portion of fish and 231.8mg of sodium per taco.
More Healthy Blackened Fish Recipes:
These healthy grilled blackened fish tacos are quick and easy to make. Topped with avocado sauce and crunchy coleslaw this recipe is full of flavors, textures, and colors.
- 1 lb. cod, or firm white fish
- 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
- 1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 cups cabbage, shredded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Black pepper
- 8 corn tortillas
- Cilantro, roughly chopped
- Place the fish on a cutting board and pat gently with a paper towel to remove any excess water. If you purchased a whole fillet of fish, slice it into smaller fillets.
- In a small bowl, combine the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cayenne (optional) and salt and stir to combine.
- Once combined, transfer the spice mixture to a plate and then transfer the fish fillet to the plate, one at a time, turning them in the spice mixture until they are well coated, and then set them aside.
- In a large bowl, add the olive oil, lime juice and a pinch of salt, whisk to combine, then add the shredded cabbage and toss to coat it in the mixture. Once complete, taste and adjust seasoning as needed, and then set aside.
- In a small food processor or blender, add the avocado, sour cream, lime juice, garlic and cilantro and blend until creamy. Set aside.
- Once you’ve prepared the slaw and avocado crema, grill the fish. In a large pan or cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat, warm a bit of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the fish fillets, in batches, and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until just cooked through. Once cooked, remove fish from the pan and set it aside.
- While the fish is cooking, prepare the corn tortillas. Warm a separate pan to medium-high heat. Fill a bowl with room temperature water, quickly dunk the corn tortilla in the water, transfer to the pan, and warm for about 15 to 45 seconds on each side until golden and toasted, using tongs to flip the tortillas, until all of the tortillas are toasted.
- Once the fish and tortillas are ready, assemble the tacos. Layer tortillas with cabbage, blackened fish, avocado crema and a sprinkle of cilantro to serve.
- Serving Size: 1 taco
- Calories: 163 calories
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Fat: 6 gram
- Carbohydrates: 16 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 13 grams