As we headed into the summer months, the biggest recipe request from the PWWB Community was for some solid grilled seafood recipes. So we got to work, creating a few easy yet delicious recipes that I think you’ll be obsessed with, like these Grilled Cod Fish Tacos.
Baja-style fish tacos with crispy fish will forever hold a special place in my heart but, as a home cook, there’s so much to love about grilled fish tacos. Rather than dealing with the fuss of battering & frying fish, all you have to do is whip up an amazing taco seasoning & let the grill do the rest of the work! Since the grill does the heavy lifting, it frees up the perfect amount of time to prep an amazing slaw & creamy, cooling sauce for serving.
And, as a major bonus, it all comes together in about 30 minutes…seriously, what’s not to love about that?!
How to Make the BEST Grilled Fish Tacos, an Easy 3-Part Recipe
These easy grilled fish tacos are deliciously layered with fresh flavors & satisfying textures &, in my mind, that’s why they’re the best. There are 3 main components at play in this recipe:
- SMOKY-SPICED GRILLED COD. Cod fillets, which hold up beautifully on the grill, are generously dusted with a simple homemade taco seasoning & grilled to perfection. If you’ve never grilled fish fillets before, there’s no need to be intimidated – it’s pretty simple, but be sure to check out the Tips & Tricks below!
- GINGER MANGO SLAW. Zesty, slightly sweet, & provides the perfect balance against the smoky grilled cod.
- CREAMY AVOCADO CREMA. The BEST creamy, cooling sauce made with avocado & loads of lime juice.
I have a feeling your Taco Tuesday just got a little tastier! ♡ Read on to learn more about these Grilled Cod Fish Tacos, or jump straight to the recipe & get grilling!
Prepping Cod for Grilled Fish Tacos – Tips & Tricks
Here’s the deal – grilling fish is intimidating! With its notorious reputation for sticking &/or falling apart on the grill, cooking fish on the grill can definitely be tricky but – & there’s a major BUT! here! – these common problems are easily avoided with a couple of simple grilling tips & tricks. There’s no need to feel intimidated!
First, choose the right fish – In my opinion, the best fish for grilled fish tacos is a firm fish with mild flavor that doesn’t overpower the smoky-spiced taco seasoning. Simply put, cod is the perfect fish for this job! If you’d like to try making these grilled fish tacos with another type of fish, swap the cod with mahi mahi, halibut, or tilapia.
Be sure to properly portion it – Smaller portions of cod fillets are easier to handle on the grill & won’t flake apart when you flip them. If your fillet of cod came as one large piece, be sure to slice it into uniformly sized portions have a similar length to the width of your spatula’s turner.
Use the right equipment – Fish is easiest to handle on the grill with a long-handled fish spatula or a thin metal spatula. Personally, I like this BBQ Fish Spatula. Something like this BBQ Turner, which has a very thin profile, also works great.
How to Grill Cod for Fish Tacos (Without Sticking!)
With the above tips & tricks in mind, grilling cod for fish tacos (& avoiding sticking &/or flaking on the grill) is really simple. The grill does all of the work!
Here’s what you’ll do…
- Preheat the grill. The best temperature for grilling cod is in the range of 400-450 degrees F, the ‘medium’ setting on most conventional propane grills.
- Prep the grill grates. Once the grill is hot, be sure to clean the grill grates well. Just before grilling, generously grease the grill grates by oiling a wad of paper towel & running it over the grill grates. While they’re best practices any time you grill, these couple of steps are especially important for grilling delicate proteins like poultry & fish. If you need a refresher, refer to this post for an exact how-to!
- And grill! Place the seasoned cod fillets on the grill grates, directly over the heat. The cod grills up in about 3-4 minutes per side. Use a grill spatula or fish spatula with a thin profile to carefully flip the fillets. (If you want to be really careful, you can spray the spatula with nonstick cooking spray to eliminate any chance of sticking as you flip the fish!)
The grilled cod fillets are ready to pull from the grill as soon as they flake apart easily. You can also use an instant-read thermometer to more precisely check doneness. The internal temperature of the cod fillets should register an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. Transfer them to a plate – it’s taco time!
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What to Serve with Grilled Fish Tacos:
It’s not a good fish taco without a killer slaw & sauce, so that’s exactly what we’ve created to serve with these grilled fish tacos.
Toppings for grilled fish tacos!
First, fish taco slaw. This version is a ginger mango slaw made with thinly sliced cabbage, diced mango, & a simple ginger dressing. The zesty & slightly sweet combination of ginger + mango provides the perfect perfect balance of flavor for the smoky grilled cod, while the crunchy cabbage gives these grilled fish tacos nice texture. (If you don’t love sweet & savory flavors together, give my Everyday Slaw a try.)
The sauce I like serving these grilled cod fish tacos with is a cooling & creamy avocado crema. It’s made by simply blitzing together avocado, sour cream, & lime juice in a food processor. The avocado makes the sauce super creamy – it’s heavenly! (If you avoid dairy, eliminate the sour cream by doubling up on the avocado or try my Cashew Crema, which is completely vegan!)
With the seasoned cod grilled & the fish taco toppings prepped, all that’s left is assembly!
Start with a corn or flour tortilla – whatever you like best. For an added layer of flavor, char the tortillas with your stove burner for a couple of seconds per side. From there, I like spreading the avocado crema over a tortilla, & piling the grilled cod + ginger mango slaw over top.
You could also turn the grilled cod & toppings into an epic cod taco bowl. Serve the grilled cod with black beans & rice (make some green rice if you’re feeling extra fancy!). Top it off with a handful of the ginger mango slaw & a generous dollop of avocado crema. You can’t go wrong!
I can’t wait for you to try these Grilled Cod Tacos! They are just as flavorful as they are easy to prepare – major Taco Tuesday win! If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡
More Recipes Like This:
Grilled Cod Fish Tacos are Taco Tuesday dream! Hearty cod fillets are generously dusted with smoky-spiced homemade taco seasoning, grilled until perfectly tender & flaky, & served in tortillas topped with a zesty ginger mango slaw & creamy + cooling avocado crema. These grilled cod tacos are easy to make, light & healthy, & perfect for weeknight grilling!
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh cod fillet
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- scant 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- scant 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- optional: up to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- for serving, as desired: charred corn tortillas, Ginger Mango Slaw (below) or tangy slaw of choice, Avocado Crema (below) or dairy-free crema, finely chopped cilantro, lime wedges, etc.
for the ginger mango slaw:
- 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
- 1 mango, pitted, peeled & finely diced
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- optional: 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded as desired & thinly sliced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated (about 1 tablespoon grated)
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons agave or honey
for the avocado crema:
- 1 large avocado, pitted & peeled
- optional: 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded as desired & thinly sliced
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1 large, juicy lime, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Preheat the grill for medium direct heat grilling, 400-450 degrees F. Once the grill is hot, clean the grates by scraping away any built up reside.
- Prepare the cod: Cut the cod fillets into uniformly sized pieces, between 3 and 5 inches long. Smaller pieces are easier to handle on the grill & won’t stick when you flip them – aim for sizes no bigger than your thin metal or fish spatula. Pat dry with a paper towel. To a small bowl or jar, add the chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, & garlic powder. Stir or shake to combine. Season the cod with the spice mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, & ground black pepper as desired, ensuring you coat the entire surface of the fish. Set aside.
- Prepare the ginger mango slaw: In a medium bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, diced mango, & sliced green onion. In a small bowl, combine the grated ginger, seasoned rice vinegar, & agave. Season with a pinch of salt. Set slaw and ginger dressing aside until serving.
- Prepare the avocado crema: Combine all listed ingredients in a food processor, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired. Pulse to break up the avocado & garlic, then blend until smooth & creamy. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons water to smooth out texture. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Grill the cod: Just before placing the fish on the grill, generously oil a wad of paper towel. Use grilling tongs to run the oiled paper towel over the grill grates, generously oiling the grates. Place cod fillets directly on the grill grates. Cover & grill 3-4 minutes. Using a thin metal or fish spatula, flip the cod and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, until cod flakes apart easily or the internal temperature reads 140 degrees F. (Tip: Spray your spatula with nonstick cooking spray to help prevent any chance of sticking). Transfer fish to a clean plate.
- Assemble grilled fish tacos & serve: Toss prepared mango slaw mixture with the prepared ginger dressing. Add grilled cod to warmed corn tortillas, layering on the ginger mango slaw & avocado crema. Serve immediately with chopped fresh cilantro & lime wedges, as desired. Enjoy!
- Tips for Grilling Fish: While fish has a notorious reputation for sticking on the grill, sticking is easily avoided with a couple of simple tips:
- Equipment: Fish is easiest to handle on the grill with a long-handled fish spatula or a thin metal spatula. My preferred spatulas, from Williams Sonoma, are linked in the equipment section above.
- Fish prep: Portion the cod fillets into uniformly sized pieces, between 3 and 5 inches long – aim aim for portions no wider than your fish spatula. Smaller portions of cod fillets are easier to handle on the grill & won’t flake apart when you flip them.
- Grill prep: Clean your grill grates well, scraping away any built up residue, before grilling. This is a best practice for whenever you grill, but it’s especially important for grilling delicate proteins like poultry & fish. Refer to this post for exact steps. Just before grilling, generously grease the grill grates by oiling a wad of paper towel & running it over the grill grates. You can also spritz your spatula with nonstick cooking spray to help prevent any chance of sticking as you flip the cod.
- Storage & Reheating: Grilled fish tacos are best enjoyed the day you grill them, though leftovers will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days. Enjoy leftovers cold, or reheat on the stovetop just until warmed through.
- 20-Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for these grilled fish tacos comes from prepping the slaw & avocado crema. Prep either or both in advance for a great head start on your grilled shrimp skewers dinner – it’ll take 20 minutes, tops:
- Prep the ginger mango slaw: Prep veggies as described & transfer to individual airtight containers. Prep the ginger dressing according to Step 3 of Recipe Directions, above, & transfer to an airtight container or jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (10 minutes active prep)
- Prep the avocado crema according to Step 4 of Recipe Directions, above, & store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. (10 minutes active prep)
Keywords: seafood recipes, main dishes, healthy recipe, gluten-free, dairy-free, pescatarian, grilling recipes, summer, spring, weeknight cooking
Ready to Hit the Grill?
If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to Grilling 101, a compilation of tips & tricks for all of the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.
All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 15 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.
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