Ancho Fish Tacos

Ancho fish tacos are rubbed with spices and grilled rather than battered and fried. Then they’re tucked inside corn tortillas and smothered with a creamy slaw. So easy. So healthy. So something we want to make again and again and again.

Two ancho fish tacos in a metal dish with lime wedges and chipotle mayo on the side.

These ancho fish tacos just earned their way into our regular taco night rotation. Spice-rubbed fish is grilled and tucked into warm tortillas along with tangy slaw. Then the whole shebang is slathered with spicy chipotle mayo. Definitely not your ordinary fish tacos.–Angie Zoobkoff

Ancho Fish Tacos

  • Quick Glance
  • (5)
  • 30 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 5 reviews
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  • For the chipotle mayo
  • For the slaw
  • For the ancho fish tacos


Make the chipotle mayo

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of the chipotle in adobo, lime juice, and garlic. Taste and add more chipotle if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve or for up to 1 week.

Make the slaw

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Add the cabbage, cilantro, and scallions and toss to coat. Taste the slaw and adjust the seasoning if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the tacos.

Make the tacos

Preheat the grill to medium-high or 350°F to 400°F (180°F to 200°C).

In a small bowl, stir together the ancho chile powder, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. Rub both sides of the fish with oil, then rub the chile powder mixture evenly over both sides of the fish, pressing it gently to adhere.

Dab a paper towel with a little oil and, using tongs, carefully wipe the grill grate with the oiled paper towel. Grill the fish, closing the grill lid, for 4 to 6 minutes on each side. [Editor’s Note: We found that 5 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second side tended to work pretty darn perfectly.] Transfer the fish to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Before you turn off the grill, toss the tortillas on the grill grate, working in batches if necessary, and leave them there just until warmed through, 10 to 20 seconds on each side. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil or place them on a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.

When you’re ready to sit down to fish tacos, grab a fork and break the fish into bite-size flakes. Heap them on the grilled tortillas along with the slaw, chipotle mayo, and cilantro and set out some lime wedges on the side.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

These were some seriously awesome fish tacos! Between the spicy fish, the tangy slaw, and the creamy mayo, this made for a perfect taco...or 3. The slaw came together quickly and seasoning was perfect for my taste. I made it about 1 hour ahead of time and refrigerated it. There was just enough rub for the fish. (I used cod.) I didn't have a grill basket but had no issues with the fish sticking on my oiled grill. I found the fish to have a pleasant level of heat to it but the mayo wasn’t really spicy at all. I'd add more chipotle in the future.

This is a fabulous dish—full of fresh, zesty flavors and a big hit with my whole family. In fact, my daughter has named it one of her absolute favorite meals! The quantities for the slaw were bang on. Despite my initial fear that there was too much vinegar to olive oil, it tasted lovely. I made it about an hour before serving, and the wait seemed to help the flavors mingle and enhanced the dish. For the tacos, I used 1-inch-thick cod fillets, which required slightly longer cooking than specified in the recipe—maybe 6 to 7 minutes per side on the grill. They did stick (despite oiling the grill first) but they didn't fall apart and it didn't cause too many problems other than the grill requiring a good scrub and high heat afterwards! There was enough rub for the quantity of fish specified, but the recipe only served 4 of us and we could (probably rather greedily!) have eaten more as it was so delicious. The chipotle sauce required a little seasoning and I added an extra squeeze of lime juice. The result was spicy and smoky but zesty and worked perfectly with the fish and slaw. I have friends for dinner this coming weekend and will be braving the British weather to grill outside just so I can wow my guests with these divine fish tacos!

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