Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Cabbage Slaw

This fish tacos recipe with creamy chipotle cabbage slaw is composed of pan-fried fish, creamy coleslaw, lime, cilantro, and corn tortillas. Perhaps even better than what you find in Baja California.

Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Cabbage Slaw Recipe

Okay, so these fish tacos with cabbage, lime, and cilantro aren’t exaaaaaactly like what we’ve experienced in Baja. But they’re close. Close enough, anyways. Maybe even better thanks to the creamy chipotle slaw. (You can always make it a touch more traditional by doubling up on the tortillas. See, thin, delicate corn tortillas have a tendency to fall apart due to the moisture from the hot fish. A second tortilla wrapped around the first deftly keeps your fish and slaw from dropping in your lap.) This recipe has been updated. Originally published July 30, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Cabbage Slaw Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 4


  • For the slaw
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage (1 medium to large cabbage)
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 3 large scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (preferably full fat) or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, or 1/8 cup fresh lime juice plus 1/8 cup Champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the fish tacos
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 pound mild white fish (such as cod, halibut, or tilapia), cut into 4 fillets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the assembly
  • 8 small corn tortillas, warmed (or 16 tortillas if you want to be authentic)
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)


  • Make the slaw
  • 1. Combine the cabbages, carrots, onion, scallions, and jalapeño in a large bowl.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream, lime juice or lime juice and vinegar, sugar or honey, and the cumin and chipotle powder, if using, until smooth and creamy.
  • 3. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving and up to 2 days. (If refrigerating for more than an hour or so, drain off any liquid that pools at the bottom of the bowl just prior to serving.)
  • Make the fish tacos
  • 4. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, chipotle powder, and 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Pat each fish fillet dry and lightly dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour.
  • 5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat and place 2 fillets at a time in the pan. Gently fry for 3 to 6 minutes, until the underside of the fish turns opaque. Use a spatula to flip the fillets and cook until opaque throughout. Place on a paper towel-lined plate, drain the remaining oil from the pan, and repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and the remaining 2 fillets.
  • 6. To serve, for each fish fillet, heat tortillas in a clean skillet in batches with the 1 remaining tablespoon oil, flipping them once, then place them on a plate.
  • Assemble the tacos
  • 7. Cut each fillet in half and divide the fish evenly among the tortillas. Toss the slaw to recombine and then add a spoonful to each taco along with some cilantro, if desired. (Chances are you will have excess slaw. Just cover it and stash it in the fridge and serve it alongside pulled pork, grilled chicken, or just about anything.)

Gluten-Free Fish Tacos Variation

  • Simply skip the step where you dredge the fish in flour and instead sprinkle the fish with the chipotle powder and salt.
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