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Grilled Fish Tacos

A hand holding a grilled fish taco topped with cilantro that is wrapped in a paper napkin.
These grilled fish tacos are easy and healthy and made with cilantro, cabbage, lime, and a splash of tequila for good measure. Almost exactly like what you'd find in Baja Mexico.
Fred Thompson

Prep 25 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 55 mins
Tex Mex
4 to 6 servings
496 kcal


  • Fish grilling basket (optional)


For the tequila marinade

  • Grated zest of 1 lime preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 to 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons tequila preferably silver (blanco)
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
  • 2 pounds skinless mahi-mahi, grouper, halibut, snapper, tilapia, haddock or other firm white fish fillets

For the grilled fish tacos

  • Mild vegetable oil for the grill grate
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • 12 to 24 corn tortillas about 6 inches (15 centimeter) in diameter
  • 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • Store-bought or homemade salsa preferably tomatillo salsa or pico de gallo
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves coarsely chopped


Make the tequila marinade

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lime zest and juice, orange juice, tequila, and honey or agave nectar. Pour the marinade into a shallow baking dish large enough to accommodate the fish fillets in a single layer.
  • Pat the fish fillets dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Add the fish fillets to the marinade, turn to coat, and marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Flip the fish and marinate for 15 minutes more.

    TESTER TIP: For a more pronounced flavor, marinate the fish for 25 minutes on each side—but no longer than that or the acid in the citrus will start to "cook" the fish.

Make the grilled fish tacos

  • Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Brush the grill grate clean. Lightly oil a wadded up paper towel and, using tongs, carefully wipe the oil on the grate.
  • Remove the fish from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Brush the fish on both sides with the mayonnaise, coating the fillets evenly. If desired, place the fish in a fish grilling basket.
  • Place the fish on the grill directly over the fire and cook, turning once, until it's opaque throughout and flakes when prodded gently with a fork. For the timing, follow the rule of about 8 minutes total per 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of thickness, but be aware that it can take up to twice that long if your fire isn’t hot or your fish is especially thick. Transfer the fish to a platter.
  • Toss the tortillas onto the grill, flipping them often with tongs, until warmed through, a total of about 1 minute on each side. Stack the tortillas and wrap them in a kitchen towel to keep them warm and pliable.
  • Using a fork, break the grilled fish into bite-size chunks. To assemble each taco, top a tortilla with some fish, a little cabbage, a generous spoonful salsa (if using store-bought salsa, first drain off any excess liquid), and a sprinkle of cilantro. If desired, you can double up and use 2 tortillas per taco, as sometimes a single tortilla will begin to fall apart due to the liquid from the lime and salsa soaking through. Serve at once.