How to Make Fish Tacos

Here’s how to make fish tacos that are totally delish. I am an eye-baller by nature so I estimated (very closely) most of these measurements so’s to make it with an even one pound of fish flesh. Probably that’s super duper frustrating if you’re a hardcore perfectionist but not to worry, because if that’s you, you probably don’t have anyone to cook for anyway. (I KID!) For the rest of us, here’s the recipe, just floating free like a kite in the sky, ready for you to add a pinch more of this and a dash more of that. Hopefully you feel comfortable enough to play with all these recipes but if not, if you are a new cook and a nervous nellie, just follow this for now. It will be really really good. But I’ll get you loosened up eventually.

If you do get jazzy with this recipe, write me and let me know what you did differently. I find that sort of thing appealing.

Fish Tacos Recipe Video

Producers Note:ย We experienced some technical difficulties during this shoot, so please forgive the f’d up sound that starts about halfway through this episode.

Fish Tacos Recipe


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Yield: 4 1x


  • For the fish:
  • 1 lb any white fish (tilapia, cod, even shark!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 t anise seed, crushed
  • 1/2 t black pepper, crushed
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 cup (heaped, not leveled) cornmeal
  • 2 T vegetable oil (might need 3 to coat a large skillet)
  • For the toppin’:
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced (use more if you want it hotter; remove seeds if you want it less hotter)
  • 1 lime (should give you about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 t salt
  • 12 T mayonnaise (start with one, add more if you feel like it)


  1. For fish: Combine spices and cornmeal.
  2. Cut fish into 8 even-sized pieces and roll in cornmeal mixture. Set it aside while you make the toppin’ and the cornmeal will adhere better when you cook it.
  3. When you’re ready to cook: Heat your skillet up real good on high heat and add the oil. Let that heat up a minute.
  4. Put in the fish and let it set still for about 3 minutes.
  5. When you can lift it easily and it doesn’t stick, flip it and turn your heat down to medium-high.
  6. Cook another 3 minutes until you cut one open and it’s not raw, it should be opaque white, not transluscent pink-white.
  7. For toppin’: Combine vegetables with lime juice and salt. Mix it up good. Add mayonnaise right before serving.
  8. Heat up tortillas on the stove or microwave. I like corn. You might like flour. If your tortillas are kinda dried out, sprinkle a little water on them and then heat them up.
  9. Eat em.

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  1. paulahorn on February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I made these tacos last night with Tilapia and they were delicious goodness! My favorite part was the lime/mayo flavor combination in the toppin'. Congratulations on being a famous star now that I've left you a comment, Hilah!

  2. Hilah Cooking on February 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks, Paul! I'm glad you enjoyed them. And thanks for helping me up the famous food person ladder!

  3. MsChristy on April 26, 2010 at 4:34 am

    O. M. G. The video made these look good enough to try, but they REALLY exceeded my expectations and the bonus awesome thing is that it’s super easy to adapt for those of us with weird food issues like allergies or intolerances. All around a great recipe and we will absolutely be having this again.

    Changes I made: I didn’t have anise seed, so I left that out and added a little authentic Hungarian paprika instead. I can’t have mayo, so I split the toppin’ into two bowls, one with mayo (for the man & boy) and one with an egg and dairy-free creamy poppyseed dressing for myself ( I also left out the jalapeรฑo, cause I DON’T like it spicy (neither does the 9 year old, who ate seconds) and I used sweet onion. We sliced up avocado and tomatoes, added a bit of salsa and served it up with corn on the cob.

    • Hilah Cooking on April 27, 2010 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks, Christy! Sounds like you are my kind of cook – free and easy with the changes and substitutions. Poppy seed dressing on coleslaw sounds good. I’m glad you and your family enjoyed them!

  4. Bob on May 11, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Wow! These were really good.
    I actually used tuna that I had in the freezer. I followed the recipe with a coupe of exceptions. Ihad no anise so I used some chinese five spice (it has anise in it) and for the cilantro I used ground coriander.

    Thanks, it is a keeper


    • Hilah Cooking on May 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      Oh I bet tuna would be very good. Did you leave it a little rare in the middle or cook it through? Five spice powder sounds very nice. I might have to experiment with that myself. I’m so glad you tried it!

  5. ryan on November 12, 2010 at 2:29 am

    i mushed up an avocado and used that instead of mayo! it was super tasty ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hilah Cooking on November 12, 2010 at 11:47 pm

      Ohh that does sound good, Ryan!

  6. caitlin on December 8, 2010 at 5:37 am

    I made the fish tacos tonight for some guests and they were a hit! I did do it a little differently as well. I didnโ€™t have anise seeds so i left those out. Also, one of our guests is allergic to citrus so I left out the lime and put in 1 tbsp of rice vinegar and it was delicious!

    can’t wait to share this one ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Hilah Cooking on December 8, 2010 at 6:54 pm

      Great, Caitlin! Good substitution with the rice vinegar!

  7. Josh Mcdonald on January 19, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Hello … I made your fabolous fish tacos for my family. I actually followed your directions to the T—-SPooN. The fam. was STOKed at how good I can cook thanks to your reciepe.

    • Hilah Cooking on January 20, 2011 at 1:04 am

      Hooray for Josh! I am so happy to hear that you can cook real good now — with my help, of course! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. phil on July 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    This vid was my intro to your site, I believe google sent me to your page. These tacos will be happening this weekend, or sooner, whichever happens first.

    • Hilah on July 6, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Hi Phil!
      I’m glad you found me! Let me know how you like the tacos – they’re basically a HUGE hit with everyone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. kitty on July 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Just made these tonight and LOVED them! Thank you for sharing your skills.

    • Hilah on July 10, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      Hi Kitty! I’m so glad you loved them. Thank you for writing to let me know. It means a lot to me!

  10. Jacob on August 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Hey Hilah, it’s me again with some feedback. I was so excited to start cooking like a real man I rushed out and bought all the things I would need for this. (Except not, my local Target didn’t have Anise or the Chorizo for your hangover tacos.) Either way, they were good. I thought it was great that they were refreshing and not too heavy. I also had to eyeball all the measurements which I halved because of how much fish I had. The powder mix for the fish was a little lacking in the seasonings, time to get me some measuring spoons! Either way, I’m glad the eyeballing didn’t turn into way too much of everything. I’m excited to try more, and also, to buy your book after I get paid!

    • Hilah on August 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks, Jacob! I’m glad it was not a disaster and that you are encouraged to try more! That is really excellent news indeed, and it makes my heart happy.
      I bet you can find a set of measuring spoons at Target for under $5 or even at a dollar store. Although they may cost more than a dollar ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Again, keep me updated with your progress!

  11. Don on October 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Alright tonight is the night. I have been talking about making fish tacos for weeks now and your recipe looks to be my winner. I will be using small mouth bass that i have caught over the last few weeks. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks for keeping it simple.

    • Hilah on October 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      Howdy, Don!
      That’s great news! I bet your bass will be super tasty prepared this way. So cool that you caught it yourself!
      Have a great meal!

  12. Selma on October 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I am your new biggest fan ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    this was the first recipe of yours i tried and my family was oo’ing and aww’ing the whole way through.

    THANK YOU!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    ps ur fun 2 look @

    • Hilah on October 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      Thank you so much, Selma!
      That is GREAT news! I’m so happy your family liked it. I hope you try more recipes and let me know how it goes! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Peter on October 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Really nice topping recipe Hilah! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!! I’ve made a lot of fish tacos (one of my favs). I use Panko instead of cornmeal myself, but either works well. I also grind my own seasonings as you do. I think it makes the flavor “Pop” somewhat more.

    You do some fun recipes and make it entertaining. ๐Ÿ™‚ I got my girlfriend your book in hope that she’ll ACTULLY COOK… :)~~~

    Wish me luck…!

    • Hilah on October 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

      Hi Peter!
      Yeah, I love grinding my own spices. I definitely notice a big difference between that and pre-ground spices, especially when it comes to the aromas.
      Thanks for buying my book! I hope your girlfriend likes it. Sounds like you know what you’re doing in the kitchen already, though so go easy on her while she’s learning! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Jessica on November 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Just wanted to say that this recipe is one of my favorites ever! I am a beginner cook and have had so much fun trying your recipes. So far, I’ve made this one 4 times and it is so yummy! My husband loves this too, and says they’re the best fish tacos he’s ever had! Thanks so much!

    • Hilah on November 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Jessica! I’m so glad you and your husband like it! It’s one of my all-time favorites, too. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you for letting me know!

  15. Tahiti on March 3, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Hi! I’m going to have a HUGE fish taco party (maybe 30 people). I have a lot of frozen fancy ono. I have two questions for you, you snazzy man!

    1) How can I make ono that tastes good as it sits out for probably an hour or more, and that I can make at least a half-hour before the party?

    2) I forget! So you’re off the hook (no pun intended).

    If you answer this I will facebook you and friend you and twitter follow you and myspace like you and all kinds of good things. So thanks in advance.

    • Hilah on March 3, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Hi! This sounds like a fun and very ambitious party!

      I think what I would do is skip frying it – that’s just going to get soggy and there’s no way around it. Rub the fish with something that seems appropriate, like some crushed garlic, cumin, anise, salt, pepper, a little oil, and then refrigerate it for a couple of hours or even up to overnight as long as you don’t have any acidic component to your marinade/rub thing.

      When you’re about ready to serve, you could bake it or grill it. Try to get people to eat as soon as it’s ready, but if you have to hold it a while, put it in a warm oven, covered to keep it from drying out.
      If possible, I would really recommend cooking it in two batches rather than one batch that sits around for an hour since the texture of the fish will deteriorate and you could be risking someone getting sick.

      Thanks for letting me off the hook with the second question. That first one took it all out of me! Hope my advice helped.

  16. Great Stone Face on April 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I made my variation of your fish taco recipe tonight. My wife and I both thought it was terrific!

    • Hilah on April 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

      Yum! I am inspired to make them again this week now!

  17. Matt the Pres-Beer-Terian on August 7, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I want to bake these (Not all of us can be so skinny, Hilah, whilst eating fried food ๐Ÿ™‚

    375 for 8-10 sound about right?

    • Hilah on August 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Indeed! Thanks, Matt!

  18. Danielle on January 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Hilah! I just made these with homemade tortillas!!! There are no words for how stinking good they were. I’ve been cooking up a storm since I found you on Roku. Thank you so much for getting my butt in the kitchen. Separately, thank you for introducing me to Pimms, which is also so stinking good I don’t have words for it either.

    • Hilah on January 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Delicious! Way to go, Danielle! ๐Ÿ™‚ That is an ambitious dinner. I’m so glad to be a part of your culinary success… and your cocktail hour. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Aja on May 27, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    These tacos were rad! I’d never made fish tacos before, so I was a little nervous. I made it with frozen Ono and substituted avocado for the mayo and it was delicious! Thanks for making cooking fun!

    • Hilah on May 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      That’s terrific, Aja! I’m so happy you tried it. And even happier that you loved it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. […] Everything is relatively easy and cheap and looks delicious. ย Her fish tacos are my only go to for making real fish tacos at home. And the Mexican margarita! So good old school Trudyโ€™s style, back when they wouldnโ€™t […]

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