These delicious fish tacos are made with spicy blackened whitefish, then topped with a creamy sauce and a deliciously sweet pineapple salsa. Loaded with fresh ingredients and bursting with flavor these will be sure to brighten up your next taco night!
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Tacos are a staple at my home and one of the few meals that my entire family can agree on. With the warmer months ahead, these fish tacos are a great way to lighten up a normally heavy meal.
Tacos can easily be a meal all by themselves, but you could also serve them with some cilantro-lime rice and street corn fritters for the perfect pairing.
Ingredients and Substitutions
As with most taco recipes, this recipe is highly adjustable. The substitution options are really too long to list so I am just going to add in some of my favorite options
Ingredients for the Pineapple Salsa:
- Pineapple - If you can get a good one, I highly suggest fresh pineapple, but canned or frozen would also work (and save you some time!) You could substitute the pineapple with mango or even buy premade mango or pineapple salsa if you prefer.
- Red Bell Pepper - yellow or orange bell peppers would also work.
- Red Onion
- Jalapeno - Use more or less jalapeno to adjust heat. With 1 jalapeno the salsa is very mild. You could also swap the jalapeno for your favorite hot pepper
- Lime Juice
Ingredients for the Fish Taco Sauce:
- Sour Cream, crema, or plain yogurt
- Lime (juice and zest)
- Garlic Powder
Ingredients for the Blackened Fish:
- Avocado Oil or any other mild flavored oil suitable for high heat
- Tilapia Filets or other white fish such as cod, pollock, or halibut
- Blackening Seasoning - I use my own recipe which is about a medium heat level, you can use my recipe, make your own, or buy a premade blackening seasoning in the spice department of most grocery stores.
Tortillas and optional toppings:
- Corn Tortillas - I used white corn tortillas, but yellow tortillas or even flour tortillas would also work.
- Red Cabbage
- Lime Wedges
- Queso Fresco or any other Mexican crumbling cheese, such as panela or cotija
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to make Fish Tacos
Fish tacos are easy to make, with most of the work being prep. To save yourself some time, I suggest getting all the chopping done before you start to assemble the components.
The fish cooks in minutes, so you will prepare it last. Since the salsa benefits from sitting for a bit, we are going to start by mixing up all the ingredients for the pineapple salsa, then simply refrigerate it until you are ready to assemble the tacos.
Tip: The pineapple salsa and the fish taco sauce can be made up to a few days in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
Next, prepare the sauce by combining all of the ingredients except the water, in a small bowl. Then add water, 1 teaspoon at a time until the sauce reaches a drizzling consistency. I used 3 teaspoons. Then store the sauce in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the tacos.
Tip: To get the most juice from your limes, cut them in half, then cut the tips off before placing them in a press juicer with the smaller side facing down. This allows all the juice to pass through the opening at the tip. See the image below
Now it's time to prepare the fish. Start out by heating the oil in a large cast-iron, or heavy-bottomed skillet (avoid non-stick skillets). Then pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel.
Season them all over with salt, pepper, and blackening season. Use more or less seasoning to adjust the heat level.
Add the seasoned tilapia fillets to the hot skillet and cook them for about 2-3 minutes per side until they have a nice dark golden crust and they flake easily.
Heat the tortillas according to the package instructions and assemble your tacos. Add fish, pineapple salsa, fish taco sauce, and any other desired toppings to the tortillas, and ENJOY!
Tip: If you are serving a crowd, or just dealing with picky eaters, set all the taco fixings out buffet-style so all of your charges can customize their own tacos.
Tip: Struggling with tortillas that keep breaking? If so don't hesitate to double them up for easier eating 😋
When it comes to tacos the possibilities are only limited by your own imagination. Here are some simple ways to change up these blackened fish tacos
- Spicy or Mild - These fish tacos are medium to mild as the recipe is written with most of the heat coming from the blackening seasoning.
- To make them milder simply reduce the blackening seasoning or replace it with your favorite mexican seasoning.
- To make them spicier, swap the jalapenos for a spicier pepper in the pineapple salsa and add a bit of blackening seasoning to the sauce.
- Use a different protein - You can use the same method with shrimp or scallops, or use my recipe for blackened chicken tenders to make chicken tacos
- Bake the Fish - Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, after coating the tilapia with blackening seasoning, place the fillets on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 6-9 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Be sure to check out this recipe for sheet pan blackened chicken fajitas!
Making fish tacos doesn't require much in the way of equipment, but there are a few additional items that will make the job much easier. The only things that you must have include:
- Measuring cups and spoons
- A cast iron skillet, or other heavy bottomed skillet without a non-stick coating. I used a 12-inch lodge cast iron (affiliate) which is my go-to skillet. It is the perfect size and a great price!
- Small and medium bowls for the pineapple salsa and fish taco sauce
- a knife for chopping the fresh ingredients. If you are looking for an great chef's knife I recommend a Henckels chef's knife (affiliate). I have the 6-inch knife which is perfect for smaller hands and the price is really unbeatable for such a high quality knife.
- a spatula for handling the the fish filets (see the first item in the list below!)
Some items that I find really helpful, but that aren't really requirements include:
- a fish turner (affiliate) will make such easy work of flipping the delicate fish fillets! It is basically a super thin and flexible metal spatula. While they are meant for fish I seriously use mine all the time for any thing that is a little on the fragile side, like pancakes, fried eggs, or freshly baked cookies.
- A citrus press juicer (affiliate) ensures that you get all the juice out of your limes.
- I like to heat my tortillas in a skillet, then I toss them in a tortilla warmer to keep them soft and warm.
Unfortunately fish is not great leftover. I suggest only cooking the amount of fish that you expect to eat in one sitting. If you do have leftovers, store them in the fridge for up to 4 days, and I suggest reheating in the oven at 400 degrees for 3-4 minutes.
The other components of these tacos (the sauce, and pineapple salsa) can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. The pineapple salsa is great as a dip with tortilla chips.
I suggest sticking with any lean and flaky white fish that you enjoy. I use tilapia because it is affordable and widely available. Other good options include cod, pollock, or halibut.
Fish tacos can really be a complete meal all by themselves. If you wish to serve a side dish I usually go with some cilantro lime rice, black beans, and/or Mexican Street Corn Fritters!
While there are endless unique recipes for fish taco sauce, most of them are a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream or crema, and some sort of seasoning. I like to keep my fish taco sauce simple with just lime zest and juice and garlic.
- The pineapple salsa and the fish taco sauce can be made up to a few days in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
- To get the most juice from your limes, cut them in half, then cut the tips off before placing them in a press juicer with the smaller side facing down. This allows all the juice to pass through the opening at the tip
- If you are serving a crowd, or just dealing with picky eaters, set all the taco fixings out buffet-style so all of your charges can customize their own tacos.
Blackened Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Medium Bowl
- Small Bowl
- 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet
For Pineapple Salsa:
For the Sauce:
For the Fish:
Tortillas and Toppings:
- 24 Corn Tortillas
- 2 cups Red Cabbage finely sliced
- Lime Wedges
- 5 oz Queso Fresco or other Mexican crumbling cheese
Instructions for Pineapple Salsa:
- Start out by preparing the pineapple salsa. Combine all of the ingredients for the pineapple salsa in a bowl and set aside.1 cup Pineapple, ½ Red Bell Pepper, ¼ cup Red Onion, 1 Jalapeno, 2 tablespoon Cilantro, 1 tablespoon Lime Juice, pinch Salt
Instructions for Sauce:
- To prepare the sauce, simply combine all of the ingredients except the water, in a small bowl. Then add water, 1 teaspoon at a time until the sauce reaches a drizzling consistency.¼ cup Mayonaisse, ⅓ cup Sour Cream, 1 Lime, 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper, 2-4 teaspoon Water
Instructions for the Fish:
- Next, prepare the fish. Start out by heating the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.1-2 tablespoon Avocado Oil
- Thoroughly pat the tilapia filets dry with paper towels then season all over with salt, pepper, and blackening seasoning. *use more or less salt depending upon how salty the blackening seasoning you are using is.1 ½ lb Tilapia Filets, 2-3 tablespoon Blackening Seasoning, Salt and Pepper
- Add the tilapia to the skillet and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until the crust is dark golden and the fish easily flakes with a fork.
Assemble the Tacos:
- Heat your tortillas according to the package instructions. Then top them with the blackened fish, cabbage, cilantro, pineapple salsa, sauce, cheese, and a squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!24 Corn Tortillas, 2 cups Red Cabbage, Cilantro, Lime Wedges, 5 oz Queso Fresco
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.