Tilapia Fish Tacos

These tilapia fish tacos are sure to elevate your taco game. Savory, seasoned tilapia is paired with crunchy red cabbage slaw and sweet peach mango salsa for a delicious fish taco recipe. Ready in just 20 minutes, they’re a quick, naturally gluten-free meal that is perfect for hosting a gathering or getting dinner on the table for an easy weeknight meal.
An overhead view of two tilapia fish tacos topped with lime crema, red cabbage slaw, and peach mango salsa on charred corn tortillas.
An overhead view of two fish tacos on charred corn tortillas topped with sour cream, fruit salsa, and red cabbage with bowls of slaw, fruit salsa, and crema to the side.

Looking for a meal that’s both straightforward to whip up and packed full of fresh flavors? Try these easy tilapia fish tacos. They’re naturally gluten-free, and topped a red cabbage slaw, fruit salsa, and cilantro lime crema. These tacos are on the table in under 20 minutes, perfect for an easy weeknight meal.

If you haven’t cooked with tilapia before, it’s a freshwater fish, often farm-raised, and is recognized for its mild and slightly sweet flavor. If you don’t love overly fishy tasting seafood, this is the fish for you. Its firm texture ensures that it holds up well during the cooking process, which means you won’t have to deal with it breaking apart in the skillet, a common issue with some other fish types.

With a mix of spices like chili and garlic powder, the tilapia has a balanced, flavorful taste without being overly spicy. The added red cabbage slaw is not to be missed either – it introduces a fresh crunch, while the peach mango salsa lends a hint of sweetness to contrast the seasoned fish.

Whether you’re hosting a weekend get-together or need something quick and tasty for a weeknight dinner, these easy fish tacos fit the bill. With our provided tips and step-by-step photos throughout this post, even if it’s your first time making them, you’ll get it right, ensuring a delicious meal for any occasion.

You’ll love this recipe because:

  • It’s quick. In just 20 minutes, you can have a meal that is so flavorful! Perfect for easy weeknight dinners or last minute guests. 
  • It’s economical. Tilapia tends to be more budget-friendly compared to other fish varieties, allowing you to create a gourmet-like meal without putting a strain on your wallet.
  • It’s gluten-free! This fish taco recipe is naturally gluten-free using corn tortillas, a simple cilantro crema, red cabbage slaw and fruit salsa. The tilapia is covered in spices and cooked in a skillet – no breading here! 


Ingredients in small bowls to make tilapia fish tacos, including red cabbage, raw tilapia filets, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, paprika, chili powder, olive oil, cilantro, corn tortillas, pepper, garlic powder, salt, sour cream, and fruit salsa with text overlays over each ingredient.

Ingredient Notes

  • Tilapia Filets – When purchasing tilapia, look for fresh or frozen fillets with a clear, firm texture. Avoid filets with a fishy or off odor. Freshwater tilapia from responsible sources is usually a safer and more sustainable choice. I personally like to buy frozen tilapia loins from Regal Springs at Wild Fork Foods, which are thick and high-quality. 
  • Spices – I like to use a combination of chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper for my spice mixture. It seasons otherwise mild tilapia to become really flavorful.
  • Olive Oil – Use extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor. For a neutral taste, you could use avocado oil or another high smoke point oil.
  • Red Cabbage – Choose a cabbage head that feels heavy for its size, indicating freshness. The leaves should be crisp, not limp. You can use green cabbage as a substitute, but will have a slightly different taste and crunch.
  • Lime Juice – Freshly squeezed lime juice offers a brighter flavor compared to bottled versions, which are somewhat muddled. Plus, you’ll want the lime zest for the cilantro crema, too. If limes aren’t available, lemons can be a substitute, though the taste will be slightly different.
  • Gluten-free Corn Tortillas – Check labels to ensure they’re truly gluten-free if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. I like to use both yellow corn and white corn tortillas depending on what I’m in the mood for. I char them over the flame of my gas stove top for about 15 seconds until the sides are just lightly charred. You can also place them in the oven or the microwave to soften them if you prefer.
  • Peach Mango Salsa – You can use any fruit salsa that you’d like, homemade or store-bought. I used my peach mango salsa recipe for these fish tacos, which pairs perfectly with the tilapia. My pineapple salsa or black bean corn salsa would also be delicious, too! 
  • Fresh Cilantro – Choose bunches with bright green leaves, avoiding those with yellowed or wilted leaves. If you’re not a fan of cilantro or think it has a soapy taste, just omit it from the crema.
  • Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt – I used sour cream for this cilantro crema recipe, but I’ve also used Greek Yogurt as well and both work great! If using Greek yogurt, it provides a tangier, less rich alternative to sour cream. Vegan versions of both are available if you’re avoiding dairy.
  • Lime Zest – Zesting a lime provides an intense lime flavor without the additional liquid. When zesting, avoid the white pith which can be bitter.

When assembling your tacos, slightly warm your tortillas on the stove top directly over the flame for about 10-15 seconds, until the edges begin to char. This not only makes them more pliable, reducing the chance of tearing, but also enhances their natural corn flavor, elevating the overall taste of your fish tacos.

Step-by-Step instructions

While there are a few components to these tilapia fish tacos, the steps are so simple and can be ready in under 20 minutes. Just get your fish cooking first while you combine the cilantro lime crema and cabbage slaw ingredients.

For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe, and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.

A small mixing bowl with a fish taco spice mixture and a small spoon.
Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Mix until combined.
A white plate topped with four tilapia loin filets that have been covered with taco seasoning mix.
Pat the tilapia filets dry with a paper towel. Then sprinkle the fish with the prepared seasoning on both sides until completely covered.
Four raw tilapia loin filets covered in seasoning in a non-stick skillet with olive oil.
Add the seasoned tilapia to a hot skillet with olive oil.
Four tilapia loin filets cooked in a non-stick skillet with oil.
Cook for 3-4 on each side, until the fish is opaque and cooked to an internal temperature of 145F. Set aside.
A bowl of red cabbage topped with lime juice, and salt.
Combine the red cabbage, salt, and lime juice together in a mixing bowl. Mix until combined.
A glass mixing bowl with sour cream mixed with lime juice, lime zest, salt, and cilantro.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest and salt until combined.
A close up of a fish taco topped with fruit salsa, red cabbage slaw and cilantro lime crema on a charred corn tortilla.
Assemble the tacos by layering pieces of the cooked tilapia, cilantro lime crema, cabbage slaw and your favorite fruit salsa.
A hand holding a fish taco in a charred corn tortilla with fruit salsa, and cilantro crema.
Serve and enjoy!

Recipe FAQs

Can I use another type of fish instead of tilapia?

Yes, other white fish like cod, mahi-mahi, or halibut can be substituted for tilapia. Just ensure they’re fresh and adjust the cooking time based on thickness.

Is there a dairy-free substitute for the sour cream sauce?

Absolutely! You can use vegan sour cream or a cashew-based cream as a substitute. Just season it according to the recipe for similar flavors. You can also leave out the cilantro crema and use some other sauce instead on your tacos. This recipe is meant to be versatile.

How can I store leftover tilapia tacos?

It’s best to store components separately. Keep the cooked tilapia in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Assemble the tacos fresh when you’re ready to eat.

Can I make any components of this recipe ahead of time?

Certainly! The cilantro-lime sour cream sauce and peach mango salsa can be made a day in advance, and the tilapia spice mix can be prepped ahead too. This will make assembling the tacos quicker when you’re ready to serve.

hints & tips

  • It’s important not to overcook tilapia, as it can become dry and lose its delicate flavor. The fish should transform from translucent to an opaque white, and it should flake easily with a fork. An instant-read thermometer should reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) at its thickest point.
  • For a creamier slaw, you can mix a tablespoon of the cilantro-lime sour cream sauce into the red cabbage mixture.
  • Don’t overheat your tortillas; just a quick warm-up is enough. Overheating can make them brittle and more likely to break when you assemble and eat your tacos.
  • Serve your tacos with slices of fresh avocado or a side of guacamole. The creamy texture complements the seasoned fish and adds an extra layer of richness to the dish.

Storage instructions

  • Storage: Place leftover tilapia in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Ensure that components like the slaw and salsa are stored separately to maintain freshness.
  • Freezer Option: I don’t recommend freezing these fish tacos for best results. Instead, make as much as you need for dinner that night or store the fish in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Reheat: For best results, reheat the tilapia in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. Avoid microwaving, as this can make the fish dry out. The remaining ingredients can all be served chilled.

A close up of a tilapia fish taco topped with crema, fruit salsa, red cabbage slaw and cilantro on charred corn tortilla.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.

An overhead view of two tilapia fish tacos topped with lime crema, red cabbage slaw, and peach mango salsa on charred corn tortillas.

Tilapia Fish Tacos

These tilapia fish tacos are sure to elevate your taco game. Savory, seasoned tilapia is paired with crunchy red cabbage slaw and sweet peach mango salsa for a delicious fish taco recipe. Ready in just 20 minutes, they’re a quick, naturally gluten-free meal that is perfect for hosting a gathering or getting dinner on the table for an easy weeknight meal.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12 tacos
Calories: 153kcal
Author: Megan


For the Fish:

  • 1 pound tilapia filets (about 3-4 filets)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Cabbage Slaw:

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Cilantro Lime Crema:

  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt (dairy-free alternative if needed)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For Serving:

  • 8 small gluten-free corn tortillas
  • 2 cups fruit salsa (I recommend my peach mango salsa recipe)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges


Prepare the Fish:

  • In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  • Pat the tilapia filets dry with paper towels. Evenly sprinkle the spice mix on both sides of each filet.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tilapia filets.
  • Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Prepare the Slaw:

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the shredded red cabbage, lime juice, and kosher salt.
  • Toss well to combine. Set aside for flavors to meld.

Prepare the Sauce:

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream or greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, lime zest, and salt.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside.

Assembling the Tacos:

  • Warm the corn tortillas over a gas flame until charred on the edges or by placing them on a hot skillet for a few seconds on each side until they’re pliable.
  • Place a portion of the cooked tilapia on each tortilla.
  • Top with a generous helping of the slaw and fruit salsa.
  • Drizzle with the prepared cilantro-lime sour cream sauce.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side.


  • Gluten-Free: If you have celiac disease or are gluten-free for other reasons, be sure to double check that all of your ingredients are gluten-free. Most corn tortillas are gluten-free, as they usually contain just corn, salt and water, but always confirm before purchasing. 
  • Dairy-Free Option: To make this recipe dairy-free, either omit the cilantro lime crema or substitute the sour cream with a dairy-free sour cream or greek yogurt alternative. Everything else is dairy-free as listed in the recipe instructions.
  • Salsa Variations: You can use any salsa you like for this recipe, but I find that fruit salsas go so well with this tilapia taco recipe! My peach mango salsa is what was used in the photos of this recipe and so good! You can also try my pineapple salsa instead.
  • Tilapia Thickness: My tilapia filets were on the thicker side, if yours are thinner, you may need to only cook them for 2-3 minutes per side. Be sure not to overcook the tilapia as it can get rubbery. While tilapia is recommended, feel free to substitute with other white fish like cod, halibut, or mahi-mahi.
  • Storage: Store any leftover fish separately from the tortillas to keep the tortillas from getting soggy. Reheat fish in a skillet or oven for the best texture. I don’t recommend microwaving the fish to reheat.
  • Prep Ahead: The cilantro-lime sour cream sauce can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge. This will allow the flavors to meld and develop even further. The red cabbage slaw can also be prepared in advance. It’s crunchiest on the first day, but will store well for a few days in the refrigerator.


Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 567mg | Potassium: 335mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 614IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg
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about megan

I’m Megan

A gluten-free food blogger from Chicago and lover of all things food, showing you gluten-free can be easy and delicious, too. Let’s make gluten-free stress free together! Read more…

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  1. These are extremely colorful and gorgeous. I imagine these would taste amazing! Love me some peach; personally I’ll be missing strawberries.

    1. Thank you so much Leisel! I’m a big fan of colorful recipes! I’m definitely going to be missing strawberries too! I love when they’re in season!

    1. Thank you! I LOVE fish tacos! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Oh my gosh. I love fish tacos, they’re perfect for the end of summer. Delish!

  3. I love fruit salsa. This looks amazingly good:)

  4. I love tacos! I’ve never tried heating up my tortillas though. Will definitely have to do that next time!

  5. Your recipes are always so original! Who would’ve thought to mix peaches and fish? I have to try this

  6. bohemianbabushka says:

    UNREAL COMBO- i like, i like. BB2U

  7. Yum! I LOVE fish tacos and these look amazing. And I just bought some more peaches tonight. I agree that I’m not ready for summer to end….I am soaking it up while I can. I love fall but we will have plenty of time for sweaters and pumpkin in October and November (well, pumpkin bread is allowed to stay). 🙂

  8. Sean Wigman says:

    Would flounder work?

    1. Hi Sean! Flounder would definitely works and would be delicious! Try cooking the flounder for about the same amount of time as the tilapia in the recipe. Let me know how it tastes!