Spicy Baked Fish Tacos (30 minutes!)

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Long platter of Spicy Baked Fish Tacos with cilantro, lime, and guacamole

Over the summer, I got on a taco kick and this easy approach to fish tacos became a regular in our dinner rotation. Sometimes grilling is difficult with fish because it’s so tender, so oven roasting became the quick-and-easy alternative!

Flaky white fish is tossed in smoky spices and sea salt and roasted to perfection — no grilling required! Just 30 minutes and 10 ingredients to a fresh and flavorful dinner on the table.

We also include the option to add cornmeal to the fish before baking for a bit of crunch. Swoon! Let us show you how it’s done.

Bowl of cod beside avocado oil, salt, and spices for making our Spicy Fish Tacos recipe

Origins of Fish Tacos

We didn’t invent the fish taco, but we’re so grateful to whoever did!

It’s believed that coastal fisherman in Mexico enjoyed fish tacos for thousands of years before the dish eventually became popularized in Baja California. To take a deeper dive into the history of fish tacos, read more here and here.

What Kind of Fish for Fish Tacos?

We like using white fish such as Alaskan cod, mahi-mahi, or halibut for making fish tacos. Cod tends to be the easiest to find and most affordable in our part of the world.

These varieties have a mild flavor that pairs well with the smoky spices. We recommend wild-caught, sustainable options whenever possible.

Mixing pieces of cod with spices for our Spicy Fish Tacos recipe

How to Make Fish Tacos

This recipe starts by cutting fish filets into bite-sized pieces and then coating them in avocado oil and spices.

For spices, we went with a blend of sea salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne. The combo gives these tacos smokiness and heat. We add TONS of spices so they’re basically completely coated. Don’t hold back.

Cornmeal can also be added at this point if you are hoping for a more crispy exterior!

Parchment-lined baking sheet with pieces of cod coated in spices

The fish is then baked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 C). This higher temp gives it a crispy exterior and juicy interior.

Once the fish is done baking, it’s ready to assemble into tortillas (we chose homemade corn tortillas) topped with guacamole (rosemary or garlicky) and served with lime wedges.

For extra flavor and texture, we recommend garnishing with quick pickled veggies (such as red onion or radish), spicy chipotle aioli, and fresh cilantro!

Parchment-lined baking sheet with freshly baked cod coated in spices for making Fish Tacos

We hope you LOVE these tacos. They’re:

Tender
Smoky
Subtly spiced
Versatile
Satisfying
& Slightly addictive!

They’re perfect for whenever you’re craving a quick and fresh weeknight meal! The fish could also be cooked in advance and then the guacamole/tacos assembled when ready to eat.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Holding up a Spicy Baked Fish Taco above a tray with more tacos

Spicy Baked Fish Tacos (30 minutes!)

The easiest (most delicious!) way to make fish tacos: tossed in smoky spices and baked to perfection. Just 30 minutes required, and naturally dairy- and gluten-free.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Platter of Spicy Baked Fish Tacos with limes and guacamole
4.96 from 22 votes
Prep Time 18 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 (Tacos)
Course Entree
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

FISH

  • 1 lb wild-caught white fish, skin removed (such as cod, mahi-mahi, or halibut)
  • 1 Tbsp oil (we prefer avocado)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin, plus more to coat
  • 1 ½ tsp chili powder, plus more to coat
  • 1 ¼ tsp smoked paprika, plus more to coat
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional // omit for less heat)
  • 3-4 Tbsp cornmeal (optional // for crispier texture)

FOR SERVING

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C), and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the fish into large cubes (or strips if you prefer) and add to a medium mixing bowl. Top with oil, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper (optional), and cornmeal (optional). Toss to coat. The fish should be so well coated that you almost can’t see it anymore. Don’t be shy with the spices!
  • Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange in a single layer, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
  • In the meantime, prepare any sides, such as guacamole, fresh herbs, and lime wedges.
  • To serve, warm tortillas and top each with 1 Tbsp guacamole and 2 pieces of fish, and serve with lime wedges. Serve with quick pickled veggies, chipotle aioli, and/or fresh cilantro for more flavor and texture (all optional).
  • Store leftover cooked fish separately up to 2-3 days. Cooked recipe is not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with homemade tortillas and 1 Tbsp guacamole per taco, and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 taco Calories: 127 Carbohydrates: 11.09 g Protein: 11.5 g Fat: 4.4 g Saturated Fat: 0.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.61 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.41 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 24.97 mg Sodium: 306 mg Potassium: 203 mg Fiber: 2.4 g Sugar: 0.2 g Vitamin A: 309.44 IU Vitamin C: 3.88 mg Calcium: 23.31 mg Iron: 0.89 mg

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  1. Tammy says

    I feel like I’ve commented on this terrific recipe in the past but perhaps it was just me sharing it in the Slack channel at work for everyone else to enjoy. This is a very easy, very well recieved, very tasty recipe. Love it! I’ve done it will halibut and with cod and will continue using this for tacos. Thanks so much.

  2. Melissa says

    This fish recipe turned out amazing! My new go to, flavorful and tender (I used cornmeal as recommended) – TRY this you won’t be disappointed.

  3. Corey says

    Sooo..I know I just commented below with a question about sauces, but I really wanted to make these tonight, so went for it! Caught the fish counter too late, so had to go with frozen rockfish. It worked!! So freaking delicious. I served mine with homemade keto tortillas, avocado, fresh tomato, cilantro, a vegan, cashew free aoli, cabbage and carrot slaw. I couldn’t come up with a good side dish idea, so just bulked up my tacos. This recipe made 7 servings (2 tacos each for me and my companion then 3 serves for enjoy during the week). I too, appreciate the expanded variety in recipes. Like a couple other commenters, for health reasons, it was necessary for me to move beyond 100 percent plant based.

  4. Corey says

    These look soooo good! I was wondering if anyone had ideas on some easy side dishes to serve with these? Also, some different sauce ideas (can’t have cashews). Thanks!!

  5. Sonja says

    Love this recipe! I used haddock as my white fish and baked in the cast iron. Worked great! Added hot sauce since I didn’t have any cayenne for the extra kick. Served with the aioli (not vegan– sorry!), cabbage, cilantro, and the quick pickled onion recipe of yours. I’ve become quite the quick-pickler. Definitely recommend for that extra crunch that makes all the difference!

  6. Samantha says

    I subbed shrimp instead of fish and these turned out amazingly. Each bite had the perfect amount of seasoning and spice – and really balanced with the garlic guacamole, a few slivers of the quick pickled red onion and a spring of cilantro. Would make this again in a heartbeat.

  7. Elizabeth says

    I’ve made this a couple of times….SO good. Once I served with a taco sauce of vegan sour cream, vegan mayo, lime, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and sriracha. Another time with this slaw: apple cider vinegar, chili sauce, soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, ground pepper, shredded red cabbage, shredded carrot, green onions, chopped cilantro. I used cod, which was the perfect light tasting fish and which holds together well when baked.

  8. Pat McMahon says

    Super tasty! Used GF flour instead of cornmeal and cod still got nice and crispy on the outside. Will make these again for sure. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Pat. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  9. George says

    I made this with halibut and used your sauce recipe for grilled corn with sriracha aioli plus your recipe for perfect gilled corn salsa. Fantastic! When I catch my wife sneaking tidbits of the crispy fish between courses … well … you know it’s good.

  10. Danielle says

    So delicious and SO easy!! I added some Dino kale massaged with lime, chili powder, and salt (like your recent broccoli bowl recipe)!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t cooked with that type, so we’re not certain! But if it’s a mild, white fish, it should work!

  11. Kristin says

    So delicious! So easy! I made these with mahi-mahi and served them with garlicky guacamole. I imagine they would be wonderful with halibut (my favorite). My husband and daughters found the spice level on point. I will definitely be making these again! Thank you for another wonderful recipe.

  12. Holly says

    Absolutely delicious! Probably the best fish tacos I’ve made so far! These will definitely be on our rotation. Thank you Dana!

  13. Anna says

    We made this with wild salmon and it was delicious! The spices were perfect, especially for those like me who want to drown out the fish taste!!

    Thank you for posting fish recipes… I transitioned away from veganism at the same time you did (due to health problems), so I’m grateful you are posting these kind of recipes. Sorry about the haters!

  14. Anita says

    So easy to make and soooooo yummy. I didn’t have chili powder so I used regular paprika instead, in addition to smoked paprika. The cornmeal adds a really nice crunch. Will definitely be making these again!

  15. Susan says

    This was delicious and SO easy to prepare. I will definitely make again. I served the fish with farro and corn on the cob. Your recipes are always reliable and most importantly, accurate! Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thanks so much for the lovely review, Susan! We’re so glad you enjoy our recipes! xo

  16. Amy says

    I made it tonight and it was wonderful and delicious. I don’t have the ingredients for the sauce so I mixed mayonnaise and sriracha. thanks for the recipe and I like using the stuff I already have except the Alaska wild caught cod.

  17. Wahiba Estergard says

    I absolutely lived this recipe. Easy to make and so so yummy. I have cancer Nd trying to eat more fish and veggies. It would be great if you have a white fish sandwich recipe and more fish recipes in general. I bought your book and it has been so very helpful. Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Wahiba! Thanks for sharing! We’ll add to our ideas list =)

  18. DebV says

    Best recipe for fish tacos! My husband almost ate the whole pan. I baked half the cod with just the spices and rest coated with cornmeal just to see the difference in taste!! So yumm! Thank you.

  19. Shela says

    Hi! I don’t have any white fish, have you tried this with salmon? I love the idea of doing it on the bbq so the house isn’t heated up right now. I’ll let you know how it goes on the bbq with salmon!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for the feedback, Cora! We’ll add a range for the salt so hopefully that will help for next time!

  20. Panos says

    I’ve been craving fish tacos for a while, so I tried this recipe today. It was fantastic, and the whole family enjoyed! I’d only add slightly less salt next time -but that’s just me.

    Since it’s hard to find the fish mentioned above fresh in Greece, I tried greater amberjack and it turned out delicious. Thanks for this!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for sharing, Panos! We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it!

  21. Roshini says

    5 stars! This was one of the easiest and most tastiest dishes I’ve ever made. I added the cornmeal, and ended up serving it with chipotle aioli. :)
    I look forward to making this again. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  22. Hailey says

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was absolutely delicious! I’d say the spicy chipotle aioli is an absolute must and shouldn’t be missed. I also made a guac and a cilantro lime slaw with cabbage and carrots for an added crunch. It truly was completed in 30 minutes, which is always a huge bonus. My kids, husband and I all loved it.

  23. Vicki says

    I made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious! I omitted the cayenne pepper and added gf bread crumbs to the mix, mixed the spices and bread crumbs in a bowl, and then rolled the fish in the mixture. I also flipped the fish halfway through cooking so that both sides had a chance to crisp. They were very satisfying and because they were baked, it cut the oil substantially. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Vicki. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  24. Juliette says

    We loved these Spicy Baked Fish Tacos! !!! Instead of baking them we cooked them on the grill. We added the cornmeal which added a bit of a crunch. Next time we make them I will try making my own tortillas with your recipe.

  25. Caitlin says

    These were so easy to make! We got Alaskan halibut from our local fish store and these came together in less than 30 minutes.

    We were lucky enough to has masa and made home made tortillas. This meal was the highlight of our weekend! I can’t recommend it enough!

  26. Zarina says

    I am allergic to corn as well as gluten. What tortilla options do you think can be used as a substitute?