Skillet Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that the only reason I initially made this dinner was because a) I had some fish in the freezer that I needed to use up before a long trip and b) I was hoping a light and healthy meal like this would cause me to instantly lose 10 pounds of post-baby weight (it didn’t, but whatever, 10 pounds is, like, so overrated).

While my motives were sketchy, the finished product completely blew me away. Completely. I’m not kidding when I say this may be my favorite meal of the summer. It’s light. It’s healthy. It’s quick and uses one measly skillet. But the real merits of these fish tacos are that they result in a major flavor explosion of zesty lime, succulent fish, a tad bit of spicy jalapeno and a fresh pop of cilantro and tomato. Sandwiched in soft, pliable corn tortillas and I am lost for words. (I have to admit that I’m normally a flour tortilla girl but in this instance, I went for the corn tortillas and have to insist you do the same.

Seriously, if you have any hankering for a fish taco meal, make this. You’ll love it (and if you do happen to lose 10 pounds upon eating it, you are totally and completely fired and we can no longer be friends).

Skillet Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos

What To ServeBalsamic Black Bean Salsa or Guacamole Salad
Black Bean Hummus and fresh vegetables
Tortilla Chips

One Year Ago: Chocolate-Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches
Two Years Ago: Cheesesteak Subs – Quick and Tasty!
Three Years Ago: Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Skillet Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos

Yield: Serves 4

Skillet Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos

Note: the original recipe calls for tilapia but I used flounder with stellar success. My guess is any mild, white fish will work here. Also, although it isn't traditional with fish tacos, I served ours with a sprinkle of queso fresco...and oh my, I have not the words.


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, membranes removed and finely diced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2-3 limes)
  • 1 pound tilapia, flounder or other mild white fish fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 5-inch white corn tortillas
  • 1-2 ripe avocados, sliced
  • Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish


  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Saute, stirring often, until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add jalapenos, tomatoes and lime juice. Cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes. Add the fish and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, gently breaking up the fish into bite-sized clumps, until the fish is cooked through and the liquid in the skillet is somewhat reduced (it should be fairly wet but not really soupy). Be careful not to stir too vigorously or the fish will turn into mushy bits. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the cilantro.
  2. Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet for a few minutes on each side to warm or sandwich 3-4 tortillas in between damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds until pliable. Scoop the fish mixture into the corn tortillas and top with the avocado.

Recipe Source: adapted from Skinny Taste

48 Responses to Skillet Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos

  1. Ellen says:

    This recipe is pretty old, so I guess that’s why I’d never come across it before. Isn’t there a saying ‘oldie but goody’? thanks, this was a tasty (and easy) change from our usual fish tacos.

  2. Ashlee says:

    I made this upon my hubbys request for fish tacos, and it was awesome! I made it with the coleslaw from the chickpea tacos you recommended from Sally’s blog. So so good! I also tried one with mango salsa. Thanks for a keeper!

  3. Ava says:

    Delicious. Made it twice- once as written and once without removing the ribs and seeds of the jalapeño. Added 1/2 yellow pepper.
    Thanks for another healthy recipe!

  4. Danielle H. says:

    These have become one of our family favorites. I can’t even tell you how often we make them, but it’s at least once a month. We like to put a little bit of shredded cabbage and Monterrey Jack cheese on them. I love, love that they’re not fried!

  5. stephanie says:

    Totally drool worthy! My husband ate probably half the skillet! I agree corn tortillas are the way to go although flour still tastes good as well. Tonight I didn’t have tomatoes or jalapeños in the house. (Shame on me I know) I subbed a can of tomatoes and green chili instead and they still were fabulous! This is the second time I have made them. A year apart but I think they will become a little more regular. Thanks for making it so easy for me to feed my family fish. I was terrified before I came across your blog!

  6. Amanda C says:

    These were so good! I used cod and flour tortillas and the flavor was great. I was never a huge fan of fish tacos but these were so yummy. I’m wanting to comment more on the recipes we make but it would probably get creepy or something, we seriously cook from your blog 4-5 times a week (for the last 4 years), I swear. All of it is so good.

  7. Cass says:

    Hi Mel! I have been following you for such a long time and you never disappoint! I’m always impressed with how much caring thought you put into your email responses and also how speedy you are! Just wanted to say thank you for the great recipes and always returning my email questions 🙂 so nice!
    Anywho, this dish was AMAZING! I’m a newish mom (3 months) and I wanted to use the yucky frozen tilapia that had been taking up my freezer space and didn’t want not to pack up the kiddo to go to the grosh. So, the only subs I used was some Rotel instead of fresh tomatoes and yellow corn tortillas. The flavor was amazing! You completely changed my mind on the tasteless tilapia! AND it was soooo easy!

  8. Bri says:

    Oh, and I used a little feta on the tacos…A MUST!

  9. Bri says:

    Made these tonight and we all loved them! DH ate SEVEN! This is a great gluten free dinner…mmmm. By the way, even though I blasphemously gone gluten free, I’m still cooking off of your site daily! You have way more GF recipes than you think! Thanks! I’ve also been able to sub some of your recipes that have flour in them with a GF blend, and they have turned out fantastic!

  10. LeeAnne says:

    I’ve made these a few times now (including last night and tonight in a row haha), we LOVE them!! Tonight we were out of avocados, so I changed it up a bit and served it with beans and rice rather than as tacos and it was delicious too:)

  11. Carlin says:


  12. Carlin says:

    I don’t want to be a downer, but they were just okay for me. They tasted to much like a fajita. I felt like the fish was overpowered by the tomato/onion/jalapeno combo, and I couldn’t even really tell I was eating fish. I was hoping for a more light taste. I really like the idea of the lime and onion. I just think next time I will leave out the tomato and jalapeno so it doesn’t taste like a fajita.

  13. Rachel Russell says:

    Made with halibut and was fab!!! Loved!! thanks Mel!!

  14. Shari says:

    Just made these for dinner w/homemade corn tortillas. Holy cow, they were DELISH! Being added to our regular rotation. THanks!!

  15. Emily says:

    Just made these and they were incredible! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  16. Made these tonight and loved them! I served them in crunchy blue corn taco shells. They were fantastic!

  17. Shari says:

    I usually make shrimp taco’s but I am definetly going to try this. Will use my shrimp taco sauce to top – sour cream, mayo, a little milk, cummin, greek seasoning, garlic powder and a little sriracha sauce.

  18. Christina says:

    These were amazing. So easy, so light, and yet so flavorful. I cut all the veggies finely because I have picky eaters (including the hubs) and they ate it all up! Got rave reviews from all. Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  19. Deb says:

    Had these for dinner tonight, they were great. Came together super quick which was just what I needed trying to get everyone out the door for soccer and baseball practice. The kids ate without complaint…I did cut the ribbs and seeds out of the jalapeno so it wasn’t spicy, added more of a fruit flavor. Thanks for the healthy recipe!

  20. Erika says:

    Just got done eating dinner…and these were awesome! My son is having 2nd helpings on the fish. Seriously delicious, couldn’t be easier & healthy too. Thanks for a great recipe!

  21. Melanie says:

    I just made these with a slight variation, and they were delicious! 🙂

  22. Angela @ AnotherBitePlease says:

    I love fish tacos…my favorite ones are way far away in Nashville…But can’t wait to give these ones a try love that they are fresh and healthy. Plus anything with cilantro is going to be delicious.

  23. DEE says:

    I made these for lunch today…and they were super fast….and really delicious! I didn’t have fresh tomatoes so I used diced canned tomatoes (and left out most of the juice) and this was terrific! Thanks again Mel for this great recipe!

  24. Jill says:

    These are genius! What an awesome way to make fish tacos! So easy and delicious. Thanks for another great recipe!

  25. Mel,

    These fish tacos look and sound absolutely delish, and I know the readers and viewers at Mr. Food would totally go for something like this. We’d love for you to submit a similar recipe to The Search for the Ultimate Weeknight Meal, offering a grand-prize to one lucky blogger who will tape a segment to air on national TV! If you’re interested, check out our contest page for more details.

    Alexis Franzi
    Editor, Mr. Food

  26. Cammee says:

    I looooove fish tacos and these were heavenly! I had halibut in the freezer so I used that. You will have to try PW’s shrimp tacos, they are crazy good, too! I’ve decided seafood tacos are the best tacos.

  27. Christine says:

    I was so excited when i saw this recipe! i had Tilapia in my freezer and I’ve always wanted to try making fish tacos. Made them last night and they were soooo good!!!

  28. Mel says:

    Erin – I really don’t know how chicken would fare in this since the recipe is tailored to fish and I haven’t tried it myself. If you try it, let me know!

  29. AmberA says:

    I saw this come through on my Google Reader yesterday morning and immediately considered it for dinner last night. I had everything on hand, even plenty of tilapia! It was wonderful, delicious, and even my five year olds and their younger brother ate the fish (not so much the corn tortillas, but that’s beside the point). We typically grill our fish tacos and make pico de gallo and a cole slaw. But these were so wonderful and so wonderfully tasty that I told my husband we will no longer go to all that trouble! This skillet recipe was perfect!

  30. Amy says:

    These were FABULOUS!!!! I made them last night and their was not a bite left, yum, yum, yum. Thank you for another great dish:)

  31. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen says:

    Oh I love fish tacos! I can’t wait to give this recipe a try! 🙂

  32. Julie says:

    Thank you for this! I was craving fish tacos yesterday (and I’m sure being 8 months pregnant has very little to do with that), came to your website, and voila! My husband added to the meal by fixing a little mango salsa which we ate with blue chips. Delicious!

    I really enjoy your blog and trying out your recipes!

  33. Erin says:

    I know this completely changes the recipe, but what about using chicken instead? Do you think that would still be good? We aren’t big fish eaters in our house.

  34. Amber says:

    We love fish tacos! I usually add a few black beans too. Yum!

  35. Mel says:

    Camille and Donna – queso fresco is a Mexican cheese that crumbles kind of like feta but it has a very mild, creamy taste. I have seen it at most grocery stores and even Walmart.

  36. Donna A says:

    I also have a question about what the queso fresco is that you used.

  37. I am always looking for new ideas for taco night and fish tacos are one that I often through in the mix. I love this lighter version though, because most fish tacos have the fish breaded and fried. PS: Cilantro must be the ingredient of the day because I posted a recipe for cilantro lime rice today!

  38. Camille says:

    Yay! I have Tilapia in the freezer that I need to use! My husband will LOVE these! So, this might be a dumb question, but what is the queso fresco that you used?

  39. StephenC says:

    That does it! Fish tacos for dinner tomorrow. I owe you one.

  40. Teresa R. says:

    I almost wrote you last month to ask if you had a good fish taco recipe! I can’t wait to try this. I love fish tacos.

  41. Maria says:

    I think this will be on tonight’s dinner menu!

  42. Amanda says:

    Mel, Love your food always…. but an FYI on the tacos…. specifically the fish. Flounder awesome, but Cod is better (in my opinion) than Tilapia… Just try it, you’ll see 🙂

  43. Amanda says:

    I’ve never had fish taco’s, but I have some fish in my freezer and I am making my menu for the week right now so I think I will try this tonight! Thanks! I love all your recipes! Right now, the southwest one pot chicken and rice is our favorite…I make it all the time!

  44. susan says:

    fish tacos are one of our favorite meals, I can’t wait to try your version!

  45. Julia M. says:

    I have fish tacos on my menu for this week, too–already had the fish in the freezer and saw no reason to not use it up. I love fish tacos in the summer; feels so light and refreshing.

  46. I’ve never tried fish tacos before…for some reason I just can’t get my mind around fish in tacos! But you haven’t steered me wrong yet, so maybe I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

  47. Kim in MD says:

    The timing of this recipe couldn’t be better, Mel! I had fish tacos for lunch in a restaurant yesterday, and they were so good I wanted to make them at home. Here you are this morning posting a fish taco recipe! I have tilapia in my freezer, so that’s what I’ll use. I can’t wait to try this recipe…thanks, Mel!

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