Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos

These Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos are light yet satisfying, juicy, crunchy and creamy, and exploding flavor to rival any restaurant!

These Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos will make a fish lover even out of the toughest critic!  The fish is dripping with smokey, tangy, spicy flavor from a 15-minute marinade, pan seared to perfection, wrapped in a warm corn tortilla then topped with refreshing sweet and tangy strawberry pineapple slaw and addictive silky avocado crema.  The resulting mahi mahi fish tacos are layered with mesmerizing flavor after flavor and texture after texture that are sure to impress.  These fish tacos are easy to prepare, healthy and the perfect addition to your easy weeknight dinner arsenal.  Pair them with corn on the cob and grape salad and you have the perfect summer meal!

Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos Recipe Video

up close of mahi mahi fish taco on a white plate being held with one hand

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Fish Taco Recipe

Are you a fish taco fan?  Living in San Diego, we are spoiled with top notch Mexican restaurants which means top notch fish tacos.  I love every type of fish taco from deep fried Baja fish tacos (A MUST TRY) to Grilled Fish Tacos to blackened fish tacos.  I also love recreating these fish taco recipes at home, so today, I’m excited to bring you another fish taco favorite – mahi mahi fish tacos!

These mahi mahi fish tacos are a dream.  They’re seasoned to perfection with hints of chipotle chile powder and lime and seasoned through and through due to the 15-minute marinade and not just a rub. 

And can we talk about the strawberry pineapple slaw?! I got the idea for this slaw after making my strawberry salsa and falling madly in love.  I knew its vibrant, sweet and tangy splendor would be perfect for fish tacos so I added some cabbage and voila!  Another new obsession.

The intoxicating symphony of flavors and textures of the mahi mahi fish tacos from the crunchy slaw to the creamy avocado crema, to the tender, flaky juicy fish will have you wishing every night was taco night!  But now it can be because I’ve included how to grill fish tacos, how to cook on the stove and how to bake.

This mahi mahi fish taco recipe is also extremely flexible – make them how you want! There really is no right or wrong way to assemble them because the marinade is sublime – just must make sure you top with something crunchy and creamy.

You can serve the mahi mahi fish tacos with the slaw recipe or simply pile with cabbage with a squeeze of lime if you’re running low on time.  You can also top the fish tacos with your favorite salsas from mango salsa, to pineapple salsa to avocado corn salsa.  You can use the prescribed unabashedly creamy avocado crema or a few simple avocado slices.  You can even swap the mahi mahi mahi for another firm with fish such as cod or tilapia – just don’t call them mahi mahi fish tacos 😉.  

What is Mahi Mahi?

  • The fish:  Mahi mahi is a mild, firm, lean white fish that cooks up beautifully tender with a mild flavor.  Mahi mahi is perfect for those new or neutral to seafood because it doesn’t taste overly “fishy.” 
  • The name:  The word mahi-mahi comes from the Hawaiian name for the fish, meaning “strong strong” referring to mahi mahi’s power and speed.    It is also known as dolphinfish, but has become primarily known as mahi mahi as to not be confused with the mammal of the same name.  It’s also known as dorado in some countries, meaning “golden” in Spanish, even though it can come in array of colors — bright blues, greens, and yellows.
  • The size: Mahi mahi grow up to almost 7 feet and 88 pounds! 
  • The climate:  Mahi mahi is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in tropical/subtropical oceans waters, primarily the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean with smaller populations also in the Pacific, mainly Hawaii. 
  • The pros:  U.S. wild-caught mahi mahi is a smart seafood choice because it’s a fabulous source of lean protein, packed with nutrition and a great, less expensive alternative to halibut.  Mahi mahi can be grilled, pan seared, broiled, or even fried.
  • The sustainability:  Mahi mahi is also a smart choice because it is not over-fished and considered a sustainable seafood from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list. Scientists assume populations are abundant because they are highly productive and widely distributed throughout warm waters.
top view of mahi mahi fish tacos on a white plate with slaw and avocado crema

How to purchase Mahi Mahi:

Mahi mahi is widely available either fresh or frozen at your grocery store.  Here’s what to look for:

FRESH MAHI MAHI

  • Skin:  Mahi mahi is sold as fillets at the seafood counter of your grocery store.  Try and select skinless if you have the option otherwise ask the butcher to remove the skin.  You can also remove it yourself which is easy to do, just work delicately and try not to remove the fish along with the skin!   If you have to select mahi with skin, look for moist and shiny looking skin as opposed to dry.
  • Smell:  Mahi mahi should have a fresh, clean neutral scent.   If it smells overly fishy, steer clear, as it’s a sign the fish isn’t fresh.
  • Color:  It should be pink with a few faint red stripes.  Avoid mahi mahi that’s dull, has brown spots or blue edges as these are signs that the fish is no longer fresh and possibly be going bad.
  • Size: Look for fillets weighing about 6-7 oz. and are about 1-inch thick. Thicker fillets remain juicier.  If you end up with thinner fillets, just take extra care not to overcook. 
  • Sustainability:  Look for troll-caught and rod-and-reel caught fish as opposed to long-line caught fish.

FROZEN MAHI MAHI

Frozen mahi mahi is a fabulous alternative to fresh because it is less expensive, freezer friendly (literally) AKA convenient, and super fresh – just frozen.  Frozen fish is frozen shortly after it’s caught which means it’s frozen at peak freshness.  So, unless you live coastal (and even then), it can be even fresher than the seafood counter by the time it’s purchased and you actually use it.   

Frozen mahi mahi usually comes in packs of frozen fillets that should be easy to find.  I know Costco sells a 3-pound pack of frozen fillets and even my Sprouts sells them.  Just make sure your package specifies “wild caught” for the best flavor. 

WHAT OTHER FISH CAN I USE FOR FISH TACOS?

If you can’t get your hands on mahi mahi, you can use other white fleshed, mild, flaky fish fillets such as tilapia, snapper, halibut or cod.  Look for fillets that aren’t overly thin; thicker fillets work better here.

Fish Taco Ingredients

Mahi mahi is a lean, thick fish, so it benefits from not just seasonings but a marinade as well. A marinade allows the flavor to penetrate the fish and keeps the fish extra tender. You will need:

THE MARINADE

  • olive oil: use quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. Olive oil prevents the fish from drying out and distributes the oil-soluble flavors evenly throughout the fish.
  • lime juice: you will need the juice from about one lime.  Fresh is best but you may use bottled if it is pure fleshly squeezed without any additives.
  • soy sauce: adds a depth of flavor.  Use reduced sodium soy sauce so we can control the salt.
  • brown sugar: balances the tangy lime juice, umami of the soy and spiciness of the chipotle chile powder.  It also promotes even browning.
  • seasonings: paprika, chipotle chile powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano and pepper create the perfectly seasoned fish.  I usually love smoked paprika in recipes, but for this recipe, stick with traditional paprika. Smoked paprika is too overwhelming with the chipotle chile powder.
  • chipotle chile powder: might be the only seasoning you don’t keep stocked.  I use it ALL the time in my Mexican recipes, so I highly suggest purchasing it.  It is easy to find at your grocery store under any of the following names: “chipotle chile pepper,” “ground chipotle chile,” or “chipotle powder.”

THE TACOS

  • mahi mahi: is a neutral flavored white fish perfect for tacos.  You may also use tilapia, halibut or cod that is about ¾-inch thick.
  • tortillas:  I’ll go more in depth about tortillas below but make sure to purchase quality tortillas – they can make or break your tacos!   Corn tortillas are the tortillas of choice for fish tacos.  
  • slaw:  brings the CRUNCH.  I’ve created a tangy, sweet and crunchy strawberry pineapple slaw with strawberries, pineapple, red onions, jalapeno, and cilantro that’s unabashedly addicting.  You can also use finely shredded cabbage with a splash of lime juice, but next time, go for my slaw recipe, you won’t regret it.
three mahi mahi fish tacos lined on a white plate with slaw and cilantro

WHAT ARE THE BEST TORTILLAS FOR FISH TACOS?

Fish tacos are commonly made with corn tortillas which I highly recommend for these mahi mahi fish tacos.  You can’t beat the toasted corn flavor by lightly charring or toasting the tortillas. The following recommendations are not affiliates, just my affections:

CORN TORTILLAS

I love La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas. They are thicker, homemade tortillas that never break or tear even when charred and piled with toppings.  I find mine at Sprouts or you can pick them up on Amazon.  They are definitely more expensive BUT less than dining out!

Be aware that this brand of corn tortillas is not gluten free as it does contain corn AND wheat.

FLOUR TORTILLAS

I am less picky when it comes to flour tortillas because most brand won’t crumble, unlike corn tortillas.  I like Guerro brand tortillas which is probably the easiest brand to find at your local grocery store. If you go flour, be aware, you’re missing out on some serious flavor.

WHAT TOPPINGS DO YOU PUT ON FISH TACOS?

These mahi mahi fish tacos would not be complete without the refreshing sweet tangy crunch of the strawberry pineapple slaw against the smoky seasoned fish.

FISH TACO SLAW

Fruit salsas or slaws are one of my favorite additions to tacos from my Shrimp Tacos and Chili Lime Chicken Tacos to my Tacos Al Pastor and Teriyaki Chicken Tacos, because after all, the best thing about tacos is layering them with flavors and textures so you have mouthfuls of spicy, savory, sweet, tangy, creamy all in one mouthful.   The strawberry pineapple slaw is a quick tossing together of juicy strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, cabbage, red onion, cilantro and lime juice – so refreshingly delicious and so ready to be piled on your mahi mahi fish tacos! It’s so good I was eating it with a spoon. 

That being said, I do realize the slaw requires a few extra ingredients (but so worth it!), so feel free to skip or substitute any of the ingredients. I’ve provided extra topping ideas below.

My Favorte Taco Sauce – THE CREMA

Lastly, I had to drizzle the mahi mahi fish tacos with my avocado crema that I use all the time.  It is my addiction and my preference over chopped avocados or guacamole because everything tastes better with crazy creamy avocado infused with lime, cumin, garlic and cilantro. 

The crema is super simple to make in your blender with just a few ingredients and doesn’t require any chopping. It’s especially perfect when you’re already making a slaw or salsa with red onion, cilantro, etc. and don’t need all the extra bells and whistles. The crema’s cool refreshing creaminess cuts through and compliments the robust, smoky flavors of the mahi mahi.

a bowl of avocado crema in a white bowl to top fish tacos

Other topping ideas:

Although I love my strawberry pineapple slaw and avocado crema pairing, feel free to top your mahi mahi fish tacos with any of your favorite topping ideas. I suggest something sweet to contrast the smokey, slightly spicy mahi mahi, something crunchy and something creamy.

  • Cabbage:  thinly sliced red or green cabbage tossed with lime, salt and pepper.
  • Salsas: so many to choose from!  Store bought salsa is always an easy topping or get fancy with my homemade restaurant salsa salsa verdeblack bean corn salsaavocado salsa, charred corn salsa, mango salsa, or pineapple salsa or strawberry salsa.
  • Sour Cream:  Adds delightful tangy creaminess.   If you are trying to save some calories, you may the substitute the sour cream with plain Greek yogurt.  Although not authentic, it gets the job done and you don’t have to feel guilty about piling it on.
  • Guacamole:  use your favorite recipe or my homemade guacamole recipe (amazing!) or you can even use store bought.
  • Avocados: chopped or sliced avocados are the easiest avocado option and add a wonderful creaminess.
  • Pico de gallo:  is fresh tomato salsa that adds a vibrant, punchy freshness.  You can use my homemade pico de de gallo recipe or store bought. You can make the pico de gallo ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Lime:  use lime wedges to add freshly squeezed lime juice if additional tanginess is desired.
  • Cilantro:  if you skip the pico de gallo, you can load on fresh cilantro and tomatoes instead.
  • Jalapenos: you can also amp up the heat with chopped or sliced jalapenos or hot sauce.   
  • Pickle onions:  I can’t believe I haven’t shared a recipe for this yet, but I love pickled onions on fajitas! Tangy, punchy fantastic.

How to Make Fish Tacos:

This fish taco recipe is simple yet does require a few steps.  The good news is you can multi-task. While the fish is marinating, whip up your slaw and crema – now you’re just a few cooking minutes away from the best mahi mahi fist tacos of your life.

Marinate Mahi mahi

I first tried making fish tacos without marinating them and just using a spice rub – but I found all the flavor was on the outside and the inside of the fish was still bland.  Not okay.  Not good enough for you my friends! Instead, to infuse these mahi mahi fish tacos with flavor through and through, I whipped up a simple marinade that elevates these fish tacos from ordinary to extraordinary.

  • Make marinade: whisk olive oil, lime juice, soy sauce, paprika, chipotle chile powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano and pepper together in a small bowl.
  • Briefly marinate fish:  I use the word “marinate” loosely because you only want to marinate the fish while you prep the avocado crema and make your slaw, no more than 30 minutes.  To marinate, add fish to shallow dish in a single layer.  Pour marinade over fish and rub it evenly over each side.  
showing how to make mahi mahi fish tacos by marinating in a white dish

How to Make FISH TACO Slaw

  • Add ingredients: add cabbage, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, red onions, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice to a large bowl.
  • Combine:  toss all of the ingredients until evenly combined.  Taste and season with additional lime juice, jalapeno, etc. if desired.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve: you may need to strain excess juice before serving depending on how juicy your strawberries are.
showing how to make fish tacos by making slaw in a glass bowl with cabbage, cilantro, strawberries and pineapple

How to make easy fish taco sauce

Every fish taco recipe needs something crunchy and something creamy.  And there’s nothing better than avocado crema! 

  • Blend ingredients: add avocado, sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic powder, round cumin and salt to your blender and blend until smooth.
  • Refrigerate: or better yet, place avocado crema in the freezer to chill more quickly – just don’t forget it’s there!  

How to Cook Mahi Mahi:

Mahi mahi is a lean fish so take are not to overcook it or it can dry out.  The fillets will take just a couple minutes per side while they turn from white to golden brown.  The best way to know if your mahi mahi is done, is to check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. Mahi Mahi should be cooked to around 137 degrees F.

Stovetop Method:

  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Once hot, gently add fish and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes per side or until cooked to desired doneness (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish).
showing how to make fish tacos recipe by cooking fish in a white skillet

Grill Method:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Clean and grease grates.
  • Once hot, gently add fish and cook for about 3 minutes per side (uncovered) or until cooked to desired doneness (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish).

Oven Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Transfer fish to prepared baking sheet without touching. Bake until cooked to desired doneness, about 10 – 14 minutes (fish is cooked when it flakes easily with a fork). Broil fish for an additional 1-2 minutes for an extra golden finish.

HOW TO WARM TORTILLAS:

I HIGHLY recommend warming your tortillas for the BEST fish tacos. Not only do warm tortillas become softer and the ideal non-jarring, melt-in-your mouth temperature, but the flavors are accentuated when warmed.  If you attempt to use room temperature or cold tortillas, you’ll find their temperature isn’t nearly as appetizing and they aren’t as pliable and soft.  Lower quality corn tortillas are also likely to break if not warmed.

You can easily warm your tortillas for these mahi mahi fish tacos in SECONDS using any of my below methods: open flame, skillet, microwave or oven, with the microwave being the quickest.

Once your tortillas are warmed (with any method), keep them warm and pliable by stacking on a plate and covering with a slightly dampened, paper towel or clean towel. 

  • Open Flame (gas stove or grill):  this method is how I achieve the smoky char you see on the tortillas and is best with FRESH/homemade tortillas as previously discussed.    I simply add the tortillas directly to the burner of my gas stove then flip with tongs once they are charred on one side.  You can also accomplish this on the grill as well.  If you are using lower quality corn tortillas, you will want to take special care not to over-char or they will become brittle and break.  You still want the tortillas soft and pliable. 
  • Skillet:  heat a skillet (or griddle if you have one) to medium high heat (do not grease).  Working with one tortilla at a time (more for a griddle), heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 20-30 seconds until warm and soft.  You are not looking for char marks with this method.
  • Microwave:  working with about 5 tortillas at a time, stack tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through.
  • Oven:  create separate stacks of about 5 tortillas each, then wrap each stack in foil.   Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through (you can bake all stacks at once).
showing how to make fish tacos by warming corn tortillas

How to Assemble Fish Tacos:

Now the fun part!  There really isn’t a right or wrong way to assemble the mahi mahi fish tacos, but here is how I do it:

  • Add fish to tortillas: break fish into large pieces and evenly divide between warm tortillas. 
  • Add toppings:  Top with slaw, avocado crema and any other desired toppings. Garnish with additional cilantro, lime juice and/or hot sauce if desired.
showing how to make mahi mahi fish tacos by adding fish to a corn tortilla and topping with slaw and avocados

Tips for the Best Fish Taco Recipe:

  • Quality tortillas.  Try and purchase QUALITY corn tortillas – you can taste the difference! I’ve discussed this in greater detail above.
  • Use correct mahi mahi.  Use fresh (or defrosted), wild caught mahi mahi that is skinless (or remove the skin yourself) that is on the thicker side.
  • Don’t marinade mahi mahi longer than 30 minutes.  The acidity of the lime juice can break down the fish and make it mushy.
  • Preheat oven or grill early.  If you’re using the oven or grill method, don’t wait until you have been marinating the fish for 30 minutes before you start to preheat or your fish will be over-marinated.  Start preheating your appliance 15 minutes before you want to use it.
  • Use a nonstick skillet.  When fish is coated in a marinade, it is best to use a nonstick skillet as opposed to stainless steel or a cast iron skillet otherwise it will lose a lot of the marinade to the pan and stick.
  • Use a hot pan.  Don’t add your fish until the oil is sizzling hot or you won’t get that golden-brown crust.
  • Don’t overcook mahi mahi.  Mahi mahi is a lean fish so it should be cooked to around 137 degrees F.  Don’t overcook or it won’t be as tender and juicy.
  • Let fish rest.  Just like other proteins it is important to let the mahi mahi rest for 5 minutes before cutting into chunks.  While the fish cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the protein.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the breast.
  • Serve a crowd.  If you want to serve more people, I suggest doubling the recipe and using the grill or oven method to easily cook your fish at once.
  • Lime juice to taste.  Don’t forget the lime!  The lime brightens and enlivens the flavors.

Fish taco recipe VARIATIONS

  • Add beans. Add warmed black beans or pinto beans directly to your tortillas before piling on the mahi mahi and slaw.
  • Swap slaw.  You can use thinly sliced green cabbage and your favorite fruit salsa recipe such as mango salsa or pineapple salsa. 
  • Add Veggies. You can add additional veggies or swap the slaw for veggies such as cucumbers, bell peppers or corn.
  • Swap crema.  You can also use my sensational Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing – yum!
  • Add avocados.  You can swap the avocado crema for simple sliced avocados.
  • Spice it up.  The spice level as written should be perfect for most people. The fish on its own has a kick but is mellowed out by the rest of the ingredients. If you know you love spicy, add some fresh or pickled jalapenos or hot sauce to taste to the assembled mahi mahi fish tacos

WHAT CAN I PREP AHEAD?

These mahi mahi fish tacos can be mostly prepped ahead so when it comes time to cook, it’s just a quick marinade to dinner.

  • Marinade: whisk all the marinade ingredients together, cover and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator WITHOUT THE FISH for up to 2 days.
  • Slaw: chop the slaw ingredient but keep them in separate airtight containers up to 24 hours ahead of time.  You can combine them up to 60 minutes before making, but not too much earlier because we want the cabbage to stay nice and crunchy.
  • Avocado crema:  can be made and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days IF you transfer the crema to an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the crema before adding the lid.  This will delay oxidization/browning that occurs when the surface of the dip/avocado come in contact with air. 

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT MAHI MAHI FISH TACOS

  • Storage:  Cooked mahi mahi should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When properly stored, it is good for three to four days.
  • Skillet: is the preferred warming method.  Heat a drizzle of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add some butter if desired for extra richness.  Add mahi mahi, cover and cook just until warmed through.
  • Microwave:  transfer mahi mahi to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 60 seconds then at 20 second intervals as needed. Take care not to over-cook or it will become rubbery.
  • Oven: Transfer mahi mahi to a large sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up fish in the foil and transfer to a baking sheet. Reheat at 350 F degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.

How to FREEZE Mahi Mahi

You can freeze the mahi mahi but both the slaw and the crema do not freeze well.  After you have cooked the fish, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.

up close of mahi mahi fish taco on a white plate

WHAT TO SERVE WITH FISH TACOS?

I love my mahi mahi fish tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice,  Elote (Grilled Mexican Street Corn), a big bowl of tortilla chips and salsa, followed by Churros or Tres Leches Cake.  Here are some more favorites to serve with fish tacos:

Are mahi mahi fish tacos healthy?

Mahi mahi is a lean fish packed with nutrients and protein. Here are just a few of the health benefits:

  • Lean Protein: a 3.5 oz serving of mahi-mahi contains about 85 calories, with less than one gram of fat and 18.5 grams of protein.
  • Low in mercury:  Mahi mahi is also a smart fish choice because its lower in mercury than many other fishes due to its short life span.
  • Vitamin B: mahi mahi is an excellent source of vitamins B-3, B-5, B-6 and B-12. B-3 helps in heart health by controlling cholesterol levels. It also maintains healthy skin, supports brain function and can prevent join problems like arthritis. B-5 helps make blood cells and converts food into energy. B-6 helps your brain and nerves in operations like mood control and hormone regulation. It’s also been proven to aid in liver function. B-12 helps keep nerve and blood cells healthy, and even assists in making DNA. (Pucci Foods)
  • Potassium:  helps to lower blood pressure and combat heart disease.  It also supports heart and muscle function and may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
  • Selenium:  a single serving of mahi mahi contains more than 100% of your recommended daily amount of selenium.  Selenium is an important mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions. It is critical for healthy heart function, metabolism and thyroid function. It also helps boost your immune system, fight inflammation, slow cognitive decline, and even reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: there aren’t very many sources of omega-3 fatty acids other than fish and flaxseed, making mahi mahi a key supplier.  This lipid is a healthy fat which provides essential nutrients that help lower blood pressure and reduce triglycerides which is key to preventing and managing heart disease.

HELPFUL TOOLS TO MAKE FISH TACO RECIPE

  • Nonstick Skillet: This skillet is my favorite pan in the WORLD!  I have both the 10 and 12-in and use them for practically everything.   I’ve had this pan for forever and they’re still as good as new.  I love giving this nonstick skillet for wedding gifts because it sets you up for cooking success!  It is on the pricier side but it’s practically the only pan you’ll ever need!  If you’re looking for a more economical nonstick skillet, this one also has good reviews – but I can’t guarantee it will last as long!
  • Lemon and Lime Squeezer/Press: I use fresh lemon/lime juice all the time and this press makes prep so much easier!  It’s is made with ultra-strong high quality 18/8 STAINLESS steel (not cheap aluminum) to last a lifetime without rusting or breaking.   This more economical version also has great reviews (but isn’t made of stainless steel).
  • Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far! Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well.  If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthof but there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
  • Cutting Board:  I use my big solid cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment.  This extra-large cutting board allows you to prep all your veggies on one surface and the bamboo is easier on knives than plastic.

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up close of a hand holding a fish taco with slaw and avocado crema

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Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos (+ Video)

These Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos will make a fish lover even out of the toughest critic! The fish is dripping with smokey, tangy, spicy flavor from a 15-minute marinade, pan seared to perfection, wrapped in a warm corn tortilla then topped with refreshing sweet and tangy strawberry pineapple slaw and addictive silky avocado crema. The resulting mahi mahi fish tacos are layered with mesmerizing flavor after flavor and texture after texture that are sure to impress. These fish tacos are easy to prepare, healthy and the perfect addition to your easy weeknight dinner arsenal. Pair them with corn on the cob and grape salad and you have the perfect summer meal!
Servings: 6 -8 tacos
Total Time: 36 mins
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 6 mins

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Ingredients

Tacos

15 Minute Marinade

Strawberry Pineapple Slaw

  • 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 pint strawberries hulled and chopped
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1-2 jalapenos seeded, deveined, minced (1 for very mild)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp EACH salt, pepper

Instructions

Marinade:

  • Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Add fish to shallow dish in a single layer. Pour marinade over fish and rub the marinade evenly over each side of the fish. Marinate at room temperature while you prep the slaw and crema – NO MORE THAN 30 MINUTES.

Strawberry Pineapple Slaw:

  • Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You may need to strain excess juice before serving depending on how juicy your strawberries are.

Avocado Crema:

  • Click on “avocado crema” in the recipe ingredients and follow instructions.

Stovetop Method:

  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Once hot, gently add fish and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes per side or until cooked to desired doneness (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish).

Grill Method:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Clean and grease grates.
  • Once hot, gently add fish and cook for about 3 minutes per side (uncovered) or until cooked to desired doneness (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish).

Oven Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Transfer fish to prepared baking sheet without touching. Bake until cooked to desired doneness, about 10 – 14 minutes (fish is cooked when it flakes easily with a fork. Broil fish for an additional 1-2 minutes for an extra roasted finish.

Assemble:

  • Remove fish from skillet and break into large pieces. Evenly divide fish between tortillas then top with slaw and crema. Garnish with additional lime and hot sauce if desired.

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!

Tips and Tricks 

  • Quality tortillas.  Try and purchase QUALITY corn tortillas – you can taste the difference! I’ve discussed this in greater detail in the post.
  • Use correct mahi mahi.  Use fresh (or defrosted), wild caught mahi mahi that is skinless (or remove the skin yourself) that is on the thicker side.
  • Don’t marinade mahi mahi longer than 30 minutes.  The acidity of the lime juice can break down the fish and make it mushy.
  • Preheat oven or grill early.  If you’re using the oven or grill method, don’t wait until you have been marinating the fish for 30 minutes before you start to preheat or your fish will be over-marinated.  Start preheating your appliance 15 minutes before you want to use it.
  • Use a nonstick skillet.  When fish is coated in a marinade, it is best to use a nonstick skillet as opposed to stainless steel or a cast iron skillet otherwise it will lose a lot of the marinade to the pan and stick.
  • Use a hot pan.  Don’t add your fish until the oil is sizzling hot or you won’t get that golden-brown crust.
  • Don’t overcook mahi mahi.  Mahi mahi is a lean fish so it should be cooked to around 137 degrees F.  Don’t overcook or it won’t be as tender and juicy.
  • Let fish rest.  Just like other proteins it is important to let the mahi mahi rest for 5 minutes before cutting into chunks.  While the fish cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the protein.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the breast.
  • Serve a crowd.  If you want to serve more people, I suggest doubling the recipe and using the grill or oven method to easily cook your fish at once.
  • Different Toppings.  See post for topping variations such as pineapple salsa and mango salsa. 
  • Lime juice to taste.  Don’t forget the lime!  The lime brightens and enlivens the flavors.

HOW TO WARM OR CHAR TORTILLAS

Before you begin piling your Breakfast Tacos with toppings, I HIGHLY recommend warming the tortillas first using any of the following methods:
  • Open Flame (gas stove or grill): add the tortillas directly to the burner of your gas stove then flip with tongs once they are charred on one side.  You can also accomplish this on the grill as well.  If you are using lower quality tortillas, you will want to take special care not to over-char or they will become brittle and break.  You still want the tortillas soft and pliable.
  • Skillet:  heat a skillet (or griddle if you have one) to medium high heat (do not grease).  Working with one tortilla at a time (more for a griddle), heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 20-30 seconds until warm and soft.  You are not looking for char marks with this method.
  • Microwave:  working with about 5 tortillas at a time, stack tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through.
  • Oven:  create separate stacks of about 5 tortillas each, then wrap each stack in foil.   Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through (you can bake all stacks at once).

HOW TO KEEP TORTILLAS WARM

Once your tortillas are warmed (with any method), keep them warm and pliable by stacking on a plate and covering with a slightly dampened, paper towel or kitchen towel.

PREP AHEAD

  • Marinade: whisk all the marinade ingredients together, cover and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator WITHOUT THE FISH for up to 2 days.
  • Slaw: chop the slaw ingredient but keep them in separate airtight containers up to 24 hours ahead of time.  You can combine them up to 60 minutes before making, but not too much earlier because we want the cabbage to stay nice and crunchy.
  • Avocado crema:  can be made and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days IF you transfer the crema to an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the crema before adding the lid.  This will delay oxidization/browning that occurs when the surface of the dip/avocado come in contact with air.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT 

  • Storage:  Cooked mahi mahi should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When properly stored, it is good for three to four days.
  • Skillet: is the preferred warming method.  Heat a drizzle of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add some butter if desired for extra richness.  Add mahi mahi, cover and cook just until warmed through.
  • Microwave:  transfer mahi mahi to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 60 seconds then at 20 second intervals as needed. Take care not to over-cook or it will become rubbery.
  • Oven: Transfer mahi mahi to a large sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up fish in the foil and transfer to a baking sheet. Reheat at 350 F degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.

How to FREEZE 

You can freeze the mahi mahi but both the slaw and the crema do not freeze well.  After you have cooked the fish, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.

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10 Comments

  1. Mary Tognazzini says

    WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CORN TORTILLA? JUST NEED THE STRAWBERRY’S AND GOOD TORTILLA’S . THANK YOU.

    • Jen says

      La Tortilla Factory, I find mine at Sprouts. Enjoy!

  2. Dalia says

    Totally made these tacos to celebrate my daughter’s 32nd birthday and WOW! They were amazing! We used frozen Tilapia fillets, followed the directions and grilled it to perfection. Excellent flavor! The slaw gave it a tropical flare and the “pièce de rèsistance” was that Avocado Crema! My family loved everything about this dish and their newest addiction…that crema 🙂 An impressive, feasible meal; thanks for the recipe Jen!

    • Jen says

      YAY! You’re so welcome Dalia! Thanks for taking the time to comment and HBD to your daughter! I’m so happy the entire family loved it and also discovered the avocado crema – it’s definitely one of my addictions a well -serve it with everything!

  3. Laurie says

    This looks amazing! Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful recipes! I can honestly say that every recipe that I’ve ever tried to make is sooo freaking good. . From this to your smothered burrito, chicken lasagna, Baja tacos…I seriously can go on and on.

    • Jen says

      Thank you for making my recipes Laurie! I’m thrilled you’re loving them so much!

  4. Pam says

    This recipe was perfection

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Pam, I love hearing that!

  5. Jean Goulet says

    The Mahi-mahi tacos were awesome!! My husband loved them, said they were high end Mexican restaurant worthy!! Thought we would have lots of left overs, but barely had any fish left!! Thank you so much!

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that, thank you so much Jean!

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