Bold Grilled Tilapia Tacos

Last Updated on by What’s Smoking

A grilled tilapia tacos recipe is a delicious alternative to traditional beef or pork tacos. With their light and flaky texture, tilapia fillets are the perfect protein for grilling and pairing with fresh ingredients like avocado, cilantro, and lime. In this recipe, we will show you how to make flavorful grilled tilapia tacos that are sure to become a new favorite in your taco night rotation.

Grilled Fish Tacos

Grilling tilapia is a pretty quick process and does not require a whole lot of work. If you are using a charcoal grill, my recommendation is to fill a chimney worth of charcoal and lay that out in a Kettle once it is ready and has ashed over. If you are going to do this grilled tilapia tacos recipe on a gas grill set yourself up for about 350°. You will eventually want the Kettle in that same 350-400° range. While the grill is getting up to temperature, you can start working on the fish.

Gather your ingredients, to season the tacos, you will need the following items: garlic powder, chili powder, salt and black pepper. If you like a little more spice, you can incrementally add 1/8 of chili powder at a time. Keep in mind we are going to be adding a coleslaw to this later on, which will also have some jalapenos.

Seasoning for Grilled Tilapia Tacos

Combine these dry ingredients in a bowl and set to the side as we get ready to coat the fish. Ensure that if you are using frozen tilapia that is has thawed per the instructions on the package, if using fresh tilapia you are ready to start seasoning.

If by chance you are looking to make tacos but do not have any tilapia available you can substitute with another white fish, such as cod or flounder. I have used both and all three of these options will work.

If you concerned about the seasoning adhering to the fish, you can lightly brush the fish down with some olive oil, on both sides. As you complete each side, you can start to add the dry seasoning. After having seasoned the fish you can prepare to get it on the grill.

Grilling Tilapia

The grill should be ready to go except for one thing you want to do, that will keep the tilapia from sticking to the grates. With a clean towel or paper towels, wipe the grates down with some vegetable oil. This should help avoid the fish from sticking to the grates. The last thing you want as you are trying to flip or remove the fish, is its falling apart on you, because it is stuck on the grate.

Your typical cuts of tilapia are not real thick so when grilling these it will be quick. Place your fillets on the grill, cover the grill and then after about 5 minutes flip the fillets and grill for another 5 minutes. Grill these over direct heat, and don’t be afraid to check at least once, because you do not want these getting dried out or burnt because the fillets can be thin.

When grilling fish, you are looking for a safe IT of 145°, as soon as you hit that, you can pull the tilapia fillets. Give the ThermoPro TP19H a try for spot checking your IT. Its a great, convenient probe when grilling something like fish. If using another type of white fish, you will have to make some adjustments, using cod as an example, which is usually a thicker cut of fish. When done, remove from the grill and we are going to flake the fillets apart. They should naturally fall apart or flake but you may need to use a fork, maybe a knife but not likely. We are looking for smaller, bite sized pieces.

Ingredients For Easy Mexican Coleslaw

This coleslaw recipe is a great way to top off our tilapia tacos. It is incredibly flavorful, has a little bit of spice and gives you authentic Mexican taco you did not know you were craving!

For this recipe we are going to need the following ingredients:

  • 1 head of purple cabbage (you can also use a bag of shredded cabbage, it keeps it easy and having done both, I don’t see you are sacrificing any flavor)
  • 1 bag of shredded coleslaw ( you can make your own but I have never done that for this recipe. Using shredded coleslaw is much easier and keeps prep time down)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 purple onion diced
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (if cilantro is hard to come by where you are, you can also use dried cilantro. Not nearly as good but a workable option if you cannot get fresh cilantro)
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced and the seeds removed (pro tip, wash your hands before rubbing your eyes!)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice (I typically use bottled lime juice. If you are using bottled lime juice, Nellie and Joes is a great option if you are looking for something in a bottle. Freshly squeezed lime juice works just as well if you choose to go that route.)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar ( you can also use agave as a substitute here, but we typically go with the sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil

So we have the ingredients ready to go, we can start combing them all. We are going to start with the slaw mix and the shredded purple cabbage, (either from the bag or shredded yourself). Combine both of those and mix well. Once you have those mixed in together, you can start adding together in the chopped green onions and the chopped cilantro. Finally you can add in the jalapeno, again don’t forget to wash those hands.

Mexican coleslaw is a great topping for this fish tacos recipe

Now that you have that stepped completed, you we can add in the remaining 4 ingredients. You can start with the lime juice, continue stirring after adding each ingredient. Then you can add in the olive oil and finally the sugar and the salt. You are now good to go, this recipe if not used right away can be stored for 1-2 days before it starts getting to soggy and goes bad.

Putting Together and Serving Tilapia Fish Tacos

You can use corn tortillas (which makes a great healthy gluten free option) or flour, we go back and forth in our house, just depends what we have available. If using corn, you will want to warm them up first so they do not fall apart. When doing so, spray them with some cooking spray and this will assist with the warming process.

After the tortillas, all you need to do is layer the fish on, add the slaw and you are ready to go. If are looking for some other fish taco toppings, you may want to add some additional hot sauce you certainly can but probably not needed since there are jalapenos in the slaw. You can add some fresh lime juice as well to these tacos. If you love sour cream, while not as traditional you can add a dollop on the coleslaw. Cilantro lime rice makes for a great side dish to serve with this fish taco recipe.

Tilapia Tacos!

Concluding Tilapia Tacos Recipe

Tilapia tacos are a versatile and delicious dish that can be easily customized to suit individual tastes. Whether topped with tangy slaw, creamy avocado, or spicy salsa, these tacos offer a flavorful and satisfying meal option for any occasion. With their mild flavor and flaky texture, tilapia tacos are sure to become a favorite among seafood lovers and taco enthusiasts alike. So next time you’re looking for a fresh and tasty meal idea, consider trying out some tilapia tacos, your taste buds will thank you!

Looking for some other taco recipes or seafood, here are some suggestions:

Bold Grilled Tilapia Tacos

Tilapia Tacos Recipe

Spice up your taco night with these mouthwatering tilapia tacos loaded with fresh toppings.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


Fish Tacos

  • 16 oz. Tilapia
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • chili powder


  • 1 bag of shredded coleslaw
  • I bag or one head of purple cabbage
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro chopped coarsely
  • 1 jalapeno, with seeds removed
  • 1 red onion, diced

Coleslaw Dressing

  • 1/2 cup of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar or agave
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt to taste


  1. Get the grill up and running, if using charcoal go with a full chimney of charcoal, if going with gas set it for about 350°, which is where you want the charcoal grill at as well.
  2. Prepare the dry ingredients in a bowl and then season both side of the fish. If using frozen fillets, make sure they are defrosted all the way. Follow instructions on the package to defrost. If you want to brush the fillets down with some olive oil.
  3. Place the fish on the grill, over direct heat.
  4. Grill on each side for about 5 minutes, until you reach a safe IT of 145°.
  5. When done let cool and then flake apart the fish, into small bite sized pieces.
  6. Next is the coleslaw, you can make this either before or after the fish.
  7. Combined your coleslaw and purple cabbage and mix well
  8. Add your chopped green onions, cilantro and jalapeno, mix together well
  9. Add in the lime juice, sugar and olive oil, mixing well together
  10. If you are using flour tortillas, you can move on to make the tacos. If you are using corn tortillas, spray with some cooking spray and warm for about 2 minutes on each side.


If you have a scenario where you are making this Mexican coleslaw in advance, my suggestion is to combine all the dry ingredients together first, minus the salt and sugar and right before serving add in the dressing ingredients of the lime juice, olive oil and sugar and salt. If you are making this to far in advance the coleslaw will get too soggy. It will last about 1-2 days in a sealed container, in the regfrigator.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 457Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 279mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 9gSugar: 17gProtein: 31g

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