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Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw

Fish tacos with slaw are easy to make and always a hit. Perfectly crispy panko coated cod and spicy slaw piled into a corn tortilla, the perfect taco for your next Taco Tuesday.

I love seafood tacos. From shrimp tacos to crispy fish. They are all good.

I mean what is not to love about fish tacos. The fish is crispy. The slaw is creamy, spicy and tangy. They are pretty easy to make. They go great with a Corona.

Fish tacos with slaw on a plate.

Let’s talk about what ingredients you need to make it happen. 

Fish Tacos with Slaw Ingredients: 

When you’re making fish tacos I want you to think of the recipe as two separate parts: the fried fish and the coleslaw.  

To make the fried fish, I use the same technique that I use in my Perfect Fried Cod Recipe. It is seriously the best way to fry fish. You’ll need: 

Fish taco ingredients.
  • WHITE FISH: To make the best fish tacos, I recommend using a white fish. I like cod because it’s a mild flavored fish and it’s cost effective too. Halibut, snapper or tilapia would also work well in this recipe.
  • FLOUR: You’ll dredge the fish in flour first so that the egg has something to stick to. 
  • EGG: This will help bind the panko bread crumbs to the fish pieces. 
  • PANKO BREAD CRUMBS: By far my favorite coating when frying just about anything. They add the perfect crunch. 

Next let’s talk about the coleslaw. It’s creamy, slightly spicy and works perfectly atop these fish tacos. You’ll need: 

Spicy slaw ingredients.
  • SHREDDED CABBAGE: You can buy shredded cabbage but I find it more cost effective to buy a head of cabbage and shredded myself. I just cut it really thin. Then you can use the remaining cabbage for other recipes like Kielbasa and Cabbage or Southern Fried Cabbage with Bacon
  • JALAPEÑO: This is optional. I do like a spicy kick to my slaw but you can leave it out if you prefer. 
  • GREEK YOGURT: This is going to be the base for the dressing in your slaw. I find that it helps keep the slaw a bit lighter than mayonnaise and it makes the slaw tangy too. 
  • CUMIN: Will add a smoky flavor to the slaw. 
  • CHILI POWDER: Like cumin, chili powder adds a smoky flavor but it also adds a tiny bit of heat. 
  • GARLIC POWDER OR GRANULATED GARLIC: If you only have garlic salt, you can use that too but omit the additional salt in the recipe. 
  • SALT 
  • VINEGAR: This is going to add a bit of acidity as well as smooth out the dressing for the slaw. 

Step By Step Photos and Instructions: 

  • STEP #1: I recommend making the coleslaw first because that gives the flavors a chance to develop. First whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. 
  • STEP #2: Add the shredded cabbage and jalapeño, if using. Mix it well so that the cabbage is completely coated in dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. This can be made a day in advance if needed. 
  • STEP #3: Prep the fish for frying. To make things easy, I set up an assembly line. The first plate has flour, the second egg and the third seasoned panko.
  • STEP #4, 5, 6 First dip the fish pieces in the flour. Next dip the egg and finally the panko.
  • STEP #7:  Fry the fish in 350 degree oil for 2 – 3 minute or until they are browned, crispy and cooked through. 
  • STEP #8: Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan and fry the taco shells. About 30 seconds on each side. 
  • STEP #9: Assemble the tacos. Place 1 – 2 pieces of fish on top of each tortilla, top with slaw and cilantro if desired. 

Recipe FAQ:

What does “overcrowding the pan” mean?

When I say “overcrowding the pan” I mean only fry a small batch of fish at a time, depending on the size of the pan. You want to make sure that there is space between each piece of fish. This allows the fish to fry. If they are too close together the fish will steam rather than fry.

What is best fish for fish tacos?

Any kind of mild white fish works best for fish tacos. I generally use cod but you can use tilapia, rockfish or halibut.

How do you cut cabbage for fish tacos?

Remove the core of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half and then slice in thin slices.

Storage and leftovers:

The fish is best eaten the day that it is made. It doesn’t reheat very well. The slaw however can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days.

You guys, my family LOVES these Fish Tacos with Slaw. Even the kiddos! They might leave off the slaw and add cheddar cheese instead or some guacamole.

And what is a taco dinner without chips and salsa or chips and guacamole? Try these recipes:

Homemade Tortilla Chips are baked, not fried and really easy to make!

Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe is my go to on every taco night.

Don’t forget the guac! Easy Guacamole

And if you really want to spice things up, try my highly rated Habanero Hot Sauce

Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013. It was updated in 2019 and again in 2022.

Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw

Crispy Fish Tacos are easy to make and always a hit. Perfectly crispy panko coated cod and spicy slaw piled into a corn tortilla.
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 490 kcal


Cabbaage Slaw Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 jalapeno sliced

Taco Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 pound cod filet
  • oil for frying
  • 8 taco size white corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  • Combine yogurt, lime juice, cumin, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, chili powder and vinegar in a bowl and mix well. Fold in cabbage and jalapeno. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Set up an assembly line with the flour on one plate, the egg on another and panko bread crumbs combined with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic on another plate.
  • Slice cod into 16 pieces (2 pieces of fish per taco).
  • Dip one piece of cod into flour, then egg and finally seasoned panko. Repeat until all cod is coated.
  • Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry tortillas 30 seconds on each side and fold in half. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas are cooked and then cover to keep warm while you are frying the fish.
  • Heat 1/4 inch of oil over skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a few piece of panko bread crumbs into the oil, if it sizzles begin frying the fish. Fry fish, in batches if necessary, until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
  • To assemble a taco: place 2 pieces of fish into a taco shell, top with spicy slaw and chopped cilantro. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve.


To keep the fish warm during while you're frying in batches, place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Place the fish on top and keep in a warm oven. 
Nutrition information for estimation purposes only. 


Calories: 490kcalCarbohydrates: 26.1gProtein: 28.3gFat: 30.2gSaturated Fat: 4.1gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 828mgFiber: 2.7gSugar: 4g
Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: cinco de mayo, coleslaw, crispy fish, entree, fish tacos, Food, fried fish, panko fish, Recipe, spicy slaw, summer, tacos

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    Marie Czarnecki
    May 10, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    5 stars

  • Reply
    April 7, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    5 stars
    These tacos looks so light, refreshing and absolutely delicious! Crispy fish and spicy slaw, i’m sold. I need a plateful of these tacos right away!

    • Reply
      Marie Czarnecki
      May 10, 2019 at 8:19 pm

      5 stars
      Me tooooooooo.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Yum! Am a HUGE fish taco fan and just planned a taco dinner party! These sound delish and adore you close up shots. Thanks so much for sharing :).

  • Reply
    April 6, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    5 stars
    Really appreciate your precise instructions for frying crispy fish. The fish tacos look amazingly good and that slaw makes them all the more appealing!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    5 stars
    The crispy fish topped with spicy slaw sounds like a great way to celebrate Taco Tuesday. Can’t wait to make this!

  • Reply
    Pearl Rodrigues
    April 5, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    5 stars
    Fish is an absolute favorite and these tacos are definitely going to be made in my kitchen the next time we have a family get together

  • Reply
    April 5, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    5 stars
    I think I like fish tacos more than regular beef tacos. They have such a fresh feel and taste to them. Girl you fried those perfectly!

  • Reply
    Jessica {Cooking my Dreams}
    April 4, 2019 at 11:25 am

    5 stars
    Fish tacos are one of my faves, especially the crispy version! I never tried spicy slaw but it looks very delicious and I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Katherine | Love In My Oven
    April 3, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Mmm fish tacos. Always a goodie! I don’t make them nearly enough! I will have to try your recipe out soon – that slaw looks so good!

  • Reply
    Dan from Platter Talk
    April 3, 2019 at 9:07 am

    5 stars
    I could eat fish, all day, every day! I’m loving that you use cod in this recipe as I’m not a huge fan of tilapia. I know that even our boys would love these yummy and flavorful tacos from the sea. Thanks so much for sharing this one!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Definitely, need to plan a taco night soon! These look delicious with that spicy slaw and scrip taco shell. Love your photos!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2019 at 7:01 am

    5 stars
    I love the idea of using yogurt for the dressing I’m sure that adds a nice tang! This looks like a fun meal for weekend lunch :)

  • Reply
    April 3, 2019 at 4:29 am

    Yummy! These look really good! Love how crispy the fish is. It matches perfectly with the slaw and sauce. I agree, cod and halibut are perfect for fish tacos, while we are not big fans of tilapia.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    5 stars
    I love how crispy these are! They sure to look great!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Little Dairy on the Prairie
    April 2, 2019 at 7:11 am

    Wow! Great for taco Tuesday! Cannot wait to try it!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2019 at 6:08 am

    5 stars
    This is my type of dinner! Now I know what I will make tonight!

  • Reply
    Danielle Wolter
    April 2, 2019 at 5:25 am

    5 stars
    oh how i love fish tacos. these sound just incredible, especially with that cole slaw. great recipe – I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Katerina @ diethood .com
    April 2, 2019 at 1:45 am

    5 stars
    I LOVE fish tacos!! This is such a fantastic recipe!! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Elaine Benoit
    April 1, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    5 stars
    I love cod fish tacos! It’s such a delicious fish for that meal. Your cod not only looks delicious but the crisp on it is making my mouth water! I need to try your recipe!

  • Reply
    April 1, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    5 stars
    Wow the picture is making my mouth water. Spicy slaw was an excellent touch!

  • Reply
    Beth Pierce
    April 1, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    5 stars
    I love fish tacos; immediately makes me think of a vacation to Mexico! The fish looks perfectly crisp and mouth watering, as well!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2019 at 7:47 am

    I just wanted to let you know that I found your recipe while searching for any fish taco with slaw that didn’t think cilantro had to be center stage. I tried yours and haven’t made any other searches for fish tacos. Everyone loves “my” fish tacos, even me, and I don’t really care for fish. So thank you for a delicious recipe, with just the right amount of heat, the perfect crunch, and delicious flavor.

    • Reply
      February 7, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Erin- That is SO nice to hear! I am so happy that it is such a hit in your home! :)

  • Reply
    July 6, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe!
    Easy and delicious..I doubled the amount of cabbage to dressing.

    • Reply
      July 6, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      That is so great to hear Regina! Glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Made these tonight! So good. The slaw is wonderful.

    • Reply
      May 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Thank you Kendra! So happy to hear that you enjoyed them. The slaw is one of my favorite parts too! :)

  • Reply
    May 27, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Those fish tacos look so good!

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

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