20-Minute Fish Tacos Recipe

"Taco Tuesday was a big deal when I was a kid," says chef and recipe developer Maren Epstein of Eating Works. "I looked forward to it every week and making my own taco at the dinner table always made the meal special. I love serving these tacos to pay homage to my own childhood memories."

Unfortunately, one of the problems with adulting is that you may not have the time to prepare those lovely, lavish meals that lead to taking a trip down Memory Lane. That's the beauty of these 20-minute fish tacos, though. As the name points out, they only take 20 minutes to prepare. And, like any good tacos, they can be customized for each diner at the table so everyone will really enjoy the meal.

If you're looking for ways to make a larger meal around these quick and easy tacos, Epstein suggests, "These tacos would pair well with a refreshing green salad with a spicy avocado jalapeño dressing. A nice pitcher of homemade sangria would also be great." And for the record, the avocado crema and sauce go great on rice, chicken, steak, and all sorts of other foods, so you can try them out on your favorite recipes beyond these fish tacos.

Gather your ingredients for fish tacos

To dish out a dozen delicious fish tacos, you'll need a 1-pound boneless, skinless salmon fillet, 2 avocados, ½ a jalapeño (sliced), 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1 lime (juiced), 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning (this is approximate — you'll want enough to sprinkle over all of the fish), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ cup of red wine vinegar, ½ cup of mayo, 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sugar, ½ cup of sliced cabbage, and 12 hard taco shells.

"My biggest hack for this recipe is to ask the fish monger to take the skin off of the fish for you when you buy it," says Epstein. If that's not in the cards, make sure to fully remove the skin yourself.

Prep and bake the salmon

Start off your prep by pre-heating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If need be, remove the skin from the bottom of the salmon fillet, then slice the fish into 1-inch wide strips and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Lightly coat the salmon with taco seasoning, rotating the strips to fully coat them, and then drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle on the salt. 

You'll bake the salmon for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through, with 145 degrees Fahrenheit being the generally accepted safe interior temperature for a cooked salmon fillet (via Southern Living).

Prep the jalapeños, avocado crema, and sauce

While the salmon bakes, you can prep the rest of your ingredients. To make the pickled jalapeños, combine the sliced jalapeños with the red wine vinegar and salt, then set it aside.

Next, in a small bowl, combine the avocados, minced garlic, and lime juice. Mash the mixture with a fork to create a smooth crema, then season it to taste with salt and pepper. (FYI: Taste-testing your avocado crema on a tortilla chip is a pretty good idea.)

To make the sauce, combine the mayo, apple cider vinegar, and sugar in another small bowl, and whisk away until the ingredients have combined. And if you haven't yet, go ahead and slice the cabbage into thin strips.

Assemble the tacos, then enjoy

Once the salmon is finished cooking, place the strips into a bowl and mash the fish with a fork. It should easily fall apart and crush into moist bits. Scoop the salmon into the taco shells followed by the avocado crema, then the pickled jalapeños, then the cabbage, and drizzle with the sauce.

You can serve these tacos just like that and they will be a huge hit. But, tacos also welcome toppings, so go ahead and add pico de gallo, black beans, diced onions, or chives. Just don't plan for leftovers on this one, because according to Epstein, "While you could reheat the fish, it will dry out on the second cooking cycle." Fortunately, leftovers are rarely an occurrence with great fish tacos like these.

20-Minute Fish Tacos Recipe
5 from 41 ratings
These 20-minute fish tacos with avocado crema will totally upgrade your next Taco Tuesday. Have a pitcher of homemade sangria on deck to wash them down with.
Prep Time
Cook Time
fish tacos
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 1-pound boneless, skinless salmon fillet
  • ½ jalapeño, sliced
  • ½ cup sliced cabbage
  • 12 hard taco shells
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (approx.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, then slice the salmon into 1-inch wide strips and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Season fish with taco seasoning and drizzle with olive oil and salt, then bake for 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.
  3. To make the pickled jalapeños, combine jalapeño, red wine vinegar, and salt. Stir, then set aside.
  4. To make the avocado crema, combine the 2 avocados, minced garlic, and lime juice in a small bowl, then mash with a fork to create a smooth crema. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. For the sauce, combine the mayo, apple cider vinegar, and sugar in another small bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. Once it has baked, mash the salmon with a fork, then place salmon into the taco shell followed by the avocado crema, pickled jalapeños, and cabbage, and drizzle with the sauce. Enjoy!
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