The 15 Best Types of Fish to Use in Tacos - Tasting Table (2023)

The 15 Best Types of Fish to Use in Tacos - Tasting Table (1)

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Aftercation pato/May 13, 2023 11:15 PM EST

Let the food have a brief moment in the sun; others are timeless. Although it seems that they are in the gastronomic trend, tacos will never go out of style. This traditional Mexican dish has been adapted in many ways. It's hard to remember everything people ate in the humble tortilla. (It's more exciting to consider all the things we'll keep eating.)

Fish tacos come from the Mexican state of Baja California. Mainland Mexico has a fairly long coastline, but as an 800-mile peninsula, every point in Baja California is no more than 50 miles from the body of water. It is not surprising that shellfish as a filling for tacos came from this region. Also, Baja is close to California, so fish tacos (often called Baja fish tacos) spread across the United States through the Golden State.

There are many ways to make fish tacos, and it all starts with protein from the sea. Not all finned creatures are enough. We're sharing the best fish to use in tacos so you can celebrate Cinco de Mayo and beyond. Grab some tortillas and limes and make fish tacos with texture and flavor. Don't forget the raw material!


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When it comes to tacos, you can never go wrong with fluffy white fish, and cod is the best representative. Among the round white fish, cod stands out with its large, thick flakes and impeccably clean flavor. It is praised for not having a "fishy" taste. You might even taste a hint of sweetness. As with fish and chips, cod is highly desirable in beer taco recipes. In an exclusive interviewRichard Blais provided advice on seafoodon the Tasting Chart, noting that cod and other members of this fish family make "fantastic fried fish" for tacos.

The only downside to Atlantic cod in particular is that they have been overfished, leading to dangerously low population levels, especially around New England. This species is now much better managed, but there is an alternative in the form of Pacific cod, which is a different species but has better sustainability ratings.


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Traditional Baja fish tacos are made with breaded and fried white fish and served on corn tortillas with cabbage, pico de gallo, sour cream, and lime wedges on the side. Richard Blais treats everyone in the cod family to fried fish tacos. These include haddock, hake, and pollock. All these fish made it to our listthe best types of fish to fry, but note that these classifications are not necessarily interchangeable.

Haddock is a great alternative to cod in a baked taco. This Atlantic species has smaller, more tender meat than its cousin, but don't let that put you off. The rest hold up well in the batter, and the bite will be even more tender than the cod. It's all a matter of your preferences. Cod or cod will be a great choice if you want to trust the origin of fish tacos. Hake and haddock can be fried in a taco pan, but they are not suitable for frying. These fish are even more tender and tend to fall apart in the fryer.


Inexpensive and readily available, tilapia is a popular fish across the country. As another fish with a neutral flavor, tilapia can carry many different flavors, acting as a canvas for those new to making fish tacos at home. Suitable for pan frying, a great use for this fish in tacos. You can create dimension with items like crunchy salad and creamy dressing.

When frying tilapia in a pan, keep in mind that its fillets are quite soft. To avoid the usualmade a mistake while making fried fish, do not move the fillets around in the pan too much. Just touch the fish with a spatula to flip it halfway through the cooking time, then remove from the pan again. Put the fish in a tortilla, so it's not a problem if it falls apart a bit. But you still want different elements. You don't want the fish to fall apart completely. A good fish taco will contain a good chunk of fish in each bite.


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Salmon may not be the most traditional taco filling, but it's hard to deny its appeal. This pink-fleshed fish is the most abundant fish in the United States, second only to shrimp among all shellfish, according to data fromNational Fisheries Institute. Salmon is popular, ubiquitous, and versatile, so why not eat it in an omelet?

Due to its high fat content, salmon cannot be fried in large amounts of oil. It will be too fatty - the unappetizing appearance of this beloved fish. However, grilling and pan frying are great ways to prepare salmon. take oursfried salmon tacos recipe. You may say fried, but this recipe involves coating the salmon in oil and a mixture of spices and frying until the fish turns black. The salmon will fall apart easily when cooked and you will have the perfect taco filling. Toppings like avocado, pickled red onions, and fresh herbs will be a great addition to a salmon taco. You can also experiment with different sauces and sauces.

do work

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Large and colorful, with a unique appearance, the dolphin (better known by its Hawaiian name mahi mahi) is populartropical fish speciesthis should not be ignored. Despite its name, the mahi is not related to mammalian dolphins. They got their name because these fish swim in front of sailboats similar to dolphins.

Mahi mahi has thick, meaty meat. It is as thick as a swordfish, but as scaly as a flounder. The meat is tastier than any fish, with a bit of sweetness at the end. Given the bounty, it works well on the grill, but can also be used in the pan. However, taking a bit of charcoal off the grill can add an extra dimension to this fish when used in tacos. Next time you're craving grilled fish tacos, see if you can grab some mahi. Pair it with a bright, fresh tropical fruit salsa like mango or pineapple. The sweetness will perfectly complement the fish.

Acadia Norse hen

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Popular in many parts of the country, the perch is not a single species, but rather a group of fish belonging to the genus Perca. You'll want to learn some of the names for these fish, because if you go to the market looking for "perch," you may come up empty-handed.

in New England,Acadia Norse hen(also known as sea bass) is the dominant species. They have brightly colored fur ranging from red to orange and extremely large eyes. New England is teeming with these fish that congregate in the Gulf of Maine. Fry or grill the steaks; after cooking, the fish will fall apart into large chunks that fit easily into a taco, ready to garnish with your favorite toppings. Redfish are caught in large numbers year-round, making them an inexpensive option for taco night. However, if you don't live in New England, you may need to buy this fish online. Not commonly found in supermarkets outside of the Northeast region.


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Snapper is a shellfish that may not seem special at first glance compared to other similar fish, but it has characteristics that make it stand out. What makes red snapper so special? In addition to its beautiful pink color, the white flesh of the horseradish has a salty taste with a subtle nutty note. Both pepper and butter make it even more complex. This fish has many flavors, both raw and cooked. You can fry it or grill it, which works well for tacos. However, you would be missing out if you don't try this tempura fried fish.

For a guide, use ourssnapper tempura banh mi recipe. After the snapper is baked, you can use the banh mi vegetables (including cabbage, cucumber, red onion, pickled carrots, and pickled daikon) as a taco salad. It's the perfect balance of smooth yet rich textures. If you really want to work on the flavors of this dish, you can still make pickled tomato jam and replace the baguette with tortillas.


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Did you know that every flounder is a flounder, but not every flounder is a flounder? It sounds confusing, but it basically boils down to this concept. Flounder is another one of these general terms to describe a group of fish, in this case a specific type of sole. technical,halibut is a type of sole, but this fish is quite different from what is commonly called a flounder.

Flounder most often refers to a type of fish that is incredibly flat. They can be named based on their characteristics, such as the yellow-tailed flounder or the black-tailed flounder, but the flounder also includes similar species, such as the flounder and the spot. These fish have thin fillets that cook quickly and fall apart a bit during cooking. Flounder is great with tacos, especially fried. On the other hand, flounder is not the best choice for tacos. These fish are huge and have thick, meaty fillets, making them better for fish sandwiches than tacos.


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Fusion cuisine is created when ingredients and cuisines from different cultures are combined in one dish. Catfish in a taco seems like a good example of fusion food. Take the taco concept and elements of Mexican cuisine and add fried catfish, a traditional ingredient in southern soul food. While you may see versions that lean more toward adapting catfish to Mexican flavors, you'll also find recipes based on these Southern classics, like adding a mayonnaise-based salad on top of tacos or serving them with sweet potatoes.

In both cases you can see how the dishes are inspired by both cuisines. try ourscatfish nuggets recipeas a filling for tacos. After the fish is baked, you can decorate your tacos with the sauce of your choice and your favorite toppings. For a more southern twist, try adding remoulade, a bolder take on tartar sauce.

chica sable

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If you really like your grilled fish tacos, the swordfish is another great option. One of the meatiest fish in the ocean, the swordfish is a powerful athlete. They swim very fast (up to 50 mph) and can grow up to 14 feet and weigh around 1,200 pounds. This is the end of your wait, but this fish is a fierce predator that moves quickly through the sea. All these activities create a thick meat that cries out for the grill. Unlike other fish, parts of this animal (better known as "steak") will not disintegrate under the influence of high temperatures.

Hethe best kind of grilled swordfishit is made by marinating fish in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs. You'll end up with wonderfully soft fish that will taste great in tacos. The grill marks are a bonus for the presentation. If you cut the swordfish into 2-inch pieces, you can grill it on skewers with vegetables. Imagine what a grilled steak or chicken tacos tastes like, but with a much more delicate flavor. Swordfish is sure to change your usual fish taco routine.


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Who said taco fillings have to be cooked? All of our suggestions so far have been fried, pan-fried, or grilled. The vast majority of fish tacos will be made one of these ways, but some fish do not need to be cooked before eating. The biggest example is tuna. If you have quality tuna, cooking it would be a waste of time. Tuna has a rich flavor and fat that is lost when heating the protein.

There are many types of tuna, but the preparation methods are mostly similar. For yellowfin or largefin, this fish should only be reheated so that it is briefly charred on the outside (if any), but should remain very pink on the inside. It is the style of the callsgreat friedin Hawaii. Otherwise, it can be served raw but pickled, as inYellowfin tuna poke bowl. Any of these applications would make an exciting taco filling, giving you a chance for a Mexican-Hawaiian fusion.

If you want to try a more Japanese influence, see if you can find the bluefin tuna you want. You will want to season the fish with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Sprinkle sriracha taco with mayonnaise and sesame seeds. A rich fish like bluefin tuna doesn't need much to shine.


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A member of the bass family (Serranidae), the grouper is prized in Florida and throughout the Gulf region. According to the data, more than 85 of all those open-mouthed fish landed in the US pass through the Sunshine StateFlorida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and is preferred by commercial and recreational anglers.

There are more than 400 species of grouper, but the most popular are the black and the red. Like many other white meat fish on this list, snapper has a mild flavor, making it a great choice for tacos. It has large, firm petals with a subtle sweetness. You can cook halibut or use it as a beer batter fish taco substitute in place of cod or cod. You have to be careful with the mereshellfish scam. As a more expensive species, grouper is one of the most mislabeled fish. If you see a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

black sea bass

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The sea bass (or bass) is a migratory species. Depending on the season, you can find this fish from Florida to Maine. Although these fish can grow up to 9 pounds, most often you will find them on the market between 1 and 2 pounds.

With its shiny black skin, sea bass is ideal for pan-frying. Also, both whole and filleted, sea bass is an excellent fish for the grill. If you grill your fish whole, the white meat will separate easily from the bone during cooking and you'll have a juicy fish ready to pile on a tortilla. Thanks to its delicate flavor, sea bass is the perfect accompaniment to fresh salads, sauces and many acids, such as lime.

Grilled sea bass with skinit will give it a crunchy texture and help protect the tender fish. However, if you wish, you can also remove the skin, but be careful not to overcook the fish because it can easily dry out.

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Just as the Acadian redfish is a favorite perch in New England, the rockfish is a target on the West Coast. There are more than 100 species known as rockfish, but the most famous is the Pacific perch. Caught from Alaska along the Pacific coast to California, this species of rockfish shares many characteristics with its cousin, the Atlantic bass. These slow-growing deep-sea fish can live a long time (nearly 100 years), building up tasty meat as they grow.

Rockfish can be accessed in the kitchen like any other type of perch. The fillets are pan-fried or grilled, and after roasting, the meat is chopped. Small fish are just the right size for whole fried or grilled dishes. Rockfish has a sweet flavor with subtle nutty notes. It goes well with bright, citrusy salads and mango salsa. Do an effort. Choosing the fish and preparing it in the best possible way is only part of the equation. Fish tacos are the perfect tool to test your skills in creating unique flavor profiles.

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