Blackened Fish Tacos


While fresh fish is best, thawed frozen fillets work just fine for this recipe.

Southern Living Blackened Fish Tacos on a platter to serve with a glass of beer

Greg Dupree, Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

Whether you’re trying to eat more seafood or you can never get enough, these Blackened Fish Tacos are the perfect recipe to add to your repertoire.

Starring robustly spiced fish piled onto tortillas with your choice of all the best toppings—including this easy Spicy Slaw and green chile-spiked sour cream—these tacos are a hit for your next Taco Tuesday or any time a craving hits. 

What's the Best Fish for Blackened Fish Tacos?

We love grouper or mahi for these tacos, but honestly, any fish will work. We typically opt for flaky white fish (or even catfish), but a meatier fish like tuna or even salmon would be grat in these tacos.

And while fresh fish is always the best choice if it’s available, using thawed frozen fish is perfectly fine. Just pat it dry thoroughly before coating it in spices and cooking.

What does blackened mean?

Don't worry—we’re not asking you to eat burned fish! Blackening is a technique where fish (or chicken or steak) is coated in spices then cooked in a very hot pan. The spices darken and char slightly, which wakes up their flavor and releases intense, delicious aromas.

While blackened dishes aren’t always spicy, they often contain spicy cayenne pepper due to this technique's roots in Cajun cuisine.

Can I Use Store-Bought Blackening Seasoning?

You absolutely can, but trust us—you’ll be surprised how much more flavor you get from making your own blend at home with fresher spices. Some store-bought versions could have been sitting on the shelves for months (if not years!), and they lose their potency.

Also, making your own blackening blend means you control the spice—dial it up or down depending on who's coming to dinner.

Can I Use Corn Tortillas Instead of Flour?

Go for it, but here’s a tip: Heat them up over the grill or a gas stove burner briefly to wake up their flavor. Also, since corn tortillas can be a bit crumbly, we recommend layering two tortillas per taco so that they don’t fall apart while you’re eating.


  • 2 tsp. hot paprika

  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. onion powder

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

  • 4 (5-oz.) grouper or mahi-mahi fillets (3/4 to 1 inch thick)

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/4 cup chopped mild green chiles, drained (from 1 [4-oz.] can)

  • 8 (4- to 5-inch) flour tortillas, toasted

  • Spicy Slaw

  • Garnishes: fresh cilantro leaves, sliced radishes, sliced avocado, and lime wedges


  1. Stir together paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, thyme, and oregano in a small bowl until combined. Pat fish dry with paper towels; generously coat with spice mix on all sides.

  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add fish; cook, turning occasionally, until well browned and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 145°F, 8 to 12 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to prevent overbrowning. Remove fish from skillet. Let cool slightly; use a fork to break fish into bite-size pieces.

  3. Stir together sour cream and green chiles in a medium bowl until combined. Spread sour cream mixture evenly onto center of tortillas; top with Spicy Slaw and fish. Serve immediately with cilantro, radishes, avocado slices, and lime wedges.

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