Corn tortillas are stuffed with spicy blackened mahi mahi and a zesty cilantro lime slaw for a kick of flavor in every bite! Ready in under 30 minutes, these signature blackened fish tacos are perfect for any weeknight or summer fiesta.
California dreaming? If you’re craving California coastal cuisine, influenced by bold Hispanic flavors and full of fresh ingredients, then today’s recipe for Blackened Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos is just what you’re looking for!
There’s something so inherently satisfying about eating with our hands. Carnitas and Chicken Nachos are perennial favorites in this household. But if I could pick any recipe on the blog that manages to marry my Cajun roots and current palate, this one may just be it.
The secret is in the simplicity. My blackening spice mix blends blackened mahi-mahi with shredded cabbage and fresh tropical fruit to add brightness and crunchy texture. Wrap in a warm tortilla and top with a squirt of zesty lime for an island-inspired twist on taco Tuesday!
Why you will love this recipe!
- Table Ready in Under 30 minutes. That includes all prep.
- Authentic Flavor. Blackening seasoning is one of the most popular Cajun mixtures outside of Louisiana, and I learned from my mother who has made it for over 30 years. I alter it a little for fish by adding more thyme and smoked paprika.
- Easily adaptable. You can use any catch of fish. I use mahi mahi in this example because it’s widely available, firm, and flaky.
- Healthy. Mahi Mahi is a lean protein that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for brain function and heart health. It’s a good low calorie dinner or light lunch option.
My family’s homemade Cajun seasoning provides the gentle kick that pairs amazingly well with a variety of toppings.
Delicious Topping Ideas for Blackened fish tacos:
- Finely shredded green, red, or purple cabbage
- Cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- Avocado slices or guacamole
- Diced Tomatoes, onions, or peppers.
- Diced Mango, pineapple, or papaya.
- Salsa or pico de gallo
- Homemade poblano cream sauce, avocado crema, or sour cream
- Diced tomatoes
- Jalapeño peppers or hot sauce for extra heat
Expert Tips & Tricks
This isn’t overly spicy. The spice mixture has bold flavor but my husband doesn’t handle spicy foods very well and he loves this. Taste test and add a little more cayenne or a splash of hot sauce if you’d like to turn up the heat.
A cast iron pan is traditional, but a non-stick pan will work. Blackening seasoning demands HIGH heat. I’ve set off many a smoke alarm cooking Blackened Chicken, so be forewarned that you can actually ruin a cheap pan over time.
Create a quick cilantro lime slaw by mixing the cabbage and squeezing 2 limes and 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. All the acids to tenderize the cabbage while you cook the fish.
Change it up! This seasoning and cooking method works great with shrimp and chicken too. You can also use other types of fish including halibut and tilapia.
Recipe Tip: In my research, I found many other recipes coating the fish in butter before seasoning. I’ve never heard of this, nor can I figure out why one would do it that way. The butter goes in the pan, not on the fish.
What to Serve with Fish Tacos
These blackened mahi mahi tacos can be served alone but if you’re looking for a side dish or party appetizer to serve:
- Guacamole or Queso Blanco and some tortilla chips. Both of these would taste great on the tacos too!
- Elotes are a classic side dish perfect for these mahi tacos.
- Corn and Black Bean Salad. This quick and easy salad is perfect to serve as a healthy side dish.
Generally, the most popular choices are halibut, mahi mahi, or tilapia. However, you can use any firm, white fish you like such as cod or grouper. I’ve also used blackened salmon for a blackened fish taco recipe.
Butter is the best for blackening. It has a lower smoke point and will cause the right chemical and flavor reactions, while still releasing easily from the pan. If you don’t have access to butter, I’d recommend olive oil although it may not blacken the meat fully.
Blackening seasoning is a type of spice mixture hailing from Cajun country and usually a mixture including garlic, thyme, peppers, and paprika. I have seen them labeled interchangeably but there are many other types of Cajun spice blends.
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Blackened Fish Tacos
- 1 lb Mahi Mahi fillets 3-4 fillets
- 2 tablespoon butter
Cajun Blackening Seasoning
- 2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika regular is fine too
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper This is 3 pepper spicy rating, for less heat, add just a pinch or less.
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
- ¼ teaspoon Oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon White Pepper can use black pepper as a substitute
Fish Taco Topping Ideas
- 1 cup Mango diced
- ¼ cup Red Onion diced
- ¼ cup Cilantro chopped
- 3 Limes cut into wedges
- 1 Avocado sliced or chunked
- 3 cups Shredded Cabbage
- 10-12 6-inch Corn Tortillas
- 1 cup Avocado Crema
- 1 cup Sour Cream or Salsa
- The key is using a cast iron skillet and medium-high to high heat. If you do not have a cast iron pan, you can do this in a regular steel pan, but it may not stick somewhat.
- In a small bowl, combine seasonings. Pat the fish fillets dry and generously sprinkle the fish fillets on both sides with the spice mixture. Pat the mixture into the surface evenly.
- Prepare the toppings while the fish sits with seasoning on. Optional – in a bowl, squeeze two limes over the cabbage and stir in a few tablespoons of finely cut cilantro. Stir.
- Pre-heat pan thoroghly over medium-high heat. Wait until the pan gets really hot. Add butter to the hot pan and as soon as it melts, place the fillets immediately, but don't let them touch.
- Give it a few minutes to turn black-brown with a nice crust on the one side and flip to finish it off. Cook about 5 minutes total for ½ inch thick fish (3-4 minutes one side and a minute or 2 on the other). Timing will depend on thickness.
- Prepare the tortillas. Heat a dry pan over medium heat. Once the pan is thoroughly heated up, cook about 15-30 seconds per side. You can also cook tortillas directly over a med-low gas flame to get the same roasting effect.
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