Blackened Fish Tacos are the ultimate twist on classic fish tacos. Made with blackened white fish that's topped with a mouth-watering mango salsa, this irresistible taco recipe is bound to become a new household favorite.
If you love fish tacos, these delicious Blackened Fish Tacos with sweet mango salsa are the meal for you. Ready in just 20 minutes, this is the perfect weeknight meal and perfect for warm weather.
As an avid seafood lover, I’ve started adding more fish to my diet. So far, I’m not complaining. I’ve tried tons of different healthy fish recipes, from baked fish with veggies to fish curry and fish stew. However, a major taco craving inspired these Blackened Fish Tacos, and the rest –as they say– was history.
This fish taco recipe is vibrant, flavorful, and surprisingly easy to make. All you have to do is blacken the fish, prepare the mango salsa, and put it all together. Have a family member who doesn't love fish? Make these Grilled Chicken Tacos at the same time. They are delicious with the mango salsa.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Here are the key ingredients that you'll need to bring these flavourful tacos to life:
- White fish: Any firm white fish will work great for this recipe. Cod is typically my go-to fish for fish tacos, but snapper, mahi mahi, tilapia, salmon, and halibut all make great alternatives. Truth be told, this would work with almost any fish fillets. You could also use shrimp, scallops, chicken, or tofu.
- Blackening seasoning: You can create your own Blackening Seasoning at home or use your favorite store-bought version. This is an essential component of the blackened fish that will serve as the star of the show. Cajun seasoning works if that's all you have. For something less smoky, try this fish taco seasoning recipe.
- Mangoes: To make the best mango salsa, you want to use the ripest mangoes you can find. Below I’ve listed some of my top tips on how to choose the best mango. Pineapple is a great alternative.
- Red onions: I love the sharp flavor, bright color, and crunchy texture that red onions add to any taco recipe. If you want a less sharp flavor, soak them in ice water for 20 minutes first or swap them out for pickled red onions. Green onions or white onions can also be used.
- Fresh cilantro: An essential staple for this mango salsa! Fresh chopped cilantro brings in a pop of color and a bright flavor. If you aren’t a fan, swap it out for fresh parsley instead.
- Avocados: I love the creamy texture that fresh avocado brings to this dish. It’s also great for adding healthy fats to your diet. Swap in guacamole if you prefer.
- Tortillas: The choice of tortillas is entirely up to you. Personally, I prefer the taste of corn tortillas but flour tortillas also taste great. If you like crunchy tacos, you’ve got to try my baked taco shell recipe.
- Lime juice: Not only does lime juice brighten up the mango salsa, it actually enhances the flavors of this fish taco dish as a whole. Make sure to opt for fresh lime juice, not concentrate!
How to Blacken Fish For Tacos
Blackening refers to two things when it comes to fish - the technique and the seasoning blend.
Let’s start with the spice blend. Blackening seasoning originated in New Orleans and is commonly used in Cajun cuisine. It is made with a combination of paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme or oregano, salt, and black pepper. Some recipes include cayenne pepper as well for extra heat.
In terms of technique, blackening refers to cooking the fish over high heat in butter in a heavy cast iron skillet. The fish turns almost black on the outside from the spice rub. While it may look burnt, it is actually just the deep colors of the seasoning.
So to make this tasty blackened fish, start by covering the fish with the seasoning mix. Then melt some butter in a heavy skillet or pan. Once it melts, add the fish and cook for 3-4 minutes until a browned, crispy exterior forms. Carefully flip the fish and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes or until opaque and flaky.
Recipe Ideas and Serving Suggestions
These fish tacos are so versatile that if you don’t have a particular ingredient, there’s bound to be a good substitute for it. So, here are a few ideas to help you switch things up to make these tacos your own:
- Play around with the spice levels. There’s no denying it, mango and chili are a match made in heaven. The natural sweetness of the mango is a wonderful contrast to the heat of the chili. Try adding fresh chopped jalapeno or chili powder to the mango salsa to amp up the heat.
- Add more toppings. Although these tacos taste absolutely divine as is, I don’t think there’s anyone who would say no to some extra toppings. Create a mini taco bar by serving these fish tacos alongside options like queso fresco, crunchy cabbage, creamy Mexican coleslaw, lettuce, guacamole, or sour cream.
- Try a different salsa. Not a fan of chunky salsa? Toss your mango salsa ingredients into a food processor or blender and turn it into a smooth mango sauce. Or use pico de gallo, salsa verde, corn salsa, or pineapple salsa.
- Swap the fruit. While mango salsa is beyond delicious, you can easily swap the mango for another type of fruit. Some of the best fruits for salsa include pineapple, peaches, and strawberries.
- Add a creamy sauce: For a more traditional fish taco, add a creamy fish taco sauce, shrimp taco sauce, or avocado sauce to the tacos and some crunchy cabbage slaw.
- Try them with shrimp: Turn this recipe into the most delicious shrimp tacos by swapping in shrimp for the fish.
Side Dish Ideas for Blackened Fish Tacos
Looking for something to serve on the side? Here are some of our favorite taco side dishes.
- Quick and Easy Refried Beans
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Slow Cooker Frijoles Charros
How to Choose the Best Mango for Salsa
Since mangoes are one of the stars of this recipe, it’s crucial that you pick a good one. One of the easiest ways to pick a ripe mango is by giving it a firm yet gentle squeeze. If the mango doesn’t yield and remains firm, it’s most likely not ripe yet. Perfectly ripe mangoes tend to yield a little bit, while overly mushy ones will give way immediately.
Another great way to pick the best mango is by giving it the sniff test. Ripe mangoes will emit a slightly sweet scent from the stem. You should also look at every part of the mango to ensure that the one you choose is free from blemishes.
Storage Tips and Leftovers
When it comes to tacos, you always want to serve the various components separately to avoid everything getting soggy. As a general rule of thumb, all of the prepared components of this dish –blackened fish, mango salsa, chopped veggies– will stay fresh when stored in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
It also works great as fish taco bowls if you are meal-prepping this dish.
While you can freeze tortillas and cooked fish, I don’t recommend freezing mango salsa unless you plan on blending it up, as chunky salsa tends to get mushy in the freezer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this blackened fish taco recipe:
If you find your corn tortilla always breaking, then they might be stale. Tortillas that are more than a few days old tend to lose their flexibility and are no longer pliable enough to fill without breaking. If your tortillas are a bit stale, try microwaving them to increase pliability. Also, make sure you aren’t overstuffing your tacos, as this can also lead to tortilla breakage.
Ripening mangoes is actually really easy. They’re climacteric fruits, which means that they can ripen even after harvest, so you’re in luck. Just grab a brown paper bag and toss in your unripe mangoes, along with a few bananas or apples.
Leave the bag on the counter for a few days and your mangoes should ripen up quickly. Once ripe, transfer your mangos to the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy them.
Blackened Fish Tacos
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- 1.5 lbs cod ( or other white fish)
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tsp avocado oil (or other high heat oil)
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or oregano)
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder (or more)
- 1 mango, chopped
- 1/2 avocado, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp red onions, diced (or more)
- 1 lime, juice (more if needed)
- Salt and pepper
- 8 corn tortillas
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- Nutritional Information
Heat the butter and oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once nice and hot, add the fish in a single layer. Cook for 2 - 4 minutes (depending on thickness of filet) on each side and carefully flip to cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes. A fish spatula works best to keep the fish from breaking.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
Make this with any white fish including cod, haddock, tilapia, snapper, halibut, or mahi mahi.
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