Fish Taco Slaw

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This quick and easy Fish Taco Slaw is the perfect addition to any Taco Tuesday night. This creamy cabbage slaw with cilantro and lime juice tastes amazing on fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and more. It’s vibrant, crunchy, and creamy — what’s not to love?

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Fish taco slaw is such an easy side dish to throw together. It complements just about any Mexican or Mexican-inspired recipe, especially tacos!

This popular cabbage slaw originated in the coastal areas of Mexico and adds a vibrant flare to fish tacos. Crispy shredded cabbage is combined with zesty lime, cilantro, and green onions, then everything is tossed together with a refreshing, tangy, and creamy sauce.

It’s quick to make and can easily be customized to your liking! Top your favorite fish tacos with it, or add it to shrimp tostadas, chicken burrito bowls, and so much more.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Quick: This slaw is ready to be added to your favorite taco recipe in just a few minutes, making it an easy last-minute addition.
  • Healthy: Fish taco slaw is loaded with vitamins and nutrients like antioxidants from red cabbage, vitamin C from lime, and protein from Greek yogurt.
  • Versatile: This slaw isn’t just for tacos! Try it as a side dish, a sandwich filling, or as a base for burrito bowls.

Fish taco with slaw, seasoned fish, and avocado on a corn tortilla with cilantro.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make this delicious slaw for fish tacos. 

  • Greek yogurt: Creates a cool and creamy dressing base for this fish taco slaw. For a richer option, you can try sour cream.
  • Mexican crema: With a tangy flavor and slightly thinner consistency than sour cream, Mexican crema is the perfect choice for slaw dressing. You can also use mayonnaise, sour cream, or more Greek yogurt if you can’t find crema.
  • Lime: You will need both the juice and the zest, so make sure to wash your limes thoroughly! Lemon juice will work in a pinch, but we really recommend limes here!
  • Cumin: We add a touch of cumin for a subtly earthy, warm, and nutty element. Feel free to use a different spice like coriander, paprika, or cayenne. Some people also like to add some garlic powder or fresh minced garlic.
  • Salt and pepper: Enhances the flavor of the slaw and adds a savory kick.
  • Cabbage: We love to use both green and red cabbage. Each one provides unique flavors, and the red cabbage adds a pop of flavor! Use coleslaw mix for a faster option.
  • Cilantro: Adds herbaceous, lemony, and peppery notes that brighten the slaw. If you don’t have any cilantro on hand (or don’t like the taste), replace it with extra green onions, parsley, or even basil.
  • Green onions: Along with cilantro, green onions provide a punch of zesty, garden-fresh flavors with a slight crunch. You can also use red onions if you prefer.

How to Make Fish Taco Slaw

Shred the cabbage

The best flavor and texture come from shredding your own cabbage for coleslaw. It doesn’t take that much extra time, but it’s absolutely worth it!

Just remove the very outer layer of leaves, then cut the cabbage in half through the stem. Cut the halves into quarters and remove the core by cutting it at an angle. Make thin perpendicular slices all the way along each cabbage quarter, or use a mandoline to achieve more even slices.

Make the dressing

We love to use Greek yogurt as the primary component of our fish taco slaw dressing. It’s high-protein and low-fat, making it such a healthy choice! Just combine it with some Mexican crema, lime juice, and zest, cumin, salt, and pepper for the ultimate flavor.

Assemble the slaw

For the base of the slaw, we prefer an even mix of green and red cabbage, but you can use any ratio you prefer. Add fresh, zesty flavors with the addition of green onions and cilantro, then toss everything together with the dressing.

For the best flavor and texture, let your slaw chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before serving it. It helps the ingredients meld together and perfectly softens the cabbage.

Cabbage fish taco slaw with green cabbage, red cabbage, cilantro, and green onion in a creamy lime dressing.

Serving Ideas

Once your fish taco slaw is ready, try pairing it with one of these recipes:

Need a quick and easy fish taco recipe? Try this!

  • 1 lb white fish (tilapia, cod, red snapper, haddock, halibut, or other white fish)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fish taco seasoning
  • 8 corn tortillas (or flour tortillas)
  • Fish taco slaw and salsa or hot sauce
  • Directions: Brush the olive oil over the fish fillets and then cover generously with the seasoning mix. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish to the hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the fish is nicely browned and easily releases from the pan. Flip and cook for 2-4 minutes until the fish is cooked through and flaky. Serve in warm tortillas with this homemade fish taco slaw.

Although this fish taco slaw tastes amazing with fish tacos, we also love using it on all kinds of tacos, tostadas, and grilled fish or meats.

Storage and Reheating

If you find yourself with extra slaw, just follow these simple storage instructions:

  • Fridge: Keep the recipe in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Freezer: We don’t recommend freezing this recipe since it will change in texture too much once thawed.
  • Prep ahead: You can prep everything a few hours ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. For anything past 1-2 hours, store the dressing and slaw separately to prevent the texture from turning too soggy.

Make it Yours! Recipe Ideas

Like most salads and slaws, this recipe is easy to customize to your preferences and tastes.

  • Spicy: Add diced jalapeños or serrano peppers for a kick! You can even add a teaspoon or two of your favorite hot sauce or simply add some chili powder or red pepper flakes.
  • Citrusy: For an extra citrusy slaw, add a few squeezes of grapefruit or orange juice.
  • Extra crunch: Mix slivered almonds or julienned carrots into the mixture.
  • Creamy: Add diced avocado or sour cream for even more creaminess.
  • Dairy-free: For a dairy-free option, swap out the yogurt and Mexican crema for dairy-free yogurt and egg-free mayo. You could also use avocado and olive oil to make a creamy dressing.

Tips for Making Fish Taco Slaw

Follow these tips to make sure the recipe turns out great every time.

  • Fresh ingredients: For the best flavors and textures, ensure you’re using fresh cabbage and cilantro. It makes a huge difference in a simple recipe like this.
  • Bite-sized: Shred the cabbage into small, thin slices that are easy enough to bite without making a mess.
  • Mix thoroughly: Take care to mix the ingredients together thoroughly so the sauce evenly coats the vegetables.
  • Chill: If you can, let the slaw chill for at least 10 minutes before serving it. This will give the flavors time to meld together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making this fish taco slaw.

If you can’t find Mexican crema at your local grocery store or a Mexican food market, you can use extra Greek yogurt, sour cream, or mayonnaise instead.

Although there are many different sauces served with fish tacos, the white sauce is usually a combination of sour cream (or Mexican crema), mayonnaise, and lots of lime juice.

Fish taco slaw is a type of coleslaw that’s used to top fish tacos or served as a side dish. It’s typically made from a mixture of cabbage, cilantro, onions, and a creamy sauce made with sour cream, mayonnaise, yogurt, or Mexican crema combined with lime juice.

Cabbage fish taco slaw with shredded green and red cabbage tossed with a creamy sauce, cilantro, and lime juice.
The Recipe
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Fish Taco Slaw

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  • 1/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema (or mayonnaise)
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups green cabbage
  • 3 cups purple cabbage
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 2 green onions, chopped

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In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, Mexican crema, lime juice, lime zest, cumin, salt, and pepper.


Add the green cabbage, red cabbage, cilantro, and green onions.


Stir well to combine. Taste and season as needed. Refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes if possible for the cabbage to slightly soften.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 64
Calories from Fat 29
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 9mg
Sodium 271mg
Total Carbohydrate 8g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 4g
Protein 3g

* 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.


If you can't find Mexican crema, simply swap in sour cream, more Greek yogurt, or mayonnaise.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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