Grilled Tilapia Tacos

Story by Natalie
Grilled Tilapia Tacos
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It’s fair to say that tacos are, have been, and will forever remain a staple meal in our home. I would even venture to say they’re not just a meal. No, with all the possible variations, tacos really are an entire food group unto themselves (and quite possibly this family's favorite food group).

I have a very curious five year old that likes to be in the know on every detail, every minute, of every day. When he asks what’s for dinner his rebuttal to my reply is often “can that be made into a taco?” And, because tacos are just that amazing and flexible, 9 times out of 10 my response could probably be “Sure. Why not?!” But I can't pretend that in real life I'm that flexible. Even so, that five year old, and this family, are eating more than their fair share of tacos.

The fish is marinated in fresh squeezed orange and lime juices giving it an incredibly bright and tangy flavor.

Grilled Tilapia Tacos

The basic anatomy of a taco can be divided up into three main parts; the protein, the tortilla, the fixings. If you’re eating healthy and choose to omit that tortilla, let’s be honest, what you end up with will not really be a taco. While the protein is an important (and oh, so delicious) part of the taco, I'll be the first to admit that I am in it for one thing: the fixings. Crunchy veggies, crispy bits or creamy sauces, no matter the choices and combos you go with, the taco is the perfect vessel to carry all that flavorful goodness right into your mouth.

Grilled Tilapia Tacos
Grilled Tilapia Tacos

A couple of years ago I found myself in a taco rut. Given the myriad of taco options out there, it's not something I'm proud to admit. One of our favorite weeknight meals was starting to lose its flair. One night, we were having some last minute company over, so naturally I went straight to tacos because they are easy to make and always crowd pleasing (I'm sure it's become clear by now that those are pretty much my only goals when hosting). When I opened up my freezer, I realized we were out of all my go to meat. “Ah, I only have tilapia! How the heck do you cook tilapia? Why did I even buy this?” raced through my head. After a momentary panic, I remembered the marvelous world of Pinterest and searched “easy, delicious grilled tilapia tacos.” Because as I mentioned before, delicious don't mean a thing, if they aren't easy. As you can imagine, given my word choices I didn’t score a ton of recipes (because I’m still not entirely sure how to properly use a search engine. Just ask my husband.). However, I did come across one gem. It was exactly what I was hoping for, it was perfect in every way, and….(drumroll).....I'm about to share it with you now!

Guys, these grilled (yes grilled, not fried) tilapia tacos from Bon Apetit are so freaking good. The fish is marinated in fresh squeezed orange and lime juices giving it an incredibly bright and tangy flavor. But the fixings (because I’m all about the fixings) are really the star. Take your classic onion/cilantro mix, add a zesty homemade crema and fresh cabbage for crunch, then squeeze a little lime on all that goodness and bam! (is that trademarked?) your taste buds will be throwing a full on fiesta.

Of course, our dinner guests loved the tacos that night, as did our entire family. And now, when tilapia is on sale I know exactly what to do with it….stock up for the inevitable and always anticipated taco nights. These fish tacos are a welcome break from heavier meats and tomato and cheese topped tacos (not that there's anything wrong with those) that even my five year old can be excited about, because nobody doesn't like a taco. Fact.

Grilled Tilapia Tacos

Grilled Tilapia Tacos

Serves 4


2 cups chopped white onion, divided
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
5 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
3 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb tilapia
course kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp milk
corn tortillas
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced
1/2 small head of cabbage, cored, thinly sliced
tomatillo salsa
pico de gallo
lime wedges


  1. Stir 1 cup onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, 3 tablespoons lime juice, orange juice, garlic, and oregano in medium bowl. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange fish atop onion mixture. Spoon remaining onion mixture over fish. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Turn fish; cover and chill 30 minutes longer. Whisk mayonnaise, milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice in small bowl.
  2. Brush grill grate with oil; prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish with some marinade still clinging until just opaque in center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Grill tortillas until slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side.
  3. Coarsely chop fish; place on platter. Serve with lime mayonnaise, tortillas, remaining 1 cup chopped onion, remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, avocados, cabbage, Salsa Verde, and lime wedges.

this recipe came from Bon Appétit