These easy Grilled Fish Tacos feature crunchy and colorful citrus slaw, flaky well-seasoned fish, and tangy cilantro-lime mayo. All wrapped up in soft tortillas, they are delicious replicas of the fresh fish tacos at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.
(This recipe was originally published in July 2019, but was updated with new photos and content in 2022).
The mouthwatering grilled fish tacos at the Oasis Bar & Grill at Walt Disney World are some of the most memorable and best fish tacos I've had. Although I asked how they were made, I wasn't able to get an actual recipe from the chefs, so here is my recreation of that dish.
The two main accouterments for these Disney copycat grilled fish tacos are cilantro-lime mayo (originally called "cilantro-lime crema" at Oasis Bar & Grill, though it is actually mayo based) and citrus slaw. They are both super easy and fast to make!
Our server shared just a few ingredients in the cilantro-lime crema/mayo: mayonnaise, cilantro, lime, and spinach. With nothing to go on but my taste buds, I recreated the dish to the best of my ability. Although they're not 100% identical to the Oasis Bar & Grill's grilled fish tacos, this Disney copycat fish taco recipe is pretty close!
These easy fish tacos are crunchy and flavorful with a nice bit of citrus zing from all the lime. Note that the slaw should be lightly dressed so it doesn't make your tacos soggy. To finish, an extra squeeze of fresh lime over the top goes a long way!
- Fish: Plan to use a firm-fleshed white fish for these grilled fish tacos. Note that certain varieties of fish will flake less when cooked. My tacos are made with fresh cod, but a firmer mahimahi or halibut will be less likely to flake or break apart when cooked. Even if your strips of fish break apart, they are still delicious and can be used for the tacos.
- Coleslaw Mix: Store-bought coleslaw mix is ideal for this slaw because it saves time, but you can also prep your own slaw using a combination of thinly sliced green and purple cabbage, and shredded carrots. Many brands of store-bought coleslaw mix feature only green cabbage and carrots, but if you can find one that also includes purple cabbage, your tacos will be a bit more colorful! I used Fresh Express 3 Color Deli Coleslaw for these photos. If your bagged coleslaw is larger (14 ounces for example), I would recommend weighing out 12 ounces to keep the dressing to slaw ratio accurate).
- Cilantro: You may end up using almost an entire bunch of fresh cilantro for this recipe between the cilantro-lime mayo and the citrus slaw. I realize that some people have a strong aversion to cilantro (I personally can't get enough of it!). If you want to omit the cilantro, replace the cilantro in the cilantro-lime mayo with an equal amount of baby spinach (essentially doubling the baby spinach), and entirely skip the cilantro in the slaw.
- Tortillas: At Disney, these scrumptious grilled fish tacos are served on small flour tortillas. Look for fajita-sized flour tortillas, which are 6-inches in diameter. Small taco-sized flour tortillas, about 5-inches in diameter, would also work for this recipe. You may also serve them on corn tortillas if you prefer. If you opt for corn tortillas be sure to gently warm the tortillas before serving to soften them. I like heating them one by one on a hot pan on the stove. But since you are grilling your fish you can also use the grill to gently kiss each tortilla before setting them in a covered dish to stay warm, pliable, and soft until serving.
How to make it
Begin by making the cilantro-lime mayo. In the bowl of a food processor or blender add the fresh cilantro and baby spinach. Process until the leaves are chopped fine (LEFT PHOTO). Add the garlic and blitz again to mince the garlic. Then add mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, salt and pepper, and puree until smooth (RIGHT PHOTO).
Refrigerate the cilantro-lime mayo until ready to serve.
To make the citrus slaw, whisk together honey, fresh lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Then whisk in a little vegetable oil. Right before serving the grilled fish tacos, toss the dressing with the coleslaw mix and fresh cilantro leaves. Don't chop them. Just add them whole.
To make the fish for your grilled fish tacos begin by cutting your fish into approximately 1-by-4-inch pieces (LEFT PHOTO). Season with a mixture of spices including salt, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and add a bit of oil if desired (RIGHT PHOTO). It helps keep the fish moist.
Line the fish pieces inside the grill basket.
Grill until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side (5 to 6 minutes total) or until a thermometer inserted into the center of a piece of fish reads 145°F.
Remove from the grill, and carefully remove the fish pieces from the grill basket to a serving dish.
Assemble your tacos by layering slaw and a piece of fish on top of a tortilla, and finish with a drizzle of cilantro-lime mayo. Serve your grilled fish tacos with lime wedges on the side.
Even with a fish grill basket the fish can sometimes stick. Make sure you generously grease your grill basket, and use a spatula to carefully remove the fish from the basket. In a pinch, you could also try a veggie grill basket which has a bit more surface area to grease.
To grease the fish grill basket, I lay it open on a paper shopping bag cut open on one side to double its size. Then spray the inside (top and bottom) with pan spray, arrange the fish, then close the lid. This keeps your work surface from getting greasy and fishy.
If you don't have a fish grill basket, you can carefully cook the fish in a cast-iron pan or on a griddle. I wouldn't recommend grilling small pieces of fish on a regular grill without a grill basket because the pieces will likely fall through the grates.
Even if the fish breaks up, these tacos are still delicious. They just might not be as pretty, but you can always cover it up with the sauce! For a more polished look, drizzle the cilantro-lime mayo over your fish tacos using a plastic squeeze bottle.
You can make the cilantro-lime mayo and the dressing for the citrus slaw a day or more ahead of time. Wait to toss the dressing with the coleslaw mix until right before you are ready to serve in order to retain the crunchy texture of the slaw.
I use Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt for seasoning these tacos (and everything else in my kitchen). Different types of salt range both in the size of their crystals and their saltiness. If you are using another brand of kosher salt or table salt you can reduce the amount of salt in the fish seasoning if desired.
Other recipes you may like
- Achiote Grilled Chicken Tacos
- Sweet Potato Tacos
- Pescado a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-Style Fish)
- Disney Cruise Line's Mexican Hot Pockets (Disney Recipe)
- Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri (Disney Recipe)
- Tuna-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers (Disney Copycat Recipe)
- The Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad (Disney Recipe)
- HippopotoMai-Tai (Disney Recipe)
- Pollo a las Rajas (Disney Recipe)
- Turkey Meatloaf with Onion Gravy (Disney Copycat Recipe)
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Grilled Fish Tacos
- ¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup packed baby spinach leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (12-ounce) bag coleslaw mix (combination of green and purple cabbage, and carrots)
- ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 ½ pounds firm-fleshed white fish such as cod, halibut, or mahimahi cut into approximately 1-inch-by-4-inch pieces
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons vegetable oil
- 14 to 16 small flour tortillas fajita size (about 6-inch diameter), or corn tortillas (gently heated to soften)
- Lime wedges
- In the bowl of a food processor or blender add the fresh cilantro and spinach. Make sure the leaves are dry; if they are wet they won’t mince nicely. Process until the leaves are chopped fine. Add the garlic and blitz again until the garlic is minced. Then add the mayonnaise, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste, and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the honey, lime juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil, and adjust seasoning to taste. Right before serving, toss the dressing with the coleslaw mix and cilantro leaves in a mixing bowl.
- Combine the spices in a bowl, and sprinkle the spice rub over the pieces of fish. Drizzle with the oil and gently mix until evenly coated.
- Heat up your grill to medium-high or high heat (grills can vary a bit on actual temperature), and grease the inside of a fish grill basket.
- Line the fish pieces inside the grill basket and grill until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side (5 to 6 minutes total) or until a thermometer inserted into the center of a piece of fish reads 145°F. You may notice the fish pieces start to flake apart.
- Remove from the grill, and carefully remove the fish pieces from the grill basket. If any of the pieces have stuck, use a small spatula to gently remove them. *NOTE* You can also cook the fish in a nonstick skillet if you’re unable to grill outdoors due to weather or lack of a grill basket.
- On each tortilla, add a small scoop (tongs are good for this) of slaw, then a piece of fish, and finally a generous drizzle of the cilantro-lime mayo. Serve with lime wedges on the side for extra zing.
- Plan to use a firm-fleshed white fish for these grilled fish tacos. Note that certain varieties of fish will flake less when cooked. My tacos are made with fresh cod, but a firmer mahimahi or halibut will be less likely to flake or break apart when cooked. Even if your strips of fish break apart, they are still delicious and can be used for the tacos.
- Look for fajita-sized flour tortillas, which are 6-inches in diameter. Small taco-sized flour tortillas, about 5-inches in diameter, would also work for this recipe. You may also serve them on corn tortillas if you prefer. If you opt for corn tortillas be sure to gently warm the tortillas before serving to soften them.
- Use a fish grill basket or try a veggie grill basket to grill your fish safely without the fish falling through the grill grates. Make sure to grease the basket in either case so your fish doesn't stick.
- For a more polished look, drizzle the cilantro-lime mayo over your fish tacos using a plastic squeeze bottle.
- You can make the cilantro-lime mayo and the dressing for the citrus slaw a day or more ahead of time. Wait to toss the dressing with the coleslaw mix until right before you are ready to serve in order to retain the crunchy texture of the slaw.
- I have indicated 5 servings for this recipe, assuming you make about 15 tacos and each person eats 3 tacos, however you can also serve 2 tacos per serving (especially if you have a side dish too) and serve about 8 people with this recipe.
- The nutritional information for this recipe was calculated using full-fat mayonnaise, however please note that you can use light mayo as well (which is what I normally use) to lighten it up.
- This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US), preferably Diamond Crystal brand. If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt!
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*