These easy Grilled Fish Tacos feature crunchy citrus slaw, flaky 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.
Once upon a time I dined upon mouthwatering grilled fish tacos at the Oasis Bar & Grill at Walt Disney World. These were some of the most memorable and best fish tacos I've had. Although I asked how it was made I wasn't able to get an actual recipe from the chefs.
Our server shared just a few ingredients in the cilantro-lime crema: mayo, 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 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 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.
- Cole Slaw 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 sliced green and purple cabbage, and shredded carrots.
- Tortillas: At Disney, these scrumptious grilled fish tacos are served on small flour tortillas. 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
The two main accouterments for these Disney copycat grilled fish tacos are cilantro-lime mayo and citrus slaw. They are both super easy and fast to make!
For the cilantro-lime mayo you'll need ¼ cup each of fresh cilantro leaves and baby spinach leaves. Make sure the leaves are dry or they won't mince nicely in the blender bowl.
Process the leaves until they are finely minced, then add a clove of garlic and blitz again. Finally, add mayonnaise and fresh lime juice along with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy.
The citrus slaw is perhaps the easiest component to these grilled fish tacos! Whisk together honey, fresh lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Then whisk in a little vegetable oil. Toss the dressing with the cole slaw mix and more fresh cilantro leaves. Don't chop them. Just add them whole. Set aside until you're ready to assemble your tacos.
To make the fish for your grilled fish tacos begin by cutting your fish into approximately 1-by-4-inch pieces. 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. It helps keep the fish moist.
Next, make the grilled fish. 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.
Grill the fish for about 3 minutes per side or until a thermometer inserted into the center of a piece of fish reads 145°F. Remove the fish from the grill basket and transfer to a serving dish.
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!
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 fish tacos with lime wedges on the side.
Even with a fish grill basket the fish can stick a bit. Make sure you generously grease your grill basket, and use a spatula to carefully remove the fish from the basket. You may also want to try a veggie grill basket which has a bit more surface area to grease.
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 cole slaw mix until shortly before you are ready to serve in order to retain the crunchy texture of the slaw.
Drizzle the cilantro-lime mayo over your fish tacos or use plastic squeeze bottles for a more professional look.
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
- 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
- ½ tablespoon oil optional
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 (12-ounce) bag coleslaw mix (combination of green and purple cabbage, and carrots)
- ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 16 to 18 small flour tortillas fajita size, about 6-inch diameter or corn tortillas (gently heated to soften)
- Lime wedges
- To make the cilantro-lime mayo: 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 remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste, and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To make the grilled fish: Combine the spices in a bowl, and sprinkle the spice rub over the pieces of fish. Drizzle with the oil, if desired. 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 (you can also lightly brush the pieces of fish with oil on both sides if you are especially worried about them sticking). Line the fish pieces inside the grill basket, and grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (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. If any of the pieces have stuck, use a small spatula to remove them gently. *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.
- To make the citrus slaw: Meanwhile, whisk together the honey, lime juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil, and adjust seasoning to taste. Toss the dressing with the coleslaw mix and cilantro leaves in a mixing bowl.
- To serve: 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.
- Halibut and mahimahi are more firm varieties of white fish, and will be a bit easier to grill without falling apart. Cod is one of our favorite fishes, but it is quite flaky and can break apart if you over cook it or if it sticks to the grill basket. Even if your strips of fish break apart, they are still delicious and can be used for the tacos. Just beware of these differences when you select fish for these tacos.
- 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.
- Put your cilantro-lime mayo in plastic squeeze bottles for a polished look to your tacos.
- 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.*