If you’re looking for a quick taco recipe that’s unique and elevated from your usual, it’s time to make this Halibut Tacos. Initially inspired by the flavors of a paloma, these tacos are in a league all their own. Featuring a citrusy and slightly spicy avocado sauce, cilantro-y cucumbers and fresh grapefruit slices—each bite is absolute perfection.

Why Halibut is Perfect for Fish Tacos 

Halibut is a firm, lean white fish that has a mild, clean and slightly sweet flavor. Its firmness makes it the perfect fish for pan searing though it can also be baked, fried or grilled. Once cooked, it breaks into large chunks, making it ideal for stuffing into tacos. 

If you’re new to cooking with fish, halibut is a great fish to start with. It doesn’t overcook too quickly and is mild enough in flavor that it works in a variety of dishes. 

Halibut fillets set on a tray next to a lime, bunch of cilantro, greek yogurt, oil, spices, tortillas, pickled jalapenos and grapefruit.

Ingredients Needed 

  • Halibut: you’ll need a one-pound fillet for this recipe. Halibut can be pricey, so make sure you get what you’re paying for! It should be firm, creamy white in color and smell of the sea—it shouldn’t smell fishy or be slimy. 
  • Lime: it will be zested and partially juiced, save half of the lime for cutting into wedges and serving with the tacos
  • Grapefruit: you need one ruby grapefruit. It gets zested and segmented. If you aren’t keen on grapefruit, substitute with an orange. 
  • Mini cucumbers: aka Persian Cucumbers. You’ll need three, or use half an English cucumber. 
  • Cilantro: Grab a small bunch of cilantro for this recipe. Two tablespoons of minced cilantro seasons the diced cucumber while the remainder can be used as garnish or used in Mexican Coleslaw
  • Avocado: a bright and tangy avocado spread is the base of these tacos. You’ll need one large ripe avocado for this recipe.
  • Pickled jalapenos: this recipes uses both pickled jalapenos and the brine they are packed in!
  • Greek yogurt: you only need two tablespoons. You can also substitute with sour cream. 
  • Agave syrup: this is the base of the glaze that gets brushed over the fish. Look for agave syrup sold near the honey. You can substitute with honey if needed.  
  • Ground coriander: just a pinch is added to the glaze that gets brushed over the fish. If you don’t have coriander, you can substitute with ground cumin.
  • Avocado oil or canola oil: you just need 2 tablespoons of a neutral, high-heat cooking oil to pan sear the fish in.
  • Tortillas: I like to use flour tortillas here. Though corn will work too! Use small street-taco size tortillas. 

How to Make Halibut Tacos 

  1. Prep the Cucumbers: finely dice the mini cucumbers then toss with cilantro and a splash of pickled jalapeno brine. Set the mixture aside. 
Diced cucumber tossed in minced cilantro in a metal mixing bowl.
  1. Make the Avocado Spread: mash together the avocado, lime zest, lime juice and minced pickled jalapeno. Season to taste with salt and pickled jalapeno brine. Set this aside until ready to assemble.
Mashed avocado sauce in a large brown bowl.
  1. Cook the Halibut: preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. Pat the halibut dry and season well with kosher salt. Add a couple tablespoons of oil to the cast-iron skillet and place the halibut, skin side down in the skillet. Allow the fish to cook, without moving, until it’s golden brown and naturally released from the pan—this will take about 4 minutes. Flip the halibut and continue to cook for about 3 more minutes. 
Browned halibut filets set on a metal tray.
  1. Assemble: brush the halibut with the agave and grapefruit glaze then allow it to cool slightly. Break the fish into large pieces and serve in charred tortillas with the avocado spread, cucumbers and a grapefruit segment or two. 

Topping Ideas

I like to serve these tacos with a simple avocado spread, diced cucumber and fresh grapefruit or orange. Here are some other ideas:

three halibut tacos set in a metal tray with cilantro and lime wedges as garnish.

What to Serve with Halibut Fish Tacos

I’m always a fan of some kind of slaw. Pair these tacos with a Mexican Coleslaw, Asian Cabbage Salad (basically a slaw), Green Herb Slaw or a simple herby slaw written in this Salmon Taco Recipe.

Chips and salsa are always a hit, so is Homemade Guacamole

Don’t skip the cocktails! I’ve got tons of options, but my favorite include the Italian Margarita, Lemon Margarita, Mezcal Margarita and Spicy Mezcal Margarita. A Tequila Smash would also be a great option. 

More Fish and Seafood Taco Recipes 

If you’re in the market for more white fish recipes, try Blackened Fish Tacos. The toppings on this one are fun and different! Or swap out the white fish and make Blackened Salmon Tacos

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos are a classic and great for weeknights. And if you’re feeding a crowd, make my Tacos Gobernador. They’re shrimp tacos featuring a saucy tomato sauce. But the kicker—they’re assembled and cooked all at once so everyone can enjoy the crispy “fried” tacos together. 

Halibut Taco Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 2 –3 servings (6 tacos)
Category Dinner
Cuisine Mexican


An elevated recipe to get you out of your taco rut! Halibut Fish Tacos with a citrusy avocado spread, cucumber-cilantro salad and fresh grapefruit slices.


  • 3 mini cucumbers, finely diced (about ¾ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • Pickled jalapenos + brine
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapeno + 1 tablespoon brine
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 ruby grapefruit, zested and segmented
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (1-pound) skin-on halibut fillet
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 6 small flour tortillas


  • In a medium bowl, combine 3 diced mini cucumbers, 2 tablespoons minced cilantro and a splash of pickled jalapeño brine; set aside.
  • In a second medium bowl, mash 1 avocado with 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt. Add 1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapeño, 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño brine, minced zest of 1 lime and 2 teaspoons lime juice; season to taste with kosher salt.
  • Preheat cast iron skillet over medium for 3–5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together 2 tablespoons agave syrup, 1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest, and ¼ teaspoon coriander; set aside.
  • Pat halibut fillet dry then season with kosher salt. Add 2 tablespoons avocado oil to preheated skillet and heat until shimmering. Place halibut, skin side down, in skillet and cook, without moving, for 4 minutes or until it naturally releases from pan. Flip and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of fillet reaches 125ºF, 3–4 minutes.
  • Transfer halibut to a plate and brush evenly with agave mixture.
  • To assemble, spread hearty dollops of avocado mixture onto warmed tortillas. Top each with a spoonful of cucumbers. Flake fish into long thick sticks and arrange in center of tortillas; discard skin. Nestle a grapefruit segment or 2 into each taco.


How to char tortillas: I like to warm and char the tortillas over an open flame. To do this, I heat a gas stove to medium and arrange 2 or 3 tortillas right over the flame. Slightly char the tortillas then flip, using a spatula, until the second side is charred. If you don’t have a gas stove top, wrap the tortillas in a slightly damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. 
  • Coriander: can be substituted with ground cumin. 
  • Grapefruit: can be substituted with oranges.
  • Agave: can be substituted with honey.
  • Greek yogurt: can be substituted with sour cream. 


Serving: 2tacosCalories: 350kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 31gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 645mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 12g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Fish tacos with cilantro, cucumber and grapefruit in a metal tray.

Pin This Recipe

Love this recipe and want to save it? Pin this recipe!

Pin This Recipe
5 Test Kitchen Approved Tips
Years of test kitchen experience distilled into a simple series to help you become a better, more confident cook!
Photograph of America'sTest Kitchen with test cooks testing recipes

Share it with the world


About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

Learn More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?