Mix up your usual salmon dinner with this recipe for Blackened Salmon Tacos! This flavorful recipe features all the things—BOLD blacked salmon, an avocado smash, chipotle crema and an herby slaw. This takes taco night to all new heights!
Salmon Taco Ingredients
Salmon: you’ll need 1 pound of salmon for this recipe. We recommend getting a thick, center-cut fillet for the best results. Make sure you know what to look for when buying salmon (e.x not sticky or slimy, not “fishy” smelling) then store the salmon correctly!
Blackening seasoning: here’s our recipe for homemade blackening seasoning. It’s made with a handful of pantry spices.
Herbs: we use a combo of cilantro and dill in the slaw and for garnish. If you don’t like one of these, feel free to substitute in chives or parsley instead.
Lime: lime juice is added to the slaw and the avocado for brightness, tang and to keep the avocado from browning. You’ll also need some lime wedges for serving with the finished tacos.
Mayonnaise: just a tablespoon is needed for the slaw. It adds a bit of body without making it “muddy.”
Vinegar: a splash of vinegar is added to the slaw along with some lime juice for even more acid. Feel free to substitute with lime juice if you don’t have vinegar.
Sour cream: for the base of the chipotle crema we use sour cream. For a lighter version you can use Greek yogurt. If you make this swap, we recommend using whole milk for 2% Greek yogurt instead of nonfat.
Chipotle in adobo: Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are dried jalapeños that have been smoked and then rehydrated in a tangy and spicy tomato sauce. For this recipe you will need just one chipotle pepper. Store the rest of the chipotles and adobo sauce in an airtight glass container in the back of your refrigerator for up to 1 month. Use them in our Tomato Chipotle Salsa, Tempeh Tacos and Peel ‘n Eat Shrimp. Look for chipotle peppers in the Mexican section of the grocery store or at any Mexican market.
How to Make Salmon Tacos
1. Start by tossing together the slaw. Combine the cabbage, herbs, vinegar, lime juice and mayonnaise. Season with salt and set aside (doing this first is important because the rest time softens the cabbage a bit).
2. Blend together the sour cream and chipotle until smooth. Season with salt and set aside.
3. Next, mash up a couple avocados with some lime juice and set aside.
4. Stir together the blackening seasoning.
5. Coat the salmon in blackening season.
6. Cook in a hot cast-iron skillet until cooked through and blackened.
7. Warm the tortillas briefly in the hot cast-iron skillet before flaking the salmon and assembling the tacos.
Tips for Blackening Salmon
- Cooking time will depend on how thick your salmon fillets are. The thinner the fillets, the less time they will need. The thicker they are, the more time they will need. You’ll know the salmon is done cooking when each side is blackened and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 125ºF for medium-rare, 135ºF for medium, or 145ºF for well-done.
- The easiest way to determine doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer. This is our favorite thermometer in the test kitchen.
- Be sure to pat the fish dry with paper towels before coating it in the blackening seasoning. This will encourage searing, not steaming.
Salmon Taco Toppings
The best toppings for salmon tacos are those that are fresh, citrusy and herby. Here are out favorite topping ideas:
- Mexican Coleslaw
- Tomatillo Salsa Verde
- Tomato Chipotle Salsa
- Fresh herbs like cilantro, dill and chives (make sure you store your herbs correctly so they lat longer!)
- Thinly slices serranos or jalapeños
- Pickled onions
- Thinly sliced radishes or Persian cucumbers
What to Serve with Salmon Tacos
Leftovers, Storage and Reheating
If you’e got leftovers, here’s how to store each component!
Salmon: Leftover blackened salmon should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze the salmon for up to 3 months. If salmon is frozen, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating gently in a nonstick skillet with a splash of oil. Cook just until warmed through to avoid over cooking.
Avocado Mash: transfer avocado mash to a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the mash and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Chipotle Crema: store crema in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
More Taco Recipes to Try
If you love a blackened fish taco, try our Blackened Cod Tacos! Similar method but totally different flavor profile with the addition of arugula and black beans.
For a super hearty yet simple dinner, try our Tacos Arabes (marinated pork tacos).
Our Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos featured spiced shrimp (not quite blackened, but still bold in flavor) and a citrusy avocado crema. Another must-try shrimp taco recipe is our Tacos Gobernador. They are a showstopper for sure!
Grilled Steak Tacos, aka Tacos al Carbon are the perfect summer dinner. Featuring a charred scallion salsa—they’re smoky, savory and so satisfying.
Flip the script and make breakfast for dinner with out Migas Breakfast Tacos!
Blackened Salmon Tacos Recipe
- 4 cups thinly sliced cabbage from about ½ head
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce
- 2 ripe avocados, diced
- 2 tablespoons Homemade Blackening Seasoning, recipe in notes
- 1 (1-pound) center-cut salmon fillet, skin and bones removed
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup dill
- 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, quartered
- In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups cabbage, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 tablespoon dill, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes.
- Combine ½ cup sour cream and 1 whole chipotle in a small food processor; purée until smooth. Season with salt to taste then transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. *
- In a medium bowl, combine 2 diced avocados, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mash with a fork until spreadable but not completely smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cut salmon evenly into 4-ounce portions. If making your own blackening seasoning, combine all spices together in a medium bowl or jar and stir well. Stir again just before using. Season each piece generously with blackening spice, about 1 teaspoon on each side.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Once oil is shimmering, add salmon and cook until blackened on both sides and an instant-read thermometer registers 125ºF for medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side depending on thickness of filets. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest while you warm tortillas.
- Wipe skillet clean and return to medium heat. One at a time, add tortillas to dry skillet and cook until pliable and slightly toasted, about 30 seconds per side. Stack in a clean kitchen towel and wrap tightly to keep warm.
- Using a fork, flake salmon into large bite-sized pieces. Squeeze remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice over top of fish. Smear a tablespoon or two of avocado mash on a warm tortilla, then top with salmon, a spoonful of slaw, a drizzle of chipotle crema, thinly sliced serranos, and fresh cilantro leaves and dill. Serve with additional lime for squeezing.
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 ¼ teaspoons cayenne
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ tablespoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper