Tacos de Palitos de Pescado
Fish Stick Tacos are the easiest fish tacos ever! Corn tortillas are loaded with a quick slaw, fish sticks (baked or air fried), and an irresistible lime crema.
These Fish Stick Tacos are a part of our “Back-To-School Lifesavers” — a series of recipes that are intended to have little (or no) veggie chopping, minimal prep time, around 10 ingredients or less (not including pantry staples), and use kid-friendly ingredients. Click here to see all the recipes in the series!
Fish Stick Tacos
Growing up, my siblings and I practically raised on fish sticks and fries — it was one of my mom’s “go-to” dinners. Two frozen bags (one of fries and one of fish sticks) a quick bake time, and dinner was served. Occasionally, she’d cut up a lemon and we’d all pretend to be fancy by squeezing lemon wedges on the fish sticks. We’d also dunk the fries in ridiculous amounts of ketchup.
It’s been years since I’ve eaten fish sticks, but in brainstorming some of the easy meals my mom prepared growing up, fish sticks were one of the first things that came to mind.
Although I’ve already shared our favorite fish tacos recipe, those tacos are a lot of work to make & require a whole lot of ingredients. So it was time to create a simplified version and these fish stick tacos definitely win in the realm of easy and quick. And you may be surprised how exciting fish sticks can be when integrated into a taco with a pickled slaw and saucy crema — these tacos are delicious!
Fish Stick Tacos Ingredients
- Frozen fish sticks. I’m no expert on frozen fish sticks, but we enjoy Gorton’s fish sticks (not sponsored). They are made with 100% real, wild-caught fish (no fillers)! They’re a top seller with great reviews on Amazon & runner-up in Taste of Home’s taste test. I’ve also never had a problem finding this brand at my local grocery stores. Of course, any frozen fish sticks will work!
- Coleslawmix. Nothing fancy here — just a store-bought package of angel-hair coleslaw works great here! If you check the ingredient list, it should list only “green cabbage” which is what we want. Of course you can thinly slice your own green (or red) cabbage, but that will add to overall prep of these fish stick tacos. Most coleslaw mixes are in the produce section of the grocery store near other packaged salad mixes.
- Sourcream. Fat-free or lite works great here if you’d like to lighten things up a bit.
- Mayo. The mayonnaise offsets the tang of the sour cream while adding a nice creaminess. We love Hellman’s/Best Foods® best in the sauce.
- Limejuice. Lime juice adds freshness and acidity to the sauce and to the tacos. In my book, the more lime, the better!
- Pantry staples. Red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Sriracha are all fairly standard pantry staples we use to add flavor and pizzazz to these tacos. If you don’t have red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar will work too. Feel free to play around with the Sriracha adding less or more depending on spice preferencces.
- Corn tortillas. We like thin corn tortillas best for these Fish Stick Tacos. My family enjoys Mission’s® extra-thin corn tortillas (not sponsored). More on this ingredient below.
We love corn tortillas with the pickled slaw, crunchy fish sticks, and creamy saucy. They can be tricky to work with, though, because they break easily and dry out quickly.
I recommend charring the tortillas for the best flavor and texture! When charring, I recommend working with one at a time, leaving the rest in the bag so the others don’t dry out too quickly.
Here’s how we char the tortillas:
- Sprayboth sides of the tortillas with cooking spray. I use an olive oil-based spray (canola works as well) and give each side a good spritz.
- Very lightly char each side of the tortilla over an open flame on the stovetop. If you don’t have an open flame, warm for 10-15 seconds in a skillet.
- Immediately remove the tortilla from the heat and fold in half. Place under a towel (keeps them warm!) and repeat until all the tortillas are charred.
- Once all the tortillas have been charred and folded, add the slaw, fish sticks, sauce, & toppings.
This Fish Stick Tacos recipe is supposed to be quick, but charring tortillas is super fast and well worth the extra minute — it adds an incredible amount of flavor and texture to the tacos, plus it can be done while the fish sticks are cooking.
If you don’t love corn tortillas, use flour ones. Even though flour tortillas fold nicely, I still like to spray them with cooking spray and brown them in a skillet or over an open flame; this adds so much flavor! If using flour tortillas, I like to get the unbaked ones (by TortillaLand®; not sponsored) and cook them in a skillet first.
Fish Stick Tacos Toppings
Again, we’re going for speed and ease with this recipe, so we don’t want to be bogged down with tons of potential topping ideas that each take time (like making guac or pico de gallo). So in keeping things as simple as possible our 1 “must have” topping is a ripe avocado.
- Limewedges. A squeeze of lime over the fish sticks adds a nice fresh flavor.
- Cilantro. We love the citrusy touch this herb adds.
- Cotijacheese. This cheese is quite salty which adds the perfect finishing seasoning to the tacos.
- Ripeavocado. This adds an immense amount of creaminess which helps to balance the crispiness of the fish and crunchiness of the slaw.
If you can’t find ripe avocados, try this product! The only listed ingredient is “Hass avocados” which they’ve mashed down (it’s not guacamole, just mashed ripe avocados). This is quicker than searching through rock hard avocados or trying to mash up your own if you prefer a guacamole like texture in your Fish Stick Tacos.
Cooking Fish Sticks
The fish sticks can be prepared how ever you’d like according to package directions. We’ve found that there is just the right amount of time to prepare the sauce and toppings as the fish bakes — perfect for a quick, weeknight meal!
We tested baking verses air frying the fish sticks and there is a fairly noticeable difference in crispiness — the air fryer really crisps these up nicely. If you have an air fryer, we recommend air frying the fish sticks for ultimate crispiness in your Fish Stick Tacos. And, if you don’t, the oven still works great — just make sure to space them out as much as possible so they have plenty of room to crisp up.
To air fry fish sticks: Air Fry at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes. Flip the sticks over and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until cooked through and the coating is crispy and lightly browned.
When air frying, you don’t need to add any oil, spray oil, or any other ingredients. Add into the the air fryer basket straight from the freezer (no thawing necessary). And most importantly, do not overcrowd the air fryer basket — lay the fish sticks in a single layer not overlapping. Note that if you’re cooking multiple batches (back to back), the following batches may cook a bit quicker since the Air Fryer will be thoroughly heated.
More taco recipes
- Pinto Bean Tacoswith a cashew-lime sauce
- Steak Tacoswith a chili-lime sauce
- Chicken Tinga Tacoswith quick pickled red onions
- Baked Chicken Tacoswith a cilantro-lime sauce
- Shrimp Tacoswith quick seasoned shrimp
Fish Stick Tacos
Fish Stick Tacos
- 3cupscoleslaw (shredded green cabbage)Note 1
- 1tablespoonred wine vinegar
- Fine sea salt & pepper
- 14frozen fish sticks(we like Gorton’s)
- 7extra thin corn tortillas + cooking spray
- 1/3cupsour cream(Lite/fat-free works great)
- 2tablespoonslime juice
- 1teaspoon each:garlic powder, Sriracha
- For serving: ripe avocado, cotija cheese, additional lime wedges & cilantro (optional)
PREP: If using the oven, preheat according to fish stick instructions.
SLAW: In a medium-size bowl add the coleslaw, red wine vinegar, & 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt. Toss with tongs and let stand, tossing occasionally. Scrunch cabbage with your hands to soften a touch more.
FISHSTICKS: Prepare fish sticks according to package directions or even better — air fry them! See Note 2
SAUCE: In a small bowl combine sour cream, mayo, lime juice, garlic, and Sriracha (add more for a hotter sauce). Season to taste, I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir until smooth.
ASSEMBLE: Char corn tortillas (See Note 3) and divide the slaw evenly between tortillas. Add 2 fish sticks per taco and divide sliced avocado between tacos. Add fresh cilantro if desired and drizzle sauce very generously on top (or dip tacos in sauce). Sprinkle cotija if using. Serve with lime wedges & enjoy immediately!
Note 2: Air Fry at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes. Flip the sticks over and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until cooked through and the coating is crispy and lightly browned. When air frying, you don’t need to add any oil, spray oil, or any other ingredients. Add into the the air fryer basket straight from the freezer (no thawing necessary). And most importantly, do not overcrowd the air fryer basket — lay the fish sticks in a single layer not overlapping. Note that if you’re cooking multiple batches (back to back), the following batches may cook a bit quicker since the Air Fryer will be thoroughly heated.
Note 3: Spray both sides of the tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and char the tortillas directly over the gas flames for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until tortillas are lightly charred and soft. Immediately fold the tortilla in half (so it will fold into a taco nicely later) and place it under a towel to keep warm. Alternatively, warm tortillas in a large skillet over medium heat (in batches so the skillet isn’t over-filled). Flip to warm each side, remove from heat, fold in half, and place under a towel to keep warm. Alternatively, warm through in microwave, covered with a damp paper towel.
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