Panko-Dusted Fish Tacos with Homemade Guacamole

  • By Jess Dang
  • December 12, 2012

Panko-dusted fish tacos by Cook Smarts 1

You may think that fish tacos is a complicated affair, but it can honestly be one of the easiest dishes in your dinner repertoire. This recipe for panko-dusted fish tacos has been featured in Weekly Eats multiple times. Every time it gets featured, emails pour into our inbox saying, “That was delicious, and I can’t believe how easy this recipe was to cook!” We’re not surprised by the rave reviews. This meal is a crowd-pleaser for the entire family. Adults like it because they’re eating something healthy, tasty, quick-to-make, and kids like it because they think they’re eating fish sticks (even though they’re eating something way better).

The ingredient that really makes these fish tacos stand out is panko. If you’ve never heard of panko, don’t fret. It’s just a light breadcrumb common in Japanese cooking, and nowadays it can be found relatively easily in all types of grocery stores. You can even find gluten-free varieties these days. Either will likely be in a box in the ethnic food aisle. If you really can’t find it a local store, buy a few boxes from Amazon. In this recipe, the panko provides a light, crispy texture to the fish.

The best part about this fish taco recipe is that it’s beyond easy to make. So long as you remembered to defrost the fish (if you’re using frozen) before work, you could walk through your front door and have an amazing dinner 20 minutes later. The active prep time for these fish tacos is less than 5 minutes. The fish (I typically use frozen tilapia, but any dense fish like snapper or cod will do as well) gets chopped up and then tossed with a whisked egg. From there it’s thrown in a Ziploc bag with a mix of panko and spices. You then let your child who’s been dying to help mommy and daddy in the kitchen shake it all up. You’re happy, they’re happy, and because it was all done in a Ziploc bag, your kitchen doesn’t look like a battle zone. The fish then gets spread out onto a baking sheet and baked in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes. While the fish is baking, you warm some tortillas, make some other accompaniments, like guacamole or a cabbage slaw, and you have dinner and maybe even time to crack open a beer. For those nights when you’re in an absolute pinch, forget the homemade fillings and rely on some store bought salsa and sour cream to dress up this simple and easy dinner.

Pin this, save it to your recipe box, put it in your Google meal planning spreadsheet. I guarantee that this will become one of your favorite dinners.

Panko-Dusted Fish Tacos with Homemade Guacamole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients for Panko-Dusted Fish Tacos
  • Tilapia, sliced – 1.5 lbs.
  • Egg, whisked – 1
  • Paprika (spice) – 1 tsp. + 1 tbs.
  • Panko – 1 cup
  • Canola oil – 1 tbs.
  • Cumin (spice) – ½ tbs.
  • Limes, sliced – 1
  • Tortillas – 8
Ingredients for Guacamole
  • Garlic cloves, minced – 2
  • Shallots, minced – 1.5 bulbs (~1/4 cup)
  • Cilantro, chopped – A few sprigs (~2 tbs)
  • Avocados – 2 ripe ones
  • Limes – 1
  • Hot sauce (optional) – 1 tsp.
Make Fish Tacos
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rinse and dry fish thoroughly with paper towels. Slice into ½” thick pieces and place into a bowl
  3. Whisk egg with 1 tsp. paprika and a pinch of kosher salt. Pour over fish and toss thoroughly
  4. Combine panko, oil, 1 tbs. paprika, cumin, and ½ tsp. kosher salt in a Ziploc bag that can hold the fish. Place fish in the bag, seal, and shake until the panko is distributed Making panko-dusted fish tacos by Cook Smarts
  5. Spread out onto a baking sheet in 1 even layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until panko is golden brown Making panko-dusted fish tacos by Cook Smarts 2
  6. Warm tortillas according to package instructions
Make Guacamole
  1. Mash together minced garlic, diced shallots, chopped cilantro, and avocados in a bowl using a fork or knife. Mix and season to taste with kosher salt, lime juice (start with half a lime and increase as needed), and your preference of hot sauce (optional – ours is Sriracha). Store in fridge until ready to eat. Prevent guacamole from browning by placing plastic wrap right over the surface

Panko-dusted fish tacos by Cook Smarts 2


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