The best fish taco sauce recipe for your fish tacos, hands down! Perfectly spiced, and so easy to whip up – one bowl, less than 5 minutes. You’ll love how this white sauce complements the flavors in your fish tacos. Also delicious as a vegetable dip! (with video)
Years and years ago, I came across a recipe for San Diego fish tacos and fish taco sauce. It was really good. The sauce included in the recipe, however, burned a little hole in my brain.
That sauce … omg, so good. Forget salsa. Forget sour cream. Forget tartar sauce. You’ll never want anything on your fish tacos except this sauce, ever again.
No doubt my fading memory and stubborn inability to leave well enough alone has inserted itself on the original recipe. But that’s the beauty of a spice-heavy concoction: You can tweak the sauce seasonings to your own tastes.
So, don’t worry if you’re missing an ingredient from the list, and you’re in the middle of a taco craving emergency. It will all be a-okay!
What makes this fish taco sauce so tasty? It’s the unique combination of herbs and spices, including cumin, coriander, smoky chipotle chili powder, dill, and oregano.
Plus, it features the perfect hit of heat: not enough to say, whoooaa, tongue on fire! But just enough to be all like, hello, I’m alive, and it’s great to be eating tacos!
It was SO good! My family loved it! ~ Kerry
This sauce is so good, I’ll eat it on everything. ~ Marly
Absolutely awesome, was even better than the sauce we got with our fish tacos in Mexico ~ Werner
The Secret Ingredient for Fish Taco Sauce
And now, here it is: capers. Capers have a unique tang that’s a cross between bitter and briny.
But when you combine them with other assertive flavors, like the spice blend above, it somehow turbo-charges everything else, while hanging out quietly in the background.
Use non-pareil capers if you can find them (they’re smaller with a more delicate flavor), and mince them well with a knife, or smash them with a fork.
And then there’s my all-around favorite flavor combo. Lime and cilantro (above) are so natural together, it would not have surprised me one bit to find them growing on the same plant, had I not grown cilantro myself without producing a single lime (I knew better, of course, but was still unreasonably disappointed). There’s plenty of both of these summery flavors in my fish taco sauce!
Coriander, by the way, is the seed produced by the cilantro plant. Redundant, both leaf and seed sharing a spot in the same recipe? No, sirreee. Ground coriander tastes nothing like its leafy parent.
Gently aromatic and somehow citrusy, it adds a bright flavor to mexican dishes, and is an especially delicious companion to cumin.
So, for you unlucky ducks where cilantro leaves tastes like soap, do not fear the ground coriander!
How to make fish taco sauce
This white sauce is easily whipped up with just a whisk – no special equipment required:
- Whisk together mayo and sour cream until smooth.
- Thin with a little lime juice until the sauce wants to drip from the whisk.
- Add the spices and mix thoroughly.
- Let rest in the fridge for at least an hour, to let all the flavors blend into tasty goodness.
Spoon the sauce over your fish tacos — my favorites are made with grilled flaky white fish, like cod or halibut, but shrimp is scrumptious, too. For an authentic San Diego experience, try them battered and fried. Delish!
Making a big batch and need some ideas to use up the leftovers? It’s a fantastic chip dip (Fritos are my favorite!) Or, try it with these recipes:
Watch the video and learn how easy it is to make!
Wickedly good fish taco sauce
- 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream (Greek yogurt is delicious as a substitute if you're not a fan of sour cream)
- 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise (you can use full fat, but, the spices are so delicious, you won't miss that particular flavor contribution)
- 1 lime , cut in half
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon capers , minced
- 1 hot pepper of your choice , seeded and minced (jalapeno is delicious, as are the cherry bomb poppers I used in this batch).
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro , chopped
- In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream and mayonnaise until well blended.
- Squeeze the juice from one lime half into the fish taco sauce mixture, then whisk thoroughly. You'll want the consistency of a pourable, creamy salad dressing. If still too thick, add more lime juice from the other half. If too runny, add sour cream.
- Add all of the spices, whisking to mix thoroughly. Add the capers, minced pepper and cilantro, and whisk thoroughly.
- Cover the bowl with wrap and refrigerate the fish taco for at least one hour — the longer the better.
- Serve chilled. Spoon white sauce over fish tacos, or add into taco salads or rice bowls.
Originally published on June 6, 2009