Spicy Salmon Tacos

This recipe for spicy salmon tacos is easy to put together and delicious, especially with the pineapple salsa on top. You can make it as mild or as spicy as you like and even customize the salsa and other ingredients.

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An oval white plate with five spicy salmon tacos next to a blue napkin.What’s in a Spicy Salmon Taco?

I love a good fish taco and these spicy salmon tacos fit the bill perfectly. Any fish taco is made up of different components, and it’s how these components go together that makes or breaks the dish. Obviously, the first thing you need is fish. For these tacos, I’m using salmon that is perfectly seasoned and cooked in a skillet. You’ll also need the taco shell – here we pan-fry soft tortillas and shape them into curved shells. Then, to make it spicy, in addition to the spice seasoning on the fish there’s a spicy sour cream (or crema) that goes on top – a simple combination of sour cream and sriracha sauce to taste. Tacos also always have some sort of vegetable or filler inside – here I use shredded red cabbage, but you could use lettuce or grated carrots if you prefer. Finally, it’s nice to top it with some salsa for a punch of bright flavor and for this recipe, it’s a delicious pineapple salsa

A mixing bowl on a wooden cutting board with ingredients around - sour cream, sriracha sauce, salmon and a bowl of pineapple salsa in the background.

Spicy Crema for Fish Tacos

There’s nothing crazy about the crema that goes on these spicy salmon tacos – just whisk together some sour cream and some sriracha sauce. How much sriracha sauce depends entirely on how spicy you want your tacos? You do you.

Looking down on the components of spicy salmon tacos - tortillas, seasoned salmon, spicy crema, pineapple salsa and shredded purple cabbage.Two fillets of salmon blackened in a skillet with a pair of tongs and a blue kitchen towel.

How to Cook Fish for Tacos

It really doesn’t matter what technique you use to cook the fish for tacos. What matters is how well you cook it. The goal is to end up with salmon that has some texture on the outside but is still moist on the inside. Cooking the fillets in a non-stick skillet or popping them into the air fryer are both good ways to achieve this. Just make sure you don’t over-cook the salmon. The rule of thumb is that a 1-inch thick piece of salmon will take 10 minutes at 400˚F in the oven. You can sear the salmon on the stovetop and pop it into the oven, or just cook the salmon in the air fryer for 10 minutes. Much will depend on how thick your salmon fillets happen to be.

Hands flaking cooked salmon fillets on a plate next to fried tortilla shells, mango salsa and shredded red cabbage.

Assembling Spicy Salmon Tacos

If you’re a good multitasker, you can use the time while the salmon cooks to shred the red cabbage and toast the tortillas in a second pan. Otherwise, do these tasks ahead of time, along with the pineapple salsa. Once the salmon is cooked, flake it into large-ish pieces with two forks and then get ready to assemble the tacos. 

Hands building spicy salmon tacos over a platter.

Build it and They Will Come

The taco shells and the salmon are the only components of the taco that are hot, so once you’re ready, start building the tacos right away with a little cabbage, some salmon, some salsa and top with the crema. Stack them next to each other on a platter or just hand them to whoever wants one. Better yet – put all the components out and let people build their own. You’ve got tacos of your own to eat!

A hand holding a spicy salmon taco over a platter of others with ingredients around.

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Spicy Salmon Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 30 m
  • Servings:


  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces salmon filets skin removed
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sriracha sauce
  • Olive oil
  • 6 to 8 8-inch corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • Lime wedges
Pineapple Salsa:
  • ½ pineapple cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper minced
  • ¼ red onion finely diced
  • ½ red pepper finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make the pineapple salsa by combining the pineapple, Jalapeño pepper, red onion, red pepper, lime juice, chili powder and salt in a bowl. Season with freshly ground black pepper and stir in the fresh cilantro. Chill until ready to serve.
  2. Combine the smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of the salmon filets and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and hot sauce to taste. Set aside.
  4. Pre-heat a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle a little olive oil into the pan and sear the salmon filets for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the salmon to a plate and cover with foil.
  5. Carefully wipe out the pan and drizzle with a little more oil. Working in batches, place the tortillas in the pan and warm them up for about 1 minute on each side. Add additional oil if needed. As soon as you remove the tortillas from the pan, fold them in half while they are still warm.
  6. Break the salmon up into large chunks. Assemble the tacos by filling the tortillas with some red cabbage, pieces of salmon and pineapple salsa. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on top and drizzle with the sour cream mixture. Garnish with a few fresh cilantro leaves if desired.
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