You only need a few pantry staples to make tinned fish tacos — our favorite new quick and easy meal

Move over PB&Js and ramen noodles! This fresh, healthy twist on a classic is simp to fix for lunch or dinner

By Bibi Hutchings


Published May 5, 2022 5:15PM (EDT)

Fish Tacos (Getty Images/LauriPatterson)
Fish Tacos (Getty Images/LauriPatterson)

We live about five miles as the crow flies from the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, for the majority of my life — including all of my adult years — I haven't lived more than 30 "straight-line" miles away. Because of our close proximity to the water, hurricane season — which begins on June 1 and doesn't end until Nov. 30 — is a time we take very seriously. There are some things we do ahead of time to prepare for the season in general, as well as other things we do when a storm is actually threatening us.

I'm in charge of many things, thankfully none of which require much heavy lifting. I would say two of my most important jobs are making sure that the liquor cabinet is well stocked, as well as that we have plenty of "pantry food." Both need to be done long before the first named storm makes its way into the Caribbean.

Stocking the pantry during hurricane season requires having plenty of convenient, easy-to-prepare or even "no prep required" foods on hand. Over the years, convenience foods (aka ready-to-eat products) have improved greatly. We're no longer stuck with Beenie-Weenies, sardines and the like to go with the chips, cookies and other junk food necessary for maintaining our sanity during times of weather stress.

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Nowadays, without even going to a specialty store, I can find all sorts of great-tasting, healthy foods packaged and ready to go for when I'm either short on time or trying to "cook" under less than ideal circumstances. Examples include being without power or being unable to leave home due to numerous fallen trees across the driveway, the latter of which happened in 2020 when the eye of Hurricane Sally literally passed over our house. But I digress.

One of my more recent discoveries while stocking up for hurricane season is Wild Planet's tinned fish. I call it "tinned fish" to distinguish it from canned tuna or canned salmon, but mostly because I think it sounds fancier. I prefer Wild Planet's products to any of the other packaged fish I've tried. It's a sustainable seafood company — the first of its kind actually — that also sells pasture-raised, packaged beef and an organic canned chicken breast (which my mom says makes the best chicken salad she's ever tasted). If you're unfamiliar with Wild Planet, allow me to be the first to introduce you. Its packaged fish and fish filets are wild-caught and either canned in water or tinned in olive oil. I promise you they're delicious.

I use Wild Planet's tinned yellowtail in olive oil for these tacos, but I also keep plenty of yellowtail and mackerel (another tinned fish it sells in olive oil) on hand for easy snacks and lunches. It's common for my husband to open a tin of mackerel or yellowtail and eat it with crackers, avocado and mustard. If you like fish, there's no limit to what you can create with just these two varieties.

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Full disclosure, I use "tacos" to mean not only traditional tacos in taco shells but also burritos, nachos, taco salads, tostadas or wraps — whatever I have on hand. The same goes for what I include in said tacos. Sometimes, I have lots of topping options, and other times I only have a few. 

The point is that it's easy to keep the basics for these guys handy, such as jars of jalapeños and salsa, olives, an onion, maybe even cheese, lettuce, tomato and sour cream. Whatever you like and whatever you have available at the moment is fair game — especially when you find yourself at home in need of a quick lunch that doesn't sacrifice on flavor

In the summer, I make fresh fish tacos, and I season my fish with fresh garlic, ground cumin, salt, pepper and lime before cooking. I mention that because if you're so inclined, you can similarly season the tinned fish in these tacos. You can also heat these little filets up or simply add them to your tacos straight out of the tin. There are no rules (and isn't that nice for a change?). Check out Wild Planet — and give this recipe a try. You deserve some fancy-feeling fish tacos for lunch.


Recipe: Tinned Fish "Tacos"

1 servings
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes


Wild Planet tinned yellowtail (1 tin per person or more)

Possible toppings — choose any or all:

  • avocados
  • cheese
  • black olives
  • lettuce
  • jalapeños
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • salsa
  • shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • sour cream


  1. To heat or not to heat the fish is entirely up to you. It really is good either way!

  2. Create with what you have — you can use taco shells, tortilla chips, tostadas, a wrap, a bowl of lettuce.

  3. Layer it all together and enjoy a satisfying meal in a snap.


Cook's Notes

Want to try my simple upgrade? Season the yellowtail with cumin, garlic powder and lime juice.


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By Bibi Hutchings

Bibi Hutchings, a lifelong Southerner, lives along a quiet coastal Alabama bay with her cat, Zulu, and husband, Tom. She writes about the magical way food evokes memories, instantly bringing you back to the people, places and experiences of your life. Her stories take you all around the South and are accompanied with tried-and-true recipes that are destined to become a part of your memory-making as you share them with your friends and family.         

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Easy Meals Fish Fish Tacos Food Recipe Tacos Tinned Fish