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Chipotle BBQ Fish Tacos

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Tender arctic char roasted with smokey and sweet bbq sauce layered on toasted tortillas with pickled red onions, sriracha aioli, and salsa.  Switch up your usual fish tacos with this rich and flaky bbq spin!

overhead of fish tacos on a corn tortilla

The arctic char for this recipe has been provided by Ice Fresh Seafood.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and I hope you love this fresh take on fish tacos as much as we did! 

Is there ever a bad time to just sit down and taco about it?  I think not.  Especially when the options are simple, flavorful and easy to prepare and I’m trying not to stress eat my way through the current state of the world today. 

Do you know what’s stress-relieving?  Eating good food and the chipotle bbq sauce on these fish tacos is seriously good eats.

  • smokey
  • a little spicy
  • just the right amount of sweet
  • rich and tender fish
  • easy to prepare
  • fresh, flavorful ingredients
  • gluten free

So good, right?  And I know what you’re thinking….making homemade bbq sauce does not sound easy but it totally is!  It just takes a few minutes to bring to a simmer then you blend it together.  This recipe makes just enough bbq sauce to coat a 1-pound filet of arctic char or salmon.

Quick and easy homemade bbq

Got ketchup?  Great, you’ve got the major ingredient in making bbq sauce.  For this bbq sauce we’re adding chipotle in adobo.  It adds delicious smokey flavor and a good amount of heat.  You find it in any chipotle dressing or sauce.

The more chipotle peppers and sauce you add to the bbq sauce base the smokier and spicier it will be.  So you can add a little or a lot.  We’re making just enough sauce to smother the fish and then maybe a little extra for the tacos if you’re a saucy kind of person (raises hand).

collage of making homemade bbq sauce

The simplicity of the recipe is this….add all the ingredients to a saucepan.  Bring it to a simmer.  Cooking it for 2 minutes while occasionally stirring.  Blend it.  DONE.

You can use this bbq sauce on carnitas, drizzle it on chicken over salads, use it for pulled pork sliders, really….wherever you want that sweet bbq flavor but with some smoke and spice.

What the heck is arctic char and why are we putting it on tacos?

Meet my dear friend arctic char.  How do you know if you’ll like arctic char? Well…

  • do you like to eat fish?
  • do you enjoy salmon?
  • occasionally trout?

Then you’ll like arctic char.  Plus it’s from Iceland and you guys know if I didn’t live here I would totally live there.  So channel your inner viking vibes and try some arctic char.

If you can’t find it, salmon makes a very easy substitute.hand grabbing fish taco

Fish Taco Topping Ideas

So we’ve got that chipotle bbq sauce on the fish and it’s a tid bit sweet…my favorite pairing next to that is something pickled.  It’s going to add just the right acidity flavor-wise and textural crunch.  Plus it’s super easy to make.

Pickled red cabbage is a refrigerator staple in our house and it’s easy to make.  Substituting red onion add just a touch of spice.  You just need to pour hot water over the onions then soak them in vinegar with just a smidge of sugar.  So so easy.

If you’re feeling the spicy vibe, sriracha mayo is adding both creamy richness and heat with the option of regular salsa for more savory or my personal favorite of fruit salsa.

Of course, avocado is always welcome where a tortilla is present and if you’re eating it at home you don’t get charged extra!  

overhead of chipotle bbq fish tacos with avocado and lime

What are your favorite taco toppings? Have you tried arctic char before? Tell me in the comments! If you made this recipe, please leave a rating below and if you’re looking for tequila inspiration to drink with your tacos you can grab some recipe ideas here!

Chipotle BBQ Fish Tacos

Easy to make and full of fresh and flavorful ingredients!  Rich tender fish smothered in smokey bbq sauce make for simple yet exciting fish tacos.
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Course: tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: arctic char, bbq fish tacos, chipotle bbq sauce, fish tacos
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 100kcal
Author: Lauren


Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 chipotle in adobo pepper + 1 teaspoon sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon worcestershire
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Pickled red onions

  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar

Chipotle BBQ Fish Tacos

  • 1 pound fillet arctic char or salmon
  • chipotle bbq sauce
  • tortillas
  • pickled red onion

optional topping ideas:


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lay the filet skin side down on the parchment paper and season with salt.
  • Make the BBQ sauce. In a small sauce pan, combine all the ingredients over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes occasionally stirring.  If the sauce starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, turn down the heat.  Transfer to a blender or using a hand blender, blend until the chipotle pepper and ingredients are a smooth, thick sauce.
  • Cook the fish. Pour 3/4 of the chipotle bbq sauce over the fish and spread with a spatula or the back of a spoon.  Cook the fish in a 400°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until and internal temperature of 145°F is reached.  While the fish is cooking, prepare any taco toppings you want.
  • Make the fish tacos.  Once the fish is cooked, the flesh of the fillet will easily lift for the skin with a spoon, fork, or knife.  Cut into bite sized pieces and assemble your tacos.


  • For a fast short cut on the bbq sauce, you can take your favorite bbq sauce you already have and simmer it with the chipotle in adobo and 2 tablespoons of water then blend.


Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 272mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 124IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg


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