Panko Fish Tacos- Chili Style

Fishing for a snappy way to put some variety into taco night? Drop your line into the chili365 site and pull out a whopper of a delicious recipe.

An upcoming trip into the woods has me considering the vast number of fish we could catch. That is, if I was proficient at fishing. My fishing, at its best, is a dark comedy of errors. Many of my angling escapades have been viewed with the same measure of horrified awe that one would inevitably muster while gawking at a train wreck. While there have been many instances of near-fatalities and almost-maimings, one fishing outing stands out as the worst. No, the low point was not reached when I caught a pair of fish lips (with no fish attached), nor on the occasion I snagged a ginormous (and foul-tempered) snapping turtle, nor at the instant I hooked my uncle in the head. The precise nadir was achieved at the moment a fish become hopelessly lodged in the pocket of my jorts. Every had to ask you mom to remove a spiny fish from your pants? It’s not cool. Not even when you’ve 12.

For now, it is best to play it safe and grab a meal of fish from the grocer. This recipe features a chili panko breading jacketing succulent tilapia chunks. The goal is to keep the fish crisp and spicy while keeping it light and (mostly) oil free. Oh yeah, and I want it to taste like a bowl of chili.





1 lb tilapia filets cut into chunks

1 ½ C panko crumbs

1 T chili powder

1 T Ruth Anne’s seasoning (Penzey’s)

½ t cumin

1/2 t coriander

1 t garlic powder

¼ t cayenne (optional)

Olive oil (enough for dredging the fish)


For the tacos:


Hard and/or soft shells


Shredded lettuce

Chopped tomato




  1. Mix panko with the seasonings.
  2. Dredge fish chunks in oil and then in seasoned panko.
  3. Bake at 400F for 25 minutes.
  4. Assemble tacos to taste.

Panko Fish Tacos Chili Style.  I don't go commando.

Panko Fish Tacos Chili Style. I don’t go commando.

Tasting Notes:


I don’t recall when my mouth has been this happy. Food such as this gives one pause to consider the potential beauty and elegance of a meal. Thank goodness we were not dependent on my mad (as in “psychotic”) fishing skills.  The ITP was very pleased with this chili, in spite of the significant heat imparted by the cayenne. Most opted to eat the panko fish wrapped in a soft corn tortilla. The exception was Mrs. Chili365 who opted to go “Taco Commando” and eat hers sans shell. As the meal progressed, I began strategically hoarding the reaming fish chunks. Embarrassingly, at one point I was heard to exclaim “leggo my panko!”



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