Delectable and spicy this cajun shrimp tacos recipe is truly the best! Tender shrimp in a spicy cajun seasoning wrapped in warm tortillas with a tangy slaw and lime crema (aka: killer shrimp taco sauce). A fresh, flavorful dish!
Recipe first published on September 20, 2022 and last updated with clearer instructions on February 8, 2024.
I think one thing we can all agree on is, shrimp tacos are just the best!
They are easy to make, full of fresh ingredients, and delicious to eat, honestly what’s not to love?!
We’re talking easy cooking. Simply toss the shrimp with some spices, cook in a hot pan and serve with warm corn tortillas.
Of course I suggest adding our favorite cilantro-lime fish taco slaw (also great on shrimp tacos) and creamy sauce made with lots of lime zest and fresh lime juice to drizzle on top.
This recipe is my personal favorite for taco night. It doesn’t stray too far from the simple Mexican cooking we love but has some nice Southern charm that makes for one delicious taco.
The key to getting that nice char is to make sure the frying pan and oil are super hot before you add the shrimp. Use a pan that is big enough to hold the shrimp all in one layer and don’t stir them until they get that nice charred bottom.
Let’s take a look at how to make them because I think Taco Tuesday is calling.
- Shrimp use fresh or frozen but make sure they are completely thawed if frozen
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Kosher salt
- Cayenne pepper. Use mild chili powder if you want less spicy shrimp tacos
- Dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- Olive oil
- Mexican crema or sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Zest and juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving and another lime for making the slaw
- Red and green cabbage
- Red onion
- Salsa Macha or hot sauce, for serving
- Corn tortillas or flour tortillas if you prefer
How To Make Them
Dry the fresh shrimp. The first thing you want to do is pat the shrimp dry. This is an especially important step if you are using frozen shrimp. If they are not thawed completely, rinse them under cold water until thawed then peel and devein them, removing the tail.
Lay the deveined shrimp in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry with another paper towel. If they are wet, they won’t char in the pan they will just steam.
Marinate the shrimp. The shrimp doesn’t have to really “marinate” but I like to give it some time to soak up the spices before cooking. Stir shrimp with the paprika, the 1 tsp garlic powder, salt, cayenne pepper, onion powder, dried thyme, oregano, and 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium bowl. Let the seasoned shrimp sit while you make the slaw, sauce and tortillas.
Make the cabbage slaw. Thinly slice the green and red cabbage and red onion (this mandolin makes it super easy). Transfer the veggies to a large bowl and toss with chopped fresh cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. You could add a pinch or two of ground cumin if you want. Set aside.
Mix up the sauce. Combine the crema, lime zest (you should have about a teaspoon), lime juice, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, add more salt to taste if needed. You can make this up to 4 days in advance and keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to eat.
Warm tortillas. Corn tortillas are better than flour for shrimp tacos. I like to give the tortillas a little char by toasting them on the open flame of my gas stove over medium heat. You can also warm them in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Keep warm in a tortilla warmer or wrap tightly in a clean kitchen towel.
Cook the shrimp. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and let it heat up for a minute or so before adding the shrimp. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, add the raw shrimp and spread out to an even layer. Let shrimp cook undisturbed for 2 minutes or until lightly charred and are starting to firm up. Flip and cook on the other side another 2-3 minutes until they are cooked through.
Serve. After you cooked the shrimp, immediately remove from the heat so they don’t overcook. To assemble the tacos, place about 1/4 cup (or as much as you want) of the slaw in the tortilla then top with a few shrimp and drizzle the lime crema over the top. Sprinkle with a few thinly sliced red onion pieces and some cilantro leaves if you’d like. If you love the spice, like we do, don’t forget the Salsa Macha or hot sauce.
What To Serve With Shrimp Tacos
With the slaw and everything, this definitely counts as a meal in my house, but if you need a little more. Serve this cajun shrimp taco recipe with:
- Best Ever Canned Black Beans
- Mexican Green Rice
- Pickled Red Onions
- Mango salsa
- Avocado Salsa
- Cucumber Watermelon Salad
- Pico de Gallo
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You’ve Got To Make This Easy Shrimp Taco Recipe
Three cheers for delicious and easy! Give it a try and let me know when you do by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
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