Delectable and spicy this Shrimp Taco recipe is truly the best! Tender shrimp in a spicy shrimp taco seasoning wrapped in warm tortillas with a tangy slaw and lime crema (aka: killer shrimp taco sauce). A fresh, flavorful dinner!
I think one thing we can all agree on is, shrimp tacos are just the best!
They are easy to make 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 in its most basic form.
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. It doesn’t stray too far from the simple Mexican cooking we love but is completely unfussy, using ingredients you most definitely can find at your local grocery store.
The key to getting that nice char is to make sure the frying pan and oil is 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!
Ingredients To Make This Shrimp Taco Recipe
Pretty straightforward ingredients list here. You should be able to find everything at your local grocery store or at least an easy substitute.
- Shrimp use fresh or frozen but make sure they are completely thawed if frozen
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Arbol chile powder use mild chili powder if you want less spicy shrimp tacos
- Dried oregano
- 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
Prepare the shrimp taco sauce, slaw, garnishes, and warm the tortillas before you cook the shrimp. The shrimp cooks really fast and you want to serve it hot.
Dry the shrimp. 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 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, garlic powder, salt, arbol chile powder, oregano, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium bowl. Let sit while you make the slaw, sauce and tortillas.
Make the slaw. Thinly slice the cabbages 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 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. 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 shrimp and spread out to an even layer. Let 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 Is A Good Side For 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 shrimp taco recipe with:
- Best Ever Canned Black Beans (you will never make canned beans the same)
- Mexican Green Rice (like red rice but with poblanos, kale, and cilantro)
- Pickled Red Onions (adds a nice tangy crunch)
- Calabacitas (cheesy zucchini goes with everything)
- Mango salsa (for all those sweet-spicy vibes)
Shrimp Taco FAQ’s
Are these spicy?
Yes they are on the spicy side, especially if you serve them with the Salsa Macha or hot sauce. The arbol chile powder packs a punch but they aren’t crazy spicy. You can substitute a mild chili powder if you’d like.
What kind of shrimp should I use?
I use the frozen Argentinian Red Shrimp from Trader Joe’s because it comes already peeled and deveined which makes this recipe even easier. If you want to use fresh, look for wild caught shrimp, preferably from the Gulf of Mexico or Pacific coast.
What cheese goes on shrimp tacos?
I recommend using crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese for a bit more tang.
More Shrimp Recipes To Try!
- Shrimp Aguachile Verde (fresh flavor, great for summer)
- Sangria-Marinated Shrimp Skewers (perfect for cooking on the grill)
- Tequila Lime Shrimp and Pirogies (delicious with ripe tomatoes and buttery shrimp)
- Shrimp and Melon Ceviche Tostadas (super easy, serve on store-bought tostada shells)
- Coconut Shrimp Tortas (crispy fried shrimp sandwiches—yum!)
- Gazpacho with Avocado and Grilled Shrimp (a sophisticated chilled soup)
- Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas with Coconut and Lime (coconut milk and lime soaked shrimp ceviche)
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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