I am long overdue for this pun: Let’s TACO ’bout these Shrimp Tacos! Easy, kickin’, and topped with a creamy, crunchy slaw, they are the best shrimp tacos you’ll ever eat, promise.
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Why You’ll Love these Shrimp Tacos with Sauce
- The shrimp is juicy and splendidly spiced.
- The prep is EASY (these tacos have restaurant taste but are appropriate for beginner cooks).
- The entire package is complete with a dreamy shrimp taco sauce.
Not only is this healthy Mexican shrimp tacos recipe worth making for dinner tonight, but it’s also worth putting up with my bad jokes!
5 Star Review
“This is the first time I have ever commented on a recipe – that’s how good these are!!!! These were amazing!!”— Allison —
Shrimp Tacos: A Quick and Easy Dinner
Every time I make a recipe with shrimp, I ask myself why I don’t cook with shrimp at least once a week.
- In addition to being healthy, shrimp cooks in a matter of minutes, making it ideal for fast weeknight dinners (Shrimp Fajitas and Garlic Shrimp Pasta are other speedy winners).
- The sautéed shrimp in these tacos cooks in fewer than five minutes, which by my calculation is just enough time to pour yourself a Skinny Margarita if you move very very quickly.
While fresh shrimp are delicious, the majority of the time, I purchase raw, frozen shrimp.
- Frozen shrimp is usually less expensive, and because you can purchase it already peeled, it puts one less step between me and my plate of shrimp tacos.
- For easy shrimp taco recipes using frozen shrimp, you can thaw the shrimp in your refrigerator overnight, or if you forget (guilty!), you can quickly thaw them too.
To quickly thaw frozen shrimp, place the shrimp in a mesh colander or sieve, then submerge the colander in cool water for 20-ish minutes. Resist the urge to use hot water (the shrimp will start cooking on the outside while the insides are still frozen).
While frozen shrimp are not the best choice if you’ll be eating shrimp cocktail, it’s perfect for recipes where the shrimp are being jazzed up with spices (hi, Healthy Shrimp Pad Thai and Shrimp Guacamole Bites) or fresh ingredients like garlic (check out Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa and Healthy Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles).
In the case of our easy shrimp tacos recipe, the shrimp are tossed with classic chili powder, smoky chipotle chili powder, and chili’s BFF, cumin.
How to Make the Best Shrimp Tacos
Based on my extensive research, which consists of ordering shrimp tacos every single time I see them on a menu, I can tell you this is the tastiest shrimp tacos recipe.
In addition to the succulent shrimp, this recipe has a cool, creamy slaw with no mayo.
Along with the to-die-for sauce, it perfectly balances and cools the spice from the shrimp.
You are going to want to make Taco Tuesday every night!
- Shrimp. Quick-cooking, protein-packed, and delicious, shrimp are a fantastic choice for tacos. They pair wonderfully with the spices too.
- Spices. Chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, and salt make the shrimp pop! These shrimp seasonings make the tacos smoky, earthy, and a little spicy.
- Taco Sauce. With olive oil, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and fresh lime juice, this Greek yogurt sauce is cool, creamy, and zippy. The jalapeño adds a hint of spice too.
- Slaw. Crunchy, fresh slaw mix pairs perfectly with the creamy taco sauce and smoky shrimp. What’s typically mayo slaw for shrimp tacos is lightened up with Greek yogurt swapped for the mayo.
- Tortillas. The shell for our tacos. You can use flour or corn tortillas.
- Rinse and dry the shrimp. Place shrimp in a large bowl with the oil and spices, tossing to coat.
- Process the taco sauce ingredients in a food processor (or blender if you don’t have one).
- Place the cabbage in a bowl, then toss it with part of the sauce.
- Cook the shrimp in a large skillet with oil.
- Warm the tortillas, then fill them with shrimp, slaw, and extra sauce. ENJOY!
- To Store. The shrimp tastes best the day it is made but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Slaw can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, and any extra sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Since shrimp tends to dry out when reheated, I prefer to use the leftovers on top of salads. However, you can very gently rewarm the shrimp in a skillet over medium-low heat if needed.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the taco sauce. Refrigerate it in an airtight storage container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Nonstick Skillet. This nonstick skillet comes with its own lid.
- Food Processor. Perfect for preparing the taco sauce.
- Tongs. These are great for flipping the shrimp.
Whether you cook these tacos outdoors or in, I’d love to know how this recipe turns out for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
As the recipe is written, these tacos have a good amount of kick. If you prefer a less spicy shrimp taco, you can reduce the spices to taste. For extra spice, feel free to sneak in a little extra chipotle chile powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or some hot sauce (sriracha would be tasty!).
I think either corn or flour tortillas work well for this recipe, so it’s your personal preference. Corn would be considered more authentic, and is also gluten free.
For a pro-chef move, warm your tortillas in a single layer over an open flame, if you have a gas stove. Over medium high heat, warm each side for 15 seconds, flipping with tongs. If your stove is electric, warm tortillas by wrapping together in foil and placing in warm oven for 5 or so minutes.
In a pinch, you can warm tortillas in the microwave, though they do tend to become a little gummy. Warm 3 to 4 at a time, placing a damp towel on top so they don’t dry out.
Absolutely! Instead of pan-searing the shrimp, thread them onto skewers
For the Shrimp Tacos:
- 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp peeled, deveined, and tails removed (fresh or frozen and thawed)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 to 8 corn or flour tortillas
- Garnishes: avocados cilantro, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), lime wedges, mango salsa
For the Slaw and Shrimp Taco Sauce:
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1/2 small jalapeno seeds and membranes removed
- 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest and juice of 1 large or 2 very small limes about 2 teaspoons zest and 3 tablespoons juice
- 2 cups shredded cabbage or slaw mix
- Rinse and pat the shrimp dry, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the chili powder, chipotle chili, cumin, and salt. Toss to coat evenly. Let rest while you prepare the shrimp taco sauce and slaw.
- Prepare the sauce and slaw: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, lime zest, and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Place the cabbage in a mixing bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Add more sauce if you desire a creamier slaw, then reserve the rest of the sauce for serving.
- Cook the shrimp: In a large nonstick skillet over medium high, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shrimp and sauté just until the shrimp is cooked through and no longer translucent in the center, about 4 minutes. Do not overcook! Transfer the shrimp immediately to a plate.
- Warm the tortillas (optional) and assemble the tacos: If you like, warm the tortillas in the microwave (put them in a stack and cover them with a lightly damp towel) or a 250 degrees F oven while the shrimp cook. To serve, fill the tortillas with your desired number of shrimp, then top generously with the slaw, extra sauce, a squeeze of lime juice, and any other desired toppings. Enjoy immediately.
- TO STORE: The shrimp tastes best the day it is made but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Slaw can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, and any extra sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Since shrimp tends to dry out when reheated, I prefer to use the leftovers on top of salads. However, you can very gently rewarm the shrimp in a skillet over medium-low heat if needed.
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