Shrimp Tacos

July 3, 2019

The BEST Shrimp Tacos! Easy to make and deliciously flavorful! Shrimp is seasoned with Mexican spices then pan seared in just minutes. Then it’s layered in warmed corn tortillas and topped with a colorful variety of delicious toppings and a rich cilantro lime crema!

Shrimp Tacos on a wooden serving plate on parchment. Tacos are topped with cabbage, avocado, and cilantro lime crema.

Easy Shrimp Taco Recipe!

These are easily my favorite shrimp tacos! The shrimp is perfectly seasoned and tender, the toppings all enhance the flavors of the shrimp without overwhelming, and the taco sauce is the best finishing touch.

Shrimp has such a unique flavor and it really is perfect for tacos, especially when you can upgrade it with a little kick of chipotle pepper.

Then of course you can never go wrong with a fair amount of avocados, some vibrantly colored, crunchy red cabbage and a little bit of tangy Cotija cheese on a taco.

And too keep things flavorful and balance out the heat, these chipotle Shrimp Tacos are finished off with a simple yet oh so perfectly flavorful Cilantro-Lime Crema.

They’re sure to leave you craving more! So good in fact that it’s a recipe worthy of your dinner rotation.

Platter full of shrimp tacos.

Watch the Shrimp Tacos Video!

What Ingredients do You Need for Shrimp Tacos?

  • Shrimp – I like to use medium shrimp here but large will work too.
  • Spices – you’ll need chipotle chili powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper. It’s the perfect Mexican seasoning blend to compliment shrimp.
  • Olive oil – you’ll only need a little to saute the shrimp. Vegetable oil will work too.
  • Toppings – the best toppings here are cotija cheese, avocado and cabbage.
  • Tortillas –  I prefer corn tortillas here but flour tortillas will work too.

Cilantro Lime Crema Ingredients:

  • Sour cream – if preferred you can use 1/2 cup sour cream instead of adding mayonnaise. Light sour cream will work great.
  • Mayonnaise – use good quality mayonnaise like Hellman’s/Best Foods for best flavor.
  • Lime – fresh lime juice makes all the difference.
  • Cilantro – this is a highlight of the sauce, don’t omit it.
  • Garlic – a little goes a long way, you’ll only need 1 tsp.

Ingredients needed to make shrimp tacos.

How to Make Shrimp Tacos:

  • For the Cilantro-Lime Sauce: in a bowl whisk together all ingredients while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Making Cilantro Lime Crema

  • Season the shrimp: in a medium bowl whisk together chipotle chili powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper. Add shrimp and toss until evenly coated.

Showing how to make Shrimp Tacos. Tossing shrimp in a glass mixing bowl with taco seasonings.

  • Cook the shrimp: heat olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until opaque and cooked through, tossing once halfway through cooking, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Cooking seasoned shrimp in a skillet.

  • To assemble tacos: layer cabbage, shrimp, avocados and Cotija over taco shells. Drizzle with Cilantro-Lime Sauce.

Three shrimp tacos on a wooden platter.

How to Tell When Shrimp are Done Cooking?

To tell when they’re done pay attention to the color. Shrimp should turn from that unappealing grey color to an appetizing pinkish peach color with some white throughout. They should also become opaque.

How to Make Them Mild?

If you don’t want spicy tacos then just replace the chipotle chili powder with more regular chili powder. If you love heat double it up.

How to Add Island Flavor?

Do you love those tropical shrimp tacos? Then try them with a mango or pineapple salsa served over the top.

Shrimp Tacos on corn tortillas with cabbage, avocado, cheese and creamy taco sauce.

Tips for Perfect Shrimp Tacos:

  • Use frozen shrimp and thawed shrimp (unless you have access to shrimp that is fresh from the ocean). Most shrimp sold at the grocery store is actually previously frozen and thawed and you never know how long it’s been sitting there, plus you likely won’t be cooking it up right away so it tastes better if you thaw yourself.
  • Take the weight of the shrimp after thawing so you’ll have enough. You lose some water weight once thawed so you’ll actually need more with frozen weight.
  • Use lots of spices! The spice blend here paired with the cilantro lime crema is what gives these tacos so much flavor.
  • Be careful not to over-cook the shrimp. Key to any good shrimp recipe. If over-cooked they take on a bouncy rubbery texture.
  • Add some textural contrast with toppings. Serving with crunchy cabbage and creamy avocado does just that.

More Delicious Taco Recipes to Try:

Shrimp Tacos

5 from 5 votes

The ultimate Shrimp Tacos! Perfect seasoned pan seared shrimp are layered in warmed tortillas and topped with crunchy cabbage, creamy avocado and rich Cilatnro Lime Crema! Serving size includes 2 tacos per 4 people.

Servings: 4
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cilantro-Lime Crema Sauce

  • 1/4 cup sour cream*
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp very finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shrimp

  • 1 lb medium shrimp**, peeled, deveined and tails removed
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder***
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

For Serving

  • Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1 large avocado sliced or diced
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 8 6- inch corn tortillas, warmed****

Instructions

  1. For the Cilantro-Lime Sauce:

  2. In a bowl whisk together all ingredients while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  3. For the shrimp:

  4. In a medium bowl whisk together chipotle chili powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper. Add shrimp and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until opaque and cooked through, tossing once halfway through cooking, about 3 - 4 minutes.
  6. To assemble tacos:

  7. Layer cabbage, shrimp, avocados and Cotija over taco shells. Drizzle with Cilantro-Lime Sauce.

Recipe Notes

  • *Keep in mind weight of shrimp should be taken after thawing.
  • **1/2 cup light sour cream can be used here in place of the mayonnaise and full fat sour cream.
  • ***If you don't like spicy food just substitute chipotle chili powder with another 1/2 tsp regular chili powder.
  • ****My favorite way to warm tortillas is to lightly brush both sides of corn tortilla with a little canola oil then heat in a non-stick skillet over until golden brown spots appear, then flip and cook opposite side.
Nutrition Facts
Shrimp Tacos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 481 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 299mg100%
Sodium 642mg28%
Potassium 560mg16%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 950IU19%
Vitamin C 37.2mg45%
Calcium 248mg25%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Shrimp Tacos
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe originally shared April, 2015. Photos have been updated.