Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

These spicy shrimp tacos topped with colorful cabbage and creamy sauce are ready in just 20 minutes. Skip the takeout and make some tonight!

I like to keep a big bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer for easy weeknight meals. It thaws quickly under cold running water, making it the perfect last-minute dinnertime solution.

Toss some in a pan with lemon juice and garlic butter or combine them with pasta, veggies, and a spicy Cajun sauce.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Take any Taco Tuesday to the next level with spicy shrimp tacos smothered in avocado cilantro sauce!

Everything is made from scratch, so you can feel good about serving this meal to your family. Plus, you can easily scale the recipe up or down to meet your needs.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos being held

Shrimp Taco Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Prep your ingredients first! Since the shellfish cooks quickly, you’ll want everything ready to go as soon as it’s done. Make the sauce and slice the cabbage, then stick them in the fridge until it’s time to assemble.
  • Adjust the spice. Remove the jalapeño seeds for mild heat or leave them in if you like it spicy! Wear gloves when handling peppers, since the oils can irritate your skin and eyes.
  • Use fresh or frozen shellfish. Either will work for the shrimp tacos, but get the kind with the tails removed. It will save you prep time, and you can dig right in once everything is cooked.
  • Want authentic flavor? Fry your corn tortillas in a little bit of oil. Corn oil is an obvious choice, but peanut or vegetable oil will also do the trick.

easy shrimp tacos ingredients

How To Make Shrimp Taco Sauce

The shrimp taco sauce seriously couldn’t be any easier to prepare - just toss everything in a blender and press puree!

It gets even better the longer it sits, so feel free to blend it up in advance and store it in the fridge.

Keep the dressing in an airtight container and give it a good stir before drizzling over your spicy shrimp tacos.

Serving Suggestions

While these easy shrimp tacos are more than enough for a meal, you can stretch your servings with a few tasty sides.

You can never go wrong with refried beans and Mexican rice! Or, add some cilantro lime rice to your plate with a spoonful of Street Corn Salad for a lighter option.

easy shrimp tacos sauce

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

Spicy Shrimp Tacos FAQ

Can I save leftover shrimp tacos?

The cooked shellfish, creamy dressing, and sliced cabbage can all be stored separately in the refrigerator for a few days.

Do I need to remove the cilantro stems?

For garnish, yes. Pluck off the leaves, pat them dry if needed, and rough chop with a sharp knife.

You can toss the stems into the blender for the sauce, though! They have plenty of flavor and break down easily with the blades.

What can I use instead of Greek yogurt?

Sour cream is a good substitute with a little more tang. Or, use Mexican crema in place of both the yogurt and milk since it has a thinner consistency.

easy shrimp tacos lined up


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Spicy Shrimp Tacos wide photo

Yield: 4
Author: Melanie Dueck
Easy Shrimp Tacos

Easy Shrimp Tacos

These easy shrimp tacos topped with colorful cabbage and creamy sauce are ready in just 20 minutes. Skip the takeout and make some tonight!
Prep time: 14 MinCook time: 6 MinTotal time: 20 Min


  • 1 pound deveined, tail removed raw shrimp medium or large
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 juice of lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Sauce
  • 1 avocado
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 jalapeno (remove seeds for mild heat)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro packed
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 juice of lime
For Serving
  • 1 1/2 cups green cabbage sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups purple cabbage sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • 8 corn tortillas


For the Avocado Sauce
  1. Place all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
For the Shrimp
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season shrimp with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and toss until evenly coated. Add to the pan (you'll need to work in two batches) and cook 2-3 minutes per side until pink and cooked through. Remove onto a plate and cook remaining shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and squeeze lime juice over the top.
For Assembling
  1. Place a little of each cabbage on tortilla, drizzle with some sauce, top with 4-5 shrimp, drizzle with more sauce, sprinkle with cilantro. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos closeup

Originally published August 2018, updated and republished January 2022

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  1. I hope these are as good as they look 😊

  2. Good but the chili powder is a little over powering. Hides the taste of the shrimp. Avocado sauce is awesome. Used sour cream instead of yogurt.

    1. Was just going to ask if I could use sour cream cause that's what I have on hand! Good to know!!

  3. These were pretty good but not as flavorful as I was expecting. I added a bit more salt to the avocado sauce and garlic salt and pepper to the shrimp.


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