These spicy shrimp tacos topped with colorful cabbage and creamy shrimp taco sauce are ready in just 20 minutes. Skip the takeout and make some tonight! Everyone will agree that the juicy shrimp paired with the warm tortillas is the best!
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. Steamed clams is also another easy recipe to have on hand.
Spicy Shrimp Tacos
Take any Taco Tuesday to the next level with spicy tacos smothered in shrimp taco sauce made with avocado and cilantro!
These easy shrimp tacos are made from scratch, so you can feel good about serving this meal to your family.
Plus, you can easily scale the spicy shrimp taco recipe up or down to meet your needs.
Easy Shrimp Tacos 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 this spicy shrimp taco recipe, 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.
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.
Spicy 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.
Spicy Shrimp Tacos FAQ
The cooked shellfish, creamy dressing, and sliced cabbage can all be stored separately in the refrigerator for a few days.
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.
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.
It’s all about adding your very own favorite toppings! Fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and tangy slaw are three of my favorites, but the list could literally go on and on.
Some other winners to add could be sour cream sauce, cotija cheese, fresh pico de Gallo, diced red onion, green cabbage or cabbage slaw, and a little bit of fresh lime juice to top it all off.
As long as you’re pairing fresh ingredients with the plump shrimp, you really can’t go wrong.
While this great recipe is already spicy, you can always kick up the heat. Adding some chili powder or red pepper flakes is a quick seasoning that will take them from hot – to really hot.
You can also just let everyone add their own hot sauce to their own tacos so that they can enjoy them as spicy as they want without having to make the entire dish super spicy.
Cayenne pepper is another great addition to flavor the jumbo shrimp easily. And if you want to add some heat and sweetness to your night, mango salsa is also a great topping.
No matter if you’re making delicious recipes like this for Cinco de Mayo or are just looking for a spicy shrimp tacos recipe for a busy weeknight, you have options on how to add a lot of flavor to the tender shrimp easily.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Easy Shrimp Dinners
Spicy Shrimp Tacos Recipe with Cilantro Lime Sauce
- 1 pound medium raw shrimp , peeled, deveined and tails removed
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 lime, juiced
For The Sauce
- 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 jalapeno, stem trimmed; remove seeds for milder heat
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, (1 lime)
- 1 1/2 cups sliced green cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups sliced purple cabbage
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 8 corn tortillas
For the Shrimp
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Season shrimp with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and toss until evenly coated.Add shrimp to the pan (you'll need to cook in two batches) and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until pink and no longer translucent. Transfer to a plate and cook remaining shrimp.
- Sprinkle with salt and squeeze lime juice over the top.
- Place all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and creamy.
- 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.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published August 2018, updated and republished February 2024
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