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Spicy Shrimp Tacos

These Spicy Shrimp Tacos feature chipotle-scented shrimp nestled between a garlic cilantro lime slaw and avocado crema wrapped in charred corn tortillas.

It’s a healthy, delicious, easy shrimp taco recipe and everything you want on Taco Tuesday!

easy shrimp taco recipe with cilantro lime slaw in charred corn tortillas on white surface

If there ever was a taco that was good and good-for-you, these spicy shrimp tacos certainly hit the mark!

I am an Orange County girl, so tacos are a big deal where I come from. I love each and every aspect of a taco – the charred tortilla, the succulent filling, the crunchy toppings. It’s a complete meal wrapped up in one.

But I am especially fond of these shrimp taco goodies.

Once you hop up on the fish taco train, there is no turning back! These little guys are seriously life-changing. All you need is a Cadillac Margarita to wash them all down!

 

easy shrimp taco recipe with cilantro lime slaw in charred corn tortillas on white surface

How do you fill shrimp tacos?

If there is a science behind taco making, I think it would go tortilla + sauce + protein + crunch + cheese!

These simple shrimp tacos are filled with a creamy smashed avocado crema, spiced shrimp, crunchy slaw (tossed with the same avocado sauce!) and finished with crumbled cotija cheese.

Ingredients

I thought it best to categorize the ingredients into the shrimp + marinade and the sauce + slaw. Each brings their own unique flair to the taco party. Gather together:

Shrimp and Marinade:

  • shrimp
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • chili powder
  • chipotle in adobo liquid
  • brown sugar or honey
  • lime juice
  • olive oil

Shrimp. Shrimp are sold based on size, which is why you usually see U + a number when searching for shrimp at the store. The number indicates the amount of shrimp in one pound. I went with U-24, which is just the right amount to fit 3 small shrimp in 8 tacos. Another tip – unless you know the fresh shrimp you’re buying at the grocery store is absolutely fresh, it’s best to buy frozen shrimp and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Avocado Crema and Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw:

  • greek yogurt
  • avocado
  • lime juice
  • garlic
  • cilantro
  • salt + black pepper
  • coleslaw mix

Coleslaw Mix. Pre shredded coleslaw mix makes the slaw topping super fast and convenient. Purchase one 8-10 ounce bag to get the 2 cups you need for the recipe.

And make sure to include corn tortillas, cotija cheese and avocado slices for topping!

How to make spicy shrimp tacos

Shrimp cook so fast that the filling will be done before you can say Taco Tuesday! I recommend marinating the shrimp first and prepping all the other ingredients in the meantime. Let the slaw and toppings hang out in the fridge until you’re absolutely ready to cook the shrimp. A few minutes later and you have piping hot shrimp and a taco toppings bar right before your eyes! Simply:

marinating shrimp in bowl, avocado crema in food processor, cooking shrimp in skillet, spicy shrimp tacos with cilantro lime slaw

  1. Mix the shrimp and marinade. In a medium bowl, toss shrimp together with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, chipotle in adobo liquid, brown sugar or honey and lime juice until evenly coated. Let shrimp marinate while preparing slaw and sauce.
  2. Make the avocado crema. Place the greek yogurt, avocado, lime juice, garlic clove, cilantro, salt and a few turns of cracked black pepper into a food processor. Blend on high until the sauce is smooth and fluffy. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with 1 teaspoon of water at a time until dressing consistency is reached. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Prep the cilantro-lime slaw. Divide half the sauce over the slaw mixture and stir together. Save the other half for topping on tacos.
  4. Cook the shrimp. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add in shrimp and marinade contents. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and opaque in the center. 
  5. Crisp up the tortillas. Char corn tortillas on an open gas flame or in a dry skillet. 
  6. Build tacos! Pile slaw, a few pieces of shrimp, avocado slices and extra sauce into corn tortilla. Top with a small crumble of cotija cheese and Sriracha, if using.

Top tips when working with shrimp

I know some of you may be nervous about cooking shrimp at home, especially if it’s your first time. Here are some of my top tips when working with this delicate seafood:

  • Purchase peeled & deveined shrimp or DIY! Shrimp (fresh or frozen) can be purchased with the shells on or off. If you are not comfortable peeling and deveining the shrimp yourself, simply purchase a pack that is already clean.
  • Preheat the skillet for perfectly cooked shrimp. The key to cooking the shrimp to moist and tender goodness is preheating your skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. The heat from the skillet creates a nice exterior while still retaining all their juices in the center. As soon as they turn pink, they’re done!

healthy shrimp taco recipe with avocado crema wrapped in corn tortillas on white surface

Variations

To truly make shrimp tacos your own, try out any of the following variations:

  • Sour Cream/Mexican Crema: Use an equal amount in replace of the Greek yogurt.
  • Flour Tortillas: Use these in place of the corn tortillas. I recommend purchasing the “street taco style” or small flour tortillas for equal distribution of shrimp to tortilla.
  • Shredded Green Cabbage: Use 2 cups fresh shredded green cabbage instead of the coleslaw mix.
  • Grilled Shrimp: This is a skillet recipe for shrimp, but you can also grill the shrimp on skewers for 2-3 minutes total for extra charred flavor.
  • Lettuce Wraps: Use crunchy, large lettuce leaves such as butter, romaine or green leaf instead of the corn tortillas.

What goes well with shrimp tacos?

These little guys are a fast and easy weeknight dinner all on their own, but you can serve them up with some grilled corn, rice, fruit salad or Mexican Caesar salad

Looking for some Cinco de Mayo inspo? This shrimp taco recipe really brings the fiesta!

easy shrimp taco recipe with cilantro lime slaw in charred corn tortillas on white surface

Storage instructions

Another great aspect of this recipe – all the components can be made ahead and stored separately in the fridge. The shrimp will last for about 3 days, while the slaw and sauce will keep for 5 days.

All that’s left to do on the day you are going to serve is char the tortillas and assemble! A homemade taco bar at it’s best!

For longer storage, the shrimp can also be frozen (I would not recommend freezing the sauce or slaw). Place the cooked shrimp in one even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Then, transfer to a freezer-safe ziplock bag and freeze for up to 1 month.

More Mexican inspired recipes you’ll love!

If you make this Spicy Shrimp Tacos recipe, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

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easy shrimp taco recipe with cilantro lime slaw in charred corn tortillas on white surface

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop, Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These Spicy Shrimp Tacos feature chipotle-scented shrimp nestled between a garlic cilantro lime slaw and avocado crema wrapped in charred corn tortillas.


Scale

Ingredients

For shrimp: 

1 lb shrimp, peeled + deveined

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo liquid

1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey

2 teaspoons lime juice

For slaw + sauce:

½ cup greek yogurt

1 avocado, pitted

Juice from one lime

1 garlic clove

½ cup cilantro leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

cracked black pepper

2 cups coleslaw mix

For finishing and toppings:

1 tablespoon olive oil

810 corn tortillas

avocado slices

cotija cheese, crumbled

Sriracha, optional


Instructions

  1. Marinate the shrimp: In a medium bowl, toss shrimp together with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, chipotle in adobo liquid, brown sugar or honey and lime juice until evenly coated. Let shrimp marinate while preparing slaw and sauce.
  2. Prep the avocado sauce: Place the greek yogurt, avocado, lime juice, garlic clove, cilantro, salt and a few turns of cracked black pepper into a food processor. Blend on high until the sauce is smooth and fluffy. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with 1 teaspoon of water at a time until dressing consistency is reached. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Divide half the sauce over the slaw mixture and stir together. Save the other half for topping on tacos.
  4. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add in shrimp and marinade contents. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and opaque in the center. 
  5. Char corn tortillas on an open gas flame or in a dry skillet. 
  6. Pile slaw, a few pieces of shrimp, avocado slices and extra sauce into corn tortilla. Top with a small crumble of cotija cheese and Sriracha, if using.

Notes

The shrimp will last for about 3 days, while the slaw and crema will keep for 5 days all stored in separate containers in the fridge.

Nutrition info based on 2 tacos each with toppings.

Keywords: cilantro lime slaw, corn tortillas, seafood

 

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