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These are the absolute best shrimp tacos ever. They're piled high with tender, flavorful shrimp and a simply delicious taco slaw then drizzled with cilantro lime pickled jalapeño sauce and finished with all the tasty toppings. It's a healthy dinner ready in just 30 minutes!
You'll love these shrimp tacos
These tasty shrimp tacos with creamy slaw are seriously next-level delicious. We've got perfectly seasoned shrimp that are juicy, tender, and totally snackable all by themselves.
If you like fish tacos, then you love this easy shrimp taco recipe!
Our famous shrimp taco sauce with pickled jalapeño does double duty as a coleslaw dressing turning some humble cabbage into the world's simplest (and arguably the most delicious) creamy cilantro-lime coleslaw. Warm tortillas piled high with succulent shrimp and topped to your heart's desire with taco sauce, avocado, cheese, and red onions is pure paradise.
Ingredients to make shrimp tacos
Shrimp – We like to use medium-sized shrimp for this recipe. Whenever possible, buy shrimp that are MSC or ASC-certified to ensure that they were harvested or raised with minimal negative effects on the ocean.
Taco seasoning – The best way to season shrimp for tacos is to use homemade taco seasoning. Of course, you can use a storebought package, but homemade is so much better.
Cooking oil and salt – We use avocado oil and sea salt. If you only have table salt, use half the amount.
Shrimp taco sauce – Blending cilantro, sour cream, mayo, pickled jalapeños, green onion, garlic, and salt is all it takes to make this sauce. It's such a great recipe that it has a shrimp taco sauce post of its own – but for convenience, we've also included it in the recipe here.
Cabbage – For the best results, slice the cabbage thin and then tossed it in some of the shrimp taco sauce to make a simple slaw.
Tortillas – Either corn or flour tortillas will work, although our preference is for white corn tortillas.
Toppings – Tacos are made for extra toppings. Our favorites on these tacos are sliced or mashed avocados, cojita or feta cheese, minced red onion, and pickled jalapeños.
How to make shrimp tacos in just 3 steps
The best shrimp taco recipe doesn't need to be complicated. This one is made in just three easy steps.
- Make the shrimp taco sauce – this involves nothing more than blending a few ingredients in your food processor. Now pour some over thinly sliced cabbage and you've made your sauce and coleslaw all in one step!
- Season the shrimp with taco seasoning and salt and cook them in a hot pan for a couple of minutes. So easy!
- Now all that you have to do is warm the tortillas and pile them high with slaw, shrimp, and all the toppings to your heart's desires.
Let's talk shrimp taco sauce
Shrimp tacos are only as good as the sauce that smothers them, and we think this sauce is the best! It's a creamy cilantro lime sauce that has a special ingredient blended right into it: pickled jalapeños. They add a touch of heat without making the sauce overly spicy and they add the best flavor.
This taco sauce will take you all of five minutes (at most!) to whip up in your food processor. Once it's deliciously smooth and creamy, mix a ¼ cup of it into shredded cabbage to make your slaw then save the rest of it to pour over your tacos.
What to serve with shrimp tacos
These shrimp tacos with slaw are easily a meal all by themselves. But turning them into an easy shrimp taco Mexican feast is so much fun! Here are a few other recipes that go great with shrimp tacos:
- Easy Guacamole
- Or choose one of our other six guacamole recipes like corn guacamole, bacon guacamole, or grilled guacamole
- Spicy Mexican Rice
- Corn Salsa
- Fizzy Lime Margarita
- Or try one of our many other margarita recipes
And if you love Mexican food as much as we do, also try our pork carnitas!
- Because we cook the shrimp quickly over high heat, use a high-heat oil such as avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil.
- Wondering how to store leftover tacos? Refrigerate the shrimp, slaw, and sauce in separate containers. They will keep for up to 2 days in your fridge.
- How to reheat tacos: reheat the leftover shrimp in a pan over medium heat. You can also heat them in the microwave.
Are shrimp tacos better with slaw?
We think so! The good thing about this recipe is that the slaw is little more than thinly sliced cabbage and a dressing that does double duty as a shrimp taco sauce. So easy + so good!
What kind of shrimp should I use?
We like to use medium-sized shrimp which are often sold as 41/50 – the numbers indicate how many shrimp per pound. Look for shrimp that are labeled MSC or ASC-certified. Both certifications promote sustainable fishing practices.
How to season shrimp for tacos
We love using our homemade taco seasoning to season shrimp for tacos. It's a blend of chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and (if you like a little more spice) cayenne.
How to cook shrimp for tacos
The best way to cook shrimp for tacos is in a pan with a little oil. Shrimp cook very quickly so you'll only need to cook them for 2-3 minutes. Once they turn into a c-shape and turn light pink in color, they are cooked. Do not overcook them or they'll turn rubbery.
Can I substitute the cilantro?
Cilantro has a unique flavor to the sauce. If you're not a fan of it, you can replace it with parsley.
How can I make my shrimp tacos spicier?
To make this shrimp taco recipe spicier, you can add some cayenne pepper when you cook the shrimp. You can also add hot sauce when you're assembling the tacos.
How long will the shrimp last in the fridge?
Cooked shrimp will last for 3-4 days in your fridge when stored in a covered container.
Shrimp Taco Sauce
- ½ cup finely minced cilantro
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup pickled jalapeños
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 green onion
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 ½ lb peeled shrimp
- 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (see notes)
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 12 4-inch corn or flour tortillas
- diced avocados, cotija or feta cheese, minced red onion, pickled jalapeños, lime wedges (for serving)
- Add the shrimp taco sauce ingredients to your food processor and blend on high until mostly smooth.½ cup finely minced cilantro, ½ cup sour cream, ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup pickled jalapeños, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 green onion, 1 large garlic clove, 1 pinch sea salt
- In a large bowl, mix the shrimp with taco seasoning, oil, and salt. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and let them cook for 2 minutes. Flip them over and let them cook for one minute more.1 ½ lb peeled shrimp, 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning, 1 tablespoon cooking oil, ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Mix ¼ cup of the shrimp taco sauce with shredded cabbage to make the slaw.2 cups shredded cabbage
- Assemble the tacos by piling the slaw on top of warm tortillas then topping with the shrimp and any or all of the optional toppings.12 4-inch corn or flour tortillas, diced avocados, cotija or feta cheese, minced red onion, pickled jalapeños, lime wedges
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.