These easy Shrimp Tacos are loaded with perfectly seasoned, plump, and juicy shrimp wrapped in warm flour tortillas. Piled high with a crispy cabbage slaw and finished with a creamy shrimp taco sauce, these tacos are irresistible and easy to make.
Best Shrimp Taco Recipe
Shrimp tacos are the best kind of tacos. Whether I’m cooking them for dinner or ordering them from my favorite Mexican restaurant, shrimp tacos are my favorite. But to be the best, they need one thing – sauce. The sauce will vary from kitchen to cook, but it should be cool and creamy, contrasting pleasantly with the bold and flavorful shrimp.
Shrimp tacos are also fabulous because they are so quick and easy to make (shrimp takes less than five minutes to cook!) They’re the perfect weeknight dinner and great for entertaining – especially when paired with margaritas and guacamole. Have these yummy tacos ready and on the table in less than 30 minutes.
For the full list and amount of ingredients listed below, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
Ingredients in Shrimp Tacos
The ingredients are pretty simple. You may already have most of them in your pantry or refrigerator.
- Shrimp: I like to use small or medium shrimp. If you only have large shrimp, you may want to cut them in half before seasoning and cooking.
- Limes: This recipe calls for fresh lime juice. You’ll also want some extra lime wedges to serve on the side.
- Seasoning: I like to toss the shrimp in a combination of salt, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Cabbage: I use a combination of purple and green cabbage. Feel free to use just one or the other.
- Sour cream and mayonnaise: For the amazing shrimp taco sauce.
- Cilantro: To garnish and for the taco sauce. If you don’t like cilantro, feel free to omit it from your shrimp tacos.
- Warm Tortillas: Both corn or flour tortillas will work.
What size shrimp for shrimp tacos?
I recommend using either small or medium-sized shrimp for shrimp tacos. This allows for the perfect amount of shrimp per bite. If using frozen shrimp, always thaw before cooking.
Shrimp Taco Sauce
Let’s take a quick minute to talk about the sauce for these tacos. Made with just four ingredients – sour cream, mayonnaise, fresh cilantro, and fresh lime juice – it’s pretty simple but also super delicious. It doesn’t distract from the awesome flavor of the shrimp. Instead, it adds a creamy tanginess.
If you’re not a fan of sour cream, plain Greek yogurt is a fantastic substitute. As for the mayo, you can try replacing it with avocado (but I don’t recommend making it days in advance) or crema (a Mexican condiment similar to sour cream but thicker).
Feel free to blend your shrimp taco sauce in a small food processor with jalapenos or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for some kick.
How to Make Shrimp Tacos
1. Prepare the shrimp – Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. This allows the shrimp to sear rather than steam. Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and combine with salt, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and olive oil.
2. Combine the ingredients for the cabbage slaw in a medium bowl. For best results, shred the cabbage as thin as possible; this prevents random chunks of cabbage. The lime juice helps soften some of the bitterness of the cabbage. If you love cilantro, I highly recommend adding some chopped cilantro to the cabbage slaw.
3. Whisk together the ingredients for the shrimp taco sauce in a small bowl. This can be done up to 2 days ahead of time.
4. Cook the shrimp in a large pan or skillet set over medium-high heat. For best results, cook the shrimp in a single layer for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and transfer the shrimp to a clean plate.
5. Assemble and enjoy!
How Many Shrimp Are in a Pound?
The number of shrimp sold per pound depends on their size. Shrimp are usually categorized by “count,” which represents the approximate number of shrimp per pound.
- Extra-small or small: 51-60 count per pound
- Medium: 41-50 count per pound
- Large: 31-40 count per pound
- Extra-large: 26-30 count per pound
- Jumbo: 21-25 count per pound
- Extra-jumbo: 16-20 count per pound
- Colossal: 10-15 count per pound
What to Serve with Shrimp Tacos
Shrimp tacos are an easy and delicious meal on their own that can be served alongside other Mexican favorites, sides, and yummy toppings. Here are a few toppings and recipes that pair perfectly with these shrimp tacos:
- Salsa, pico de gallo, and guacamole.
- A side of Mexican rice, Spanish rice, or cilantro lime rice.
- Your favorite hot sauce.
- Refried beans, black beans, or pinto beans.
- And my favorite mango salsa.
Storage and Leftovers
While it’s true that shrimp are best enjoyed immediately, they make amazing leftovers, too.
For best results, keep leftover shrimp stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, I recommend either sautéing or microwaving.
- Sauté: Heat a little butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and gently cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until heated through.
- Microwave: Place the shrimp on a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Leave a small opening for steam to escape. Microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval.
The cabbage slaw will last for up to 2 days in the refrigerator, while the shrimp taco sauce lasts up to one week.
More Shrimp Recipes
- Shrimp Alfredo
- Shrimp Ceviche Recipe (Ceviche de Camaron)
- Honey Garlic Shrimp
- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
- Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- Shrimp Étouffée Recipe
- Cilantro Lime Shrimp Recipe (with Marinade and Sauce)
If you try making this Easy Shrimp Taco Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Shrimp Tacos Recipe
For the cabbage Slaw
- 1½ cup purple cabbage - shredded
- 1½ cup green cabbage - shredded
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Creamy Shrimp Taco Sauce
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro - minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- Prepare the shrimp: Rinse and pat dry the shrimp with paper towel before transferring them to a medium bowl. Combine the shrimp with the salt, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and olive oil until the shrimp are evenly coated with spices. Allow the shrimp to rest while you prepare the cabbage slaw and the sauce.
- For the slaw: Add the purple cabbage, green cabbage, lime juice, and salt to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
- Prepare the sauce: Whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cook the shrimp: Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and sauté for about 1-2 minutes per side until the shrimp is cooked through and no longer translucent in the center. Transfer the shrimp to a clean plate and set aside.
- Assemble: Warm the tortillas on the stovetop or in the microwave (optional). Top each tortilla with the prepared cabbage slaw, cooked shrimp, and creamy taco sauce.
- Storage: The shrimp will taste best immediately after it’s been cooked but will last in the refrigerator for up to three days when stored in an airtight container. The cabbage slaw will last for two days, and the sauce for up to one week.
- As written, this recipe is not spicy. For a little heat, add 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the shrimp taco seasoning or blend the creamy shrimp taco sauce in a small food processor with a small jalapeño pepper or serrano pepper.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, enjoy your shrimp tacos with corn tortillas.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)