Best Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

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The Best Spicy Shrimp Tacos Recipe ever – ready in 30 minutes and loaded with flavor for the perfect dinner. Pan Seared Shrimp with a smoky spicy rub, nestled in corn tortillas, with cilantro lime slaw, fresh pico and an epic avocado crema!

I don’t know about you, but if I’m making tacos I need to make sure that it’s accompanied with some awesomeness. Here is our favorite Guacamole Recipe and a Classic Margarita that’s a must with these Shrimp Tacos.

four spicy shrimp tacos piled up together

Best Spicy Shrimp Tacos

I don’t know what it is. But lately my body has been craving seafood like crazy, more specifically salmon and shrimp. And since I’m always craving tacos I figured let’s combine my two cravings and make an epic Shrimp Taco Recipe. Good idea? I thought so. 

The Spicy Spice Rubbed Shrimp is pan seared then nestled in a toasty warm corn tortilla with a zesty avocdao crema, a crunchy light cilantro lime slaw and fresh pico de gallo. They are seriously epic and can be on your table in minutes!

all the ingredients to make spicy shrimp tacos

Ingredients for these Spicy Shrimp Tacos:

To make these Spicy Shrimp Tacos you’ll need the following ingredients.

  • Shrimp: I use jumbo shrimp in this recipe, I just like the larger size and how it fits in the tortilla with the rest of the ingredients Make sure that they are peeled and deveined before seasoning and cooking.
  • Cooking Oils: You’ll avocado oil for pan searing the shrimp. If you do not have avocado oil you could sub with coconut oil or grape seed oil. A cooking spray to spray on the tortillas so you can toast them up. (don’t skip that step, it’s a game changer) And then olive oil for the Avocado Crema.
  • Spice Rub: For my homemade smoky spice rub I use a combo of garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, ancho chili powder, salt and pepper. I use this same seasoning in my Baja Fish Tacos (a reader favorite)
  • Cabbage: I don’t recommend buying the precut slaw mix at the grocery store, buy a head of fresh green cabbage and a head of fresh purple cabbage. Trust me, you won’t regret it. There is a difference in taste.
  • Lime: You’ll use lime in the cabbage slaw and in the avocado crema.
  • Cilantro: A staple herb when I’m making tacos, cilantro just brightens up the taco takes the flavor to the next level. You’ll use it in the slaw and crema.
  • Avocado: You’ll need 2 whole avocados for the crema. They will be pureed in a blender or food processor.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Adds a nice tangy acidic kick to cut through some of the fat from the avocado.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: You don’t need a ton, a little of these goes a long way. If you like things spicy I’d recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Garlic: You’ll need garlic for the avocado crema. And really, what’s a recipe without garlic!
  • Tortillas: I love to use corn tortillas with these. I find that flour just makes them heavier and you taste more of the flour tortilla instead of the awesome shrimp taco ingredients.

how to make spicy shrimp and cilantro lime slaw

spicy shrimp in a skillet

Can I use frozen shrimp?

I recommend using fresh shrimp for these tacos. However, because in this recipe you’ll be tossing the shrimp with a spice rub and then they’ll be nestled in a taco with other components you could use frozen for this recipe. To prepare the frozen shrimp. I recommend thawing in a bowl of cold water. Do NOT use hot water, it will start to cook the shrimp. Then all you do is completely peel the shrimp and devein. 

How to season shrimp for tacos?

When I’m making tacos I expect to have it popping with flavor. So for these shrimp tacos I used a blackening type spice rub and added a little bit more ancho chili powder to give it some heat. I also used garlic powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. With shrimp specifically you want to be careful with how much salt you add because they usually are higher in sodium as is. So I’d just use maybe 1/8 teaspoon of salt, if that.

close up of spicy shrimp tacos

How to cook shrimp for tacos?

I pan seared the shrimp for these tacos, but honestly you could roast them or grill them too. Here are the cooking times on each.

  • Grilled Shrimp: Heat grill to medium high heat (375°F). Add shrimp to well oiled grates and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side. 
  • Roasted Shrimp: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place seasoned shrimp on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Pan Seared Shrimp: Heat a skillet to medium high heat, add oil to the pan and immediately add shrimp. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side. (less time if you have smaller shrimp, I usually use jumbo size)

How to make shrimp tacos?

Here’s a quick overview of how to make these spicy shrimp tacos.

  1. Make Cilantro Lime Slaw: To a large bowl, add green cabbage, purple cabbage, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, cilantro, honey, salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat and set aside.
  2. Prep the Avocado Crema: To a food processor add, avocado, garlic, 1/4 cup cilantro, cumin, red pepper flakes, 1.5 tablespoons of lime juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt. Blend until smooth and the mixture looks like a puree or dressing. Set aside.
  3. Season Shrimp with Spice Rub: To a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir to blend everything together. Add shrimp to a bowl, season shrimp with spice blend and toss to coat.
  4. Cook Shrimp: Heat a large non-skillet skillet to medium high heat. Add avocado oil to pan, once hot and immediately add seasoned shrimp. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set on a plate to rest.
  5. Assemble Spicy Shrimp Tacos: To one heated corn tortilla add 2 tablespoons of avocado crema, 1/3 cup slaw, 2-4 shrimp and (optional) pico de gallo.

tacos filled with shrimp and cabbage slaw

How to warm up corn tortillas so they don’t tear?

One of my biggest pet peeves is when corn tortillas break up a tear. Well, not any more! I’ve tried heating them up in the microwave, putting them in the oven and all kinds of things. My trip to ensuring your corn tortillas don’t rip is this.

  1. Heat a skillet to medium high heat.
  2. Spray both sides of tortilla with cooking spray. (I use Chosen Brand Avocado Oil)
  3. Place oiled tortillas on hot skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes on both sides until warmed and slightly browned.

What to put in shrimp tacos?

Our favorite toppings for these shrimp tacos are the cilantro lime slaw, fresh pico de gallo and a zesty avocado crema. Some other toppings I’d recommend are:

a hand grabbing a taco filled with shrimp and cabbage slaw

What to serve with shrimp tacos?

Other Shrimp Recipes you’ll Love:

close up of a taco filled with pan seared shrimp and cilantro lime slaw

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close up of a taco filled with pan seared shrimp and cilantro lime slaw

Best Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 30 minutes
  • yield Yield: 16 tacos 1x
  • category Category: Seafood
  • method Method: Stove
  • cuisine Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

The Best Spicy Shrimp Tacos Recipe you’ll ever make – ready in 30 minutes and loaded with flavor. Pan Seared Shrimp rubbed with a smoky spicy rub, served on corn tortillas, and topped with a cilantro lime slaw, fresh pico and an epic avocado crema! 

Scale

Ingredients

Spicy Shrimp Tacos:

  • 2lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • optional: fresh pico de gallo

Cabbage Slaw:

  • 2 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt & pepper to taste

Avocado Crema:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Cilantro Lime Slaw:

  1. To a large bowl, add green cabbage, purple cabbage, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, cilantro, honey, salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat and set aside.

Avocado Crema:

  1. To a food processor add, avocado, garlic, 1/4 cup cilantro, cumin, red pepper flakes, 1.5 tablespoons of lime juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt. Blend until smooth and looks like a puree or dressing. Set aside.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos:

  1. To a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir to blend everything together.
  2. Add shrimp to a bowl, season shrimp with spice blend and toss to coat.
  3. Heat a large non-skillet skillet to medium high heat.
  4. Add avocado oil to pan once hot and immediately add seasoned shrimp. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove shrimp from pan and set on a plate to rest.
  6. To heat corn tortillas: heat a skillet to medium high heat, spray both sides of tortilla with cooking spray and cook for 1-2 minutes on either side until browned.
  7. Assemble Spicy Shrimp Tacos: To one heated corn tortilla add 2 tablespoons of avocado crema, 1/3 cup slaw, 2-4 shrimp and (optional) pico de gallo.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 taco
  • Calories: 167
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 331 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 16 g
  • Cholesterol: 113 mg

Keywords: spicy shrimp tacos, spicy shrimp tacos recipe, how to make shrimp tacos, shrimp tacos, shrimp tacos recipe, easy shrimp tacos, baja shrimp tacos, cilantro lime slaw, cabbage slaw for fish tacos, best shrimp taco recipe

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Hey There

Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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