Are you looking for a delicious and easy-to-make recipe perfect for a weeknight dinner or a fun party? My shrimp taco recipe is loaded with juicy shrimp, fresh vegetables, and a zesty sauce that will satisfy your cravings.
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This easy shrimp tacos recipe is the perfect way to spice up dinnertime! Succulent pieces of shrimp are marinated in a flavorful citrus sauce to infuse more seasoning into each bite. It only takes a few minutes to sear the seafood to make a protein-packed wrap. For another tasty option, try my blackened fish tacos.
My family always enjoys taco night because they get to customize their meal. I’ve also created a creamy and zesty sauce to drizzle on top. You can add some pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, or slices of avocado for an exciting build-your-own wrap. Serve with rice, beans, chips, and dip for a complete feast!
- Shrimp: I use medium-sized shrimp, 31/40 count per 1 pound. This gives the perfect one-bite piece. You can use larger 16/20 count pieces. Use fresh or frozen shrimp, defrosting before marinating.
- Marinade: Briny shrimp have a lightly salty and sweet taste. Toss them in a flavorful lime marinade before cooking to enhance the taste.
- Tortillas: Use flour or corn tortillas, about 5 to 6 inches in size. Warm them in a skillet to remove the raw starchy taste and add more color and flavor to the surface. The heat also makes them more pliable.
- Shrimp Taco Sauce: Whisk together sour cream, lime, and cilantro sauce to add to the tacos. It’s cool and creamy, perfect for balancing the spice in the marinade.
Marinate the shrimp
The shrimp are soaked in a quick 10-minute marinade before cooking. Toss the pieces in olive oil, lime juice, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. This step can be done up to 24 hours in advance.
Cook the shrimp
The delicate seafood cooks very quickly, so keep a close eye on the color change. I prefer a cast iron skillet as it retains heat well. Heat the pan over medium heat, then cook the shrimp in hot olive oil. I spread the season food into an even layer in the pan for even cooking and to add more flavor to the surface.
Flip the shrimp, and cook until the pieces are pink and opaque. The process only takes about 3 to 4 minutes in total. The shrimp are small, do not overcook, or they will shrink and turn rubbery in texture.
Make the sauce
Grab these key ingredients to make a quick and flavorful shrimp taco sauce. Whisk together sour cream, lime juice, zest, honey, chopped cilantro, salt, and water in a medium bowl. This gives a super cool, creamy, and tangy sauce.
Add some hot sauce, sriracha, chile powder, cayenne, or chipotle powder if you want a spicier flavor. The sauce can be made up to three days in advance.
Build the taco
Warm the tortillas in a pan over medium heat. This makes them more flexible, soft, and flavorful. It prevents the tacos from falling apart, as cold starches in the tortillas can be very brittle, especially corn tortillas. Evenly divide the shrimp, about 4 to 5 per taco. Add the taco sauce on top and any other flavorful ingredients.
There are various ways to make shrimp tacos even more exciting! Try these different seasonings, sauces, and toppings for your next meal.
- Sprinkle on homemade taco seasoning to add instant flavor to the seafood.
- Add tangy pickled red onions.
- Add extra vegetables like shredded red and green cabbage or iceberg lettuce.
- Top with guacamole, pineapple salsa, fresh cilantro, or pico de gallo.
- Make the shrimp spicier with chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, or minced jalapenos.
- Homemade corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or cassava tortillas
- Mexican rice or low-carb cauliflower rice
- Refried beans or pinto beans
- Chips and homemade salsa
- Margarita, horchata, or mojito
Frequently asked questions
One pound of medium shrimp yields 31 to 40 pieces. This gives about 4 to 5 pieces per taco, yielding 8 tacos. Factor about 2 tacos per person, increasing the recipe size as needed for a hungrier crowd. If using large 16 to 20-count shrimp, it’s about 2 pieces per taco.
The quickest method is on the stovetop in a skillet over medium heat. This will quickly sear each side, cooking the shrimp in 5 minutes or less. For a smoky, charred flavor, cook the shrimp on skewers on the BBQ grill.
Cooks choice! Seafood is a lot lighter and more delicate than beef or chicken. A thinner corn tortilla makes for a wrap that compliments the shrimp. It’s also an excellent gluten-free option. Flour tortillas are sturdy a flexible, good for soaking up sauces without falling apart if not eaten quickly.
Preventing overcooked shrimp
Shrimp are quick-cooking crustaceans, so it’s crucial to monitor the process. There are two ways to tell if the shrimp is ready. The translucent flesh will turn pale pink and opaque, with some red hues on the surface depending on the variety of shrimp. As the protein cooks, it will start to contract and curl. Look for a loose “C” shape and not a tight “O.” The longer it cooks, it will shrink, lose moisture, and become tough.
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- 1 pound raw shrimp, medium, 31/40 count, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon paprika, smoked or sweet
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 8 tortillas, flour or corn, 6" size
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus zest of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Season the Shrimp – In a large bowl, combine shrimp, 1 tablespoon olive oil, lime juice, salt, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and chili powder. Marinate for 10 minutes.
- Cook the Shrimp – Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Once hot, add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, flip, and cook until opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate.
- Make the Sauce – In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, lime juice, lime zest, honey, water, cilantro, and salt.
- Warm the Tortillas – Heat a pan over medium heat. Cook the tortillas on each side until warm and lightly browned, about 10 to 15 seconds per side. Wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm.
- To Serve – Fill tortillas with shrimp, the taco sauce, and any additional toppings. Serve with lime wedges if desired.
- Short Video: Watch this recipe come together.
- Topping Suggestions: Sour cream, creme, cotija cheese, grated Cheddar or Monterey jack, cilantro, pico de Gallo, avocado, guacamole, shredded cabbage, and salsa.
- Storing: Refrigerate shrimp in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: Cook in the microwave on high setting in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.
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4 Comments Leave a comment or review
Valerie C. says
My daughter and I made these for dinner tonight and served them with homemade pineapple salsa and chunky guacamole. Absolutely delicious! I think the taco sauce would be great on your blackened fish/shrimp tacos as well. Jessica your recipes have not let us down yet. My daughter has been hearing me talk about your recipes for over a year, she finally decided to start following you on Instagram 😂
Jessica Gavin says
I love that you are cooking with your daughter! I can’t wait to hear what you try making next.
Susan Taylor says
Fantastic meal and very simple to prepare. Will make many times.
Jessica Gavin says
Thank you so much!