Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Slaw are an easy and quick dinner to make. Try it with Mexican rice on the side and you will have a great meal!
Spicy Shrimp Tacos Recipe Backstory
While spicy shrimp tacos with cilantro slaw may seem like a summer food, we eat them all year round. They are especially good to eat on the patio and the weather has been nice to do that. I might even make a margarita to go along with it. I'll just sniff a bottle of coconut suntan lotion, close my eyes and pretend it is summer again. My family loves shrimp tacos so much that we eat them almost every week.
These tacos are a perfect week night dinner because they are so easy and quick to cook. The whole meal can be put on your table in less than half an hour. I like to serve some Mexican rice on the side to make a complete dinner. It doesn't hurt to have fresh strawberry mojitos with this dinner either. It will be another reason to make me dream about summer.
These tacos are so fresh tasting due to the lime squeezed on the shrimp. I can fit a whole pound of them on my stove top grill so lots of tacos can be made at once. Cook the shrimp with a nice sear on them and the tacos will have a slight smoky flavor.
Come this summer, I will be cooking shrimp outside. But all winter I will be eating shrimp tacos made on my inside grill with a strawberry mojito and hoping for summer to come quick.
How should I store leftover shrimp?
- Allow the shrimp to cool, then transfer to an airtight container or seal-able bag.
- In the fridge, shrimp will be good for up to 2 days, though with seafood, typically the sooner you eat them the better!
- I don't recommend freezing the shrimp after cooking but they cook so quick that I prefer to make a fresh batch.
What's the best way to reheat shrimp?
- One way is to pop them in a microwave safe bowl and give them a zap for about a minute or so, until they're heated through.
- You could also toss your shrimp into a pan with a little bit of olive oil and cook over medium heat until they're nice and warm.
How do I buy the best shrimp?
- Typically, the safer bet for shrimp is to buy them frozen, as this ensures they are fresh. It’s also easy to thaw and cook them right out of the bag!
- If you’re feeling adventurous and would rather try fresh shrimp, make sure the shrimp don’t smell like ammonia or have shells that are slimy. They should be firm with solid tails.
- For a recipe like this one, aiming for medium- to large-sized shrimp is the best option. But your tacos would work with jumbo shrimp. If you want to serve leftover shrimp over rice, mini shrimp would be also delicious for that and would still work as a taco filling (though you might want to take the tail off of them).
Variations for Spicy Shrimp Tacos
- Tacos are great for trying out different toppings. If you don't want to use Queso Fresca, you could use cheddar, pepper jack, or a Mexican cheese blend.
- Sour cream, cilantro, pico de gallo, and refried beans are also classic and delicious options for toppings.
- Add some minced garlic in with your shrimp while you cook them for a burst of extra flavor.
- Serve these shrimp with guacamole, salsa or any other tasty topping.
- Want to make your own tortillas too? Here's a great recipe from The Café Sucre Farine!
Side Dishes / Toppings to Serve With Your Tacos
- Three Minute Blender Salsa
- Homemade Refried Beans from A Couple Cooks
- Mexican Street Corn Salad from Jo Cooks
- Black Bean and Corn Salsa
- Cilantro Lime Rice (and more!) from Love and Lemons
- Roasted Vegetables
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Spicy Shrimp Tacos
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 TBS southwest seasoning see notes below
- 3 TBS olive oil, divided
- 1 large lime cut in half
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 TBS chili sauce
- 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed
- 3 cups cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage
- 2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 TBS rice wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 corn tortillas
- toppings such as Queso fresca, cheddar cheese, salsa, chopped onions, tomatoes, etc
- In a medium size bowl, mix together shrimp, seasoning and 1 TBS of olive oil. Cook on medium heat on a grill pan or stove top grill. Also cook lime cut side down. Cook the shrimp for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill when done, squeeze half a lime over shrimp and keep warm.
- While shrimp is cooking, in a small bowl, mix together sour cream, chili sauce and avocado verde. Add the juice of half the grilled lime and mix well. Set aside.
- In another small bowl mix together slaw mix, cilantro, vinegar and remaining 1 TBS olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Wipe grill and heat corn tortillas for a few minutes on each side.
- Assemble tacos by placing some avocado mixture on each tortilla, slaw mixture, then shrimp. Top with cheese or any other desired toppings. Serve any extra slaw on the side.
First Published February 2014; Updated October 2020