This 15 Minute Shrimp Tacos Recipe makes a weeknight meal or last minute entertaining a breeze. Spicy juicy shrimp topped with creamy cilantro lime slaw and wrapped in warm corn tortilla, these shrimp tacos have the best taste and texture.
Table of contents
- Easy Shrimp Taco Recipe
- Why This Shrimp Taco Recipe Works?
- Ingredients You Will Need
- How to Make Shrimp Tacos
- Optional Add-in’s and Variations
- Shrimp Taco Recipe FAQs
- Serving Reccomendations
- Making Shrimp Taco Recipe in Advance
- More Favorite Mexican Recipes
Easy Shrimp Taco Recipe
Oh my goodness, this shrimp taco recipe came out fantastic! Spicy shrimp, creamy slaw, yummy shrimp taco sauce wrapped in warm fresh corn tortilla. Then a squeeze of lime juice and you are in Mexico.
And the best part is this shrimp taco recipe took 15 minutes to prepare and healthy dinner is served. We even use store-bought coleslaw.
Is Shrimp Healthy?
Let’s talk about that first.
Shrimp is a low calorie source of protein. In addition, shrimp contains antioxidants, over 20 different vitamins and minerals and high amount of iodine that is not available in other foods.
On another hand, shrimp is high in cholesterol. 3 oz serving contains 166 mg of cholesterol, which is 85% more cholesterol than other seafood.
However, research shows that only 25% of population are sensitive to dietary cholesterol which is found in shrimp. This is because most cholesterol in our blood is produced by liver. And when we eat foods high in cholesterol, our liver produces less of it.
But moderation is definitely applicable here, in my opinion and I really wouldn’t want to miss out on an Instant Pot shrimp boil come summer!
Why This Shrimp Taco Recipe Works?
- Easy: This shrimp taco recipe is ready in 15 minutes from start to finish!
- Healthy: Shrimp is low calorie and full of nutrients and then combined with coleslaw cabbage – high in Vitamin C & K – we have a healthy dinner we can feel good about serving!
- Enjoy year round: Grill in the summer, pan fry in cooler months.
- Customizable: As with any taco, the sky is (almost) the limit when serving! Skip the tortilla and serve shrimp salad ‘taco bowl’ style. Drizzle with hot sauce for heat or add chopped jalapeño. Serve sliced avocados (learn how to cut an avocado!) or pico de gallo on the side etc. So many ideas!
Ingredients You Will Need
Let’s start with simple and best shrimp tacos ingredients you always buy:
- Raw shrimp: Fresh or frozen. To thaw shrimp, place in lukewarm water for an hour or so or in the fridge overnight. Make sure shrimp is very well drained and dry. This will ensure it gets a char on instead of releasing a lot of water. P.S. I forgot to remove the tails.
- Tortillas: We prefer small corn tortillas around 6 inch in diameter. You can use flour tortillas as well.
- Store bought coleslaw mix: Saves a lot of time.
- Plain yogurt: I do not recommend to use 0% yogurt because slaw will lack flavour. We already reduced a lot of fat by cutting back amount of mayo.
- Mayo: A little bit makes taco sauce “legit”.
- Seasonings: Taco seasoning, garlic powder, lime and cilantro. That’s it!
How to Make Shrimp Tacos
1. Make Shrimp Taco Seasoning and Sauce
Shrimp taco seasoning: We combine enough taco seasoning with garlic powder to season raw shrimp for 5 minutes while you are making the sauce and pre-heating the skillet. You want shrimp to be a little spicy so assembled tacos do not taste bland.
And no salt added because shrimp contains a lot of sodium, and so does taco seasoning (although I buy low sodium organic one).
Shrimp taco sauce: Most shrimp taco recipes are heavy on mayo. I used yogurt and some mayo because these healthy shrimp tacos wouldn’t be real shrimp tacos without creamy mayo slaw. It is a version of this healthy coleslaw recipe.
Combine with lime juice, more taco seasoning and a pinch of cayenne. And it will be the most simple and tasty shrimp taco sauce ever. We will use it for the slaw and to drizzle on tacos.
Remember, easy! Set aside.
Adding a touch of mayo with yogurt reduces fat/calories but still gives these shrimp tacos with slaw a more ‘authentic taste’!
2. Saute Shrimp and Make Cabbage Slaw
Cook shrimp for 4 minutes in a hot ceramic non-stick skillet. Shrimp cooks fast and it’s ready when no longer gray and starts to turn pink. For more browned look, flip once and press on shrimp with spatula.
Make slaw by literally just dumping a 14 oz bag of store-bought cabbage slaw, cilantro, salt and almost all of the taco sauce. I like to reserve some of the dressing for drizzling on shrimp tacos. But you don’t have to. Just looks good and tastes better!
Reserve some of the shrimp taco sauce for drizzling on the finished shrimp taco recipe – this adds extra creaminess and gives it a ‘restaurant-worthy’ presentation quality!
3. Assemble Easy Shrimp Tacos with Slaw
Time to assemble the tacos! Did you time yourself? Wasn’t it like 11 minutes until this step?
I like to warm tortillas in a cast iron skillet on high heat. Just 10 seconds per side because otherwise tortilla will dry out and break as you fold it. Not good unless you are making a tostada.
Press with a spatula for extra char. If you have a gas stove, do it directly on the burner using tongs.
What goes in shrimp tacos? Fill each tortilla with 3-4 sauteed shrimps (depending on the size), some slaw and drizzle with sauce.
‘Crisping’ your corn tortillas in the skillet (or quickly on grill) helps prevent them from breaking when filling/eating!
Optional Add-in’s and Variations
This shrimp taco recipe is highly versatile! I usually use what I have on hand. Here are a few ideas:
- Add fruit toppings: Dice avocado, pineapple or make my pico de gallo and mix with a bit of thinly shredded cabbage or store-bought slaw. Or replace coleslaw entirely with any of these salsa recipes – pineapple jalapeno salsa, mango salsa or peach salsa.
- To make low carb: Make lettuce wraps and serve in Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves (again double the layers to hold better) or make a healthy taco salad.
- Non-creamy slaw: I have this vinegar based coleslaw that is traditional Ukrainian recipe my mom made all the time. It will go very well in this shrimp taco recipe. And make hell of a super healthy shrimp tacos!
- Grilled shrimp tacos: You can grill shrimp on a silicone grill mat on high heat. The mat acts like a skillet. Keep in mind it slows down cooking as food is not hit directly by flames. Cover the grill and give shrimp a few minutes. Then open and when you see pink on the bottom, flip carefully not to lose shrimp between the grill grates. Cover and cook until no longer gray.
Shrimp Taco Recipe FAQs
We love to use low sodium taco seasoning with garlic powder, it gives just enough spice to make the shrimp ‘shine’ in the tacos! Combined with the cilantro lime coleslaw and creamy taco sauce, you will have a very flavorful seafood shrimp taco.
Substitute cilantro with fresh parsley if you do not love cilantro. The taste definitely will be different though.
You can use either for this easy shrimp taco recipe! Since you are seasoning the shrimp, it is fine to use frozen. Thaw raw shrimp overnight or place in colander in a bowl with cold water, thaws in 15-20 minutes. Pat dry the shrimps.
Readers have had good luck with precooked frozen shrimp as well – after thawing let sit with seasoning for 20-30 minutes then warm up in skillet (I have not tested this method!).
Readers have used 0% fat with great results, I like to use 2% as it gives it more flavor, same goes for healthy shrimp salad.
- Serve in 2 tortillas (double layer): Because corn tortillas are delicate and tend to fall apart if fresh. That’s what they do in Mexico.
- What to put on shrimp tacos? If you have time, make guacamole, refried beans, dice up some jalapenos for heat lovers.
- Make a taco bar: Set out brown rice or quinoa, black bean salad, Mexican street corn salad, avocado dressing, and even cauliflower rice for a whole spread where everyone can make a taco, a bowl or whatever combination they like!
- Add an easy side of corn on the cob for super hungry dinner members!
Making Shrimp Taco Recipe in Advance
Expecting company or want a 10 minute dinner tonight? Make shrimp taco recipe ahead of time. Refrigerate seasoned shrimp and sauce separately for up to 2 days. Cook tacos and assemble slaw right before serving.
Store leftovers: Refrigerate leftover cooked shrimp and slaw in separate airtight containers for up to 24 hours. Cabbage slaw will leak a bit, drain and stir before serving.
To reheat: Place previously cooked shrimp on well preheated ceramic non-stick skillet with a bit of cooking spray or oil. You want skillet to be hot, cook shrimp for 1 minute max per each side, just to heat through and not overcook. It doesn’t need much more than that.
Enjoy this 15 minute shrimp taco recipe! I swear, it’s the easiest dinner I ever made besides smoked salmon salad.
More Favorite Mexican Recipes
- Ground chicken tacos
- Chicken tortilla soup
- Buffalo chicken tacos
- Carne asada steak
- Ground turkey tacos
- Instant Pot carnitas
Also browse through all my favorite healthy taco recipes!
15 Minute Shrimp Tacos Recipe with Slaw
- In a medium bowl, add shrimp, 1 tbsp taco seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Stir and set aside.
- In a small bowl, add yogurt, mayo, lime juice, taco seasoning, cayenne and black pepper. Stir and set aside.
- Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on high heat and add shrimp. Cook until pink on the bottom, flip and cook until no longer gray. For more char, flip once and press on shrimp with spatula. Or you can grill shrimp on a silicone grill mat on high heat.
- In a large bowl, add slaw, cilantro, salt and almost all of the sauce, reserving some for drizzling on tacos. Stir gently.
- To assemble tacos, warm tortillas in a cast iron skillet on high heat for 10 seconds per side and pressing on with spatula.
- Fill each tortilla with 3-4 shrimps, some slaw and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately, maybe with easy guacamole too. 🙂
- Store: Refrigerate leftover cooked shrimp and slaw covered for up to 24 hours.
- Make Ahead: Refrigerate seasoned shrimp and sauce separately for up to 2 days. Cook and assemble slaw right before serving.
- Shrimp: Make sure shrimp is very well drained and dry. This will ensure it gets a char on instead of releasing a lot of water.
- Yogurt: I do not recommend to use 0% yogurt because slaw will lack flavour. We already reduced a lot of fat by cutting back amount of mayo.
- Serve in 2 tortillas (double layer) if using small corn tortillas. They are delicate and tend to fall apart if fresh. That’s what they do in Mexico.
- Add diced avocado, pineapple or mango. Make mango salsa or pineapple jalapeno salsa instead of serving shrimp tacos with slaw.
- To make low carb: Make lettuce wraps and serve in Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves (again double the layers to hold better).
- What doesn’t go into a taco?! If you have time, make easy guacamole, dice up some jalapenos for heat lovers or make a taco bar.