Healthy and easy Shrimp Tacos made with marinated, sautéed shrimp, a simple cabbage slaw, and topped with a delicious creamy cilantro shrimp taco sauce. Ready in 20 minutes!

These tacos are just one more additional to my growing collection of killer-good Mexican recipes! Serve them with a side of refried beans and Mexican rice.

Shrimp tacos served in corn tortillas with slaw and cilantro yogurt sauce.

What I love about this recipe:

  • Packed with flavor: You’ll think you’re eating at a coastal Mexican restaurant! Every time I make these I can’t help making “yummy” noises with every bite I take! They are just that good.
  • Quick and easy: These tacos should take less than 30 minutes to make, and you can make the slaw and marinade in advance to get them on the dinner table even faster!

Buying and Preparing Shrimp:

Fresh or frozen shrimp: Obviously try to buy fresh shrimp if you live in an area where that is possible.  Note that shrimp that appears “fresh” at the produce counter of your grocery store is usually thawed frozen shrimp.  I prefer to buy frozen shrimp from the freezer section and thaw it myself.

Purchase medium or large tail-on, un-cooked shrimp. Shrimp comes in all varieties at the store (large, medium, small, shell on/off, tail on/off, fresh, frozen, etc.) but as a general rule we recommend buying tail-on, un-cooked shrimp. The shells help the shrimp keep their flavor.  After thawing, remove the shells and tails.

To thaw frozen shrimp, refrigerate them overnight or for quick thaw, pour them into a bowl and cover them with ice water for about an hour. Drain the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels.

How to Make Shrimp Tacos:

1. Prepare the shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry, add them to a ziplock bag with olive oil,  lime juice, and spices, tossing to coat.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes or several hours.  Sauté shrimp in hot oil for 2-3 minutes on each side, until pink and cooked through.

Shrimp marinating in a bag, and then cooking in a cast iron pan.

2. Make the Shrimp Taco Sauce: Add yogurt, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, vinegar, oil and spices to a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.

Ingredients for shrimp taco sauce in a food processor and then blended smooth.

3. Assemble: Toss ½ cup of the sauce with the shredded cabbage. Fill tortillas with a few shrimp and a spoonful of slaw. Top with fresh avocado, extra sauce (if desired) and any additional toppings.

A bowl of slaw with shrimp taco sauce next to a photo of assembled shrimp tacos.

Serve with:

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: The shrimp taco sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator. Shrimp taco marinade can also be made a few days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

To freeze: Freeze the sauce and uncooked shrimp (with marinade), separately, in a freezer safe container for 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. (Do not thaw the frozen shrimp and then refreeze).

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Recipe

Prep 10 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 20 mins
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Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ lbs shrimp (uncooked, peeled, deveined, tails removed)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola or olive oil)
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne , optional, for heat

For the Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • ½ jalapeño pepper (remove ribs and seeds for mild heat)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves , loosely packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

For Topping:

  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage , or use bagged broccoli slaw or coleslaw mix
  • 10-12 small corn tortillas
  • Additional topping suggestions: avocados, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, chopped cilantro.

Instructions
 

  • For the Shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Add to a ziplock bag with olive oil, lime juice and spices. Toss to coat. Rest for 10 minutes while preparing the shrimp taco sauce, or refrigerate for several hours until ready to use.
  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp to the hot pan and saute for 2-3 minutes on each side, until pink and cooked through.
  • For the Shrimp Taco Sauce: Blend all the sauce ingredients together in a small blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Add about ½ a cup of the sauce to the slaw and stir well to coat.
  • Assemble: Fill tortillas with a few shrimp and a spoonful of slaw. Top with fresh avocado, extra sauce (if desired) and any additional toppings.

Notes

Make ahead Instructions: The shrimp taco sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator. Shrimp taco marinade can also be made a few days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
Freezing Instructions: Freeze the sauce and uncooked shrimp (with marinade), separately, in a freezer safe container for 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. (Do not thaw the frozen shrimp and then refreeze).

Nutrition

Calories: 492kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 43gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 431mgSodium: 1665mgPotassium: 329mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 391IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 345mgIron: 5mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are the best! I was skeptical because it wasn’t like my other go-to recipes but these are beyond amazing.

  2. 5 stars
    This turned out so good. Already planning to have again this weekend. Changes I made is I used the air fryer for the shrimp and added red onion to the sauce! So yummy, definitely a go to meal now!

  3. 5 stars
    Can I substitute cooked shrimp? We made them last time it was amazing but could only find devices cooked tail off shrimp this time