Easy Shrimp Tacos are made with large and tender shrimp that have been marinated before grilled and then packed into corn or flour tortillas with a creamy sauce and some favorite toppings like cabbage slaw, red onion, radish, chopped fresh cilantro, and Cotija cheese!
The perfect Taco Tuesday treat. We love our shrimp tacos recipe with cabbage, both grilled and pan-fried!
The juicy shrimp have an irresistible butter-garlic flavor with a kick of spice - the perfect dinner recipe for your next taco night!
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Jumbo Shrimp - You’ll need 1 pound of large or extra large shrimp (deveined) for this recipe, frozen and thawed. I’ve kept the tails on while cooking the shrimp and only remove them just before assembling the fish tacos.
- Shrimp marinade - This marinade is a mixture of minced garlic, lime juice, cajun, smoked paprika, cumin, melted butter, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. The melted butter is optional and you can use additional olive oil instead but I love that garlic butter flavor in this marinade and how it infuses into the shrimp! Just like my Shrimp Scampi recipe!
- Sauce - The creamy shrimp taco sauce is a mixture of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, hot sauce, and onion powder.
- Items for serving - Consider assembling your freshly cooked shrimp on a warm corn tortilla or gluten-free taco-sized tortillas with Cabbage Slaw mix or shredded green cabbage (or mix of green and purple cabbage), cotija or feta cheese crumbles, pico de gallo, mango salsa, avocado crema, sour cream, lime wedges, radish, red onion, and freshly chopped cilantro.
If you love cabbage recipes, I have a delicious collection of 40+ Best Cabbage Recipes (featuring both green and red cabbage recipes).
Prep. Rinse and pat dry the shrimp. I used large shrimp with tails and removed them only after cooking (gives more flavor).
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Toss the shrimp until well coated in the seasoning mix. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Sauce. Prepare the spicy mayonnaise sauce by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl.
For better flavor, place the sauce in the fridge for 15-30 minutes for flavors to blend.
Cook. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Thread the shrimp on skewers (stainless steel or wood is fine too as we are going to grill them just for a couple of minutes).
Grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Or use a nonstick pan (or a good quality grill pan) and cook for 1-2 minutes per side over medium-high heat.
Assemble. Warm tortillas. Either on the same grill or in skillet over medium heat until lightly charred and warm. Or place the tortillas wrapped in foil in a preheated oven for 5 minutes.
Remove the shrimp from the grill, discard the tails before serving and drizzle with fresh lime juice.
Assemble the tacos with some cabbage or coleslaw, radish, red onions, cilantro, cheese, 3-4 shrimp per taco, and drizzle spicy mayo on top with a squeeze of fresh lime.
If you love this cajun shrimp don't miss our Cajun Shrimp Pasta With Sausage.
- You can use any brand of hot sauce in the sauce mixture. Something like Frank’s or Valentina is a good option.
- Also, shrimp in shells will have more flavor (but require more work) and are in fact cheaper.
- I used corn tortillas, which I prefer over gluten-free ones. Corn taco shells don't break that easily!
- We love using our Easy Mexican Slaw recipe for most of our tacos.
- Shrimp cooks very fast so be careful not to overcook them. When they turn pink they are ready to be taken off the heat.
- While you can make the spicy mayo sauce just before assembling these tacos, I prefer allowing the sauce to sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes which helps the flavors to blend and intensify.
- If you don’t have a grill, you can pan-fry the seasoned shrimp instead in a large skillet so that they aren't overcrowded and steam.
- When using wooden skewers to grill the shrimp, you can soak the skewers in water to prevent them from burning although they won’t be on the grill for longer than 6 minutes. Metal skewers can also be used.
- Fresh or frozen raw shrimp can be used in this recipe. If you use frozen, make sure to first thaw the shrimp for about 20 minutes in cold water before cooking. This will help prevent any undercooked shrimp.
- And keep an eye on the water! It should be cold and you may need to, change it up if the shrimp is not thawed yet. This will protect the food from bacteria occurring.
30 minutes of marinating is enough to create great flavor. Extended marinating time can cause the shrimp meat to break down and become mushy due to the acidity of the marinade so I don't recommend marinating for more than a couple of hours.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
Once shrimp is cooked, for best texture and FLAVOR consume it within 24 hours (keeping it in the fridge right after cooking). Although USDA informs us that cooked seafood can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Seafood should never be left out over two hours.
Salty cotija cheese is a popular choice of Mexican cheese traditionally used on tasty tacos. You can easily source Cotija next to the refrigerated tortillas in your local grocery store. If you can’t find Cotija cheese, use crumbled feta cheese instead.
Both corn and flour-based tortillas work really well for these shrimp tacos. The great thing about using corn tortillas is the fact that they are gluten-free which is ideal for anyone with gluten sensitivities. However, not all corn tortillas are gluten free, be on the look out for the Gluten free label.
I’ve seasoned the fresh shrimp for these tacos in a marinade that includes minced garlic, lime juice, cajun, smoked paprika, cumin, melted butter, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
Other spices and seasoning you can include are Italian seasoning, homemade taco seasoning, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes.
The average adult serving is two tacos per person which means that you’ll need about 6-8 shrimp per person, or 3-4 shrimp per taco, for this recipe. Of course, I’ve used large shrimp for these delicious shrimp tacos. If you use small shrimp then you may need more per person.
Whether you use red shrimp or another type, shrimp turn pink when cooked properly. If it’s very white then you’ve most likely overcooked the shrimp but if it’s translucent, it’s definitely still raw and needs additional cooking time.
Easy Seafood Recipes
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Easy Shrimp Tacos
- 1 pound large or extra large shrimp (I used 31/40, frozen and thawed)
- 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon cajun ( or 1 teaspoon for spicy)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoon butter (melted)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- black pepper to taste
Spicy Mayo Sauce
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (we like vegan mayo)
- 2 teaspoon greek yogurt (plain)
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce ( such as Frank’s or Valentina)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Optional items for serving
- Mexican Coleslaw (or shredded cabbage)
- Cotija (or feta cheese crumbles)
- Lime wedges
- Red onion
- Corn tortillas
- Prep. Rinse and pat dry the shrimp. I used large shrimp with tails and removed them only after cooking (gives more flavor).
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Toss the shrimp until well coated in the seasoning mix. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Sauce. Prepare the spicy mayonnaise sauce by combining all the ingredients in a bowl. For better flavor, place the sauce in the fridge for 15-30 minutes for flavors to blend.
- Cook. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Thread the shrimp on skewers (stainless steel or wood is fine too as we are going to grill them just for a couple minutes). Grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Or use a nonstick pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side over medium-high heat.
- Assemble. Warm up the tortillas using grill, microwave, oven or skillet. I like to place tortillas one by one on a dry skillet and let them get charred nicely. Or wrap the tortillas in foil and place in a preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove the shrimp from the grill, discard the tails before serving and drizzle with fresh lime juice.
- Assemble the tacos with some cabbage or coleslaw, radish, red onion, cilantro, cheese, 3-4 shrimp per taco, and drizzle spicy mayo on top with a squeeze of fresh lime.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)