These Easy Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos with cabbage slaw are fast, easy and the BEST shrimp tacos you have ever had!
Looking for the best shrimp taco recipe? You found it.
The holidays are coming and that means a million things to do and not enough time to do it. This is why I wanted to share this super easy shrimp taco recipe with you. Over the last few years since I first published this recipe, this has become a family favorite that we rely on again and again for a quick and healthy dinner – and what is better than healthy tacos!?! The lime cabbage slaw adds a nice cool crunch to these Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos to balance out the heat from the chili. I hear back from my readers again and again that this is their favorite shrimp taco recipe.
For those nights when I am asking “what should I make for dinner?” this is always a reliable recipe – especially if you have frozen shrimp on hand. It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and they taste delicious.
What kind of shrimp to buy for shrimp tacos
I use frozen, tail-on, raw shrimp. This is the best kind; super easy to store and very delicious. Side benefit: No cleaning required.
What are the different sizes of shrimp?
Here in the USA, shrimp is packaged and sold in “count per pound” quantities. So, those numbers you see on packages like “21-25” are the approximate number of shrimp per one pound. Sometimes the shrimp is also labeled as small, medium, large, etc. 21-25 is jumbo. 26-30 is extra large. 51-60 is small.
How to thaw frozen shrimp
The best and healthiest method is to thaw the shrimp in the fridge over night.
In a pinch? Place the frozen shrimp in a colander into the sink under running cold water. That’s it.
I like to keep frozen shrimp on hand because it takes almost no time to thaw and cook them. On nights where I have nothing planned for dinner at 5pm I can pull them out of the freezer and thaw them under running water in just a few minutes.
How to make shrimp tacos
These chili lime shrimp tacos are so quick and easy. The shrimp get a 15 minute marinade with some lime zest, garlic, and spices. While they are marinating, toss together a quick slaw, chop up a ripe avocado, warm some tortillas. Then the shrimp gets a quick sear and dinner is ready. Boom.
I like to use the small corn tortillas here, and I found that they hold up better if you use two tortillas layered for one taco. They also hold up better if they are warmed up. I warmed them up in a skillet, flipping a few times. We gave a few of them a spritz of cooking oil before they hit the skillet and that gave them a nice texture. If you have a gas stove you can quickly warm them over the flame (carefully!). You can even FRY them which tastes delicious, but it is an extra step so I didn’t do it for this quick dinner.
How to make lime slaw for shrimp tacos
The lime slaw for these shrimp tacos is the perfect compliment. And it is so easy. I often buy a bag of shredded cabbage to save time, then just toss it with lime juice and a little salt. I added some jalapeno to add a little heat to the slaw.
Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos
- 24 large raw shrimp peeled
- 16 small corn tortillas
- 4 cups shredded cabbage
- 1/4 jalapeño finely minced (about 1/2 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves pressed or finely minced
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- kosher salt
- 1 avocado diced
- salsa for serving
- Combine the shrimp in a bowl with olive oil, lime zest, minced garlic, paprika, chili powder, red pepper flake and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
- Toss the cabbage with jalapeno, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and a pinch of salt, set aside.
- Warm tortillas in a skillet over low heat, flipping occasionally.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, pour the shrimp in. Sear on one side for 1-2 minutes, flip and sear on the other side until pink all the way through and no longer opaque, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- To assemble tacos, layer two tortillas on top of each other. top with lime slaw, a few shrimp, and some avocado. Top with some salsa and a squeeze of fresh lime.
You can use more or less jalapeno to taste. I didn't want the slaw to be very spicy so I only used a little bit.