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.
Stephany Hoff says
Hi Meghan! I’m excited to make this! Could I put the shrimp on skewers and grill them or is it best to do them on the skillet for better flavor retention? Thanks!
Hi, I think grilling would be fine! Let me know what you think!
Poppy K Charalambous says
Made the Chilli Lime Shrimp and we loved them!
So happy to hear that!
My 13yr old son made these for us for dinner one time and they turned out amazing!!! I just made them again and they were again amazing. I had my parents over and they told me I should open a restaurant, they were that good! Thanks for the recipe!!
I’m so happy to hear that!
The Best and so easy. Have made multiple times and shared with several people. Everyone loves these tacos.
Yay! So glad to hear that Carol!
Taco Tuesday just got a whole lot more delicious!! My family loves this so much I always make a double batch. Thanks Meghan!
Yay! WE love these too!
Mona J Yoder says
wow i love t hat SO much… can i cut and paste it into my blog?? but give u credit, of course???
Hi Mona – you can share one photo with a link back to my blog for the recipe. Please don’t copy and paste the recipe. Thank you! So glad you love it.
BeckySue Becker says
Simple. FRESH – so delicious, this is a keeper of a recipe for sure! And healthy too – thank you!
So happy you loved them!
Jessica @FitnessEquipmentsLab says
Hi Meghan, I love all your taco recipes so much! Looking forward to making this recipe tomorrow!
Hi Jessica – yay, can’t wait to hear what you think!
Kayla Carlile says
I made this tonight and it was sooooo good! I added cilantro to the slaw and instead of free sha va ca doo (hehe) I bought some guacamole and it was soooo good!
So happy you loved them Kayla!
Robin Baker says
Thanks so much for the awesome recipe! This was perfect for feeding hubby quickly after a 16 hour long day of work, (didn’t take so long that he might fall asleep waiting) and still brought praise afterward for the great taste! In my book, that makes you a 5star resource in the future as well; it’s so hard to find new ways of fixing things in a manner that Mr. Picky will enjoy, but thanks to your teriffic taco recipe, I’ve succeeded today! Putting this in my go to bookmark list of recipes, and tonight I’m going to browse any others you’ve shared… I enjoyed his pleased surprise today so much, I want more! Thanks again 🙂
Hi Robin! I am so happy to hear that! Thank you!
This is my new go-to shrimp taco recipe. So so so good! Thank you!
Yay! So happy you love it!
Dorothy Megrue says
Sounds so good. Will be trying today.
Wonderful! Can’t wait to hear what you think!
Hi Meghan, awesome shrimp taco recipe. thanks 🙂
So glad you loved it Jessica!
mr briar says
I love these shrimp tacos! I love the new nutrition info too.
So nice to have some healthy tacos, right?
Love these tacos but need to know the nutritional facts for these yummy tacos.
Hi Karla, I’ve just updated the post with the nutrition facts.
Sherri Johnson says
Been wanting to try shrimp tacos for a while. Great, easy recipe!! Will be making these more often.
Hi Sherri – I’m so glad you enjoyed them!
Bella Hardy says
I had a similar chili lime shrimp tacos at a restaurant recently and found myself craving it and wondering if I could recreate it today.
Hi Bella, I hope these hit the spot. Thanks for your comment!
Lindsey Dreese says
Wow! My partner wanted shrimp tacos for dinner but I didn’t know a recipe. A quick google search popped up your recipe for chili lime shrimp tacos. These were DELICIOUS! We loved them. He told me to immediately bookmark the page for the next shrimp taco dinner. There were no leftovers from this dinner!
Loved the marinade!! I didn’t make the slaw, I served the tacos with a black bean and corn salsa instead, just for personal preference. The tacos were a huge hit!
megan @ megunprocessed says
Sounds like it has so much flavor! I’ve always got avocado on top!
Jill Roberts @ WellnessGeeky says
Definitely your Chili lime shrimp tacos are awesomeness! This is a great recipe, as you know I made it a short while ago and it was lovely, in fact have made it again since. Thanks for sharing Meghan!
Hi Jill! Thanks so much, I’m so glad you love them!
Jody Myers says
Just made these for lunch with frozen shrimp. They were so good. I added a little shiracha after assembling the tacos. I skipped the jalapeño since I forgot when shopping. Already thinking about when I’m going to make again. Thanks!!!
Hi Jody, I’m so glad you loved them! Adding the sriracha is a great idea!
Megan @ MegUnprocessed says
Those veggies looks great!
Liz @ Ready to Yumble says
I’m late to the game, but just cruised over to this recipe and had to say it looks absolutely delicious and your photos are gorgeous! Also I really wish I had seen this before I tried to take some taco photos this weekend…because I’m noticing your neat trick of using limes to prop up the tacos! Genius! ?
Haha, thank you Liz! Necessity is the mother of invention 🙂 I do have some special taco holders now, but I still think I like how they look better this way!
Claudette Fountain says
omg sooo good yum thank you
Thank you Claudette, I’m so glad you love them!
Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake says
Just made these for dinner, but put them on salad instead of tacos (mostly because I made them on a whim, tacos are always better!). Sooooooo good! And really easy!
Definitely gonna make again, in tacos next time with the lime slaw
Oh YAY! I’m so glad that you you loved them Michelle!
Meghan….pictures of these tacos are wonderful and the recipe sounds yummy . HOWEVER….why, for Pete’s sake, and while I’m at it …for Amy’s, Bill’s, Nancy’s and Homer’s sake show these delish looking tacos with the tails of the shrimp still on. Sorta nasty eating, but then maybe some people like eating shrimp tails. Just put frozen shrimp in a colander, run lukewarm water over them and simply pull the tails off…leaving you with a whole shrimp….or look at it his way…even more yummy shrimp in each taco!
Hi Mike, thank you for taking the time to comment and for your nice words about my photos. As far as the shrimp tails, it is just a matter of personal preference. I like to cook the shrimp with the tails on because they tend to hold their shape better, and I serve them with the tails on because I think they are prettier that way. We remove the tails before eating the tacos. Although you are right, there are some people who do like to eat the tails. Of course, you can feel free to remove the tails before cooking and serving if you would prefer to do so.
That’s what I would do. Remove the tails before cooking. Thanks for explaining your reasoning. Thanks for the recipe.
Hope you enjoy it!
Eileen Johnson says
Can you serve the tacos cold if storing the shrimp leftovers in the fridge?
Hi, I’m sure that would be fine!
These were a perfect weeknight meal! That jalapeño lime slaw is killer too! Thanks for sharing, I’ll definitely be making these again!
Yay! I am so thrilled to hear it! Thank you for taking the time to let me know, Tess!
Made this last night and it was so delicious! One of our favorite new recipes. The marinade is easy and really flavorful – thank you!
Hi Kristina! I am so thrilled that you loved them. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know, it made my day!
Do you know how far ahead I can prep this? Can I set the shrimp marinade and the slaw In the morning and cook and assemble at dinner time?
I have not done it ahead of time, but I think that would be fine. As long as you don’t put any citrus juice in with the shrimp (too much acid will break down the shrimp if you marinade it for a long time), but I think with just the zest it should be fine. Also, cabbage usually holds up pretty well in a dressing. I haven’t tested it myself, but I think it will work. Let me know how it turns out!
Amy Eastburn says
Excellent!!! I made these for dinner and my boyfriend and I loved the flavor. I skipped the jalapeño but used cilantro in the cabbage lime mix. We will be having this again real soon.
Yay! I am so glad to hear that! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and let me know, Amy!
I’ll try lime and not lemon as I knew….
Natasha @ Salt & Lavender says
Oooh these look so tasty! I just love shrimp tacos!!
Thanks so much Natasha!
Meghan you are so right!! Holidays even though are supposed to be all fun, all about sitting by fireplace and drinking hot chocolate! I know who has time for that?!! It;s so hectic and yes these tacos are so perfect for this mad rush!!
Thanks so much Ami! Yes, sitting by the fire and drinking hot chocolate, lets do more of that!
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says
Mmmmmmm. I love fish tacos, and I imagine these will be just as delicious! They look scrumptious!
Thanks so much Kathy! I like shrimp even better then regular fish sometimes 🙂
Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry says
I don’t really get stressed when it comes to the holidays. I keep it super simple and stick to the classics. Also, I’m not above using shortcuts like pre-made pie dough or stuffing cubes.
But even so, these tacos are great for any weeknight when you are looking for an easy flavor packed recipe.
I have the same mentality Nicole – keep it simple! Thanks so much!
Yummm!! So glad I got back online & get to see this post!
Shrimp Tacos with the lime & avocado sounds divine!! Love your pictures & helpful insight into slowing down the “stress train” & enjoying each other!! I’ll be pinning this & trying it out VERY soon!
Thank you, and thanks for pinning!
Jess @ What Jessica Baked Next says
YUM! These tacos look delicious, Meghan! Love the flavours you’ve added!
Thanks so much Jess!
Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom says
Dang! I’m loving these chili lime shrimp tacos!! I can always go for shrimp! love these! and holiday stress?!!! what stress?!!!! 😛 taking it one day at a time. . 🙂
Exactly Alice! Sometimes even one hour at a time for me, ha! Thanks so much!
My Dish is Bomb says
I always try to get my Christmas shopping done wayyy early in the year so it frees up my December for holiday work, parties, families, etc.! Love having easy recipes during the holidays, and this one looks like a treat. I made fish tacos last week for the first time using pickerel and now I’m totally on the fish taco train and want to try alll the fish. Pinned!
Thanks so much Katy, and for the pin too! I wish I was as organized as you with my Christmas shopping! But I am the worlds biggest procrastinator, so i am lucky if I get it done on time for Christmas 🙂 Maybe this year…
Rachel @the dessert chronicles says
Love easy and delicious taco recipes! These look so good and I can’t wait to give them a try soon.
Thank you so much Rachel!
Ugh tell me about it! I love the holidays and yet I’m already running around like a maniac! Must slow down!
And yay tacos! Taco nights are our favorite!
Taco Time! We are totally on the same wavelength with our recipes lately Ashley! Thanks so much!
These tacos look amazing, Meghan! I love how easy they come together! They’re perfect for the busy holiday season!
Thanks so much Kelly! More time for all the other fun stuff 🙂
You are so right about Holiday stress. I have given myself a “pass” for this year. It is okay if the house isn’t perfectly decorated, it is okay if all the plates don’t match, it is just okay. I think I need to try to be more “in the moment” and enjoy family and friends rather than trying to make everything Pinterest perfect! 🙂
And these Tacos – OMG! These look amazing!
Thank you Annie! Yes, high five to ditching perfection and enjoying the holiday with the people we love! Those are the things we remember anyway 🙂
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet says
P.S. your photos look amazing. Did you try something different with your setup?
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet says
“Let’s all just take a deep breath before we jump in.” Amen sister! And these tacos are total flavor BOMB!! I LOVE shrimp and always keep it in the freezer for when cravings strike. I was planning to make tostadas tonight but I think I might make these instead! 😉 Pinning!
Thank you Lauren! Shrimp in the freezer is a total life saver. Thank you so much for pinning, and for the photography compliment! I recently started shooting in raw and added a few things to my editing process, so that might be what made a difference. I’m always learning and trying to make my photos better, so it is so nice to hear that it shows!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
I agree about the holidays and stress… it’s easy to get caught up and feel like you NEED to be a super hero. I’m with you – prioritize and forget the menial crap. 🙂 LOVING this tacos, chicka. 30 minutes or less to delicious chili lime shrimp tacos makes me extremely happy, and makes me want to use the taco emoji along with the smiley hearts for eyes. lol This is easy dinner perfection! Cheers, my dear!
Haha, yes, heart eye emoji is one of my favorite (competes with side eye emoji for first place). Thank you so much Cheyanne!