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Simply Irresistible Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Sauce

These shrimp tacos stand out from the crowd. They are made with tender shrimp that have a crispy crust. They’re topped with a slaw of cabbage and radish, and a spicy shrimp taco sauce. Many people love this recipe because it’s quick and easy, ready in 30 minutes.

To start, you’ll need some basic ingredients. Choose between corn or flour tortillas and get some medium-sized shrimp. You’ll also need cornstarch, avocado oil, garlic, cabbage, radishes, cilantro, lime wedges, jalapenos, black pepper, kosher salt, mayonnaise, sour cream, sriracha, and water. It’s best to buy frozen shrimp and thaw them yourself for freshness.

The shrimp taco sauce is key. It combines mayonnaise, sour cream, and sriracha. You can adjust the spiciness to your taste, making it as mild or hot as you want.

Assemble the tacos by charring the tortillas a bit for smokiness. Fry the shrimp until they’re golden and crispy. Load each tortilla with shrimp, slaw, and cilantro. Then, dress with the shrimp taco sauce. Add lime and sliced jalapenos for extra flavor.

Whether it’s a quick dinner or you’re hosting, these shrimp tacos are sure to delight. Their mix of flavors and textures is truly unique and addictive.

Key Takeaways:

  • These shrimp tacos feature crispy shrimp, crunchy slaw, and a creamy and spicy sauce, making them irresistibly delicious.
  • The recipe is quick and easy, taking only 30 minutes from start to finish, making it perfect for weeknight dinners or entertaining guests.
  • Ensure the freshness of the shrimp by buying frozen shrimp and thawing them at home.
  • The shrimp taco sauce only needs three ingredients to achieve that perfect balance of creaminess and spiciness.
  • Remember to lightly char the tortillas, fry the shrimp until golden and crispy, and top with slaw and cilantro for the best flavor.

Ingredients and Preparation

When making shrimp tacos, choosing the right ingredients and preparing them correctly is key.

Buying Shrimp

For the best flavor, buying frozen shrimp and thawing them yourself is ideal. If you opt for thawed shrimp, check that they’re firm, not slimy, and smell fresh. To pick the best shrimp, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Look for shrimp that are firm and have a fresh ocean scent.
  2. Choose shrimp from sustainable sources, like wild-caught or responsibly farmed options.
  3. Pick shrimp that fit your recipe’s size and preparation needs, such as shell-on or peeled.

Thawing frozen shrimp right is crucial for keeping their texture and taste. Try these two methods:

  1. Overnight in the fridge: Put the frozen shrimp in a container and let them thaw in the fridge. It takes at least 8 hours.
  2. Quick thaw in cold water: Short on time? Put frozen shrimp in a sealed bag in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. They thaw in about 30 minutes to an hour.

Preparing Shrimp

Make sure your shrimp are peeled and deveined before cooking. Here’s how:

  1. Peeling shrimp:
    • Twist off the head if it’s still on.
    • Peel from the legs to the tail.
    • To remove the tail, hold the peeled shrimp near it and pull gently.
  2. Deveining shrimp:
    • Make a shallow cut along the shrimp’s back with a paring knife.
    • Remove the vein with the knife’s tip or rinse it off.
    • It’s a good idea to devein shrimp for a cleaner look and to remove grit.

Don’t forget fresh ingredients like garlic, cilantro, lime, and veggies. They add great flavors to your shrimp tacos.

“Good ingredients and the right prep methods mean delicious shrimp tacos with top-notch taste and texture.”

Table – Shrimp Buying Guide

Quality Indicators What to Look For
Freshness Firmness, pleasant ocean smell
Sustainability Wild-caught or responsibly farmed
Specific Recipe Requirements Size, shell-on or peeled

Image Caption: Freshly cooked shrimp tacos with a vibrant cilantro sauce.

Recipe Tips and Mistakes to Avoid

For the perfect shrimp tacos, follow these tips and avoid common errors for the best results:

  1. Use fresh ingredients: Fresh garlic, cilantro, and lime can make a significant difference in the flavor of your shrimp tacos. Opt for freshly squeezed lime juice and minced garlic for a vibrant and zesty taste.
  2. Customize the sauce: Adjust the heat level of the shrimp taco sauce to your liking. Add more sriracha sauce for a spicier kick or mix in other hot sauces or a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra heat boost.
  3. Add extra flavor: Enhance the flavor of your shrimp tacos by charring the tortillas on an open gas flame. This simple step adds a smoky note that complements the shrimp and toppings perfectly. You can also experiment with additional toppings like sliced avocado, crumbled queso fresco, or a sprinkle of chili powder for added depth of flavor.
  4. Prepare the sauce ahead of time: Save time on the day of cooking by making the shrimp taco sauce in advance. This sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, allowing the flavors to meld together for a bolder taste.
  5. Don’t overcook the shrimp: Overcooking shrimp can result in a rubbery texture. Cook them just until they turn opaque and curl up into a “C” shape. This ensures that the shrimp remain tender and juicy.
  6. Avoid overcrowding the pan: When frying the shrimp, avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook them in batches if needed to ensure that each shrimp cooks evenly and develops a crispy crust. Using a high-heat oil like avocado or grapeseed oil can help prevent the shrimp from burning.
  7. Thaw shrimp evenly: Thaw frozen shrimp completely and evenly to ensure consistent cooking. Uneven thawing may result in some shrimp being undercooked while others are overcooked.
  8. Coat the shrimp with cornstarch: Don’t skip the cornstarch coating for the shrimp. This step helps create a crispy texture that contrasts perfectly with the tender shrimp inside.
  9. Don’t over-sauce the tacos: Be mindful of not over-saucing the tacos, as too much sauce can make them soggy and overpower the other flavors. Start with a drizzle of the shrimp taco sauce and add more if desired.

recipe tips and mistakes to avoid when making shrimp tacos

By following these recipe tips and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll make delicious and mouthwatering shrimp tacos with cilantro sauce. Enjoy!

Serving and Variations

Shrimp tacos can be served in many ways. You can enjoy them on their own or with sides. Here are some tasty options to pair with your shrimp tacos:

Toppings and Accompaniments

You can boost shrimp tacos by adding these toppings:

  • Finely chopped cabbage and radishes for a refreshing crunch
  • Lime wedges for a burst of citrusy tang
  • Pickled or fresh jalapeno slices for an extra kick of heat

These toppings make the dish vibrant. They balance the flavors, matching the shrimp and other ingredients well.

Taco Bar Experience

Setting up a taco bar is great for parties or gatherings. It lets guests make tacos their way. Here are taco bar ideas:

  • Various toppings like diced tomatoes, sliced onions, and chopped cilantro for guests’ choice
  • Assorted sauces and salsas for more flavor options
  • Warm tortillas, both corn and flour, for different dietary needs

A taco bar makes dining interactive and fun for everyone.


Shrimp is popular for tacos, but you can try other proteins. Or make vegetarian-friendly tacos. Here are variations to explore:

Protein Options Vegetarian Options
Grilled chicken Pan-seared paneer
Grilled fish cubes Sautéed tofu

For these variations, just switch the protein. For vegetarians, you might use tempeh or potatoes. The spice rub and cooking stays the same. So, you get to try different tastes without losing the dish’s essence.

Plant-Based Adaptations

If you’re on a plant-based diet, shrimp tacos can still be on your menu. Here’s how:

  • Instead of shrimp, use grilled or sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or corn
  • Try vegan options like tempeh or tofu with similar marinades
  • For a vegan-friendly slaw, choose agave syrup or brown rice syrup over honey

With these changes, you can still enjoy shrimp taco flavors while following your diet.

Shrimp tacos are versatile. You can stick with traditional shrimp, try new proteins, or go for vegan and vegetarian options. There’s a version of shrimp tacos for everyone to love and enjoy.

variations of shrimp tacos


Shrimp tacos with cilantro sauce are both tasty and flexible, perfect for any time. They blend soft shrimp, crunchy slaw, zesty cilantro sauce, and warm tortillas for an amazing meal. If you pick the right ingredients and follow the recipe carefully, making terrific shrimp tacos at home is easy.

These tacos are a crowd-pleaser, whether for a casual dinner or a fun get-together. The mix of shrimp, slaw, and cilantro sauce flavors work together perfectly. They create a rich taste experience with every bite. Feel free to try different toppings and twists to match what you like.

Now, get your ingredients ready, and follow the steps to make these tacos. Your taste buds will be overjoyed by this tasty dish!


What type of shrimp should I use for the shrimp tacos?

Medium-sized shrimp are best for this recipe. Purchase frozen shrimp and thaw them for the freshest flavor.

How do I thaw frozen shrimp?

For thawing shrimp, you’ve got two methods. Leave them in the fridge overnight. Or, put them in a sealed bag in cold water for 30 minutes.

How do I peel and devein raw shrimp?

Start by twisting off the head if it’s still on. Peel from the legs to the tail segment. To remove the tail, hold the shrimp near it and pull gently.To devein, make a shallow cut down the back. Use a knife’s tip to lift out the vein.

What are some recipe tips for making shrimp tacos?

Fresh garlic, cilantro, and lime make the dish tastier. Adjust the heat in the sauce with sriracha or hot sauce. Char the tortillas on a gas flame for extra flavor.Add avocado, queso fresco, or chili powder for toppings. Ensure the shrimp are fully thawed for even cooking. The cornstarch coating makes the shrimp crispy. Don’t add too much sauce; it can make the tacos soggy and hide other tastes.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when making shrimp tacos?

Always use fresh spices for a lively taste. Avoid putting too many shrimps in the pan to cook them well. Choose a high-heat oil like avocado to prevent burning.Ensure the shrimp are properly thawed. Overcooking shrimp makes them tough. Apply sauce moderately to prevent the tacos from becoming soggy.

What can I serve with shrimp tacos?

Top them with chopped cabbage and radishes. Add lime wedges and jalapeno slices for extra zing. Offering a taco bar with various toppings lets guests customize their tacos.

Can I make variations of shrimp tacos?

Absolutely. You can switch shrimp with chicken, fish, paneer, tofu, tempeh, or potatoes. Keep the spice rub and cooking technique the same.For a vegan option, replace honey with agave or brown rice syrup in your cilantro lime slaw.

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