Shrimp Tacos with Slaw

Why are they BOMB Shrimp Tacos? They are made with a zesty shrimp taco seasoning, but it is really the pickled slaw that makes them really stand out.

Shrimp tacos with slaw, jalapeno and sour cream


 

We enjoy tacos any night of the week in our house. No need to wait for Taco Tuesday to enjoy their deliciousness.

But in our years of creating different taco variations and concoctions, there are a few things I’ve come to realize I like about tacos. And that helped me to make the best shrimp tacos recipe ever! The main thing being that I like a mix of hot ingredients, like the meat, and fresh cool ingredients like slaw or fruit.

Slaw doesn’t have to be creamy, in fact one of my most popular recipes is an oil and vinegar slaw. To pair with the succulent shrimp and sweet and spicy sriracha sauce, I wanted crisp and fresh produce.

Stand Out Shrimp Taco Recipe

Zesty tacos that are full of flavor and easy to make- what’s not to love!

  • Great balance of hot and cool – I like a mix of hot ingredients, like the meat, and fresh cool ingredients like slaw or fruit. Hot shrimp with cool slaw makes for the perfect match.
  • Switch up taco night – These shrimp tacos are a nice change from the traditional ground beef tacos that you’re used to.
  • Lots of topping ideas – Aside from the traditional taco toppings, you can top these shrimp tacos with just about anything!
Overhead of best shrimp tacos

Ingredients

With lots of fresh ingredients, you can’t go wrong with these delicious shrimp tacos!

  • Seasonings – This shrimp taco seasoning is a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, cumin, smoked paprika and fine sea salt.
  • Large shrimp – Make sure they are peeled and deveined. You can either buy them this way or do that process yourself.
  • Oil – I like to use either canola or vegetable oil. This is just used for adding to the pan when cooking the shrimp.
  • Red cabbage – This will be the base for our slaw. Make sure it is finely shredded. You can also use green cabbage if you’d like.
  • Red onion – Again, thinly sliced sliced here. Red onion packs more of a punch than yellow or white. It’s also prettier!
  • Cucumber – I like mine to be julienned. Check the section below for instructions on how to do that!
  • Apple cider vinegar – You can use a different vinegar, but I love the flavor this vinegar brings to the slaw.
  • Sugar – Because I like to balance out the acidity with a little sweetness, I add just a touch of white sugar to my slaw.
  • Kosher salt – Different salts measure differently, so keep that in mind if using something other than kosher.
  • Small tortillas – You can use either corn or flour tortillas, but I suggest getting the small ones, sometimes called street tacos. Nearly all tortillas are best warmed.

How to Julienne a Cucumber

It takes a little extra time to julienne, or cut a cucumber into “matchsticks” but it is worth it from an aesthetic and texture perspective. The term matchstick cut comes from the shape- the vegetables are cut into about the size and length of an old school, wood matchstick. This can be used on other vegetables like carrots too.

  1. Place your cucumber on cutting board. 
  2. Cut off and discard ends.
  3. Peel the cucumber using a vegetable peeler, if desired.
  4. Cut into 4 inch pieces. Usually 2-3 sections.
  5. Cut these in half and then cut into small, matchstick looking pieces lengthwise.
red cabbage, cucumber and red onion for slaw

How to Make Shrimp Tacos with Slaw

Marinate, cook, assemble! These tacos are really that easy.

  1. Marinate shrimp. In a medium bowl or plastic bag, combine garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, fine sea salt and shrimp. Massage gently and then allow to marinate.
  2. Cook shrimp. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add shrimp. Cook for a few minutes on each side until shrimp make a loose “C” shape. Remove from heat.
  3. Make slaw. Combine all ingredients for the slaw including red cabbage, red onion, cucumber, apple cider vinegar, sugar and Kosher salt. Toss to combine and set aside until ready to assemble.
  4. Assemble tacos. To assemble, place a few shrimp in each tortilla, top with slaw, jalapeno slices, a spritz of lime juice and dollop of sweet sriracha sour cream.

What to Serve with Shrimp Tacos

You can serve these tacos with just about anything you serve regular tacos with. I like to serve mine with a side of refried beans and mexican rice. You could also do cilantro lime rice. Throw in some homemade tortilla chips and salsa and I’ve got a whole meal.

Of course we can’t forget about the toppings. I like to top mine with a little cotija cheese, fresh cilantro and a drizzle of shrimp taco sauce. You could even throw on some chopped jalapeño peppers if you like things spicy.

shrimp tacos with jalapeno

Variations

There are plenty of ways you can make these shrimp tacos your own. Here are a few options.

  • Make it spicy – Tray adding some raw or jarred jalapenos, hot sauce, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes or add some chile powder to the shrimp marinade.
  • Crispy shrimp – You can even add a little crunch to your tacos and do crispy shrimp by making air fryer breaded shrimp. Bang bang shrimp (boom boom shrimp) also make a great crunchy taco.
  • Tortillas – You can use either corn or flour tortillas, but I suggest getting the small ones, sometimes called street tacos. Nearly all tortillas are best warmed. Some corn tortillas need a double layer since they tend to be a little more fragile.

Storage & Freezing

How to Store Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp is always best fresh, so I highly recommend making this day-of and not ahead. But if you have leftovers, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

You can easily microwave it or heat i quick on the stovetop, but it tends to dry out and be a little rubbery. Add a teaspoon of oil to reheat and add back moisture. Alternately, you can use cold shrimp on salads.

Can I Freeze Shrimp Tacos?

Yes, you can easily freeze shrimp. However, make sure you are freezing the components of these tacos separately.

Delicious shrimp taco recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Kosher or fine sea salt for both?

You can, but adjust accordingly. Kosher salt has larger crystals that take a long time to dissolve in the mouth and also add crunch. The salty flavor takes longer to absorb into a recipe. A tablespoon of kosher salt will actually contain fewer salt crystals than a tablespoon of fine sea salt, but will be less salty.

Are shrimp tacos spicy?

The shrimp aren’t by themselves aren’t that spicy. The sour cream sauce is what brings the (balanced) heat. I did this because my daughter, while she tolerates some heat, isn’t quite ready for Sriracha yet.

Even More Taco Recipes

Taco Tuesday? Pshh..we eat tacos every night of the week! Here are some of our favorite taco recipes.

fish tacos on a platter

Fish Taco Recipe

Easy fish tacos full of flavor with pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, avocado, queso fresco and a special homemade hot sauce.
See The Recipe!
A close up of a plate of food, with Steak and Taco

Jalapeno Lime Flank Steak Tacos

Flank Steak Tacos with a jalapeno lime marinade that will have you craving more. Made with few ingredients and lots of flavor, it's sure to become a family favorite!
See The Recipe!
Korean Beef Tacos are stuffed with seasoned bulgogi beef, fresh veggies, and spicy sauce! These are the best Korean tacos you will ever eat! Easy and tasty! #Koreanbeeftacos #bulgogitacos www.savoryexperiments.com

Korean Beef Tacos

Korean Beef Tacos are stuffed with seasoned bulgogi beef, fresh veggies, and spicy sauce! These are the best Korean tacos you will ever eat!
See The Recipe!
Shrimp Tacos for Pinterest
shrimp tacos with jalapeno

Shrimp Tacos with Slaw

4.67 from 6 votes
Easy shrimp tacos don't get any better than these Shrimp Tacos with Cabbage Slaw! Taco Tuesday will never be the same! Full of fresh flavor and seasoning!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time:: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Shrimp:

Slaw:

Build:

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl or plastic bag, combine garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, fine sea salt and shrimp. Massage gently and then allow to marinate for 20 minutes up to 4 hours.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add shrimp.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until shrimp make a loose "C" shape. Remove from heat.
  • While shrimp are marinating, combine all ingredients for the slaw including red cabbage, red onion, cucumber, apple cider vinegar, sugar and Kosher salt. Toss to combine and set aside until ready to assemble.
  • Te assemble, place 2-3 shrimp in each tortilla, top with slaw, jalapeno slices, a spritz of lime juice and dollop of sweet Sriracha sour cream.
  • If you've tried this recipe come back and let us know how it was!

Nutrition

Calories: 167 kcal, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Protein: 24 g, Fat: 5 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 286 mg, Sodium: 1471 mg, Potassium: 211 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Vitamin A: 495 IU, Vitamin C: 19 mg, Calcium: 179 mg, Iron: 3 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 167
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: shrimp tacos
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Best Shrimp Tacos for Pinterest
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.67 from 6 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    The shrimp tacos to fight for! These would work perfectly to entertain a group of friends or just to have a great weekend!

  2. 5 stars
    These are so tasty and my kids could eat tacos every night of the week. Who needs Taco Tuesday!