Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos – This tasty twist on taco night uses marinated shrimp, delicious toppings, and a creamy sauce you’ll LOVE! (Gluten free, dairy free)
It’s always a hit at our house. Any sort of build-your-own dinner tends to go over well with my kids, since we can all eat the same meal and everyone still gets to choose what they like. It means less fussing or whining, and more time to just enjoy good food and chat about the day.
These Shrimp Tacos are a delicious new recipe in our rotation. They come together in about 30 minutes (thank you easy recipe!) and have a fresh, delicious flavor we keep on craving. Here’s how we put them together…
HOW TO BUILD THE BEST CILANTRO LIME SHRIMP TACOS
Soft, warm tortillas pair beautifully with spice-rubbed shrimp, tangy slaw, and a little something creamy to tie everything together. It’s a bright, delicious meal full of color.
A GREAT MARINADE. Our shrimp tacos marinade is SUPER simple–fresh lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, and cilantro. That’s it!
BEAUTIFULLY COOKED SHRIMP. This shrimp cooks in about 1-2 minutes per side, so it’s done in practically no time. You could also totally grill your shrimp or roast it with these directions. Whatever works well for you!
CORN TORTILLAS. We like to warm ours slightly before serving. It takes away the “raw” flavor of the corn tortillas. You can hold them over a gas flame with metal tongs for a few seconds, toss them in a warm pan one at a time & then transfer to a clean dish cloth, or wrap several in a slightly damp dish cloth and put them in the oven on low heat for 5-10 minutes (or microwave. You do you!).
A QUICK, TANGY SLAW. I love adding a quick slaw to my shrimp tacos for color, texture, and flavor. This one is bright, fresh, and light, since it’s made with lime juice instead of heavy with mayo. In a pinch, you can swap shredded lettuce, but I *love* the slaw here.
TOPPINGS! You can add any of your favorite taco toppings here. I love to add avocado (because it’s my one true love), and a drizzle of salsa or a creamy sauce. I love my tomatillo ranch dressing or cilantro lime ranch dressing on top, but southwest ranch is another yummy choice. Then, you could finish things off with other taco faves, like jalapeño slices, diced tomato or pico de gallo, beans, etc.
WHAT DO YOU PUT IN SHRIMP TACOS?
- A quick slaw (I give a good one below!) or shredded lettuce
- Black beans
- Avocado or Guacamole
- Salsa Verde (Green Salsa) or Our Favorite Fresh Salsa
- Something Creamy – You can buy Mexican-style crema at the store, but I prefer using my Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing, Tomatillo Ranch Dressing or Southwest Ranch Dressing.
OTHER WAYS TO SERVE CILANTRO LIME SHRIMP: This shrimp is DELICIOUS and versatile. We love it here in tacos, but you can also use it for taco salads, burrito bowls, wraps, or served on its own with your favorite side dishes.
FAQ + TIPS FOR THE BEST SHRIMP TACOS:
HOW TO PEEL AND DEVEIN SHRIMP. When I can, I save time by buying my shrimp already peeled and deveined, then just pull the tails off before cooking (or buy them without tails!), but if you need a tutorial, here’s how you can do it yourself at home. It’s really not as scary as it sounds!
WATCH YOUR MARINADE TIME. I recommend only letting your shrimp marinade for 5-10 minutes, tops. Otherwise, you run the risk of the lime juice “cooking” or “curing” the shrimp, which can make it a bit tough when cooked in the pan. I mix up the shrimp, heat up my pan, and start cooking them in batches right away.
WHAT SIZE SHRIMP DO YOU USE? Shrimp is sold in “counts” per pound (i.e. 20-30 per pound, 10-12 per pound, etc.). For the photos and video, I used 21-30 count shrimp and had 27 in my 1-lb. bag. You can use small or large shrimp for your shrimp tacos, depending on your budget and preference. Just watch them in the pan, and know that smaller shrimp cook faster.
CAN I USE FROZEN SHRIMP? Yep! I usually do. You just need to let them thaw first. I like to thaw mine in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
IS WILD OR FARMED SHRIMP BETTER? I always recommend checking SeafoodWatch.org (run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium), which shares good, better, and best sources for sustainable fishing, which leads to healthier seas and healthier humans.
CAN I GRILL THE SHRIMP INSTEAD? Yes! I recommend putting it on skewers unless it’s quite large so you don’t lose any between your grill slats. Then, just keep an eye on it. As soon as it’s opaque, it’s done!
MAKE IT A MEAL! TRY SERVING THESE TACOS WITH:
- My Ultimate Guide to Guacamole
- Slow Cooker Refried Beans
- Fresh Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Our Favorite Fresh Salsa
Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos – This tasty twist on taco night uses marinated shrimp, delicious toppings, and a creamy sauce you’ll LOVE! (Gluten free, dairy free, paleo-friendly)
FOR THE SLAW:
- 1 pkg. coleslaw mix (10-14oz) or shredded cabbage
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
- 1/4 tsp. pepper (or more, to taste)
FOR THE SHRIMP:
- 1 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
- 4 Tbsp minced cilantro
- zest of 1 lime (optional)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp olive oil for cooking
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Corn tortillas (at least 8-10)
- Salsa, guacamole, or a creamy sauce like Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing
- Any other favorite taco toppings, such as sliced avocado, black beans, tomato, jalapeño slices, etc.
FIRST, START THE SLAW:
- In a large bowl, stir together coleslaw mix, cilantro, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper.
- Stir to coat well and set aside while you make the shrimp (this’ll give the cabbage time to soften)
NEXT, MAKE THE SHRIMP
- In a medium bowl, combine shrimp, cilantro, lime zest (if using), lime juice, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
- Stir to coat well. Cook immediately, or let it sit 5-10 minutes to marinate a bit.
- When ready to cook, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the shrimp, cook shrimp 1-2 minutes per side, or until opaque and cooked through. (You’ll notice the shrimp turning opaque as you cook the first side. Flip and cook the second side until the rest of the shrimp is fully cooked and opaque).
- Set cooked shrimp aside on a clean plate and repeat with remaining shrimp, adding more olive oil if needed.
- When all the shrimp is cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and return all shrimp to the pan to heat through for serving.
BUILD YOUR TACOS:
- To assemble your tacos, let everyone build their own by adding a few shrimp and a bit of slaw to warm corn tortillas.
- Add any additional desired toppings and enjoy!
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Keywords: Shrimp tacos, tacos, gluten free, dairy free, chili lime shrimp, cilantro lime shrimp, cilantro lime shrimp tacos