This easy, spicy shrimp tacos recipe is great for busy nights! Spiced, juicy shrimp served with your favorite toppings in a warm tortilla.
I adore seafood and my favorite is shrimp. When you cook with shrimp you know you’re getting a quick, easy, and tasty treat meal and this shrimp taco recipe is no exception.
This recipe is a real crowd-pleaser because gives you everything you need for the spicy shrimp, but allows you to choose your own toppings so everyone gets a taco just how they like it!
Why This Recipe Works
- Using authentic Mexican spices keeps this recipe easy without skimping on flavor.
- Coated in a pantry-friendly spice mix, this recipe is prepared in a snap!
- Leaving the toppings flexible makes this a recipe anyone can enjoy.
Shrimp Buying Guide
There are a lot of choices when buying shrimp. Here’s some guidance for making the best purchase.
- Fresh isn’t as fresh as you think. Just because shrimp is presented raw doesn’t mean it’s fresh. Only a small proportion (around 10%) sold in the United States comes from the United States. The rest is imported, so it is probable that it has already been frozen. Make sure you ask on the counter and do not buy defrosted.
- When buying frozen, choose shrimp that are individually frozen instead of in a block, that way you can thaw exactly what you need. For detailed information on this topic, see my post on how to thaw frozen shrimp
- Buy untreated shrimp. Some manufacturers chemically treat shrimp so check the package ingredients and make sure “Shrimp” is the only ingredient listed.
- Shrimp – I use large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound). If you use different sized shrimp, cooking size will vary. You can use raw from the fish counter or thawed frozen shrimp. For more information on this, see my article on how to thaw shrimp.
- Garlic granules– I prefer the granules over garlic powder as it gives a nice texture to the coating, but you can use garlic powder if you like.
- Chili Powder – Chili Powder (Not to be confused with chile powder) is a commonly used American spice mix used many Mexican style dishes. It’s most often made up of ground chili pepper, paprika, garlic, and cumin. It’s not as hot as ground chili pepper so if you can’t get it where you are, use a half teaspoon of paprika, an eighth teaspoon of cyan pepper.
- Cumin – I use freshly ground cumin seeds for the best possible flavor, but ground cumin will work too.
For Fresh From Sratch Flavor
I created this recipe to make it an easy, weeknight pantry meal so it doesn’t call for any fresh ingredients, but I often add fresh chopped garlic to the pan with the shrimp at the end and then cook it for 30 seconds. Then I finish with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime for brightness.
How To Make Shrimp Tacos
- Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
- Mix the taco seasoning mix until combined.
- Coat the shrimp in the seasoning mix.
- Heat oil, sear seasoned shrimp for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Serve on a warm tortilla with your favorite toppings.
Step By Step Instructions
Pat dry the shrimp with paper towels.
Add the seasoning ingredients to a small bowl and mix to combine.
Coat the shrimp with the seasoning.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the shrimp to the hot oil.
Cook to a good sear on both sides.
Assemble on tortillas with toppings. My family uses both corn and flour tortillas.
Serve and enjoy!
How To Tell When Shrimp Are Cooked
Shrimp cook very quickly, so is it’s best to stay on top of them as they cook. As a shrimp cook, they change in shape going from a horseshoe shape to a half circle shape when perfectly cooked. If they start to form a circle, they are starting to over cook and should be removed from the pan!
Alternatively, for the most accurate results, you can use a meat thermometer and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F/62°C.
Erren’s Top Tips
- Don’t overcrowd the pan for the best sear on the shrimp. Overcrowding will cause the shrimp to steam instead of brown. When in doubt, it’s best to cook in batches.
- Avoid non stick pans when searing food. Nonstick surfaces make it difficult to get a good, brown sear without overcooking.
Other Great Recipes
Serve with shredded lettuce, salsa, and guacamole to make it more substantial.
Tacos taste great paired with Margaritas, Mojitos, Mexican Beer, crisp white wine, or even rose!
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Let’s Make Easy Spicy Shrimp Tacos
For The Shrimp
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined, tails removed
- 2 tablespoon oil
For the Seasoning Mix
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoon chili powder*
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper more to taste
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 tortillas flour or toasted corn tortillas
- Toppings of your choice
- Pat dry the shrimp dry well with paper towels.
- Add all the seasoning spices to the seasoning mix to a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the shrimp to the bowl and coat well.
- Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer, and sear undisturbed for 1-2 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side until cooked.
- Assemble on tortillas and serve.