These Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos are what weeknight dinners should always be—fresh, healthy and incredibly easy to throw together! 

spiced shrimp in tortillas with slaw and avocado spread

Why I Love This Recipe

First off, shrimp is a weeknight warrior. It’s quick-thawing, quick-cooking, and a delicious, versatile protein. This recipe celebrates all that, and then some!

The shrimp get tossed with chili powder and coriander and are cooked up in less than 5 minutes. They then get piled into charred tortillas with a dreamy avocado crema and a simple cilantro-lime slaw. Creamy, crunchy, spiced and satisfying! 

cilantro, shrimp, yogurt, limes, cabbage, red onion, chile, spices and avocado measured out on a counter

Grocery List for These Tacos

Produce

  • ½ medium green cabbage
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • 1 serrano, optional (jalapeño also works)
  • 1 avocado 
  • 1 clove garlic

Protein + Dairy

  • 1 small container whole milk plain regular yogurt
  • 1 pound 26/30 shrimp (labeled extra-large)

Pantry

  • olive oil and avocado oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ground coriander
  • chili powder
  • 6-inch corn tortillas or flour tortillas

How to Make Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos

  1. For the cilantro lime slaw, whisk together the lime vinaigrette in a large bowl. Add the shredded cabbage, red onion, cilantro and serrano and toss to coat; season with salt.
  2. For the avocado crema, blend the avocado, yogurt, lime juice, garlic, coriander, salt and pepper in a mini food processor or blender until smooth.
  3. For the shrimp, combine chili powder, coriander, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. 
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet until shimmering, add the shrimp in an even layer and cook, without moving for 2 minutes. Flip, continue to cook 1 minute then remove from heat and sprinkle lime zest over top. 
  5. Serve the shrimp, avocado cream and slaw in charred tortillas. 
spiced shrimp in tortillas with slaw and avocado spread. tacos set in small parchment-lined baking sheets

How to Quickly Thaw Shrimp

Stocking your freezer with frozen shrimp is one of the best things you can do to ease the daily dinner woe. If you’re a planner and tend to think ahead, pop the frozen bag of shrimp into the fridge the day prior to when you plan to use them—the shrimp will thaw overnight in the fridge.

For those of us who rarely think ahead, thawing shrimp in a snap is possible and very easy. Here’s how to quickly thaw shrimp: dump the frozen shrimp into a bowl and cover the shrimp with cold water. Let the shrimp sit in the water for 10–20 minutes (depending on size) until thawed. I recommend draining and refilling the water a few times—this will speed up the process. 

Be sure to use cold water—warm water will change the texture of the shrimp and, not surprisingly, hot water will start to cook the shrimp.

You’ll know the shrimp are thawed when no ice layer remains on the exterior of the shrimp and the shrimp are tender when lightly squeezed.

Before cooking the shrimp, arrange them on a paper-towel-lined plate or baking sheet and pat dry. This step is especially important if you plan to sear or sauté the shrimp—if you don’t dry them, they’ll just steam in the pan.

spiced shrimp in tortillas with slaw and avocado spread. tacos set in small parchment-lined baking sheets

Variations the Recipe:

  • Skip the avocado crema and instead top the tacos with sour cream and hot sauce.
  • Thread the spiced shrimp onto a skewer and grill the shrimp instead of searing on the stove top.
  • Simply season the shrimp with salt and lime zest.

What to Serve With Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos 

Print
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spiced shrimp in tortillas with slaw and avocado spread. tacos set in small parchment-lined baking sheets

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Crema

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 small tacos (24 servings) 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean-American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Spiced shrimp served in charred tortillas with garlic lime avocado crema and cilantro lime slaw.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ medium head green cabbage, shredded (6 cups/or 1 lb.)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (1 cup)
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 serrano, thinly sliced, optional
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
  • ¼ cup whole milk plain regular yogurt
  • 1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 pound 26/30 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6-inch corn or flour tortillas, for serving

Instructions

  1. For slaw, whisk together 3 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper. Add shredded cabbage, cilantro, red onion, and serrano, if using, and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
    cabbage, red onion, cilantro, and serrano in a large bowl.
  2. For avocado sauce, combine avocado, yogurt, 1 tablespoon lime juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon coriander, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a mini food processor.
    avocado, yogurt, garlic, spices in a mini food processor
  3. Process until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Set aside.
    avocado crema in a food processor
  4. For shrimp, combine chili powder, remaining 1 teaspoon coriander, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels then add to bowl with spices and toss to coat.
    raw shrimp on paper towels
  5. Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium until shimmering.
    seasoned shrimp in a skillet
  6. Add shrimp in an even layer and cook, without moving, until bottom sides of shrimp are browned and starting to curl, 2 minutes. Flip shrimp and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and sprinkle 1 teaspoon lime zest over top.
    cooked shrimp in a skillet with lime zest over top
  7. To warm tortillas, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high, place tortillas in skillet and warm until starting to become toasty, 15–30 seconds each side. Or, for a quicker option, place tortillas over medium-low open flame on stove top and warm, flipping occasionally, until warmed and starting to char.
  8. To assemble, spread avocado sauce on one half of each tortilla, scoop slaw onto other half, then nestle three shrimp right in middle. Sprinkle lime zest over top and serve with additional slaw on side.


Notes

Gluten-free: serve in corn tortillas.

Dairy-free: use dairy-free yogurt to make the avocado crema.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 tacos
  • Calories: 399
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 918mg
  • Fat: 19g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 29g
  • Cholesterol: 225mg

Keywords: cilantro lime shrimp tacos

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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