Spicy marinated shrimp cooked to tender perfection, topped with a homemade avocado crema and slaw… are you drooling yet? These spicy shrimp tacos with avocado crema are a must make this week!
Shrimp are such a fun seafood to work with, because they are the perfect blank canvas to infuse flavor into. I wanted to have a spicy/smokey taste to these shrimp so I utilized: dark chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano, and garlic. Then followed up with a nice base of avocado oil, lime juice, and some kosher salt.
When buying shrimp, I usually go for the peeled and deveined variety. Cleaning shrimp is kind of tedious if you are short on time. If you do want to clean them remember to remove the vein down the back of the shrimp. I also remove the tails before marinating, so it is less messy than doing it later and rubbing all the flavor off with your fingers.
I remove the tail by pinching the shell all the way at the back. This will allow the tail to free itself and you won’t lose any delicious meat.
Whisk all the marinade ingredients together, place the shrimp in the marinade, and stir until all the shrimps are coated. You can marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to a few hours, shrimp take on flavor pretty quickly.
Next up is the crema! These spicy shrimp tacos are great on their own, but I’ve always been partial to a little sauce on my shrimp tacos. This creamy sauce lends a little heat itself from the jalapeño, but its the perfect contrast to the spices used on the shrimp.
I used avocado, cilantro (perfect time to use some stems!), garlic, lime juice, deseeded jalapeño, avocado oil, and a touch of water for consistency. You can use sour cream for the creamy factor, but I chose to use greek yogurt as a healthier alternative.
I blended all the ingredients and did a few tastings before proceeding. You don’t want it too thick or too thin, so I added 1 tbsp of water and tested it, then added one more before reaching the consistency I wanted. It may taste a bit spicy on it’s own, but it will all mellow out when it’s all put together.
Now for a quick slaw. Using a purple cabbage and a green cabbage, I sliced them on my mandoline (here is my be careful note). If you do not have a mandoline, a knife will do the trick just try to be consistent with your size of cuts.
I added a few spoons of the avocado crema to the slaw and tossed it until evenly coated. You will be using the rest of the avocado crema to drizzle on top of the tacos!
Next is cooking the shrimp. You can either grill them or cook them in a cast iron. I have done them both ways! If you are going to grill them, skewer them on either soaked bamboo sticks or using metal skewers.
Shrimp cook fast! As they start to cook they are going to begin to coil up. If you are cooking them on the stovetop (depending on the size of the shrimp), they will cook in about 5-7 minutes. I flip them to get a nice char/color on each side. If you are grilling the shrimp, same time frame around 5-7 minutes and flip them midway through. A great way to know if shrimp are cooked is if they make a “c” shape (easy to remember because “c” is for cooked!).
Time to assemble our spicy shrimp tacos! I used flour tortillas (toasted them, you can also use corn tortillas), then I spread the slaw, added a few shrimp, drizzled the avocado crema, then topped with some fresh cilantro and served with lime wedges!
The flavors of the spicy grilled shrimp paired with the creamy avocado crema are a match made for your cinco de mayo or any day of the week! These spicy shrimp tacos are a must make!
Love Mexican? Check out these other recipes:
- Carne Asada Tacos
- Chicken Tinga Tacos
- Shredded Chicken Fajitas
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Vegetarian Verde Enchiladas
Made this recipe and loved it? Leave a star rating below!
- 1lb shrimp, uncooked, peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 1 tsp dark chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tsp)
- 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 medium avocado, seed removed and flesh scooped out
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 limes, juiced (3 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 3 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 8-10 small flour or corn tortillas, lightly toasted
- Fresh Cilantro
- Lime Wedges
- In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients: 3 tbsp avocado oil, lime juice, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt. Add in prepped shrimp, stir to coat all the shrimp with marinade. Place in refrigerator and marinate for minimum 30 minutes.
- While the shrimp is marinating, in a food processor add the avocado crema ingredients: avocado, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, yogurt, olive oil, water and kosher salt. Pulse until all the ingredients are smooth. If the consistency is too thick, add another tbsp of water. Set aside.
- Using a mandoline or knife, shred the cabbages. Place in a small bowl, add a few spoons of the crema and toss to combine. Save the rest of the crema to drizzle over the tacos at the end.
- You can either cook the shrimp in a cast iron skillet or grill them. Over medium/high heat place the shrimp into the skillet. Ensure they are all laid flat into the pan and not on top of each other, this will allow for even cooking. Depending on the size of the shrimp, they will cook in about 4-6 minutes. I flip them halfway through to get a nice char/color on each side. If grilling, skewer them so they do not fall through the grates. (see note)
- Assemble the tacos: Place the tortilla down, add a few spoons of the cabbage slaw, add a few shrimps, drizzle avocado crema over the top, garnish with fresh cilantro, serve with lime wedges!
Prepping the shrimp:
- If your shrimp is whole, remove the head first, then the legs, and then proceed to peel off the outer shell
- Make sure the shrimp are deveined: you can ask them to do it at the seafood counter or if doing yourself, cut a shallow slit in back of shrimp where the dark line is and lift it out with a pairing knife
- When removing the tail, pinch all the way at the back so you do not break off any of the tail meat
Is my shrimp cooked?
- Shrimp cook fast, there are a few things to look for to know that your shrimp is cooked.
- Shrimp will turn from translucent to opaque when cooked through
- They will also form a "c" shape, easy to remember because "c" stands for cooked!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 950Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 935mgCarbohydrates: 173gFiber: 10gSugar: 4gProtein: 43g
*Note: Nutrition information is an estimate. Values vary based on different brands and ingredients* *Nutrition also does not take into account marinades*