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24 November 2021

This is my favorite shrimp tacos recipe with spiced shrimp served on warmed tortillas, topped with crunchy slaw and spicy, creamy jalapeno sauce. So easy to make!

We’re cooking up some seriously amazing Shrimp Tacos in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen tonight, my friends. I think you’re going to love this recipe.

These shrimp tacos are different from your typical recipe sites, which are all pretty much copies of one another. My recipe includes a piquant mix of spices, along with a crispy fresh slaw with Fresno chilies for a bit of crunch factor. Then, it’s all topped with an addictive Southwest style jalapeno sauce that is creamy and incredibly addictive.

No joke, you are going to love the creamy jalapeno sauce. It makes this recipe. I first encountered it in a Southwest style cantina in Florida, and it took me a long time to figure out how to make it. It contains no cream. You just wouldn’t believe it.

This is one of my favorite recipes my friends. I have your dinner tonight right here. No need to wait for Taco Tuesday. We’re having tacos right now!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Let’s talk about how to make shrimp tacos, shall we?

Spicy shrimp Tacos on a plate for serving

Shrimp Tacos Ingredients

  • FOR THE CRUNCHY SLAW
  • Green Cabbage. Red cabbage is good, too, as long as it is nice and crisp.
  • Fresno Pepper. Use jalapeno pepper as a substitute.
  • Cilantro. Fresh chopped. 1/2 cup or so.
  • Lime Juice.
  • Champagne Vinegar. Use white vinegar as a substitute.
  • Honey. For a touch of sweetness.
  • Salt. To taste.
  • FOR THE CREAMY JALAPENO SAUCE
  • Jalapeno Peppers. Yes, you need jalapenos to make jalapeno sauce. 
  • Onion. 
  • Garlic.
  • Neutral Oil. Use corn oil, avocado oil, or a neutral vegetable oil.
  • Salt. To taste.
  • FOR THE SHRIMP TACOS
    Shrimp. Smaller shrimp are easier to work with, as they fit better onto the taco tortillas, but larger shrimp will work. Frozen shrimp is fine to use. Just be sure to thaw it.
  • Seasonings. Garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, cayenne chili powder, white pepper (black pepper is good, too), salt to taste.
  • Olive Oil. For cooking.
  • Tortillas. I’m using flour tortillas today, but you can use corn tortillas.
  • Extra Toppings. Use your favorites. Some suggestions are sliced roasted jalapeno peppers or chiles toreados, chopped avocado, lime wedges, sour cream, your favorite hot sauce. Gotta have hot sauce, my friends!

Shrimp Tacos on a plate with garnish

How to Make Shrimp Tacos – the Recipe Method

MAKE THE SLAW

Toss in a Bowl. Toss together the shredded cabbage, chopped peppers, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, honey and salt in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Crunchy slaw for Shrimp Tacos

MAKE THE CREAMY JALAPENO SAUCE

Jalapenos and Onion. Slice the stems from the jalapeno peppers and add them to a medium sized pot along with the onion.

Boil. Cover with water and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the jalapeno peppers soften up. They will turn dull green and you can pierce them with a fork easily, but do not let them become mushy. Strain but keep the liquid on hand.

Boiling jalapenos, onion and garlic to make creamy jalapeno sauce

Process the Sauce. Add the boiled jalapenos and onion to a food processor along with the garlic, oil and salt. Process until very smooth and creamy, about 4-5 minutes. You can drizzle in the oil a bit at a time if you’d like. This helps with the emulsion process, resulting in a slightly creamer jalapeno sauce.

Looks great, doesn’t it? I love this sauce.

Creamy jalapeno sauce in a food processor for Shrimp Tacos

Adjust the Jalapeno Sauce. If you’d like a thinner sauce, add in a few tablespoons of the reserved boiling water. Taste and adjust for salt.

FOR THE SHRIMP TACOS

Season the Shrimp. Pat the shrimp dry and toss them in a medium bowl with all of the seasonings to coat.

Cook the Shrimp. Heat the oil in a pan to medium high heat and add the shrimp. Cook gently for 4-5 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. Remove from heat.

Cooking spiced shrimp for Shrimp Tacos

Assemble the Tacos. Serve the pieces of shrimp onto warmed tortillas, then top with crunchy cabbage slaw and creamy jalapeno sauce. Don’t forget the hot sauce!

Boom! Done! Shrimp tacos are ready to serve! They look so good, don’t they? All the crunchy slaw, that spicy, creamy jalapeno sauce. I love these! They are definitely my favorite shrimp tacos recipe by far. 

Shrimp Tacos on a plate with extra jalapeno sauce

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Marinate the Shrimp. For additional flavor, marinate your shrimp for 10-15 minutes before cooking. Try my flavorful shrimp marinade recipe, which adds in a ton of flavor. People love this one.
  • The Slaw. I’m using Fresno peppers for this slaw, as they have a nice level of heat similar to a jalapeno pepper, though you can include other peppers to your preference. Use sweet peppers or bell peppers for a no-heat version.
  • The Creamy Jalapeno Sauce. This is a recipe from the American Southwest, which is essentially an emulsion of oil with softened peppers. No cream involved. A neutral oil is ideal here, as the flavors won’t interfere with the jalapeno. You can use olive oil, but olive oil often has quite a strong flavor.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my shrimp tacos recipe, especially with the creamy jalapeno sauce. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how they turned out for you. Keep it spicy!

Shrimp Tacos on a plate

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Shrimp Tacos on a plate, ready to serve

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Shrimp Tacos Recipe with Creamy Jalapeno Sauce

This is my favorite shrimp tacos recipe with spiced shrimp served on warmed tortillas, topped with crunchy slaw and spicy, creamy jalapeno sauce. So easy to make!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: jalapeno, shrimp, spicy, tacos
Servings: 8 tacos
Calories: 199kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE SLAW

  • 1/2 head small green cabbage shredded
  • 1 fresh Fresno pepper chopped (or use a jalapeno)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1 large lime
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar use white vinegar as a substitute
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Sea salt to taste

FOR THE CREAMY JALAPENO SAUCE

  • 4 fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 small onion roughly chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup Neutral oil use corn oil, avocado oil, or a neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

FOR THE SHRIMP TACOS

  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 flour tortillas warmed (or use corn tortillas)
  • EXTRA TOPPINGS: Sliced roasted jalapeno peppers or chiles toreados, chopped avocado, fresh squeezed lime, your favorite hot sauce

Instructions

MAKE THE SLAW

  • Toss together the shredded cabbage, chopped peppers, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, honey and salt in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

MAKE THE CREAMY JALAPENO SAUCE

  • Slice the stems from the jalapeno peppers and add them to a medium sized pot along with the onion.
  • Cover with water and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the jalapeno peppers soften up. They will turn dull green and you can pierce them with a fork easily, but do not let them become mushy. Strain but keep the liquid on hand.
  • Add the boiled jalapenos and onion to a food processor along with the garlic, oil and salt. Process until very smooth and creamy, about 4-5 minutes.
  • If you’d like a thinner sauce, add in a few tablespoons of the reserved boiling water.
  • Taste and adjust for salt.

MAKE THE SHRIMP TACOS

  • Pat the shrimp dry and toss them in a bowl with all of the seasonings to coat.
  • Heat the oil in a pan to medium heat and add the shrimp. Cook gently for 4-5 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. Remove from heat.
  • Serve the pieces of shrimp onto warmed tortillas, then top with crunchy cabbage slaw and creamy jalapeno sauce. Don't forget the hot sauce!

Notes

Nutritional information not estimated for additional toppings.
Store any extra slaw and creamy jalapeno sauce in the fridge in sealed containers for future use.

Nutrition

Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 200mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 393IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg

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