Yes these tacos are every bit as DELICIOUS as they sound! Made with spicy marinated shrimp, tangy jalapeño-cabbage slaw and cool and creamy avocado crema. Chipotle Shrimp Tacos are full of flavor and perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
Chipotle shrimp tacos are the perfect recipe to keep in your back pocket for fast, flavorful dinners. They have three main components: shrimp, slaw and avocado crema:
Shrimp: Frozen shrimp work great. If you’re going to use frozen shrimp just be sure to defrost them first. Then, they get marinated with tangy chipotle peppers, smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano and a little bit of brown sugar to balance out the spice.
Jalapeño Slaw: This tangy cabbage slaw adds a ton of crunch to these tacos. It’s tossed with freshly squeezed lime juice and cilantro.
Avocado Crema: Made with sour cream, mayo, avocado and lime this cool and creamy crema expertly balances out the heat of the chipotle and jalapeño.
Note: To cut some time off your dinner prep the avocado crema and jalapeño slaw can be made well in advance–up to 24 hours. The shrimp can be marinated ahead of time too that way once dinner time hits all you need to do is cook the shrimp and assemble your tacos. Easy peasy!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Here’s everything you need to make this recipe: shrimp (frozen is fine), oregano, garlic or onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle peppers in adobo, brown sugar or honey, sour cream, mayo, avocado, lime, onion, cabbage, cilantro, jalapeño and warm corn tortillas for serving.
*See recipe card for additional notes and ingredient substitutions.*
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Chipotle Marinated Shrimp
If you’re in a hurry the shrimp can be tossed in marinade and cooked right away, but if you have the time its preferable to let them marinated for 3-4 hours or even overnight for a more intense flavor. Cook them in a hot cast iron pan or on the grill until cooked through and slightly charred.
Pro Tip: For fast and easy dinners keep a bag of frozen shrimp in your freezer at all times! Unlike other types of shellfish and seafood, shrimp hold up really well to freezing. They defrost quickly, cook up in minutes and can be used so many different ways. The best way to defrost shrimp is overnight in the refrigerator. In a hurry? Place the frozen shrimp in a colander and run them under tepid tap water and they’ll be ready in minutes.
Step 2. Jalapeño Slaw
Thinly slice the slaw ingredients either with a sharp knife or on a mandoline. Just before you’re ready to assemble your tacos toss the slaw with lime juice and salt.
Step 3. Avocado Crema
The avocado crema can be blended together in a food processor or blender. Note, if you’re anti-mayo (looking at you, Mom) you can skip it and just use all sour cream.
Step 4. Assemble and Serve
To serve, char your tortillas on an open flame or warm them in a cast iron pan then pile each tortillas with crema then shrimp and lastly, slaw. Serve with lime wedges, hot sauce and your favorite zesty salsa.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Not to be dramatic but eating corn tortillas straight from the package should be a criminal offense. They absolutely must to be warmed first to avoid them being cold and rubbery. Luckily it’s quick and easy to do and there’s a couple different methods you can try. The first way is to wrap them up in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30-45 seconds. The second way is to preheat a dry (no oil) cast iron pan, place the tortillas into the pan one at a time heating both sides until they start to get some color. The last way, and my personal go-to method is to place them directly on top of a gas burner over medium-low heat. Watch them carefully and as soon as they start to blacken around the edges–about 30-45 seconds–flip them over and repeat on the other side. The result is a soft and tender tortilla with lots of flavorful smokey bits.
Check Out More Delicious Mexican-Inspired Recipes:
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Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Jalapeño Slaw and Avocado Crema
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined, tails removed
- 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo minced
- 2 tsp garlic or onion powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp brown sugar or honey
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 jalapeño thinly sliced into rounds
- 1/2 loosely packed cilantro leaves and stems roughly chopped
- 1/2 white or red onion thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 corn tortillas
- lime wedges
- Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels then transfer them to a medium-sized mixing bowl along with the chipotle peppers garlic, paprika, oregano, brown sugar and salt. Heat a drizzle of oil a large skillet over medium high heat. The shrimp then can be cooked straight away or covered and placed in the refridgerator to marinate for 3-4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add a small splash of oil to the pan followed by the shrimp. Cook, flipping occasionally, until the shrimp are bright pink, slightly blackend and cooked through–about 5-7 minutes.
- Place the cabbage, jalapeño, cilantro and onion into a mixing bowl. Just before you’re ready to assemble your tacos toss the slaw with lime juice and salt.
- Pulse all of the crema ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend you can add a few tablespoons of water. Taste and season with additional salt and lime juice as necessary.
- To serve, char your tortillas on an open flame or warm them in a hot cast iron pan then pile each tortillas with crema then shrimp and lastly, slaw. Serve with lime wedges, hot sauce and your favorite zesty salsa.
- Shrimp: Fresh is great, frozen works too just be sure to defrost them first. Aim for a medium-large shrimp, about 21/26 count.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: Canned, smoked, dried jalapeños rehydrated in tomato sauce. Substitute: gojuchang, sriracha or Mexican hot sauce.
- Spices (Garlic Powder, Smoked Paprika, Oregano) : You can really play around with the spices here. Cumin would be a great addition or substitution as would dried chili powder. If you don’t have smoked paprika a sweet or Hungarian paprika would be just fine.
- Mayonnaise: If you don’t do mayo just use all sour cream.
- Not to be dramatic but eating corn tortillas straight from the package should be a criminal offense. They absolutely must to be warmed first to avoid them being cold and rubbery. Luckily it’s quick and easy to do and there’s a couple different methods you can try. The first is to wrap them up in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30-45 seconds. Second, preheat a dry (no oil) cast iron pan, place the tortillas into the pan one at a time heating both sides until they start to get some color. Last and my personal go-to method is to place them directly on top of a gas burner over medium-low heat. Watch them carefully and as soon as they start to blacken around the edges–about 30-45 seconds–flip them over and repeat on the other side. The result is a soft and tender tortillas with lots of flavorful smokey bits.