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Taco Tuesday is extra exciting with these Blackened Shrimp Tacos on the table! Cajun-spiced and perfectly seared shrimp are wrapped in tortillas and topped with cabbage slaw, chipotle aioli, avocado, and cilantro. Ready in 30 minutes!
One of the best parts of Taco Tuesday is experimenting with different flavors, proteins, and toppings week after week. There are no rules… you can stuff tortillas with seasoned chicken, pork, or salmon, or opt for plant-based fillings instead, like chickpeas, tofu, and even walnuts.
But when you’re craving a bold blend of flavors and textures, these Blackened Shrimp Tacos with cabbage slaw are where it’s at!
They’re quick and easy to make with nothing more than blackened-seasoned and seared shrimp. Once they’re loaded into tortillas, the boldly-flavored shrimp is taken up a notch with zesty and creamy toppings, like cabbage slaw, sliced avocado, cilantro, and creamy chipotle aioli.
- Like these fajitas with blackened shrimp, the shrimp for the tacos are coated in Cajun seasonings, then seared until lightly charred and crisp.
- The smoky shrimp is cooled down with refreshing, creamy toppings. Use what’s listed in the ingredients or experiment with your favorite taco toppings instead.
- They’re quick and easy to make for Taco Tuesday, weeknight dinners, or dinner parties. Regardless of when you serve them, they’ll always ‘wow’ your dinner guests!
Shrimp - Medium, large, or extra-large shrimp will work for this shrimp taco recipe. When you’re shopping, look for fresh, high-quality shrimp that are firm and have a mild oceany aroma. Purchase pre-peeled and deveined shrimp or do it yourself.
Blackening seasoning - I make homemade blackening seasoning with smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and oregano, but you can easily adjust these spices to suit your taste buds. Other common blackening spices are cayenne, thyme, onion powder, and black pepper. Store-bought blackening, Cajun, or Creole seasoning also works.
Tortillas - Both flour and corn tortillas work, so use your favorite.
Toppings - I love topping shrimp tacos with zesty cabbage slaw, avocado, cilantro, and chipotle aioli, but the options are endless! Find more shrimp taco topping ideas in the Tips below.
Step 1: Season the shrimp. Place the peeled and deveined shrimp in a large bowl. Sprinkle the seasonings over the top, then toss to coat.
Step 2: Cook the shrimp. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet. Once it’s hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until they’re no longer translucent.
Step 3: Warm the tortillas. Meanwhile, heat the tortillas in a hot skillet or directly on a gas burner. Also, make the chipotle aioli if you haven’t done so already - it only takes 5 minutes!
Step 4: Assemble the tacos. Fill each tortilla with a few pieces of shrimp, then your favorite taco toppings. Drizzle with the chipotle aioli, and enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel to help the seasonings stick.
- Don’t be shy with the seasoning! Blackened foods are known for pronounced, fiery flavor, so coat your shrimp with an even, generous layer of spices.
- For extra flavorful shrimp, marinate the shrimp in the blackening seasoning for 10 minutes before searing. It’s the same method I use in my Cajun shrimp alfredo, which yields bold, fiery shrimp every time.
- Warming the tortillas in a hot skillet makes them soft and more pliable. In other words, you’ll have mess-free tacos and soft, warm bites.
- Cook the shrimp quickly over high heat. I like searing them in a smoking hot cast-iron skillet, but grilling, air frying, or broiling until they’re pink and opaque with nicely charred edges also works. Be very careful not to overcook!
- More shrimp taco toppings: Pico de gallo, fresh jalapenos, pickled red onions, thinly sliced radishes, lime wedges, corn salsa, pineapple salsa, and guacamole are always a good idea. You also can’t go wrong with a dollop of creamy sauce, like sour cream or spicy avocado dressing.
What’s the best kind of shrimp to use for tacos?
There is no one type of shrimp that’s best for shrimp tacos. However, white shrimp (AKA gulf shrimp or Pacific shrimp) are easy to find and relatively affordable. Rock shrimp and black tiger shrimp also work.
What’s most important is that the shrimp you use are fresh, preferably sustainably sourced, and properly cleaned and deveined before cooking.
What else can you use to season shrimp for tacos?
Blackening, Creole, and Cajun seasoning blends are all bold, spicy, and smoky, and go well with shrimp. Feel free to adjust the ratio of some of the spices if the seasoning blends are too spicy or smoky for your taste buds.
If you like your shrimp tacos on the spicier side, try Mexican-style taco seasoning, fajita seasoning, or a chili lime seasoning blend instead.
If spicy food isn’t your thing, toss the shrimp with freshly minced garlic, fresh oregano, thyme, or parsley, and a pinch of coarse salt.
What goes well with blackened shrimp tacos?
You can’t go wrong pairing these shrimp tacos with Mexican-inspired sides, like cilantro lime rice or Spanish rice, black beans or refried beans, char-grilled veggies, and tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole.
Refrigerator: Once the leftover blackened shrimp is cool to room temperature, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Keep the rest of the taco toppings and tortillas in separate containers in the fridge as well.
Freezing: You can freeze the leftover blackened shrimp for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
More taco recipes to try
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Blackened Shrimp Tacos
For the shrimp:
- Place the shrimp in a large bowl, then sprinkle the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and oregano overtop; stir to combine.
- Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, being careful not to overcook.
- Meanwhile, heat the tortillas either in a skillet or directly over the stove if you have a gas stove. And, if you haven’t already, make the chipotle aioli.
- To assemble: add a few shrimp to each tortilla, then add your taco toppings of choice. Drizzle with the chipotle aioli and enjoy!