Grilled shrimp tacos are the perfect summertime dinner! Juicy, succulent shrimp are marinated in a tangy mix of spices and lime, then grilled to perfection. Serve them in lightly charred corn tortillas and top everything off with a vibrant pineapple slaw for a colorful and festive meal!
We are suckers for quick and easy dinners, especially in the summer! We love to make grilled garlic shrimp, grilled mahi-mahi, grilled red snapper, and more. That’s where grilled shrimp tacos come in. This recipe highlights seafood in a fresh and simple way, but it does not skimp on flavor!
The shrimp is marinated with seasonings like chili powder, cumin, and citrus, infusing it with a robust, smoky flavor. The pineapple slaw adds a crisp texture and a sweet, refreshing tang that perfectly complements the spiciness of the shrimp.
Once grilled, pop your shrimp into warm, tender corn tortillas with a healthy dose of pineapple slaw, or even grilled pineapple salsa for some majorly delicious tacos. Enjoy this vibrant dish outdoors for the perfect meal!
Why You’ll Love Grilled Shrimp Tacos
We have a feeling this grilled shrimp tacos recipe will soon be a part of your regular rotation. Here’s why:
- Quick on the grill: With the help of a grill, this recipe comes together incredibly quickly. It’s perfect for weeknight meals or impromptu gatherings.
- Light & healthy: Made with lean shrimp and a fresh, fruity slaw, these grilled shrimp tacos are well-balanced and nutritious.
- Fun to eat: There's something inherently fun about assembling and eating tacos. This dish is always a hit with both adults and kids!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make these tasty tacos.
- Shrimp: For our shrimp tacos, we generally use medium shrimp (26-30 per pound), but smaller or larger shrimp also work. Just remember to adjust the cooking times accordingly.
- Lime juice: Adds a fresh, tangy flavor that brightens the shrimp and helps tenderize it. If you don’t have any limes on hand, try lemon juice instead.
- Spices: The combination of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne creates a smoky, spicy flavor. If you’re sensitive to spice, omit the cayenne and use smoked paprika. Alternatively, use a store-bought taco seasoning.
- Cabbage: Adds a perfect crunch to the pineapple slaw. You can use red, green, or a mix of both. You can also use shredded lettuce or a coleslaw mix.
- Pineapple: Balances the spice and adds a juicy, tropical flavor profile. You can also try mango or a mix of both mango and pineapple.
- Cilantro: Imparts fresh, aromatic, and lemony notes that round out the entire dish. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, try fresh parsley or basil in its place.
- Red onion: Provides a sharp, savory taste and a pop of color. You can also use regular white or yellow onion in a pinch.
- Olive oil: Helps the seasonings adhere to the shrimp and the slaw, imparting a rich, velvety texture and flavor. If you don’t have olive oil, try avocado or grapeseed oil.
- Corn tortillas: Serve as a gluten-free base for your tacos and add a slightly sweet, earthy flavor. If you prefer, you can use flour tortillas instead.
How To Make Grilled Shrimp Tacos
1. Marinate The Shrimp
Toss the raw shrimp together with some olive oil, lime juice, and all of the seasonings in a bowl until it’s well-coated. Set the bowl aside, which will allow the marinade to fully infuse the shrimp with flavor. Plus, the acid in the lime juice will help tenderize the shrimp.
2. Prepare The Pineapple Slaw
In a separate bowl, mix together the cabbage and pineapple with the herbs and seasonings until everything is evenly mixed. Similar to the shrimp, letting the slaw marinate while you prepare the rest of the meal will mellow out the onions and balance the flavors.
3. Grill The Shrimp
Make sure your grill is preheated to medium-high heat before grilling the shrimp. To make them easier to flip, we also recommend skewering the shrimp. You only need to cook them for a few minutes on each side — just enough to achieve a slight char while retaining their juiciness.
4. Warm The Tortillas
The great thing about grilling shrimp is that you can quickly heat your tortillas up on the side! Grill them for about 20 seconds per side until they're warmed through and have a nice char. This not only enhances their flavor but also makes them more pliable, so don’t skip warming your corn tortillas!
Best Toppings for Grilled Shrimp Tacos
To enhance the flavors even more, top your grilled shrimp tacos recipe with garnishes like these:
- Lime wedges
- Pickled Red Onions
- Avocado or Guacamole
- Corn salsa or pineapple salsa
- Mexican coleslaw
- Mango salsa
- Habanero salsa
Side Dish Ideas
If you’re looking for a more hearty and satisfying meal, serve some of these dishes on the side:
Storage & Reheating
If you end up with leftover shrimp tacos, you’re in luck! Follow these tips to keep everything fresh:
- Fridge: Store leftover grilled shrimp and pineapple slaw separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: We don’t recommend freezing this recipe since both the slaw and shrimp will change in texture once thawed again.
- Reheating: Reheat the shrimp in a skillet on the stovetop over medium until warmed through. Give the slaw a mix and add a squeeze of lime if needed.
Customize Your Tacos
Flexibility is the key when it comes to making grilled shrimp tacos. Here are a few ideas to make this recipe your own:
- Protein: Instead of shrimp, opt for grilled fish or chicken if you prefer a different taste.
- Toppings: Add more flavor with toppings like corn, avocado salsa, or pico de gallo.
- Chips: Serve the shrimp and slaw with tortilla chips instead of tortillas for an extra crunch.
- Extra spicy: Increase the heat with a tablespoon or so of fresh or pickled jalapeños or hot sauce.
- Creamy: Try a creamy dressing, like chipotle sauce, Greek yogurt, sour cream, or Mexican crema. Or, garnish them with some queso fresco or Cotija cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making these tasty shrimp tacos.
Yes, you can use frozen shrimp for this recipe. Just make sure to thaw and drain them fully before marinating and grilling.
You’ll know the shrimp are completely cooked when they turn opaque and pink. This usually takes about 2 minutes per side on the grill.
If you don’t have a grill, you can absolutely cook shrimp in a pan. Just heat up the pan before adding the shrimp and cook them for about 2-3 minutes per side until they are pink and opaque.
Easy Grilled Shrimp Tacos
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- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 lime, juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 cups shredded cabbage (red, green, or both)
- 1 cup pineapple, diced (or mango)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- Salt and pepper
- 8 corn tortillas
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- Nutritional Information
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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