If you love shrimp tacos, you know that serving them with the perfect shrimp taco sauce is crucial! This easy-to-make recipe combines tangy Greek yogurt, creamy mayo, and a blend of fresh herbs and spices, creating a versatile recipe that pairs with virtually any dish.
Shrimp taco sauce is a creamy and refreshing condiment that can be ready in a matter of minutes. It’s delicious on shrimp tacos but can also be used in so many other dishes. Inspired by the bold and vibrant flavors of Mexico, this sauce showcases seasonings like cilantro, lime, and a touch of jalapeño.
You can also experiment with different recipe variations by adding ingredients like avocado, mango, or chipotle pepper for a unique twist. No matter how you use it, this shrimp taco sauce will surely be a hit at your next gathering or family dinner.
We also love making this smoky fish taco sauce made with chipotle peppers, yogurt, Mexican crema, and a touch of honey. It tastes great on any seafood taco.
Why You’ll Love Shrimp Taco Sauce
- Customizable: This sauce can be customized to your liking by adjusting the spice, tanginess, or creaminess. Plus, you can easily make a dairy-free version.
- Versatile: While it is called shrimp taco sauce, you can serve this condiment on pretty much anything! Think Buddha bowls, taquitos, quesadillas, or tostadas.
- Healthier: By using Greek yogurt as part of the base, you can achieve the creaminess of traditional taco sauce without as much added fat and calories.
- Flavor-packed: The combination of ingredients like cilantro, lime, green chiles, garlic, and yogurt results in an ultra-vibrant, creamy, and refreshing sauce.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make this tasty condiment.
- Greek yogurt: Provides a tangy flavor and a creamy texture. You can substitute regular yogurt or sour cream for a similar texture and flavor. Mexican crema is another really good option if you want a more traditional flavor.
- Mayonnaise: Adds richness to the sauce. Again, you can substitute sour cream for mayonnaise or use plain yogurt for a lighter option. Or use Mexican crema.
- Lime: Both lime juice and zest create a tart and zesty flavor, which complements the flavors of shrimp tacos incredibly well. Use lemon juice and zest if you don’t have limes on hand.
- Cilantro: Imparts a fresh, herbaceous, and lemony flavor. If you don't like cilantro, you can try replacing it with fresh parsley.
- Green onion: Adds a mild onion flavor that gives a subtle depth of flavor to the sauce. If you don’t have green onion available, try regular onion or shallots instead.
- Garlic: For a pungent and aromatic element that rounds out the sauce. You can use garlic powder if you don't have fresh garlic, but fresh is our preferred choice!
- Jalapeño: Provides a subtle kick and a garden-fresh flavor. You can substitute serranos for more heat or try poblano for a milder spice level.
- Salt and pepper: Din’t skimp on the salt in this recipe. If it tastes bland at all, it means that it is lacking salt. Kosher or sea salt is best.
Serving Ideas for Shrimp Taco Sauce
As we mentioned, there are so many incredible dishes to serve shrimp taco sauce with. We’ve listed a few more ideas, but get creative with it!
- Shrimp Tacos
- Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Mushroom Tacos
- Southwest Chicken Rice Bowl
- Zucchini Taco Boats
- Shrimp Tostadas
This sauce also tastes amazing combined with shredded cabbage to make a quick slaw for any kind of taco.
If you have leftover shrimp taco sauce, keep these simple storage instructions in mind:
- Fridge: You can store shrimp taco sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Freezer: We don’t recommend freezing this shrimp taco sauce as it may separate and the herbs will lose their flavor.
- Prep ahead: You can make this shrimp taco sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. We find this sauce is best when it’s had a bit of time to sit in the fridge so the flavors meld together.
Variations and Recipe Ideas
There are so many ways to customize this sauce and make it unique.
- Chipotle: Throw in a few chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (instead of fresh jalapenos) for a smoky and spicy flavor. Chili powder is another easy option for a smokier flavor.
- Mango: To sweeten the sauce and add a tropical touch, try blending ripe mango chunks with the rest of the ingredients. Pineapple is another tasty option. Or serve it alongside mango salsa with black beans.
- Roasted garlic: Roast a few cloves of garlic and add them to the mixture for a caramelized and sweet garlic flavor.
- Avocado: For a smooth, creamy texture, add some ripe avocados to the sauce in place of some of all of the yogurt or mayonnaise.
- Pickled jalapenos: If you prefer a vinegary flavor, use pickled jalapenos instead of fresh.
- Non-spicy: Simply leave out the jalapeno if you want a creamy sauce without any extra heat or spice. Add a touch of cumin for some smoky flavor without any heat.
- Non-dairy: Use vegan mayo or coconut yogurt instead of Greek yogurt and regular mayo to make a non-dairy version of the sauce suitable for a plant-based diet.
Tips for Making Shrimp Taco Sauce
Follow these easy steps to make sure your sauce turns out delicious every time.
- Zest the lime properly: For the best flavor, use a microplane or zester to remove the zest from the lime.
- Quality ingredients: Source fresh, high-quality ingredients for this sauce, especially when it comes to herbs and citrus.
- Seed the jalapeño: To prevent an overly spicy shrimp taco sauce, don’t forget to remove the seeds and white membranes from the jalapeño pepper.
- Chill the sauce: Prepare the sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld together and intensify. Plus, it’s much more refreshing when it’s chilled.
Easy Shrimp Taco Recipe
Now you know how to make the sauce, but what about the shrimp taco? Here is an easy 15-minute shrimp taco recipe that is perfect for this sauce.
- 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika (or smoked paprika)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 8 corn tortillas (or flour tortillas)
- 2 cups shredded cabbage (red or green)
- Toss the shrimp with olive oil, lime juice, and spices. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 1-3 minutes per side (depending on size), flipping with tongs, until cooked through. Shrimp are cooked through when they begin to curl and are opaque. These shrimp can also be cooked on the grill for about 2 minutes per side.
- Toast the corn tortillas over an open flame if possible for best results. Assemble tacos by placing shrimp in the arm corn tortilla with cabbage, avocado, cilantro, and a drizzle of shrimp taco sauce.
Is this the same as the white sauce on fish tacos?
This sauce is very similar to the white sauce on fish tacos with the addition of cilantro and jalapeno. Traditional white sauce for fish tacos is made with sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, lime zest, salt, and pepper.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions and answers about making this sauce.
Yes, you can use sour cream instead of mayonnaise for a tangier flavor and more refreshing texture in this shrimp taco sauce.
Yes, you can omit the cilantro completely if you don't like the taste. You can also substitute it with other fresh herbs like parsley or basil.
Yes, you can use regular yogurt instead of Greek yogurt in this shrimp taco sauce recipe. Just note that the sauce will be a little thinner than intended.
Creamy Shrimp Taco Sauce
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- 3/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt (or nonfat or full fat)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (or sour cream)
- 1 lime, juice and zest (2 if small or not juicy)
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 2 green onions
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 jalapeno (seeded for less spice)
- Salt and pepper to taste
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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.
If you prefer a non-spicy taco sauce, simply leave out the jalapeno.
To make easy shrimp tacos, combine 1 lb of shrimp with 2 tbsp of taco seasoning, 1 tbsp oil, and the juice of 1 lime. Cook in a hot pan for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Serve in warm tortillas with shredded cabbage and this shrimp taco sauce.
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