Blackened shrimp tacos are succulent pan-seared shrimp stuffed in toasted tortillas with all the fixings, including a mouthwatering cilantro lime sauce. This quick and easy meal is ready in less than 30 minutes so serve these on your next busy weeknight.
Blackened shrimp tacos with cilantro lime sauce are juicy shrimp with a crispy, savory sear complemented by tangy cabbage slaw and a creamy, citrusy dressing. You can certainly eat a couple tacos for a light lunch or serve it with a hearty side like rice or a salad at dinner time.
Why You'll Love This Blackened Shrimp Taco Recipe
- Easy to Make. Shrimp takes just minutes to cook and everything else is easy to whip up and assemble. Dinner will be on the table in under 30 minutes!
- Versatile. Eat them as is, serve them with a delicious sauce, or add sides. There are so many ways to customize this recipe (and I have a few suggestions too!).
- Family Friendly Meal. Make these for the kids on the next Taco Tuesday and watch how quickly they get devoured!
What does blackened mean in cooking?
Blackening is a cooking technique that originated in Louisiana. It is affiliated with Cajun and Creole cuisine. It's the process of coating food (usually a protein) in a spice blend and then cooking it in a very hot pan.
As the food cooks, it develops a crust that looks nearly black. However, the food isn't burnt. The crust is the charred spices from the seasoning and it has a bold, spicy flavor that can't be replicated.
These easy blackened shrimp tacos only need a few simple ingredients.
- Shrimp. Peel, wash, and devein the shrimp before seasoning and cooking. Remove the tails too. I suggest using medium shrimp or jumbo shrimp.
- Pico de Gallo. This classic Mexican tomato dip adds fresh veggie flavor.
- Avocados. Make sure they are ripe. Slice them.
- Cabbage Slaw. This is a crunchy, refreshing addition to the taco toppings. It also makes them more filling.
- Cilantro. For a bright, nutty flavor.
- Flour Tortillas. Use these or corn tortillas, whichever you prefer.
- Blackened Seasoning. Use 1 teaspoon each of paprika, garlic salt, pepper, and harissa (a Tunisian sun-dried chili paste).
- Olive Oil. The oil the shrimp is cooked in.
- Lime. For bright citrus flavor.
Cilantro Lime Dressing
The cool, creamy, slightly tangy dressing balances the spicy, savory flavor of the shrimp.
- Greek Yogurt. The base of the sauce. It adds body and a delightful tang.
- Mayo. For a rich, creamy texture, use this.
- Cilantro. For color and flavor.
- Chicken Bouillon. For depth of flavor.
- Jalapeno. This adds a bit of spice.
- Honey. This mellows the heat.
- Garlic. Minced.
- Lime. Juiced.
How to Make Blackened Shrimp Tacos
Prepare the dressing first, then blacken the shrimp. As the shrimp cooks, prepare your other ingredients so that when the shrimp is blackened, you can assemble your tacos immediately.
Prepare Cilantro Lime Sauce
Prepare cilantro lime dressing by combining all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and adjust seasonings to your taste if desired.
Pat shrimp dry and season with blackening seasoning. In a large skillet, heat to medium-high heat and add oil. Now, wait until the pan is almost smoking hot and add shrimp to the pan.
Do not disturb shrimp and let sear 2-3 minutes on each side until done. While shrimp is searing, drizzle 1 teaspoon of lime juice (about ½ of lime) on each side. Shrimp should create a tasty crust on both sides.
While the shrimp cooks, prepare toppings (pico de gallo, cabbage slaw, and avocado). After the shrimp is cooked, use the same pan to toast the tortillas until slightly brown and crisp.
Assemble Blackened Shrimp Tacos
Prepare each taco by adding the cabbage slaw, blackened shrimp, pico de Gallo, and sliced avocado. Then drizzle each taco with the cilantro lime dressing. Finally, serve with sliced limes and additional chopped cilantro if desired and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- If you use smaller shrimp, adjust the cooking time to 2 minutes per side.
- Do not overcook the shrimp. If left too long, they will become rubbery and tough.
- Do not overcrowd the pan or you'll end up with steamed shrimp instead of blackened shrimp.
- Coleslaw. Instead of fresh cabbage slaw, you could add your favorite coleslaw to the blackened shrimp tacos.
- Mango Salsa. Brighten these tacos up with tropical mango salsa. This can replace the pico de gallo.
- Air Fryer. Season the shrimp then add them to a preheated air fryer at 380°F for 5 minutes. Then flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Blackened Cajun Shrimp Tacos. Use a traditional blackening seasoning mix that includes chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
What to Serve with Blackened Shrimp Tacos
- Sauce for Blackened Shrimp Tacos. Want to try another creamy green sauce? Try my Poblano Cream Sauce, also known as culichi salsa. It is prepared with roasted poblano peppers, jalapenos, and garlic.
- Corn. Using this veggie as a side for tacos is classic. Try my Mexican Street Corn, Chipotle Copycat Corn Salsa, Air Fryer Corn Ribs, and Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa.
- Tangy Pickled Red Onions. Tangy, sweet, and crunchy, this adds flavor and texture to the tacos.
- Margaritas. Toast it up this Taco Tuesday with a Jalapeno Pineapple Margarita or a Blue Margarita.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftover shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The other toppings and the cilantro lime sauce should be stored individually. Make fresh tortillas when you are ready to reheat the shrimp. To warm up the shrimp, put them in a skillet over medium-low heat.
Can I make blackened shrimp tacos in advance?
Shrimp tacos are best enjoyed immediately. But you can save a couple minutes by preparing the cilantro lime dressing ahead of time. Store it in an airtight jar or container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also prepare the other toppings ahead of time so all that's left to do is cook the shrimp, toast the tortillas, and assemble the tacos.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS HEALTHY BLACKENED SHRIMP TACOS RECIPE!
Blackened Shrimp Tacos
- 1 lb Shrimp
- 1 cup Pico de Gallo
- 1-2 Avocados
- 4 oz Bag Cabbage Slaw
- ¼ cup Cilantro
- 4-6 Flour Tortillas or corn tortillas
- 1 teaspoon Blackened Seasoning 1 teaspoon each paprika, garlic salt, pepper, harissa
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- ½ Small Lime
Cilantro Lime Dressing
- ¼ cup Greek Yogurt
- ¼ cup Mayo
- 1 cup Cilantro
- 1 tablespoon Chicken Bouillon
- 1 Jalapeno
- ½ tablespoon Honey
- 1 tablespoon Garlic minced
- 1 Small Lime juiced
- Prepare cilantro lime dressing by combining all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and adjust seasonings to your taste if desired.
- Pat shrimp dry and season with blackening seasoning.
- In a large skillet, heat to medium-high heat and add oil. Wait until the pan is almost smoking hot and add shrimp to the pan.
- Do not disturb shrimp and let sear 2-3 minutes on each side until done.
- While shrimp is searing, drizzle 1 teaspoon of lime juice (about a ½ of lime) on each side. Shrimp should create a tasty crust on both sides.
- While shrimp cooks, prepare toppings (pico de gallo, cabbage slaw and avocado).
- After the shrimp is cooked, use the same pan to toast tortillas until slightly brown and crisp.
- Prepare each taco by adding the cabbage slaw, blackened shrimp, pico de gallo and sliced avocado. Drizzle each taco with the cilantro lime dressing. Served with sliced limes and additional chopped cilantro if desired and enjoy!