Smoky Shrimp Tacos with Citrus Slaw
Serve something different and exciting on your next taco Tuesday with this Smoky Shrimp Tacos with Citrus Slaw! Tender and juicy shrimp robustly flavored with abodo sauce, earthy spices, honey, lime, and tequila topped with a zesty citrus slaw nestled in fluffy tortillas! These easy shrimp tacos are done in less than 20 minutes and can be made ahead of time too.
Deliciously Easy Shrimp Tacos Recipe
Shrimps are tasty morsels in their own right, but when seasoned the right way, they turn into one of the best seafood dishes out there. Take my Grilled Chile Lime Shrimp Skewers and Salsa Verde Shrimp and Cilantro Rice Skillet as examples- these yummy crustaceans cook quickly and just absorb flavors like crazy!
And talking about seasoning them right, this seafood taco recipe uses spices and seasonings that add smoky, spicy, sweet, tangy, and earthy flavors that explode in your mouth at every bite! These smoky shrimp tacos may be done quickly using one pan, but they surely do not skimp on the flavor department. They are so delicious, you’ll definitely be making them regularly- not just on Tuesdays!
The Homemade Citrus Slaw
All the robust flavors from the shrimp tacos might be overwhelming on the tastebuds- if not for this fresh and zingy citrus slaw! It is made of all things fresh- from the crunchy cabbages, carrots, green onions, and cilantro drenched in a lemon-lime mayo dressing. I love making this the day before and letting it sit in the fridge overnight for optimal taste and texture! Make a big batch and enjoy it topped on sandwiches, stacked on burgers, or served on the side of your fave main dishes.
It may look like a long list of items, but I bet most of them you already have in your kitchen. What you do not have can easily be bought or subbed with other ingredients, so do not fret. Here’s what you’ll be needing and possible substitutions you can use:
For the shrimp tacos:
- Shrimp- use small to medium ones that are peeled, deveined, and with tails removed. It is easier to buy them packed and ready for cooking. Using fresh shrimp is great–they will be tastier and juicier, but you’ll be spending a bit more time on the preparation.
- Spices- I used both paprika and cumin to give the shrimp an earthy and spicy kick! You can also use other spices like chili powder, cayenne, ground coriander, or garam masala.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo- this is the key to giving the shrimp tacos a smoky-sweet and pleasantly fiery taste!
- Fire-roasted tomatoes- add another layer of smokiness and lots of umami goodness to the dish. It also gives the tacos a thick, saucy consistency. If you do not have this, canned tomato puree is a good alternative.
- Tequila- aside from adding a unique flavor to the dish, tequila is also known to draw out the flavors from the other seasonings, making the dish more flavorful. You can also use bourbon in this recipe, the flavor profiles are different but they both work great!
- Honey- you can also use maple syrup or other sweeteners.
- Lime juice- to brighten up an otherwise flavor-dense dish! You can use any type of citrus juice you like.
- Unsalted butter- provides a richer base to sauté the aromatics and temper the spices and seasonings.
- Kosher salt and pepper-to taste
- Tortillas- I used flour tortillas, but feel free to use whole wheat or corn as low-calorie options.
For the citrus slaw:
- Slaw mix- I prefer buying them in bags because it is so much more convenient! Buy one that has shredded green cabbage, purple cabbage, and carrots.
- Vegetables- I used green onions and fresh cilantro for this recipe. Feel free to swap or add more like celery, onions, corn, and cucumber.
- Citrus juice- freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice are great for making the best slaw! If you do not have these, however, you can sub with apple cider vinegar.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground – to taste.
How to Make Smoky Shrimp Tacos with Citrus Slaw
These tacos are so easy to make using one pan and a bowl! Cook the shrimp, make the slaw and assemble- they will be done in minutes and gone in seconds- I swear they are that good! These make the perfect weeknight meal or game day snacks for the family.
- Make the taco sauce. In a large, wide skillet preheated to medium-high heat add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the garlic, chipotles, paprika, and cumin. Stir to combine for about a minute. Next, add in the can of fire-roasted tomatoes stirring for about one minute and then followed by tequila and honey. Continue to cook until the mixture has reduced slightly, about two to 4 minutes.
- Add the Shrimp and Season. Next, add the shrimp along with kosher salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp for about four minutes, turning occasionally. Add in the lime juice and toss to combine. Transfer the shrimp to a large serving bowl.
- Make the Slaw. To make the citrus slaw combine the bagged slaw, green onions, cilantro, mayo, lemon juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Assemble! Serve the shrimp on the tortillas and top with the citrus slaw. Enjoy!
- If using frozen shrimp, let it thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for 30 minutes. They will cook evenly this way.
- Allow the taco sauce to simmer and reduce until you have a thick mixture. The thick sauce will cling to the shrimp more and will not be too messy to eat.
- Do not overcook the shrimp or they will turn chewy and rubbery. Cook them until they turn light pink then remove them from heat immediately.
- If you have time, let the slaw marinate for at least 30 minutes overnight for more optimal flavor!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use other proteins? Sure! You can use shredded fish, chicken, or pork to make this too.
- Can I use other spices and seasonings? Absolutely! If you are looking for a variation of these shrimp tacos, you can try my Garlic Cajun Tacos too!
- Can I add fruits to my slaw? If you want your slaw to have that sweet, fruity flavor, try using mangoes, mandarin oranges, or apples!
Make-ahead and Storing Notes
The shrimp tacos and slaw can both be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Place them in lidded containers and store them for up to 4 days. You can reheat the shrimp tacos in the microwave before serving.
Smoky Shrimp Tacos with Citrus Slaw
- For the shrimp tacos:
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 5 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp Chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Ground paprika
- tsp Ground cumin
- 1 14-oz Can fire roasted tomaotes, drained
- 1/4 cup Tequila or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp Honey
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 15 medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined, patted dry
- 2 tbsp Fresh lime juice
- 12 Flour tortillas
- For the citrus slaw:
- 3 cups Coleslaw mix
- 2 whole Green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup Fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Lime juice
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- In a large, wide skillet preheated to medium-high heat add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the garlic, chipotles, paprika, and cumin. Stir to combine for about a minute. Next, add in the can of fire roasted tomatoes stirring for about one minute and then followed by tequila and honey. Continue to cook until the mixture has reduced slightly, about two to 4 minutes.
- Next, add in the shrimp along with kosher salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp for about four minutes, turning occasionally. Add in the lime juice and toss to combine. Transfer the shrimp to a large serving bowl.
- To make the citrus slaw combine the bagged slaw, green onions, cilantro, mayo, lemon juice, lime juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. If you have time to let it marinate for at least 30 minutes overnight for more optimal flavor do it. If not, no worries! Just serve the shrimp on the tortillas and top with the citrus slaw. Enjoy!