These Spicy Shrimp Tacos are seasoned with a homemade spice blend and served with warm tortillas topped with mango, pineapples, and cilantro. Drizzle them with chipotle ranch and fresh lime juice.
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here.
What Type of Shrimp to Use
Ideally, you want to use shrimp that will fit inside the tortillas you plan to use. If you’re using large shrimp, you can also dice the shrimp into smaller chunks.
The size of shrimp can vary depending on the species and where they are caught. Large and jumbo shrimp are considered to be those that are at least 21-25 count per pound. This means that there will be 21-25 or less shrimp per pound.
The common raw shrimp you will find in stores include tiger shrimp, jumbo shrimp, and wild-caught shrimp.
For taste, wild-caught shrimp are generally considered to be the best option as they have a more flavorful and firmer texture compared to farm-raised shrimp. Wild-caught shrimp are shrimp that are caught in their natural habitat in the ocean or other bodies of water, as opposed to being farmed or raised in captivity.
Farm-raised shrimp are raised in captivity on a shrimp farm. These farms can be located in ponds or in tanks on land. The shrimp are typically fed a diet of fishmeal, soy, and other ingredients, and are sometimes given antibiotics or other chemicals to prevent disease. Those chemicals are then passed into the food you eat.
I prefer wild-caught.
Spices and Seasoning
I love to use my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe because you have direct control of the spices you add, along with the amount of salt. A lot of the pre-packaged store-bought seasoning packs have a lot of sodium. Feel free to use your favorite store-bought package if you wish.
The homemade blend is made with:
- Chili powder: Rich, smoky flavor
- Cumin: Warm, earthy flavor
- Smoked Paprika: Adds a touch of sweetness and color
- Garlic powder: Savory flavor
- Onion powder: Sweet and slightly tangy flavor
- Salt and Pepper: Enhances the overall flavor of the seasoning
How to Make them Spicy
You will need cayenne pepper. I like to use a teaspoon for bold flavor. Adjust the amount of pepper to suit your taste. Omit the red pepper if you don’t want spicy tacos.
What Type of Tortillas to Use
I love corn tortillas for the authentic flavor and the street tacos vibe. Here are options:
- Corn tortillas: These are the traditional and most commonly used tortillas for tacos in Mexico. They are made from masa harina (a type of corn flour) and are usually smaller in size than flour tortillas. They have a slightly nutty and sweet flavor and a slightly chewy texture. They are also gluten-free.
- Flour tortillas: These are a popular option in the US, and are made from wheat flour, water, and fat (such as lard or vegetable shortening). Flour tortillas are softer than corn tortillas, making them easier to fold and hold together. They have a neutral flavor.
- Whole wheat tortillas: These are a healthier alternative to traditional flour tortillas, as they are made with whole wheat flour instead of refined flour. They have a nuttier flavor and a denser texture than regular flour tortillas.
I like to sear my tortillas in a cast iron skillet, usually a grill pan. This is optional but adds flavor. Warm tortillas are wonderful for tacos. Heat a skillet to high heat and add your tortillas. I sear one side.
How to Make Spicy Shrimp Tacos
Full detailed instructions are below in the recipe card.
- Drizzle lime juice over the shrimp.
- Combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle the spices over the shrimp.
- Heat a skillet on medium heat with olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook.
- Serve the shrimp on tortillas with optional toppings.
How to Tell When the Shrimp is Done/Finished Cooking
Cooked shrimp will turn pink and opaque. The shrimp will also become firm when you touch it. Perfectly cooked shrimp usually has a C-shape, as opposed to a tightly curled O shape.
You can also check out my guide on How to Tell if Shrimp is Cooked here.
You can skip the tortilla and make these into wraps. Romaine, butter lettuce, and green leaf lettuce will work great.
Toppings and Substitution Ideas
I love to serve them with my Mango Pineapple Salsa and Southwest Salad Dressing recipe. Here are other toppings:
- Shredded lettuce
- Shredded Cheese
- Fresh Lime
Leftovers can be stored tightly covered and sealed for 3-4 days.
The best way to reheat leftover shrimp is in a pan on medium heat with butter or oil. You can also reheat in the air fryer at 350 degrees until warm. Be careful, because the same rules regarding overcooking apply. If you heat it for too long it will be rubbery. I don’t use the microwave for this reason.
Pair With These Recipes
Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice
Air Fryer Tortilla Chips
More Taco Recipes
More Shrimp Recipes
Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms with Crab and Shrimp
Shrimp Noodle Soup
Seafood Pasta Salad with Crab and Shrimp
Shrimp Egg Rolls
Pan Seared Shrimp with Lemon Butter
Spicy Shrimp Tacos
- 1 pound raw shrimp Peeled and deveined.
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice Optional for flavor
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper Adjust to suit taste.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Drizzle the optional fresh lime juice over the raw shrimp.
- Combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle the spices over the shrimp. Ensure the shrimp is fully coated, but don't over-season it. The amount of taco seasoning you use will vary based on the size of the shrimp you are using.(This is why I recommend combining the spices first and then use your judgment of how much you will need for your shrimp.)
- Heat a skillet on medium heat with olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook, flipping to cook each side, for 3-5 minutes or until it is pink and opaque.
- Serve the shrimp on tortillas with optional toppings.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Air fry the shrimp at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until it is pink and opaque.
- Raw and frozen shrimp are translucent gray. When it’s cooked, it should be an opaque white with some pink and bright red accents. This is the best indicator of whether or not shrimp is fully cooked.
- When shrimp cooks, the muscle contracts, so the shrimp shrinks and curls. I find that it’s perfectly cooked when it has a C shape. I remove the shrimp from heat immediately when it reaches this shape. Often, if it reaches an O shape, and completely curls in, it will taste overcooked.