When many people think of tacos they think of heavy cheese-laden creatures that are rich and delicious and filling. That absolutely can be tacos. But tacos like these Grilled Shrimp Tacos are a lighter situation. Topped with marinated grilled shrimp, a simple slaw, and avocado, these are an excellent lighter summer taco option!
Basic Ingredients for Grilled Shrimp Tacos
These are the basic things you’ll need to make delicious shrimp tacos:
- Large shrimp, peeled
- Flour tortillas
- Olive oil
- Chili powder
- Red onion
- Sour cream
- Cotija cheese
What size shrimp to use?
In theory you can use any size of shrimp for tacos, but if you use the jumbo ones it kind of feels ridiculous because you an only fit one in a taco. Personally, I shoot for large shrimp which usually run 31-35 shrimp per pound. If you do the math this leaves you with about 3 shrimp per taco and you’ll get 10-12 tacos out of the batch.
Marinating shrimp for tacos
I like to mix up a very simple marinade for grilled shrimp. Olive oil is a base of the marinade along with some fresh lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt. No need to add TOO many flavors to the marinade or you’ll just overpower the light shrimp flavors.
No need to marinate the shrimp for hours either. Just a few minutes will be plenty of time to give them some flavor before they hit the grill.
Tips for grilling shrimp
Shrimp cook incredibly fast on the grill and you want to make sure not to overcook them or they get dried out and rubbery. I recommend skewering the shrimp so you can flip them easily and remove them all at once. You could also cook them in a grill pan if you have one.
Grill the shrimp over direct heat for 2-3 minutes per side until they are just cooked through and still juicy.
Alternatives to shrimp for grilled tacos
If you’re not a shrimp fan, grilling seafood and adding it to tacos is still a winner of an idea. I’ve made similar tacos like these grilled white fish tacos. Those would work really well with the arugula slaw I made for these tacos also.
The other option for these would be grilled salmon. I think you could use the same marinade as with the shrimp and grill the salmon, flake it apart and use it in tacos! YUM!
Toppings to make for shrimp tacos
Keep the toppings bright and clean for shrimp tacos. Nothing too heavy here. I mixed up a quick arugula slaw with red onion, jalapeno, and a big handful of fresh cilantro and that compliments the shrimp really nicely! For a little creaminess, I added a smear of sour cream, ripe avocado, and cotija cheese.
Can you make grilled shrimp tacos in advance?
In short, No. I mean reheated shrimp just aren’t as good. Sure, if you have leftovers don’t throw them out. You can reheat the shrimp in a skillet and have lunch the next day, but I wouldn’t cook these in advance and serve them unless you just have to. Shrimp re best right off the grill, into a tortilla, and into your mouth!
Grilled Shrimp Taco Recipe
Grilled Shrimp Tacos
- 1 pound large shrimp, 21-35 count
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ lime, juice only
- 12 Small flour tortillas
- Ripe avocado
- Sour cream
- Cotija cheese, crumbled
Quick Arugula Slaw:
- 3 cup baby arugula
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
- ½ small red onion, sliced thin
- ½ lime, juice
- pinch of salt
- Peel shrimp and combine in a bowl with olive oil, chili powder, cumin, lime, and salt. Stir together and let sit for a few minutes and then skewer shrimp onto skewers. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water before using so they don’t burn as much.
- Make slaw by stirring together arugula, fresh cilantro, slivered onion and jalapeno with lime and salt. Prepare other toppings.
- Preheat grill for direct heat grilling. Add shrimp skewers and grill for about 2 minutes per side until the shrimp are cooked through. I also like to grill the tortillas for a few seconds to warm them through and give them some grill marks.
- Make tacos while the shrimp are still hot by spreading some sour cream on a tortilla and topping with arugula slaw. Add a few shrimp to each taco and top with ripe avocado and cotija cheese.