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Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa

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Dig into scrumptious shrimp tacos, loaded with juicy shrimp and a zesty avocado salsa, for a fun and delicious twist on your next taco night!

Grilled shrimp tacos on a wooden plate.

These shrimp tacos, packed with juicy shrimp and spicy avocado salsa, are a staple in my summer lineup and one of my favorite shrimp recipes. Perfect for easy weeknight meals or casual cookouts with friends, they’re not only bursting with flavor but also healthy and super fun to serve. You can prep in advance, but honestly, they’re so quick to throw together, you might as well just make them last-minute. Just fire up the grill—or heat up a skillet—and set out all the fixings. Everyone can build their tacos just how they like them. And since it’s all about hands-on eating, round out the meal with some fresh boiled corn on the cob or grilled Mexican street corn.

“This meal is one of our favorites to make in the summer! We love the avocado salsa so much that we make a double batch – some for the tacos, then extra to eat with chips. It is light, fresh, and the grilled shrimp are very flavorful.”

Christina

What You’ll Need To Make Shrimp Tacos

ingredients for grilled shrimp tacos
  • Shallot and garlic: The aromatics that flavor the salsa, adding depth and pungency.
  • Jalapeño pepper: Provides a moderate kick of heat.
  • Tomato: Contributes body and sweetness to the salsa.
  • Avocado: Adds a creamy, rich, buttery texture.
  • Lime juice: Infuses a bright, tangy flavor to balance the richness of the avocado.
  • Cilantro: Introduces a fresh, herbal note to the salsa.
  • Chili powder and cayenne pepper: Add smoky flavor and a touch of heat to the shrimp.
  • Shrimp: The main protein component, offering a sweet and meaty texture. I recommend buying frozen shrimp labeled “shell split and deveined,” which is often fresher than the “fresh” shrimp at the supermarket, typically just thawed frozen shrimp.
  • Corn or flour tortillas: The base of the taco. Some brands of corn tortillas can be dry; I recommend Mission Super-Soft Corn Tortillas for store-bought, or check out my recipe for homemade corn tortillas if you’re up for making your own.
  • Chopped red cabbage: Adds crunch and a peppery flavor, giving the tacos a nice texture contrast.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

how to cut a jalapeno pepper

Begin by making the avocado salsa. For the jalapeño pepper, I cut the flesh off of the seeds, ribs, and stem, leaving the spiciest part of the pepper behind. If you like more heat, throw in some of the seeds. (When working with jalapeños, avoid touching your eyes and wash your hands well afterwards.) Combine the jalapeño pepper with the shallot and garlic in a food processor.

shallots, garlic, and jalapeno pepper in food processor

Process until finely minced.

minced shallot, garlic, and jalapeno mixture in food processor

Add the mixture to a bowl along with the avocado, tomato, salt, lime juice, and chopped cilantro.

ingredients for avocado salsa in mixing bowl

Stir to combine. When you taste it, you might worry that it’s too spicy but, rest assured, it’ll be perfect combined with the shrimp and fixins in the tacos. It’s not intended to be eaten on its own like guacamole.

avocado salsa in mixing bowl

Next, prepare the shrimp by combining it with the olive oil, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.

shrimp in bowl with seasoning and oil

Toss until evenly combined.

shrimp tossed with seasoning, ready to grill

You have the option of grilling the shrimp or cooking it in a skillet. Either way, they’ll only need to cook for 1½ to 2 minutes per side. You’ll know they’re done when they look opaque and start to curl into a more-closed “C” shape. Place the shrimp on a serving platter and cover to keep warm.

Bowl of grilled shrimp.

Finally, heat the tortillas on the grill, on the stovetop, or in the microwave, and assemble the tacos with all the fixings.

Wooden plate of grilled shrimp tacos with avocado salsa.

Video Tutorial

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Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa

Dig into scrumptious shrimp tacos, loaded with juicy shrimp and a zesty avocado salsa, for a fun and delicious twist on your next taco night!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Salsa

  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from half a lime
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

For the Shrimp

  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Scant ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1½ pounds large (31/35) or extra large (26/30) shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and tail removed, thawed if frozen (see note)

For Assembling

  • 8 to 10 six-inch corn or flour tortillas
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage, for serving
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges, for serving
  • 1 cup sour cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. Make the Salsa: Put the shallot, jalapeño pepper, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until finely chopped (a mini food processor is best, but large will work too). Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes, avocado, salt, lime juice, and cilantro and stir to combine. Set aside. (If not using right away, see the make-ahead instructions below.)
  2. Prepare the Shrimp: In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and shrimp. Mix until the shrimp are evenly coated with seasoning.
  3. To Grill: Heat the grill to medium and grease the grill grates with a wad of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil or spray with non-flammable cooking spray. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook, covered, until just opaque, 1½ to 2 minutes per side. Place the shrimp on a serving platter and cover to keep warm.
  4. To Cook Indoors: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add just enough vegetable oil to lightly coat the bottom. Once the skillet is hot, add the shrimp in a single layer. You'll need to cook the shrimp in batches to avoid overcrowding. Cook each batch for about 1½ to 2 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp turn opaque and pink. Once cooked, transfer the shrimp to a serving platter and cover to keep them warm.
  5. Warm the Tortillas: Grill the tortillas until warm and slightly charred, about 20 seconds per side. Alternatively, heat the tortillas on the stovetop or in the microwave according to the package instructions.
  6. Assemble: Fill each tortilla with a spoonful of the avocado salsa, 3 shrimp, and some red cabbage; pass the lime wedges and sour cream at the table. Alternatively, set the warm tortillas, grilled shrimp, avocado salsa, and fixings on the table for everyone to assemble their own tacos.
  7. Make-Ahead Instructions: The avocado salsa can be made up to 8 hours ahead of time; place a piece of saran wrap inside the bowl and directly over the mixture to prevent discoloration and refrigerate. The shrimp can be tossed with the oil and seasoning, covered, and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead of time.
  8. Note: If you're planning to grill the shrimp, I recommend using extra-large shrimp to prevent them from slipping through the grates. If you're still concerned about losing any to the flames, threading them onto skewers is a great solution.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 517
  • Fat: 27g
  • Saturated fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Sodium: 1075mg
  • Cholesterol: 244mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Made these last night and they were great! Got a nice long ‘Mmmmmm!’ from my husband. I’d never made tacos with shrimp before so our daughter was repulsed at the site of them but after trying one she said under her breath “omg, best tacos ever.” I had to ask her to speak up. 😉 Super easy too which is always a plus. Thank you!

    • — Shannon C on May 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • Happy anniversary, Jenn!

    • — Stella on May 5, 2024
    • Reply
    • ❣️

      • — Jenn on May 5, 2024
      • Reply
  • Great recipe! Thanks!

    • — Dan Flitton on April 30, 2024
    • Reply
  • I meant is there a way to use frozen cooked shrimp?

    • — Mary Ellen on April 18, 2024
    • Reply
    • I wouldn’t recommend using cooked shrimp.

      • — Jenn on April 18, 2024
      • Reply
  • Is here any way I can use frozen cooked, peeled shrimp?

    • — Mary Ellen Schluter on April 18, 2024
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend it here – sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 18, 2024
      • Reply
  • I made this the other night and it was quite delicious. I couldn’t be bothered with the barbecue so I put the shrimp on skewers and cooked them in my Le Creuset grill pan. They looked great. I’ve bought more shrimp just to have on hand for another night.
    Thanks Jenn

    • — Marjoryr 🇨🇦🇨🇦 on September 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Made this for Cinco de Mayo and everything was super delish! Definitely a meal to have in regular rotation!!

      • — Cindy on May 5, 2024
      • Reply
  • The weight of the shrimp: is it the weight after shelling?

    • — Marjory on September 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Marjory, The weight is before peeling. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I am planning to make this shrimp but I don’t have grill, do you think if I bake this in the oven 350 for 8 min would be okay? either this recipes or the tequila chicken. ( can I bake the tequila chicken? if yes how long and what’s the temperature? Thank You so much!

    I made your one pan garlic shrimp last weekend and it was delicious ! Thank you for delicious, and simple recipes!

    • — celine on September 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Celine, I’d actually broil them in the oven — the cook time will be about the same as the grilling instructions. And glad to hear you liked the garlic shrimp!

      • — Jenn on September 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • If I’m making this ahead of time. Can I season the shrimp the night before, store in a covered container in the fridge and grill them right before dinner?

    • — Stacey on July 16, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, Stacey, that should be fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 17, 2023
      • Reply
      • They were a huge hit!!! My son said “ best shrimp tacos ever!” And we were at a Mexican restaurant the next week down the shore and everyone agreed your shrimp tacos were better!!! Thank you.

        • — Stacey on August 6, 2023
        • Reply
  • Hello, I am a follower in Scotland. I made this for dinner last night, using frozen prawns, more common here (not sure the difference between prawns and shrimp if any). In any case made it exactly as described, other than used red cabbage which I had marinated in a little olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning to “cook it” (I eat this regularly often adding a few cranberries for sweetness and a little parsley if I have to hand). It was a super delicious, easy and quick dinner and the family loved it. Thank you for your recipes, I’m going to work my way through all of them.

    • — Gillian on July 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I would like to try this for a get-together we are having. However there is one person who is attending that has a shell fish allergy. Could you recommend another fish that is not a shell fish that I could throw on the grill that would also work with the shrimp.

    Thanks – always appreciate your input.
    Barbara

    • — Barbara Miller on July 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, Cod would be a nice alternative to the shrimp. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • Was a great meal, it will be on our menu in the future.

    • — Hutsellc@yahoo.com on July 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • I didn’t process the salsa. Just hand mixed and folded in the avocado. Added some Old Bay into the shrimp mixture. Excellent meal.

    • — jay levine on June 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Not tried yet but is there any sweetness or sauciness? Was thinking maybe a chipotle mayo would add something but don’t want to overkill it.

    • — James on May 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi James, I wouldn’t say that these really have any sauciness. You can make the chipotle, mayo; I don’t think it would be overkill, but the tacos have plenty of flavor as is. Hope that helps and you enjoy however, you make them!

      • — Jenn on May 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • THIS was amazing!!! I can’t even talk about how easy and delicious this was. I could eat the salsa with a spoon! I served with the cilantro/lime corn. Can’t wait to make it again next week! My college son had three of his buddies over and they devoured it! Jenn, thanks again for your weekly emails. They inspire me and make my family happy. By the way…. I’ve made your strawberry cake three times in three weeks!!! 💜

    • — Lori Rozmus on May 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Bonjour Jenn!,
    A “11* score on a 10* scale” from my son. A great family dinner that everyone enjoyed.
    Can’t wait to see new recipes on your site or new cookbook:)
    Martine

    • — Martine on August 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Perfect combination of flavors and texture! Definitely a keeper!

    • — Pat on August 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • It is excellent! I serve it everyother week and it is always with pleasure that we eat it all! Your recipes are very good, thank you for sharing!

    • — Lyse on July 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • What is the best way to cook the shrimp if you don’t have an outdoor grill?

    • Hi Pat, You can broil them in the oven – cook time will be about the same. Enjoy!

  • Looks like a great recipe but how much shrimp? A pound?

    • Hi Karen, You’ll need 1.5 pounds. Hope you enjoy!

  • Made this tonight when I had a last minute need to put dinner together and all of these ingredients are staples for me. Used cod filet as that’s what I had which I baked at 400 convection for 10 minutes. The cod worked great, just sprinkled the seasoning on before I put it in the oven. Salsa was AMAZING and I highly recommend grilling the tortillas – I put mine on my gas burner on my stove as was too cold to go outside. I will definitely be making this again.

  • My favorite shrimp taco recipe!!

  • So we accidentally grabbed the precooked shrimp. I’m planning to go back and get some uncooked shrimp to use for this recipe. Do you have any recipes for cooked shrimp?

    • Hi Michelle, You could make this shrimp salad.

      • Thanks Jenn! That looks delicious.

        • Made this tonight and it was delicious as everyone said. First time cooking shrimp and it was easy. Thank you for another great recipe.

  • Hi Jenn, as usual your recipes are spot on! I made the shrimp tacos/avocado salsa today for my sister visiting from Cali (you know those people are really healthy conscious:) Anyway, these were a hit! She could not stop raving about how delicious they were! I had to kick her out of the kitchen after making the avocado salsa, she kept scooping with a tortilla. Love this recipe, although I did switch out chili powder for ancho chili powder. This recipe is a winner, winner shrimp dinner:)

  • These were so yummy – absolutely delicious! Thank you, Jenn!

  • So, so, so good!! Thank you!

  • Excellent! I had invited friends, I made the salsa ahead, the shrimps on skewers…nothing to do, and the taste is soooo good….I will make more salsa the next time… thank you for a beautiful and easy recipe!

  • I politely suggest that you include in your instructions the need to remove any tails from the shrimp before serving.

    A young married couple that had recently moved into our neighborhood hosted a barbecue for us where this recipe was part of the menu. It was quite tasty. Unfortunately, they used the thawed large shrimp, peeled and de-veined, as detailed in your recipe, but with “tail-on”. They didn’t know to remove the tails before serving.

    • Hi Lindsey, Good point — for most shrimp recipes, I think removing the tail is a matter of personal preference, but I would guess it’s not very appealing to bite into a tail when eating a taco! I’ve updated the recipe. 🙂

  • Made the tacos and avocado/tomato salsa, as usual it was delicious. I could have eaten more than two. Thanks!

    • — Virginia Murrell
    • Reply
    • Perfect every time! The family loves it!

      • — Patricia Woupio
      • Reply
  • The one thing I love most about your recipes is that they can be made just as presented and turn out wonderful each time. The salsa has very good flavor, I put everything but the avocado in and let sit in the refrigerator until ready to serve and then added the avocado.

  • I’m just wondering, all of my shrimp that are shell split and deveined (as Jenn recommends using) still have the shell on. At what point in the cooking do you remove the shell? Prior to?

    • Yes, prior to mixing the shrimp with the olive oil and spices. Hope you enjoy!

  • I’m not a big taco person, but I was craving these last week for some reason. They came out great! I made the mistake of adding some lime juice to the shrimp before cooking (I really like lime…) but I think it ended up making my shrimp a bit rubbery. Would stick with the recipe and not add lime juice next time.

    • This recipe was easy and delicious. My family loved it. Thanks again for a real winner!!

      • — Rena Shenkarow
      • Reply
  • Such a winner this recipe is! I was a bit nervous grilling shrimp but I did 2 minutes on each side and they came out delicious. Thank you! The guacamole is so tasty. My husband thought these were the best shrimp tacos he’s ever had and he orders them a lot when dining out. I also heated up some black beans to add. Such a great meal to make during the week.

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