Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These festive and flavorful shrimp tacos are easy enough to make on a busy weeknight, and they’re good for you, too.

Filled with juicy grilled shrimp and spicy avocado salsa, these shrimp tacos make a delicious and fun (not to mention healthy) weeknight dinner or cookout dish. You can prepare most of the recipe ahead of time — although it comes together so quickly, there’s really no need to — and then just fire up the grill and lay out all of the fixings for everyone to assemble their own tacos. Since you’re eating with your hands already, round out the meal with some fresh boiled corn on the cob or grilled Mexican street corn, and dinner is done!

What You’ll Need To Make Grilled Shrimp Tacos

ingredients for grilled shrimp tacos

  • As with all of my shrimp recipes, I recommend buying frozen shrimp labeled “shell split and deveined.” Most shrimp are cleaned and flash-frozen shortly after being caught, so the “fresh” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket is typically thawed frozen shrimp. Who knows how long it’s been sitting there, so you’re better off buying frozen and defrosting it yourself.
  • Some brands of corn tortillas can be dry. For store-bought, I recommend Mission Super-Soft Corn Tortillas. If you’d like to make your own (it’s really easy!), check out my recipe for homemade corn tortillas.

Step-by-Step Instructionshow 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

Grill the shrimp over medium heat. The reason I use large shrimp for this recipe is so that they don’t fall through the grates. If you’re worried your shrimp will slip through, you can always thread them on skewers or just cook them indoors in a skillet. Either way, be careful not to overcook them — they only need a minute or two per side. You’ll know they’re done when they look opaque and start to curl into a more-closed “C” shape.

grilled shrimp

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

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Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa

These festive and flavorful shrimp tacos are easy enough to make on a busy weeknight, and they’re good for you, too.

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


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
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from half a lime
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

For the Shrimp

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Scant 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds large (31/35) or extra large (26/30) shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and tail removed, thawed if frozen

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


  1. Make the Salsa: Put the shallot, jalapeño pepper, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal 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 to the bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. (If not using right away, see the make-ahead instructions below.)
  2. Make the Shrimp: Heat the grill to medium. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the olive oil, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and shrimp. Mix until the shrimp are evenly coated with seasoning. Grease the grill with a wad of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil or non-flammable cooking spray. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook, covered, until just opaque, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Place the shrimp on a serving platter and cover to keep warm. (I use large shrimp for this recipe so that they don’t fall through the grates. If you’re worried your shrimp will slip through, you can always thread them on skewers or cook them indoors in a skillet on medium heat.)
  3. Grill the tortillas until warm and slightly charred, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, heat the tortillas in the microwave according to the package instructions.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • 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, 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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Reviews & Comments

  • 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?

    • — Michelle on September 6, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Michelle, You could make this shrimp salad.

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn! That looks delicious.

        • — Michelle on September 6, 2021
        • Reply
        • Made this tonight and it was delicious as everyone said. First time cooking shrimp and it was easy. Thank you for another great recipe.

          • — Michelle on September 6, 2021
          • Reply
  • 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:)

    • — Lisa on August 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • These were so yummy – absolutely delicious! Thank you, Jenn!

    • — LMRM on August 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • So, so, so good!! Thank you!

    • — Catrice on August 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Lyse on June 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Lindsey on June 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • 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. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made the tacos and avocado/tomato salsa, as usual it was delicious. I could have eaten more than two. Thanks!

    • — Virginia Murrell on May 27, 2021
    • Reply
    • Perfect every time! The family loves it!

      • — Patricia Woupio on June 3, 2021
      • 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.

    • — Terry Beavers on May 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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?

    • — K on April 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yes, prior to mixing the shrimp with the olive oil and spices. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Melissa on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • This recipe was easy and delicious. My family loved it. Thanks again for a real winner!!

      • — Rena Shenkarow on June 10, 2021
      • 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.

    • — Chris on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • The most delicious shrimp tacos! I served this dish at a family gathering and everyone was asking for the recipe.

    • — Maggie H on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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