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

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
  • 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

Instructions

  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

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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Reviews & Comments

  • Simple and delicious! One of my favorite quick weeknight meals.

    • — Kris on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are a favourite in our house…my husband will always suggest them if we are having a special gathering for a meal. The homemade corn tortillas make it even better. We are still working on perfecting the tortillas but it is always a fun event as it becomes quite the crew in the kitchen making the tortillas. Thank you for all your great recipes. You are always my first stop in menu planning and I am looking forward to your next cookbook!

    • — Laurie on January 28, 2021
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  • These were awesome! I used candied jalapenos and it worked well.

    • — Frederick Diefenbach on January 28, 2021
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  • I love the combination of flavors in this recipe. I made it exactly like the recipe and it turned out perfect! Definitely a keeper.

    • — Michael Lancaster on January 28, 2021
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  • Super easy & flavorful recipe. The avocado salsa is phenomenal. This one has become a family favorite. Great with some corn on the cob.

    • — Cammy McGuire on January 28, 2021
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  • 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.

    One tip: not sure if it was just me, but I was confused when it said one shallot – was that one bulb or the entire shallot (which usually has two bulbs)? I would say one bulb is sufficient, otherwise the onion flavors are overpowering.

    Overall, five star recipe! Good enough for company, but easy enough for a weeknight. Definitely make the extra avocado salsa – you won’t regret it!

    • — Christina Jones on January 28, 2021
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  • This is a go to easy weeknight dinner. Sometimes I’ll cheat and buy store made pico and guacamole which keeps dinner prep very quick, but I never skip the shrimp spices as they come out perfect.

    • — Donna on January 28, 2021
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  • New family favorite! Such an easy and quick week night dinner with tons of flavor. We add your lime cream and absolutely love these tacos.

    • — Laura Mac on January 28, 2021
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  • I have made this several times with the best results. I add a few red pepper flakes to kick up the heat. This recipe always pleases.

    • — richard Durkin on January 28, 2021
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  • My family loves tacos and I usually make the more traditional beef tacos. But this was such a great addition to our family meal rotation. Even the kids that don’t like shrimp loved this taco. I love the spice and tanginess of the recipe. I’m not a huge fan of avocado but my family loves them. Even I was able to enjoy tacos with this delicious avocado salsa….it had so much flavour. Thank you again for such a great twist to tacos.

    • — Laura Mba on January 28, 2021
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  • Delicious and healthy!

    • — Leslie Evans on January 21, 2021
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  • Healthy and Delicious! Bursting with flavors. I will definitely make this again.

    • — Leslie E on January 2, 2021
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  • You make me look like I know what I’m doing. This is such an excellent recipe – quick, easy, and absolutely delicious,

    • — Colleen Lutes on October 25, 2020
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  • These tacos were amazing! We prepared the shrimp per the recipe but added a small amount of Bbq sauce during grilling for a touch of sweetness. That salsa is excellent! We forgot to use the cabbage but the tacos didn’t even need it. Can’t wait to make them again!

    • — Beth Holden on September 8, 2020
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  • Thanks for sharing this delicious dish! It was so easy to grill the shrimp – I had no idea. The shrimp turned out super tasty! The avocado salsa was so exceptional that we finished it – with shrimp left over…so next time I will double the avocado salsa directions. Literally cannot wait to make this again; especially in the summer when the fresh vegetables are available.

    • — Karen Lynch on September 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • They were delicious and easy. The avocado salsa is super flavourful. I doubled the salsa and there wasn’t any left. I also made a Chili, lime creama to serve instead of the sour cream as I’m not a huge fan of plain sour cream. Excellent!

    • — Stephanie on August 28, 2020
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  • I am going to make these tonight. Could I use arugula in place of the cabbage? My daughter can’t eat cabbage.

    • — HYS on August 11, 2020
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    • Arugula is not quite as sturdy as cabbage, but it should definitely work. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 11, 2020
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  • these were great!

    • — danielle on August 10, 2020
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  • This was da bomb! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Claire on July 30, 2020
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  • This was excellent! My husband gave it a 2 thumbs up. I’ll be making this again and again.

    • — Norma on July 27, 2020
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  • Made this the other night it was awesome, no leftovers. I had never made shells before and it wasn’t that hard but more practice is in order.

    • — Randy Sampson on July 23, 2020
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  • Soooo good! Great flavors. My family loved it. I used a whole jalapeno with all the seeds and ribs. It had the perfect amount of kick for my family. Will definitely be added to the dinner rotation. Thanks Jen!

    • — Janet on July 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Followed this recipe to a T with a few changes:

    1) omitted jalapeno for my kids
    2) I found that food processor is not needed, I just hand minced/diced the ingredients
    3) I used Jen’s sauce recipe that she uses on her Baja fish tacos in addition to and in some of my tacos I used it in place of the sour cream

    It was my first time making shrimp tacos and came out great! I will make again and add diced mangoes 🙂
    Thank you!

    • — Asra on July 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe is fantastic! Perfect amount of spice, both the shrimp and the salsa. I made a watermelon, basil and balsamic vinegar salad on the side, added just a touch of coolness to the spice. Thank you!

    • — Katie Bruch on July 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Best Tacos I have ever had! Easy and love “the make ahead”directions. I have served these to guests many times and shared the recipe. Lots of raves and ease allows me to enjoy my company.

      • — sandra carr on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • We really enjoyed this. I thought I needed to bulk out this meal with a salad so made the black bean – chipotle salad but only one son ate that too. This meal was fast, nutritious, and delicious. A keeper!!

    • — Yvonne on July 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • Another fabulous Jenn recipe! So easy to make and it really does feel like it’s from a high-end restaurant. Caught my wife (twice) eating the avocado salsa before I could even start making the shrimp for the tacos.

    • — Malcolm Armstrong on July 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made these tonight, as like all of Jen’s recipes this was awesome! My husband asked for it to be put on the “rotation” lol. Thanks Jen! Oh btw I didn’t have a shallot, just used some diced red onion.

    • — Rebecca on June 26, 2020
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  • Jenn . . . Could I substitute pickled red onions for the red cabbage or would the pickling not work well with the salsa?? Thank you!

    • — Edie on June 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Edie, I think it’d be delicious.

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn could I use this recipe but in fish? My husband wants fish tacos for Father’s Day but doesn’t want them fried he wants them grilled? Thanks so much

    • — Melissa Pickard on June 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Melissa – that should work!

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • This was tasty! If I make it again I’ll omit the garlic because I felt it overpowered the salsa; the shallots have enough of a hint of garlic on their own. I’d also put the cabbage into the tortilla first to act as a barrier between the salsa and tortilla. Our tortillas had a tendency to fall apart from the moisture in the salsa. Just a couple of tweaks would make this a little better in my opinion.

    • — Kay on May 24, 2020
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    • I followed your advice on the cabbage bed, perfect!

      • — Asra on July 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi I got recipe I’m going to make it this evening

    • — Gloria on May 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious. Perfect in every way. Paired with Corona & Lime along with some Hank Williams Jr. Great way to forget about what’s going on and enjoy the beautiful weather.
    Thanks for sharing this!!!

    • — Trent Johnson on April 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was the first recipe I made from your site. It was simple and super delicious! I’m a novice cook and can get frustrated when I spend a lot of time making dishes that turn out subpar. Now that I’ve found your site, I’m looking forward to trying more recipes and hopefully becoming a better and happier cook! Thanks for such clear, step by step instructions – they’re much appreciated. 🙂

    • — sb23 on April 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed these — happy to have you as part of the Once Upon a Chef community! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 23, 2020
      • Reply
    • Bought a tortilla press because of this recipe. WINNER!

      • — WonderWender on June 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • An easy recipe that tastes & looks like something you’d get in a high end restaurant! I toasted the tortillas in a skillet to give it a bit more texture. Delicious!!

    • — C Berg on February 27, 2020
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  • I just have to say that everything that I’ve made up to this point has been amazing! I just made the shrimp tacos and will have to go back to the store to get more ingredients to make again. I followed it to a T and it was awesome! Mmmmm!

    • — CARRIE LONG on October 7, 2019
    • Reply
  • This recipe was so easy and delicious! I followed the exact recipe and my family loved it😋

    • — Carmen Jones on September 30, 2019
    • Reply
  • Superb!!!!

    • — Lisa on September 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • So wonderful!! The flavors are so fresh and perfect!
    I give this a 5 star plus!!!!!!!!
    You must try this……..perfection!!

    • — Lisa on September 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • I’ve made theses tacos several times now, and they are, unquestionably, the best. Like others have said, restaurants have a pretty high bar to meet to equal the quality of this dish. Thanks for sharing the recipe. It’s a crowd pleaser.

    • — Colleen on August 12, 2019
    • Reply
  • Huge hit with my family! I didn’t have a jalapeno so used a yellow bell pepper and the salsa was still delicious. I will make this again- it’s been a long time since my family gave such great compliments on a meal.

  • These are SO delicious! Came together so quickly with wonderful flavors. My avocados were not ripe so I subbed in extra tomatoes and it worked nicely. Will definitely make again. Another meal with thumbs up from my kids, husband and me!

  • These are by far the best shrimp tacos we’ve ever eaten! The recipe came together quickly and was perfect as written. I didn’t change a thing. Even the kids loved them! I will definitely be adding these to our regular menu rotation. Thanks Jenn!

  • We made these tonight!! A group effort by myself and my 3 young chef sons – ages 7, 9 and 10. My oldest boy works a chef knife like a pro. They are such foodies and love your recipes!! These tacos were absolutely perfect. We didn’t have cabbage so used arugula, and we added fresh sliced corn left over from last night’s dinner. Dinner is always a hit when we use a recipe from your site. Thank you so much

  • Man oh man your recipes are awesome Jenn!!! You make me look like a superstar. This was a hit in our household. Made exactly as written. So easy & so tasty!!! Will be a regular in our household. Thank you!!!

  • Big hit with the whole family! Added a bit of homemade regular salsa too. Was out of chili powder, so I used cumin, garlic powder and paprika on the shrimp. Love the addition of the red cabbage – adds a nice crunch.

  • Delicious and easy, even without the sour cream (dairy free). Made a double batch of the salsa for chips later.

    • Is this recipe spicy?

      • — Ash on April 24, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Ash, the salsa, on it’s own, has a little heat, it’ll be perfect combined with the shrimp and fixins in the tortilla. (It’s not intended to be eaten on its own like guacamole.) Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on April 24, 2020
        • Reply
  • Once you make these you will Not want to eat out again for shrimp tacos. Sadly and happily, I made this mistake. I now only cook from Jenn’s blog and her cookbook. There isn’t another resource that I can trust this much for fantastic food every time. Thanks Jenn! Keep these recipes coming! I’m already looking forward to more cookbooks!

    • This is what I said tonight after we demolished every last bite! I said there’s no restaurant that can make them better than we just did!

  • I decided this year to have all the kids together for one big birthday party along with the grand babies. I am doing a Mexican buffet, and can’t wait to try this. Love Jenn’s recipes. They are always great.

    • — Laura Migliore
    • Reply
  • This was SUCH a yummy and easy meal to throw together quickly. This was incredibly “Weight Watchers” friendly but sure didn’t taste like it! I have to admit I sauteed the shrimp since it’s still winter but the seasonings, salsa, and cabbage were a great combination. I know it will be even better on the grill this spring! The whole family loved it and I think I had it made in under 20 mins including thawing the shrimp!

    • — Lynnessa Struble
    • Reply
  • Great recipe! I paired it with your Mexican Rice Pilaf. Very delicious.

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