These blackened shrimp tacos are loaded with spicy shrimp, zesty chipotle slaw, and a sweet mango salsa. The combination is seriously delicious. You can make the slaw and salsa in advance and the shrimp only take a few minutes to cook. It’s a great way to get your taco fix on a busy weeknight.
Blackened shrimp are not burned as the name might lead you to think. The name comes from a blackening spice blend that is reminiscent of Creole or Cajun seasoning. The seasoning gives the shrimp a bold, spicy flavor and they make the most fantastic tacos.
The seasoning blend in the recipe below makes more than enough for the shrimp. Save any leftover seasoning to make blackened tilapia, salmon, or chicken.
When you combine the chipotle slaw and sweet mango salsa with the spicy shrimp, you will have a family favorite. We saved back a little bit of the dressing from the slaw to drizzle over the top of the tacos when they are ready to serve.
These are loaded tacos with all the flavors (sweet, spicy, salty, tangy) and plenty of crunch.
What You Need to Make the Tacos:
- Chipotle slaw. The recipe is below.
- Blackened shrimp. See the recipe below.
- Mango salsa. Use our recipe below or buy some in the grocery store for a shortcut.
- Corn or flour tortillas
- Green onions and Cotija cheese for topping.
- Extra chipotle dressing from the coleslaw to drizzle over the top of the tacos.
This recipe starts with a cool, refreshing, coleslaw that is lightly seasoned with chipotle peppers and some lively spices. The slaw is loaded with cabbage, carrots and green onions and makes a great base filling for the tacos.
The seasoning for the blackened shrimp is made with simple spices and a little sugar. The sugar helps the shrimp get a caramelized coating and is an important piece of the blackening flavor.
The mango salsa gives a sweet counter-balance to the spices in the slaw and blackened shrimp and the Cotija cheese has the necessary saltiness to complete the flavor profile.
How to Make Blackened Shrimp Tacos:
Here is a brief overview of the process but make sure you scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.
- Make the slaw and reserve some of the dressing to drizzle over the tacos.
- Make or purchase the mango salsa.
- Mix the blackening seasoning (or purchase some blackened seasoning).
- Cook the shrimp.
- Assemble the tacos.
There is a bit of advanced prep work for these tacos but it is seriously worth the effort. You can make the mango salsa a day or two in advance. Actually the salsa gets more flavorful if it is made a little in advance.
You can also make the chipotle coleslaw in advance. But if you want to make it more than 8 hours in advance, I recommend leaving the dressing separate and combining it with the cabbage mixture just before serving the tacos.
Also, If you toss the cabbage with the dressing too soon then the coleslaw may become a little soft and watery. If that does happen a simple fix is to drain off the excess with a mesh strainer.
Tips For the Best Shrimp Tacos:
- Don’t overcook the shrimp. Shrimp only take a couple of minutes to cook, literally. If you cook them too long then they start to get tough and rubbery.
- Cook the shrimp in batches. If you overcrowd the saute pan then you will end up steaming the shrimp instead of getting a nice blackened crust on them.
- If you use frozen shrimp, make sure you completely thaw them first.
- Blackened shrimp tacos taste great with flour tortillas or corn tortillas. If you warm the tortillas up first then they will be soft and pliable.
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- A non-stick saute pan comes in handy for cooking the shrimp.
- A salad bowl that doubles as a mixing bowl works great for the slaw. This one has a pretty bamboo lid and serving utensils.
- A jar of blackened seasoning comes in handy if you don’t want to mix up your own from scratch. The blackened shrimp tacos will taste great with homemade or store-bought seasoning.
Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:
- This Chinese coconut shrimp recipe is fast and easy. The shrimp swim in a creamy, savory sauce that is so good over a serving of rice.
- Shrimp and grits is Southern comfort food at its best. This recipe packs a ton of flavor and is sure to be a family favorite.
- This firecracker shrimp recipe is perfect for a quick appetizer or main entree. They have a spicy, garlicky kick and they are incredibly easy to make.
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For the Chipotle Slaw
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 to 2 chipotle peppers* from a can
- 1 cabbage, shredded (about 6 to 7 cups)
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 5 to 6 green onions, thinly sliced
For the Blackened Shrimp
- 5 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano,
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
For the Tacos
- 8 to 10 corn or flour tortillas
- Mango salsa
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 4 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled
Make the chipotle slaw
- Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, lime juice, honey and chipotle peppers in a small dish. Mix until well combined.
- Place the cabbage, carrots and green onions in a large bowl. Stir 1/2 to 3/4 of the dressing into the cabbage. Reserve the rest of the dressing for drizzling over the tacos. Cover the slaw and place in the refrigerator until later.
Make the Blackened Shrimp:
- In a small dish, combine the paprika, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, sugar, salt, cayenne, and pepper.
- Place the shrimp in a large bowl and toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the seasoning blend. Toss to coat the shrimp in the seasoning.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Working in batches, add the shrimp and sauté for 2 to 4 minutes until the shrimp are pink. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl as soon as they finish cooking.
Assemble the Tacos
- Place some slaw on a tortilla shell. Top with shrimp, mango salsa, green onions, and Cotija cheese. Serve with extra chipotle dressing and lime wedges.
The coleslaw will keep in the fridge for 2 days. You can make the dressing up to 5 days in advance and store it separately from the shredded cabbage.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 998mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 18g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.