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These grilled shrimp tacos are a perfect dinner party recipe or healthy weeknight meal, featuring spiced shrimp, Mexican slaw and a spicy mayo drizzle.

Grilled shrimp tacos
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Ready for our new favorite shrimp recipe? Grilled shrimp tacos with slaw! Oh YES. Imagine: smoky shrimp spiced with cumin and chili powder, served atop a crunchy Mexican slaw and drizzled with spicy mayo. Top with a spritz of lime juice and torn fresh cilantro, they’re pretty heavenly. They’ve got a festive vibe that works for entertaining, but they’re just as good for an easy dinner in. We made them for a dinner party and with a frozen daiquiri in hand, life felt pretty great.

Don’t want to grill? Go to Easy Shrimp Tacos.

How to make grilled shrimp tacos (basic steps!)

The grilled shrimp is quick to cook: the longest lead time in this tacos recipe is thawing the shrimp and preheating the grill. Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  1. If you’re using frozen shrimp, thaw it.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium high direct heat (375 to 400 degrees).
  3. While you’re waiting, make the toppings (Mexican slaw and spicy mayo).
  4. Mix the shrimp with olive oil and seasonings (cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder). Toss them on the grill and grill 1 to 2 minutes per side, until bright pink and cooked through.
  5. Serve in a tortilla with the coleslaw, spicy mayo, cilantro, and lime juice.
Mexican coleslaw

Make the Mexican slaw, or here’s a shortcut!

The other main part of these grilled shrimp recipe is making the Mexican coleslaw! It takes a bit of time to chop up the veggies and mix them together with olive oil, vinegar, and spices. You can do this while the grill preheats.

But if you’re in a time crunch, here’s a shortcut! Simply shred the cabbage, then squeeze it with lime juice from a few wedges and a pinch of kosher salt. It’s a shortcut we use again and again and it tastes almost just as good!

Spicy mayo: the icing on the cake!

The final component to these grilled shrimp tacos: spicy mayo! It’s an easy version of a taco sauce. All you do is mix together mayonnaise and Mexican hot sauce (use Cholula brand if you can find it). You don’t even really need to measure: just use the amounts to taste. Here’s the approximate ratio we like to use: 1 tablespoon mayonnaise plus 1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce.

Spicy mayo

What to serve with grilled shrimp tacos

Alex and I served this healthy grilled shrimp tacos recipe at an outdoor dinner party. Looking for some ideas on how to serve your tacos? Here’s what our dinner party menu looked like:

It was the tastiest lineup: and our 2 year old Larson gobbled it all up! He especially loved dipping chips in the bean dip (of course!).

Elote recipe (Mexican Street Corn)
Throw Elote right onto the grill with the shrimp!

How to thaw frozen shrimp

Wondering whether to get frozen or raw shrimp for grilled shrimp tacos? A myth about fish is that “fresh is best” — but frozen is good too! If it’s frozen right away, it can be fresher than raw shrimp. What’s the best way to thaw shrimp? Here are a few options:

  • Thaw by placing in the refrigerator overnight. Of course, this requires thinking ahead so…
  • Thaw under running cold water the day of. Place the frozen shrimp into a large bowl with very cold water. Stir the bowl every 5 minutes to break up clumps of shrimp that freeze together. The shrimp should be defrosted in about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp.
Grilled shrimp tacos

How to keep tortillas warm?

Finally: let’s talk tortillas! A warm tortilla is key to a good taco. Usually we warm our tortillas over a gas flame on the stovetop (see How to Warm Tortillas). But for this recipe, since you already have the grill fired up, you can heat your tortillas right on the grill! It also gives them a bit of charred essence to the flavor.

But once you take them off the grill, how to keep tortillas warm? Try a tortilla warmer! Alex and I don’t buy many gadgets that have only one purpose. But we have not found a better way to keep our tortillas warm! It’s basically an insulated pouch traps in the heat and keeps them perfectly heated. At the rate that we eat tacos around here, it’s a godsend. Get it: Tortilla warmer $14

Grilled shrimp tacos

This grilled shrimp tacos recipe is…

Dairy-free, gluten-free and pescatarian.

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Grilled shrimp tacos

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings (8 tacos) 1x
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These grilled shrimp tacos are a perfect dinner party recipe or healthy weeknight meal, featuring spiced shrimp, Mexican slaw and a spicy mayo drizzle. 


  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (we used 2630 per pound size)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups Mexican Coleslaw (¼ recipe; or 2 cups shredded red cabbage)
  • 8 tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Mexican hot sauce (such as Cholula)
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges, for serving


  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high direct heat (375 to 400 degrees).
  2. Thaw the shrimp and peel it (if it’s in the shell). In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and kosher salt
  3. Make the Mexican Coleslaw (or shred the cabbage and sprinkle with lime juice and a bit of kosher salt). 
  4. Mix together the mayonnaise and Mexican hot sauce. 
  5. Warm tortillas on grill for 10 seconds per side. Then grill the shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until bright pink and cooked through.
  6. To serve, place the coleslaw into a tortilla and top with grilled shrimp. Drizzle with the spicy mayo and top with torn cilantro leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. 
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Looking for more taco recipes?

That’s it: how to make grilled shrimp tacos with slaw!Let us know if you make them in the comments below. If you’re looking for other taco recipe ideas, here are some of our favorites:

Last updated: April 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Erin says:

    These were delicious!

  2. T Andersen says:

    I made the shrimp and your Mexican slaw and they were so fresh and flavorful and yummy! We really enjoyed them and I plan to make them again!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Thank you for making it!

  3. Abra Perkins says:

    This was delish! ThNk you!