Quick and easy blackened shrimp tacos recipe! The seasoning on these shrimp tacos is so good when you combine it with seasoned smashed avocados and fresh slaw!

four shrimp tacos with smashed avocado and cilantro on a silver platter


These blackened shrimp tacos were the first thing I made for us after we moved into our temporary apartment while we’re waiting on our new house to finish up. 

I’m not gonna lie, going from a house back to an apartment has been an interesting transition. Without my full array of spices (which are kept away in storage), I’m forced to use just a few select seasonings for my recipes. To give you an idea of how many I’ve brought with us, I’ve used almost all of them in this recipe. If only there was a number or some kind of score attached to how many I can use in a recipe, this would totally max it out!

After a bit of scouting, I realized that the local grocery store sells an array of spices from around the world by the ounce, so I can always run and grab what I need. So don’t worry, even in my temporary condition, I’ve got the seasonings and flavors covered.

close up of blackened shrimp tacos on crinkled parchment paper

Blackened shrimp tacos! What is there not to love? You’ve got a little heat, a little sweet, and a little savory from the shrimp. It comes together with a creamy, cool jalapeño lime crema that is as simple as tossing everything into a food processor and giving it a whiz. Then there’s crunch from the angel hair shredded cabbage and buttery smashed avocados round out all those yummy flavors.

These blackened shrimp tacos are now officially Anees’ favorite recipe of 2019, thus far. He raved about these shrimp tacos and then raved about them all over again when I made him blackened shrimp rice bowls for lunch the next day — basically, all the same flavors just on a bed of warm, fluffy rice.

The recipe is simple, which is just what I need since I’m working out of a tiny, tiny kitchen. Just toss a bunch of seasonings on to the shrimp and allow it to marinate while you make the crema for the slaw. Then, it’s as simple as stuffing everything into a warmed flour or corn tortilla and serving it up.

open-faced blackened shrimp taco on silver platter

What seasonings do you need to make the blackened shrimp tacos?

  • sugar
  • smoked paprika
  • ground cumin
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • onion powder
  • dried thyme
  • salt

How to cook the shrimp for blackened shrimp tacos:

  1. Toss the shrimp in the seasonings.
  2. Allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes to marinate.
  3. Add butter to a hot skillet and cook the shrimp until they blacken on the outside and cook through about 2-4 minutes.

prepared cilantro dressing for slaw in measuring cup

tossed slaw for tacos in silver bowl

What do you need to make the jalapeno lime slaw?

  • greek yogurt (or ½ sour cream ½ mayo)
  • garlic cloves 
  • cilantro (or parsley)
  • scallions, greens only
  • lime juice
  • jalapeño
  • finely shredded cabbage

How to make the jalapeno lime crema:

It’s really simple to make the jalapeño lime crema that we toss with the shredded cabbage in. 

  1. Blend together all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Toss with cabbage.

drizzling jalapeno lime crema on blacked shrimp tacos with spoon

What’s in the smashed avocados?

The smashed avocados elevate these tacos a little bit more! I like to smash a large avocado in a bowl and season it with a dash of garlic powder (to taste) along with a two teaspoons lime juice and a pinch of salt. You can add cayenne too if you’d like to heat things up a bit!

Do I have to season the avocados or can I serve them sliced?

Nope! Not at all, you can simply slice or dice the avocados and add them to the tacos as well. I smash and season them as it adds another level of flavor, however, this isn’t a make it or break it component!

If you’re looking for other taco inspirations, you might also like ancho chicken tacos, Mexican street corn tacos, mojo steak tacos, or even my beef fajitas!

I know it’s a day early for Taco Tuesday, but is it ever too early in the week for tacos?

I think not.

top shot of blackened shrimp on mashed avocados and slaw on corn tortillas

Yield: serves 4

Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Smashed Avocados and Slaw

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Quick and easy blackened shrimp tacos recipe! The seasoning on these shrimp tacos is so good when you combine it with seasoned smashed avocados and fresh slaw!

Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Smashed Avocados and Slaw


Shrimp Tacos:

  • 1 ½ teaspoon EACH: granulated sugar AND smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, salt, AND granulated garlic
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste, omit to keep it mild)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme AND onion powder
  • 1 ¼ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil)

Jalapeno Lime Slaw:

  • ½ cup greek yogurt ( or ½ sour cream ½ mayo)
  • 2-3 small cloves garlic (to preference)
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro (or parsley)
  • 3 scallions, greens only
  • 3-4 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ – 1 ½ jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped (the more you add the spicier it’ll be)
  • 10 ounces of shredded cabbage (roughly 3 ½ cups)

Other ingredients:

  • Tortillas or cooked rice (if you’d rather make bowls!)
  • Smashed avocados (see notes)/ lime wedges/ Cotija cheese


  1. SHRIMP: Combine the smoked paprika, sugar, cumin, garlic, cayenne, salt, thyme, and onion powder in a small bowl. Place the cleaned shrimp in a medium bowl and toss with the prepared seasoning. Allow the shrimp to marinate for roughly 5 minutes if you can. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and cook the shrimp for roughly 2-4 minutes, flipping as needed to cook evenly on both sides until firm and cooked through. If you don’t have a pan large enough, cook in two batches, you don’t want the shrimp to steam, but rather sear and blacken.
  2. MAKE THE SLAW: Place all the ingredients for the slaw (except the cabbage) with ½ teaspoon of salt and start with 3 tablespoons of lime juice into a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice to preference. Toss ½ the dressing with the cabbage and adjust with more to taste.
  3. ASSEMBLE: Add the smashed avocados to a warm tortilla, top with slaw and blackened shrimp. Sprinkle on cotija cheese and serve with lime wedges on the side!


  • I like to smash the avocados with a hint of garlic powder, salt, and 2 teaspoons of lime juice, however, this is completely optional! You can just slice or dice and add them to the recipe as well.

Have you made this recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR, I'd love to see what you made!

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