Easy Chile Butter Shrimp Tacos
Meet your new favorite recipe for shrimp tacos! There’s chile butter shrimp, mashed avocado and a quick and crunchy slaw. Jump to the Chile Butter Shrimp Tacos Recipe or read on to see how we make them.
How We Make Them
These tacos are just as easy to make as they are to eat! You can even make the cabbage slaw in advance. In fact, I actually love this slaw when made a day in advance.
It may seem like there are a lot of steps to this, but trust me, everything is really easy. We start things off by marinating the shrimp — they only need 15 to 20 minutes, which is perfect because that’s the amount of time we need to get everything else ready.
Our spice rub calls for two kinds of chile powder — ancho and chipotle. Most spice companies sold at grocery stores sell them now, but you can also take a look in the International section of the store (or go to an International market). You’ll often find the same spices for much less money (online works, too).
Ancho chile powder is sweet and mild — we use it a lot and even make our own chili powder using it.
Chipotle chile powder is smoky and hot — careful when you’re adding it, it’s spicy! If you’re not up to buying an extra spice, substitute smoked paprika for the chipotle powder, it will work perfectly fine in this recipe.
We also add some cumin, coriander and unsweetened cocoa powder. The cocoa powder may seem a little strange, but it works really well with the chile powders (somewhat similar to a mole sauce, which often includes a dark or unsweetened chocolate).
We love adding crunch to tacos. So these shrimp tacos come with a crunchy cabbage slaw. The slaw is simple and dairy-free. Toss thinly sliced cabbage — red is nice, but white cabbage is fine — with sliced onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Use it after 15 minutes or make it ahead of time. I actually love this slaw a day old — it’s great as a side, with eggs, or on salad.
Since that only took a few minutes, we might as well get the avocado ready. I’m more of a fan of avocado than Adam. He isn’t into slices of avocado on tacos. While I’d happily eat the slices alone, I actually think he’s right on this one.
If you gently mash the avocado with some cilantro, lime juice, and salt, it makes the perfect base for the tacos. It helps hold everything together and makes sure you get a little creamy avocado with every bite.
Now that everything is ready, we can cook the shrimp. This is when we break out the butter — although you could always use olive oil.
If you’re not against the butter, I highly recommend it! It smells and tastes incredible. The shrimp only take a couple minutes on each side and then it’s time to assemble the tacos. A little avocado mash on the bottom, a handful of crunchy cabbage slaw and then those chile butter shrimp. Talk about crave-worthy!
Recipe updated, originally posted June 2016. Since posting this in 2016, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Easy Chile Butter Shrimp Tacos
Meet your new favorite shrimp tacos recipe. This is just as easy to make as it is to eat! The red cabbage slaw can be made in advance, in fact, I prefer it a day old. The shrimp are tossed in a blend of chile powders and spices. Ancho chile is sweet and mild, while chipotle powder is smoky and hot. We use ancho chile powder a lot at home and highly suggest investing in it. The chipotle powder is also delicious and versatile, but you can substitute it for a smoked paprika in a pinch.
You Will NeedChile Butter Shrimp
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons butterFor Tacos
1/4 head red cabbage
1/4 of a medium onion
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
8 medium (6-inch) corn tortillas or 12 small (4-inch) corn tortillas
- Prepare Shrimp
- Make Slaw
- To Finish
Pat the shrimp dry and add to a bowl. Season with salt, ancho chile powder, chipotle chile powder, ground cumin, ground coriander and the cocoa powder. Gently toss to coat then set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut out and discard the core of the cabbage; thinly slice the leaves. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Remove leaves and tender stems from cilantro then roughly chop. Combine cabbage, onion and about half of the cilantro in a bowl. (Save the remaining cilantro for later). Add the juice of half a lime then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside for 20 minutes. Slaw can be made up to one day in advance.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap tortillas, in two stacks of 6, with aluminum foil. Place into oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.
Meanwhile, cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Using a spoon, scoop the avocado out of the peel and into a medium bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado until smooth. Add the juice of half of a lime and half of the remaining cilantro; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque throughout, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Stir in the remaining cilantro and squeeze in the juice of half a lime.
Fill each warmed tortilla with some of the mashed avocado, 3 to 4 shrimp and some of the red cabbage slaw (you may have extra). Serve with any remaining slaw and left over lime, cut into wedges, on the side.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.