These Honey Chipotle Shrimp Tacos are bursting with flavor! Sweet and smoky marinaded shrimp are paired with an easy herb slaw for the perfect combo. These spicy tacos are great for a quick weeknight dinner or when you need to impress a crowd!
🌮 The Ultimate Sweet and Spicy Tacos
Honey and chipotle - a seriously perfect pairing. The sweet, floral honey is a great complement to the the spicy, smoky, and tangy chipotle peppers in adobo. Together, they add layers of flavor to plump juicy shrimp.
And what ties it all together? The easiest cabbage and herb coleslaw! It tames the spice from the chipotle while also adding some fresh crunch. It's so versatile that you could also top it on these Korean Shrimp Tacos!
When the shrimp and creamy slaw gets stuffed into a pillowy soft tortilla, it truly becomes a bite made in heaven. These tasty honey chipotle tacos are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or an impromptu dinner party. Guests won't be able to stop raving!
Why You'll Love It
- Quick: Shrimp is one of my favorite proteins of all time because it only takes 5 minutes to cook. This easy taco recipe is mostly assembly and comes together in just 40 minutes.
- Flavorful: Thanks to the honey, chipotle in adobo, lime, garlic, cilantro, green onion, oregano, mayonnaise.. I could keep going, but there's absolutely no shortage of flavor in these loaded seafood tacos.
- Great for a party: Tacos are always a popular choice when it comes to special occasions and events. They're certainly a crowd pleaser, and these chipotle tacos are no exception.
- Shrimp: I always have a large bag of frozen shrimp on hand for a quick meal. To thaw, leave in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes. I recommend medium-sized shrimp, about the U30-50 range. Also make sure they're peeled, deveined, and have tails removed.
- Tortillas: Feel free to use your choice of tortillas, but corn tortillas are my favorite for street tacos like these.
- Mayonnaise: The base for our creamy slaw dressing. I don't recommend using light mayo.
- Lime: The juice replaces the vinegar that's usually in coleslaw. Meanwhile, the zest amplifies the citrus flavors in the shrimp marinade.
- Sugar: To balance the acidic lime juice. You can use white, brown, or coconut sugar.
- Cabbage: Buy the pre-shredded bag like I did or thinly slice a head a cabbage. You could use green, purple/red, or a mix of both.
- Cilantro and green onion: Classic taco garnishes that we'll add into the slaw for herb-packed flavor.
- Cooking oil: Avocado oil is my favorite oil to cook, fry, and sauté with because of its high smoke point (500°F) and neutral flavor.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo: These chipotle peppers are simply jalapeños that have been dried, smoked, and marinaded in a spicy tomato-based adobo sauce. Use the peppers for spice and texture, and the sauce for intense smokiness and flavor. You'll find these small cans in the international aisle of the supermarket.
- Honey: Helps caramelize the shrimp while providing a sweet counterbalance to the adobo.
- Garlic and oregano: Classic Mexican flavor enhancers for the sauce.
- For the toppings: Feel free to go with your favorites - salsa, sliced jalapeno, sour cream, diced onion, pico de gallo, etc. For these tacos, I usually go with sliced avocado, cotija cheese, and additional lime juice.
Substitutions & Variations
- To make a less spicy version of honey chipotle tacos, leave out the chipotle peppers and only use the adobo sauce. You can also increase the honey and oil to dilute the marinade.
- You can replace the mayonnaise in the coleslaw with Greek yogurt if you'd like. You may need to increase the sugar if it's very tangy.
- Dress up your slaw any way you'd like. Additional seasonings like onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed, or dried dill are classic.
- For even more flavor in the chipotle shrimp marinade, try adding cumin, paprika, or even taco seasoning.
- This honey chipotle sauce works well with any protein! Replace the shrimp with cubed chicken, salmon, or steak.
- Double the marinade and before you add the shrimp, reserve half for sauce on the side.
🔪 How To Make Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
⬇️ Please scroll down to the recipe card to see full ingredient amounts and instructions.
STEP ONE: Start by making the coleslaw. In a large bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper.
STEP TWO: Add the shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro, and green onion.
STEP THREE: Mix it all together. Don't worry if it looks underdressed! Let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes while you continue with the rest of the recipe. As you can see, the cabbage will wilt down and release some water so the end result will be perfectly dressed.
STEP FOUR: Next, make the honey chipotle marinade. In another bowl, whisk together finely minced chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, lime zest, garlic, honey, oregano, oil, salt, and pepper.
STEP FIVE: Add the shrimp and mix thoroughly so each piece is coated in the sauce. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
STEP SIX: Heat the tortillas. You have a couple options: heat both sides directly over a flame, one at a time, until lightly charred. Or you can heat 2-3 tortillas at a time in a dry skillet until warm and pliable. Wrap in foil until you're ready to assemble.
STEP SEVEN: Finally, cook the shrimp. Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Since we already included oil in the marinade, no need to add more into the pan. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook both sides for about 2 minutes.
STEP EIGHT: Assemble your tacos! I like to top a warm tortilla with shrimp, followed by the creamy slaw and any last toppings.
💭 Top Tips
- Don't overcook the shrimp. They literally take just minutes to cook so be extra wary when they're on the stovetop. Overcooked shrimp will be tough and rubbery, so it's better to slightly undercook them and let any residual heat finish the job for you.
- Adjust the shrimp cooking time based on their size. I used U31-40 sized prawns, which are medium-sized. I wait for the first side to be completely opaque and the sides to start getting opaque before flipping. This usually takes 2ish minutes for me. Large shrimp will require more time and heat, while smaller ones will be much faster.
- Cute taco holders are always a fun idea! They'd be great for parties or even a family dinner.
- If serving these tacos at a party, I recommend adding Mexican Meatballs, Beef Taquitos, or Butternut Squash and Mushroom Empanadas to the buffet line.
🥡 Storing & Freezing
Storing: If you have leftover honey chipotle shrimp tacos, store each component separately.
- Cooked shrimp can be stored in air-tight containers in the fridge for 4 days.
- The slaw may become more watery and softer as time passes, so I recommend consuming it within the day if possible. However, if you have leftovers, store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Tortillas should be kept in a zip-top bag in the fridge for 1 week.
Freezing: I do not recommend freezing the coleslaw due to the mayonnaise. Tortillas and cooked shrimp can be frozen, separately, in zip-top bags with as much air squeezed as possible. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend thawing shrimp in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Reheating: Heat the shrimp in the microwave in 15 second intervals or over medium-low heat until heated through. Add a splash of water if needed to rehydrate.
If reheating shrimp from frozen, increase the time and stir often.
Make Ahead: You can make the slaw up to 3 days in advance. You can marinade the shrimp for up to 24 hours, but it should be cooked day-of for best results.
📖 Recipe FAQs
If you can't find chipotle peppers, you can try ½ tablespoon chipotle powder mixed with 1 tablespoon tomato paste and a splash of water instead. If you have time, bloom it in a skillet with a little oil to enhance the spices.
It's made from jalapenos, so expect similar spice levels. However, it can feel intensified due to the smokiness and packed flavor. To reduce the spice, remove as much seeds as possible from the peppers.
It can be! As the slaw sits in the refrigerator, the flavors marry together and become tastier. However, the salt draws out water from the cabbage, resulting in a watery dressing and softer cabbage. I personally prefer coleslaw that's been dressed within 4-6 hours but it'll still be tasty the next day.
🍽 Looking For More Seafood?
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Honey Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
- 6-8 tortillas I used corn tortillas
Honey Chipotle Shrimp
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil I used avocado oil
- 1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo (canned) minced; option to remove seeds
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon lime zest grated
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 lb raw shrimp peeled, de-veined, and tails removed
- Make the slaw. In a large bowl, whisk together mayo, lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add in the cabbage, cilantro, and green onion and mix to combine. Let sit in fridge for at least 20 minutes while you continue with the recipe.
- Marinade the shrimp. In another bowl, combine oil, minced chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, garlic, lime zest, honey, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pat the shrimp dry and add to marinade. Toss to combine and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Warm the tortillas. Heat tortillas in a dry skillet, griddle, or directly over a gas flame until warm and pliable, about 30 seconds per side. Wrap in foil to keep warm and set aside.
- Cook the shrimp. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add marinaded shrimp in a single layer. Once first side is opaque in about 2-3 minutes, flip the shrimp and turn the heat off. The residual heat will cook the second side and should take another 2-3 minutes.
- Assemble. On top of a warm tortilla, top with 3-5 pieces of shrimp, cabbage slaw, and desired toppings. I recommend sliced avocado, grated cotija cheese, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Finish with a squeeze of lime.
- Serving size is dependent on the size of your shrimp and tortillas. It can range from 5-10 tacos.
- To make a less spicy version, leave out the chipotle peppers and only use the adobo sauce. You can also increase the honey and oil to dilute the marinade.