These are seriously the best Korean Shrimp Tacos! They're loaded with spicy gochujang marinaded shrimp, homemade lime crema, and all your favorite toppings. It's delicious, easy, and great for a crowd!
🌮 The Best Fusion Tacos
If you're looking for a ridiculously easy but flavorful dinner, these Korean-style Shrimp Tacos are it! Juicy, plump prawns are coated in a spicy gochujang, honey, and soy sauce marinade. It's the perfect mix of savory, sweet, and umami - with a little kick of heat.
And the best sauce for a shrimp taco? Easy lime crema! It's bright and creamy, which helps balance the spice from the gochujang. Nestle it all in a soft corn tortilla and top it with whatever your heart desires. My favorites? Fresh cucumber, salty cotija cheese, and kimchi to reinforce those Korean flavors.
These loaded tacos are great for an easy weeknight dinner or if you plan to host a crowd. Lay everything out buffet-style and let guests pile their tacos high. They won't be able to stop eating!
Why You'll Love It
- Quick: Shrimp is one of my favorite proteins because they cook in just 5 minutes. From start to finish, this entire meal only takes 30 minutes and one pan!
- Flavorful: We pack a lot of flavor into the spicy shrimp marinade, thanks to the gochujang, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger. If anything, these tacos are definitely not boring.
- Fusion flavors: Korean flavors + Mexican vessels = match in heaven! Thanks to the famous Kogi food truck, Korean-Mexican fusion dishes are very popular now - and for a very, very good reason!
- Tortillas: Soft corn tortillas, either yellow or white, are the authentic choice for Mexican street tacos. But you can use flour tortillas in a pinch.
- Shrimp: I always have a big bag of frozen shrimp ready for a quick meal. Thaw it in the fridge overnight or in a large bowl of cold water. I also prefer peeled shrimp without tails for easy eating. If your shrimp isn't de-veined, make sure to do that first.
- Mayonnaise, sour cream, and milk: The base of our white sauce. You can use this crema on pretty much any taco, burrito, or quesadilla.
- Lime: Adds a lot of brightness. I also like extra wedges on the side.
- Gochujang: A popular Korean condiment made from fermented red chilis. It's a thick red paste with varying levels of spice. I also use it in my Rabokki recipe. You can find it in most grocery stores now, but Asian markets will have the most variety.
- Garlic and ginger: Adds freshness and fragrance to the marinade.
- Soy sauce: For salt and umami. I recommend using the low-sodium version.
- Honey: My favorite sweetener. It also helps mellow out the spicy gochujang.
- Sesame oil: A little goes a long way so make sure to carefully measure it out. I also recommend using toasted sesame oil for more flavor.
- Cooking oil: Helps coat the shrimp in the marinade. Avocado oil is my favorite oil to cook, fry, and sauté with because of its high smoke point (500°F) and neutral flavor.
- For the toppings: You can top these tacos with literally anything. But I recommend sliced cucumber for freshness. And since this is a recipe without cabbage or coleslaw, kimchi would be a great crunchy addition. I also like to garnish with toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onion, and grated cotija cheese.
Substitutions & Variations
- You can use any type of tortillas you'd like. I prefer corn but white or wheat flour, brown rice, almond flour, etc would work. The serving size will change depending on the size of the tortillas.
- Replace honey with your favorite sweetener. Try coconut sugar, white sugar, or brown rice syrup.
- For more spice, add gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) to the marinade. It's commonly paired with gochujang and adds another level of heat. I would start with ½ tsp, then cook 1 shrimp to test and adjust the heat level.
- If you want to make a quick coleslaw, mix in shredded cabbage into the lime dressing. Let it sit for 20 minutes in the fridge.
🔪 How To Make Asian Shrimp Tacos
⬇️ Please scroll down to the recipe card to see full ingredient
amounts and instructions.
STEP ONE: Start by making the creamy lime sauce. Whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice and zest, salt, and pepper. If you want a softer sauce to drizzle with, gradually pour in milk until you reach your desired consistency.
STEP TWO: Then, in a large bowl, add gochujang, honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, cooking oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine.
STEP THREE: Add the shrimp and mix until they're all evenly coated. Let sit in the marinade while you heat the tortillas.
STEP FOUR: I usually toast tortillas by heating 2-3 at a time in a dry skillet over medium heat. Each side should only take about 30 seconds. You want them warm and pliable so they don't break when you fill them. Wrap the toasted tortillas in foil to keep warm.
STEP FIVE: You can use the same skillet that you used to heat the tortillas. Heat it over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp and spread out in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sides start to become opaque. Then flip all the shrimp and turn off the heat. Let sit for 2-3 minutes and the residual heat will finish cooking the shrimp.
STEP SIX: Assemble your shrimp tacos. I like to spread a little lime sauce on the tortilla. Then top it with shrimp and lightly salted cucumbers, plus any garnishes.
💭 Top Tips
- Make sure to toast your tortillas to make them more pliable. You can heat them directly over the flames on a gas stove for lightly charred edges. Or place them on a dry skillet or griddle and heat both sides until soft.
- Use medium-sized shrimp. I find medium ones have the best size and texture for tacos. I use U32-40, which means 32-40 shrimp per pound, which allows for 4-5 shrimp per taco.
- If you want to make grilled shrimp tacos, thread the prawns onto skewers for easy handling. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 20 minutes first!
- Cute taco holders are always a fun idea! They'd be great for parties or even a family dinner.
- If topping tacos with sliced cucumber, get Persian mini cucumbers. They have thin skins and few seeds so you don't need to de-seed them.
- Make it a complete meal! Serve these Korean Shrimp Tacos with Kimchi Deviled Eggs, Spam Musubi with Egg, or Crab Rangoons as appetizers. And if you're serving these tacos on a hot summer day, Classic Milk Tea Boba will cool you down!
🥡 Storing & Freezing
Storing: I recommend storing each component separately if possible. Store the cooked shrimp and lime dressing in tight containers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Any leftover tortillas can be stored in a zip-top bag in the fridge for 1 week.
Freezing: You can freeze the cooked shrimp in a zip-top bag with all the air squeezed out. To prevent them from sticking together, first place the shrimp on a baking sheet with space between each one. Par-freeze them for about 30 minutes, then place into a zip-top bag or vacuum seal them. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating: Heat the shrimp in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds, or in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Re-toast the tortillas on a dry skillet for 15 seconds each side.
If reheating shrimp from frozen, increase the time and stir often until heated through.
Make Ahead: These tacos are great for a party or event. Make things easier on yourself by preparing some of the elements in advance:
- Whisk together the lime crema up to 3 days in advance and store in the fridge.
- Make the marinade in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and add the shrimp. Let marinade for maximum 48 hours. Let it come to room temperature before cooking.
- Toast the tortillas in the morning and wrap in foil. Keep warm in a 250°F oven until ready to serve. Alternatively, you can place the tortillas in a slow cooker with a damp paper towel on the "Warm" setting.
📖 Recipe FAQs
You can use either type but soft corn tortillas are traditional for street tacos in Mexico. Flour tortillas are softer with less flavor, and typically used in burritos and quesadillas.
Korean tacos originated from the Los Angeles food truck scene and are a Korean-Mexican fusion dish. Korean-marinaded meats, such as bulgogi or short rib, are served on corn tortillas and topped with salsa, slaw, or sauce that has a blend of Asian and Mexican flavors.
For shrimp tacos, they're best paired with a sauce, like the Lime Crema in this recipe, or a coleslaw. These particular tacos don't have coleslaw but chopped kimchi would provide the same tang and crunch. Other common toppings are cheese (cotija or queso fresco), salsa, pico de gallo, avocado or guacamole, chopped onion or tomatoes, cilantro, and green onion.
🍽 Looking For More Seafood?
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Korean Shrimp Tacos
- 6-8 tortillas
Lime Crema Sauce
- Make the crema. In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. If needed, gradually drizzle in a splash of milk until sauce is easy to drizzle. Season to taste. Let sit in fridge.
- Marinade the shrimp. In a large bowl, combine gochujang, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, cooking oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pat the shrimp dry, then add to the bowl. Stir to combine, then let marinade for a few minutes while you heat the tortillas.
- Warm the tortillas. Heat tortillas in a dry skillet, griddle, or directly over a gas flame until warm and pliable. It should take 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. Once hot, add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sides of the shrimp are opaque. Flip the shrimp, cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Let the residual heat finish cooking the shrimp.
- Assemble the tacos. Schmear the sauce on top of the tortilla. Then layer with shrimp and desired toppings.
- Serving size will vary, depending on the size of your shrimp and how stuffed your tacos are. Generally, the recipe makes 6-8 tacos.
- I recommend using medium-sized shrimp and Persian cucumbers for thin skins and seeds.
- If grilling the shrimp, thread them onto skewers first. Bamboo and wooden skewers need to be soaked for at least 20 minutes first. Then cook over direct heat for 2-3 minutes each side.
👩🏻🍳 Products I Used
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