Blackened Shrimp Tacos.

Jumbo shrimp tossed in blackening seasoning, then pan-fried in butter and stuffed into flour tortillas, along with sliced red cabbage, chunks of avocado, quick pickled onions, cilantro and a cumin sour cream. Easy, quick and bursting with freshness.

A close up overhead image of blackened fish tacos on a white plate.

We just came back from visiting my parents in the Florida Keys for a week of fun in the sun (and watching coronavirus coverage … and hoping things weren’t getting as bad as we thought). We love getting out of the cold of New England and visiting our Mimi and PopPop. Aside from the family time, each year, I look forward to some amazing seafood, specifically blackened fish. As you know, we get amazing seafood here on the Cape. But those restaurants down in the Keys know how to do blackened fish and seafood unlike any place up here. So, now I am on a mission to make some really good blackened seafood. Starting with this blackened shrimp.

How do you make blackening seasoning?

Don’t let this long(ish) list of ingredients scare you. You probably have all of the spices in your spice drawer. Blackening blends can vary, but this is a combination that we really like – I’ve used cumin here, which typically in blackening seasoning, but goes really nicely with the cumin spiced sour cream that you’ll serve with the shrimp. Combine the spices with butter and magic happens. Feel free to tweak according to your taste. I don’t like a lot of heat, so if you prefer something spicier, add some cayenne pepper to the mix.

  • Ground cumin
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper

Aside from shrimp, this blackening seasoning would also be great on salmon and any white fish.

Also, if you love blackened fish, check out this incredible blackened mahi or blackened cod., using more traditional blackening seasoning.

A close up of a shrimp taco

What are the health benefits of shrimp?

If you love shrimp, you’re not alone. Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the US. It’s quick to prepare, tasty and good for you. What are its top health benefits?

  • Rich in protein – essential for bone and muscle health
  • Rich in selenium – important for heart, immune system and thyroid health
  • Provides a good or excellent source of: Vitamin B12, phosophous, choline, copper, iron and iodine

To make sure you’re buying sustainably grown and harvested shrimp, check out You can also look for the MSC and BAP certifications.

An overhead image of blackened shrimp tacos

An image of blackened shrimp on a white plate

Are these Blackened Shrimp Tacos easy and quick enough for a weeknight meal?

Yes! They’re ready in 20 minutes, as long as your shrimp are thawed. Ideally, you’ll have made your pickled red onions ahead of time, as they are best after about 8 hours or more. Thaw your shrimp overnight in the fridge (do not thaw at room temperature) or run them under cold water for 5-10 minutes until thawed. And, these shrimp tacos utilize many fridge and pantry staples – so you likely have most of the ingredients on hand. The only items I had to purchase for this recipe were: cilantro and sour cream. We always keep:

  • frozen shrimp
  • spices
  • tortillas (my kids eat tortillas at EVERY meal, no joke)
  • cabbage (red or green)
  • red onion
  • lime
  • avocado

Any tweaks I can make to the recipe to make it even quicker?

Yep! You can skip the quick pickled onions and just use diced red onion. You can also just use plain sour cream vs stirring in the garlic power and cumin.

Are frozen shrimp a staple in your freezer? If not (and you love shrimp), they should be. Unlike most other seafood/meat/poultry, they thaw very quickly, so even if you haven’t planned ahead for dinner, dinner can still be ready in less than 30 minutes. And they cook in less than 5 minutes … how can you beat that?! We love using frozen shrimp for: stir-fries, grilling, salads, fresh spring rolls, pasta … and yep, tacos!

Here’s how to make these easy Blackened Shrimp Tacos:

An overhead image of blackened shrimp tacos

Blackened Shrimp Tacos

Jumbo shrimp tossed in blackening seasoning, then pan fried in butter and stuffed into flour tortillas, along with sliced red cabbage, chunks of avocado, quick pickled onions, cilantro and a cumin sour cream. Easy, quick and bursting with freshness.
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 281 kcal


For the Shrimp

  • 16 ounces peeled and deveined frozen shrimp (21-25), thawed, tail removed, patted dry 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon canola or avocado oil

For the sour cream

  • 1/2 cup light sour cream 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For the picked onion - make these 8 hours ahead of time, if possible

  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Tacos

  • 12 street-sized flour tortillas  heated (either wrapped in a kitchen towel and heated for 30 seconds in the microwave or heated individually in a dry grill pan or skillet)
  • 1/2 head red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado  cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup cilantro roughly chopped

For serving

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


For the Shrimp

  • Place shrimp in a large mixing bowl and pat very dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, mix together cumin, garlic and onion powders, paprika, salt and pepper. Add seasoning mixture to the shrimp and toss to combine. 
  • Heat butter and oil in a large cast-iron (or non-stick skillet) over medium high heat. Once the butter begins to bubble, add shrimp, making sure not to crowd the pan. If need be, cook shrimp in batches. Flip shrimp after 1-2 minutes, once underside is browned. Cook another 1-2 minutes until shrimp is just opaque and cooked through. Don’t overcook. Remove shrimp from heat.  

For the sour cream

  • Combine the sour cream, cumin and garlic powder. Mix well. 

For the pickled red onion

  • Combine onion, vinegar, sugar and salt. Mix well. Refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight, if possible.

For the tacos

  • Spread each warmed tortilla with sour cream mixture. Top with red cabbage, blackened shrimp, avocado chunks, red onion and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and more sour cream.


Calories: 281kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 20gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 1583mgPotassium: 805mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1749IUVitamin C: 74mgCalcium: 191mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Blackened Shrimp Tacos
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Looking for more great shrimp recipes?

Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Shrimp Summer Rolls