Inspired by our recent trip to the Baja peninsula, these Baja Shrimp Tacos are loaded with crispy, beer-battered shrimp and a creamy cilantro lime slaw! For the best results, use a Mexican-style lager, dab the shrimp dry to ensure the batter sticks, and make sure the oil is nice and hot before frying. Follow these tips, and you’ll have perfect tacos every time!

A plate full of Baja shrimp tacos are ready to serve.

After returning home from our most recent trip to Cabo San Lucas and San Jose, I couldn’t stop dreaming of all the Baja Shrimp Tacos!

There’s just something about crispy, crunchy fried shrimp paired with a fresh and creamy slaw that satisfies the taste buds AND the soul, while also being the perfect comfort food during our scorching summer months here in Texas.

One night, I decided to tweak my go-to Baja Fish Tacos recipe for a shrimp variation, and let me tell you, it was a HUGE hit. We found ourselves going back for seconds, and I think Justin may have even had thirds—LOL.

A Recipe for Success

There are a few key things you’ll want to do to make sure your tacos come out as amazing as they do in the Mexican peninsula (or even better than you imagined!).

  • Use a light Mexican-style lager. Yes, beer is a key ingredient in making Baja-style fried seafood taste just right. If you want that authentic flavor, be sure to find a Mexican-style lager such as Dos Equis.
  • Dab the shrimp dry before coating in the batter. Wet shrimp will add excess moisture to the beer batter, causing it to slide off instead of sticking.
  • Make sure the oil is HOT before frying. If you’ve ever fried anything, you know that it won’t get crispy if the oil isn’t hot enough. So, make sure your oil is fully heated before tossing in the shrimp.
  • Serve these tacos immediately. Crunchy fried shrimp are best enjoyed right after frying. If they sit out too long, they’ll get soggy instead of staying crisp.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Notes about the ingredients needed for this Baja Shrimp Taco recipe are below. Jump to recipe for the exact measurements.

  • Shrimp. Look for larger shrimp (about 25-30 count/pound). Smaller shrimp will result in too much batter compared to the shrimp. Ensure they’re peeled and deveined with tails removed before coating in the batter. You can buy them this way or do it yourself (though it does take quite a bit of time!). If you’re fortunate to live on the Southern coast, opt for wild Gulf shrimp as they have the best flavor!
  • Beer. As I’ve mentioned a few times, the beer really matters! A light, lager-style Mexican beer is key to get the best flavor. Avoid darker beers like a stout. A pilsner may be substituted or even chicken broth if you don’t want to use alcohol.
  • Seasonings. A mix of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper gives the batter a good bit of flavor. It may seem like a lot, but not all of the batter ends up being used, so you need to “over-season” it to ensure the shrimp get enough flavor.
  • Oil. You’ll need a high smoke-point oil such as peanut or avocado oil. Avoid olive oil as it will burn and get smoky.
  • Yogurt. This is my secret to making a creamy slaw that isn’t loaded with mayonnaise. Mix this with some lime juice, garlic, and cilantro for a simple punch of flavor!
  • Coleslaw Mix. Buy a bag of pre-cut coleslaw to mix this up quickly. However, if you have the time, 4-5 cups of thinly shredded fresh cabbage will taste even better!
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How to Make Baja Shrimp Tacos

Below you’ll find the simple steps to make this Baja Shrimp Tacos recipe. Jump to recipe for the printable instructions.

1. Batter the shrimp.

The first step is to make the authentic beer batter for the shrimp. Start by whisking together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Carefully pour the beer in, whisking again until the batter is smooth.

You may need a spatula towards the end, as the batter gets thick.

Dab the shrimp with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture, then toss the shrimp into the prepared batter. Carefully stir until everything is coated.

2. Fry the shrimp in a skillet.

Pour 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil into a large, non-stick skillet. Set the stove to medium-high heat. Let the oil warm until it’s shimmering.

Place half of the shrimp in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to overlap anything. Cook the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side. When the shrimp are golden and crispy, remove them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Add the remaining oil to the pan, and continue cooking the rest of the shrimp.

3. Make the cilantro coleslaw.

In a clean, large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, lime juice, lime zest, Sriracha, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, carefully stir in about ¾ of the chopped cilantro. Add the coleslaw mix and toss until everything is evenly coated.

Set the mixture aside while you finish everything else.

4. Build the tacos and serve.

While this step is optional, it makes ALL the difference. Lightly pan fry your corn tortillas in a skillet or over a gas flame. Then, spoon a generous spoonful of the cilantro slaw along with a few pieces of the fried shrimp into each tortilla.

Top with sliced avocado, sliced red onion, chopped cilantro, and sliced green onions. Add a lime wedge and you’re good to go!

Can I use fish instead of shrimp?

You can definitely use a light, white-fleshed fish instead of shrimp in this recipe. I recommend cod or snapper. Check out these Baja Fish Tacos.

What to Serve with Baja Shrimp Tacos

While you can absolutely dig straight into these tacos, you can add a few different sides that perfectly complement the dish.

Stick with a classic like Mexican Rice and either Refried Black Beans or Instant Pot Black Beans.

Change things up with Mexican Street Corn Salad or even a Mexican Pasta Salad.

Of course, don’t skip the Baked Tortilla Chips and Pineapple Pico de Gallo, Roasted Tomato Salsa, or Tomatillo Salsa Verde.

More Delicious Taco Recipes

If you’re like me, tacos are a no-brainer ANY time of day! Try these delicious and easy recipes next.

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Baja Shrimp Tacos

Inspired by our recent trip to the Baja peninsula, these Baja Shrimp Tacos are loaded with crispy, beer-battered shrimp and a creamy cilantro lime slaw! For the best results, use a Mexican-style lager, dab the shrimp dry to ensure the batter sticks, and make sure the oil is nice and hot before frying.
A plate full of Baja shrimp tacos are ready to serve.
Yield 8 tacos
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 40 minutes
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Ingredients 

Shrimp:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup light Mexican beer Dos Equis or other lager-style
  • 1 ¼ pounds large shrimp peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil divided

Creamy Cilantro Slaw:

  • 1 5.3-ounce container plain Greek yogurt, full-fat
  • 1 lime plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper plus more to taste
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro divided
  • ½ large head cabbage thinly sliced

For Serving:

  • 8-10 corn tortillas toasted
  • 2 small avocados sliced
  • Green onions green parts only, cut at a bias

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Pour in the beer and whisk until smooth. Use a spatula to stir if the batter becomes too thick to whisk. Pat shrimp dry and add to the batter. Toss until well coated.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the shrimp in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Meanwhile, line a plate with a paper towel. Once the shrimp are golden brown and crispy, transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to the skillet and cook the remaining shrimp.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons lime zest, sriracha, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Add the shredded cabbage and ⅓ cup chopped cilantro. Toss until well coated. Set aside until ready to serve.
  • Toast the corn tortillas in a dry skillet or directly over a gas flame until lightly charred. Fill each tortilla with a generous spoonful of creamy cilantro slaw, a few pieces of fried shrimp, and 1-2 slices of avocado.
  • Serve the Baja shrimp tacos immediately with the remaining chopped cilantro, green onions, and lime wedges on the side for squeezing.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

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Notes

  • Nutrition: Nutritional information was calculated based on ¾ of the batter being used on the shrimp.
  • Beer: Be sure to grab a light, Mexican-style beer for the best flavor.
  • Frying: Heat peanut oil until shimmering, avoid oil that is too hot or cool.
  • Storage: Store everything separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days
  • Reheating: Reheat shrimp in an air fryer for the best results, or use a skillet. Shrimp will turn out soggy in a microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 867mg, Potassium: 451mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 619IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 120mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
Photos of London and Justin in Cabo, Mexico in the Baja Peninsula.

Cabo San Jose on the left and Cabo San Lucas on the right. (It was so much fun celebrating our 1-year anniversary here!)

5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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