This Easy Korean Grilled Shrimp Tacos Recipe With Slaw is a taste adventure that brings together some of the best flavors from Korean cuisine. It all starts with juicy shrimp and a flavorful Korean barbecue sauce. This sauce is the magic stuff, with a combo of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and a kick from some spicy Korean chili sauce. We let the shrimp soak up all these delicious flavors, and then it's grill time.
When the shrimp hit the heat, the shrimp get a perfectly charred, crispy outside that's just begging to be bitten into. Inside, they're tender and bursting with that sweet and spicy marinade. I top the shrimp with a crispy slaw of romaine lettuce with a tangy Asian-inspired dressing, then top that off with a crunchy relish. So, what we get is a shrimp dish that's got all the flavor you'd expect from a Korean barbecue, without all the fuss. It's a perfect example of how simple ingredients and a bit of grilling can create something truly tasty. So darned good!
WHAT MAKES THIS RECIPE SPECIAL?
Grilled shrimp tacos are special for a variety of reasons.
- This is one of the best shrimp tacos ever and a pleasant change of pace for Taco Tuesday!
- The star of the dish, the shrimp, brings a unique, slightly sweet seafood flavor that pairs excellently with the smoky char from the grill.
- What truly makes this dish stand out is its ability to marry a host of flavors and textures in one bite. The softness of the tortilla, the crunch of fresh vegetables, the tanginess of the sauce, and the lime juice all come together to complement the great flavor of the grilled shrimp perfectly.
- It's not just about the delicious taste, but also the shared experience, the vibrant colors, and the variety of textures, making every bite a fiesta of flavors.
IS THIS DISH BUDGET FRIENDLY?
This is a budget-friendly meal, squarely in the frugal zone (yellow) for dishes ranging from $4.00 to $6.00 per serving. Happy taco night!
For the full recipe with quantities, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
INGREDIENT NOTES & SUBSTITUTIONS
Shrimp - Use frozen shrimp for this shrimp taco recipe. The shrimp that you see thawed in the store was frozen before being thawed out at the store. Ask which frozen product the thawed shrimp came from and buy that one. It is fresher and cheaper. I use (41-50) shrimp which means it takes 41-50 of that size shrimp to make a pound. I do not use 41-50 shrimp to make tacos for two!
Korean Barbecue Sauce - I make my own Korean BBQ Dipping Sauce and I encourage you to make it if you have the time. If not, my favorite store-bought sauce is BiBigo Korean Barbecue Sauce. I have tried many brands and this one stands out.
Lettuce - Romaine lettuce works great for the slaw. If you have another lettuce that you like, feel free to use it. You just want crispy lettuce, not a soft lettuce variety. You can also use finely shaved cabbage and make a cabbage slaw.
Chili Sauce and Hot Sauce - Use what you like depending on your tolerance to heat and spice. I used hot chili oil when I took these photos and Cholula brand hot sauce, the best in my opinion.
Sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and cilantro - all contribute to the flavor of Asian cuisine. Buy the smallest bottles and jars you can find if you don't use these items often.
Tortillas - use what you like. When I first discovered fish tacos, the chef told me that the gold standard is to use white corn tortillas. I stick to that but use what you like. If you prefer soft tortillas use flour tortillas.
Full ingredients list & measurements are provided in the recipe card.
You have the flexibility to add various toppings to this easy shrimp tacos recipe according to your preference, making each taco customizable and unique.
Use mango salsa or pineapple salsa in place of the Korean Barbe Sauce for a Caribbean vibe.
Craving Mexican food? Season the shrimp with garlic powder, and chili powder. Make an avocado salsa with finely diced red onion and cilantro in place of the Korean BBQ sauce. Top the spicy shrimp tacos with sour cream and hot sauce.
Finely shred the romaine lettuce and set aside in the refrigerator.
Mix the lime juice, cilantro, onion, and scallions in a small bowl and refrigerate.
Add the sesame oil, seeds, sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, and chili in a bowl.
Add the ginger and stir to mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Add the peeled and deveined shrimp to a bowl and pour on the BBQ sauce.
Mix well and refrigerate for 30-60 mins. Cook on a hot grill pan until pink.
KOREAN BBQ SHRIMP TACO ASSEMBLY
Pour the dressing over the lettuce and mix well. Assemble the tacos in a warm tortilla with shrimp on the bottom, then the lettuce slaw, followed by the relish, more shrimp on top, and hot sauce if desired.
Isn't this a gorgeous wooden serving board?
Disclaimer: It was generously donated to me by the nice folks at Forest Decor, who make and sell gifts inspired by nature. They truly create works of art for the home. Please visit and see all the lovely things you need in your home.
Forest Decor™ is an American-owned company with corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a production factory, located on the Mediterranean coast of Tunisia.
TOP TIP FOR GRILLING SHRIMP
Using wooden skewers makes the raw shrimp easier to cook on the grill. Thread the shrimp onto the skewer using the two-skewer technique. I prefer wooden skewers over metal skewers for a shrimp recipe. See questions #1 below.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
For this recipe, I'd suggest threading the shrimp onto bamboo skewers using the two-skewer technique. It helps the shrimp cook evenly and prevents them from spinning around when you flip them on the grill.
Certainly! Olive oil can be a great alternative, imparting a richer flavor profile to the shrimp. However, keep in mind that its smoke point is slightly lower than vegetable oil.
Metal skewers are a good alternative if you don't have bamboo skewers. Just be careful as they heat up and can be hot to the touch after grilling.
Oh, you bet! The Korean BBQ sauce combined with the grilled shrimp creates a delicious barbecue flavor. You'll get that perfect mix of sweet, spicy, and smoky that barbecue shrimp lovers crave!
Considering the Asian-inspired flavors, a cold noodle salad or even some grilled veggies seasoned with a hint of black pepper would make a great side dish.
Set your grill to medium-high heat. This ensures that the shrimp get a lovely char without overcooking and remain juicy inside.
After marinating the shrimp, you might have some remaining sauce. It's a good idea to save it! You can drizzle a bit on the tacos for extra flavor or use it as a dip.
Absolutely! A moderate heat will work. It might take a tad longer to get that perfect char, but the shrimp will still turn out delicious. Just keep an eye on them to prevent overcooking.
Absolutely! While lime juice gives a specific tangy flavor, substituting with lemon juice can add a refreshing twist. Just ensure the balance of flavors remains harmonious with the other ingredients.
So glad you enjoyed it! Next time, consider using mango or pineapple salsa in place of the Korean Barbecue Sauce for a Caribbean flair. Or if you're in a Mexican food mood, spice up the shrimp with garlic powder and chili powder, then use an avocado salsa and sour cream as toppings.
Easy Korean Grilled Shrimp Tacos Recipe With Slaw
- Small bowl
- Medium bowl
- Outdoor grill or stove top grill pan
For the pico de gallo relish:
- ¼ cup sweet onion finely chopped
- 2 green onions sliced diagonally
- 3 sprigs fresh cilantro chopped
- Juice of ½ lime
- Salt to taste
For the salad and dressing:
- 1.5 cups romaine lettuce finely shredded
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon red chili paste
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoon sugar
For the shrimp:
- 8 ounces large shrimp peeled and deveined, tails removed
- ½ cup Korean BBQ Sauce
- 4 Corn Tortillas or flour tortillas
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- lime wedges at the table
For the pico de gallo relish:
- Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt if desired. Cover and refrigerate.
For the salad:
- Shred the romaine lettuce and place in a bowl. Refrigerate. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve then toss with the romaine.
For the shrimp:
- Rinse the shrimp under cold water and dry them on paper towels. Place in a bowl and pour on the Korean BBQ sauce. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Place the shrimp on the grill and let the shrimp cook for 2 minutes on each side.
- Remove the shrimp from the grill. Place the tortillas on the grill and heat until just warm.
- Assemble the tacos with the shrimp on the bottom, topped with the romaine salad and onion cilantro relish. Garnish with hot sauce if desired. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.
We take every effort to ensure that the estimated meal cost per serving is accurate. We use a meal cost analysis application that estimates the cost of a recipe based on groceries purchased at a Walmart store in my geographical area, northern California.