Mexican food presents a world of options for incorporating seafood into healthy dinners any day of the week. This easy Sweet and Spicy Shrimp skillet is at the top of my list of rockstar weeknight recipes.
This dish is perfect as the star of your Cinco de Mayo party, or as a show-stopping seafood dish alongside carnitas for your carnivorous family and friends.
Plus it takes all the same sides (beans, rice, slaw, salad), toppings (cilantro, pickled onion, guacamole, pico) and delivery vehicles (tostada, soft tortillas, salad, nachos) as the meat options on your Mexican party table.
What you'll need to make this recipe:
Before we get to the step by step directions, a few notes about the ingredients:
Shrimp: the recipe calls for medium shrimp, but any size shrimp works in this recipe. I find medium to be a great size for serving in tacos, burritos or tostadas. You could also use this sauce mixture on chunks of white fish or salmon for fish tacos!
Jalapeño: if you don't have fresh chilis, use ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper in the spice mix. If you prefer a mild dish, omit.
Garlic: the recipe calls for garlic powder, making this dish a pantry warrior. If you prefer fresh garlic, add 2 minced cloves to the marinade.
1. Make sauce
To start, combine the honey, lime, chipotle powder (or adobo sauce), cumin and 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a small, microwave-safe dish. Heat for about 45 seconds in the microwave, stirring after 20 seconds. The goal is to liquify the honey and combine the flavors, not boil the sauce.
2. Marinate shrimp
Once the sauce has cooled to room temperature, pour over the raw shrimp and toss to marinate for 10 minutes.
3. Sear shrimp
Heat two tablespoons of neutral oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the marinated shrimp and diced jalapeño to the pan, ensuring the shrimp is arranged in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
4. Garnish and serve
Remove shrimp from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then add cilantro. Serve with pickled onions and lime wedges.
Looking for more Mexican-inspired recipes?
- Baked Fish Tacos (Tacos de Pescado)
- Beer-Battered Baja Fresh Fish Tacos
- Chuy's Jalapeno Ranch Dip
- Taco Truck Green Sauce
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
One of the great things about this recipe is that you can use whatever size shrimp you have on hand, or whatever your local grocery store has on sale this week. Large shrimp are beautiful in this spicy shrimp recipe, but I have made it with small and medium with equal success. Keep in mind that the size of the shrimp will affect cooking time.
If you're short on time, just combine the shrimp with the sauce in the pan and sear until the seafood is cooked through and the sauce is thick, about 5-6 minutes.
Of course! I recommend either a jalapeno or a serrano, depending on your spice tolerance (jalapeño will be milder, Serrano more aggressively spicy).
If you prefer even less spice, poblano or Anaheim chiles would give good flavor with very low heat.
These sweet and spicy Mexican shrimp are inspired by diablo shrimp or shrimp diablo (Mexican deviled shrimp), which is an authentic Mexican recipe served in many a Mexican restaurant across the United States. So while this can be a fiery Mexican dish, the heat level is completely up to you.
My favorite ways to serve these succulent shrimp are on crispy corn tortillas for tostadas, alongside pickled red onions, extra hot sauce and maybe even some sour cream to cool it down. They are also dynamite on Mexican Caesar Salad with that delicious spicy dressing.
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, warm gently in a low heat skillet.