Crunchy tortilla chips, creamy homemade guacamole, and a Mexican-inspired garlic shrimp marinade combine forces in these Garlic Shrimp Taco Bites. These scrumptious little finger foods are sure to be a hit at any party! Best of all, this easy appetizer recipe will be ready in just 40 minutes.
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Why We Love This Recipe
I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for cute little appetizers served in Tostitos Scoops. I mean, who doesn’t love tortilla chips formed into miniature bowls? What about making individual 7-layer dips in them? Or perfectly contained nachos? The options seem endless!
We’ve been on something of a shrimp kick lately, so I couldn’t help but make these adorable shrimp taco bites. They’re:
- Wholesome & Healthy. With a whole shrimp and a solid dollop of simple guacamole in each bite, you’re getting a lot of goodness with each and every chip!
- Easy. This looks like a complicated recipe because there’s a lot going on, but it’s really not. The prep work is super simple and the shrimp only take 4 minutes to cook. You’ll be done before you know it.
- Fun! I feel like adding shrimp to these taco bites makes for an unexpected and delightful surprise. The last time I made them, they were gone in mere minutes!
Ingredients For Garlic Shrimp Taco Bites
Before you go getting intimidated by the recipe, remember: this is EasyAppetizers.com! I wouldn’t throw anything at you that you couldn’t handle with grace and ease. Here’s your shopping list:
- Red Onion – I love the bright color and gentle sweetness of red onions, but you’re welcome to swap in a sweet yellow onion or shallot instead.
- Red Bell Pepper – Yellow or orange will work, too!
- Garlic – Fresh garlic will give the best flavor, but feel free to use ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove if needed.
- Chili Powder – Contrary to popular opinion, chili powder is typically a spice blend that includes several types of ground chilis with other flavorings like onion, cumin, and oregano. Feel free to choose something a little spicier (like cayenne or ancho chili powder) if you prefer. You can also use taco seasoning, though you’ll need to omit the extra salt if you do.
- Raw Medium Shrimp – The ideal size is 36/40, which indicates how many pieces are in a pound. Make sure they are peeled, deveined, & have their tails removed – nobody wants to eat shrimp shell!
- Lime – You’ll definitely want fresh lime here. Be sure to firmly roll the fruit on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before cutting to get the most juice possible out of each one.
- Cilantro – I love the bright, fresh, herby taste of cilantro, but I know it’s not for everyone. Feel free to substitute parsley or Thai basil, or simply omit it.
- Avocados – For the best guacamole, choose avocados that are ripe but not mushy. You can also feel free to save yourself some time and buy pre-made guacamole from the store.
- Tostitos Scoops – These ingenious mini taco bowls are perfect for layering lots of tasty ingredients into a small package.
How To Make Garlic Shrimp Taco Bites
Be sure to check the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions.
- Marinate Shrimp. Add shrimp to a medium bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add a teaspoon of chili powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt and stir to coat completely. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Make The Quick Guacamole. While the shrimp marinates, remove the flesh from the avocado and transfer it to a small bowl. Sprinkle salt and lime juice over the avocado and mash together with a fork.
- Sauté Aromatics. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, for several minutes or until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
- Cook Shrimp. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add shrimp to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
- Add Flavor. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
- Assemble & Serve. Set out the tortilla chip scoops on a platter and add about a teaspoon of the guacamole. Top with a teaspoonful of the vegetables from the skillet, and a shrimp. Garnish with cilantro and chopped tomato, then serve immediately.
As soon as the shrimp have turned pink and opaque, they’re done! In total, this shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes for medium-sized shrimp. Don’t let them curl into tight little “O’s,” or you’ll end up with tough, rubbery, sad little shrimps.
While I prefer serving them when the shrimp are hot (because tacos!), you are welcome to make all the elements for this appetizer ahead of time. Just be sure to a.) keep your guacamole well covered to prevent oxidization, and b.) wait to assemble them until you’re ready to serve.
If you have leftover guac, the name of the game is keeping ALL the air out. Place the guacamole in a small container, smoothing the top as much as possible. Drizzle a thin layer of oil on top to prevent any air from getting through, then cover with an airtight lid and place in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, pour off the oil and dig in!
These little bites are a welcome addition to any appetizer buffet. I like to set them out on a big platter, then offer a few small bowls of additional toppings for people to mix and match to their liking. Sour cream or Mexican crema, hot sauce, extra cilantro, pico de gallo, and lime wedges are all tasty additions.
If you’re building a buffet, I suggest staying in theme: nacho cheese sauce or queso blanco, restaurant-style salsa and/or loaded corn dip, baked chicken empanadas, crispy chicken flautas, nachos supreme, and Mezcal Margaritas all make for cozy bedfellows.
- Can’t find scoop-shaped chips? Turn them into shrimp tostada bites by using round tortilla chips instead.
- Make them extra spicy by swapping chili powder for cayenne.
- Going grain-free? Use lettuce cups in place of tortilla scoops.
- Don’t like shrimp? Use ground beef taco meat or shredded chicken instead.
- Once assembled, they should be consumed immediately. Otherwise, the tortilla chips will get soggy!
- Leftover shrimp and vegetables can be covered and refrigerated for 3-4 days.
- Leftover guacamole should be covered with oil or plastic wrap, then covered with an airtight lid and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Once you try this easy appetizer recipe I have a feeling they’ll become a favorite. Here are some fun tips and tricks to keep them on rotation:
- Make life easier by purchasing store-bought guacamole and pico de gallo.
- Don’t let assembled taco cups linger too long, or the chips will lose their crunch.
- Buy the shrimp deveined to eliminate a step in prep.
More Shrimp Appetizer Recipes
Shrimp Taco Bites
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound raw medium shrimp peeled deveined & tails removed
- Juice of one lime
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Quick Guacamole (or use pre-made)
- 2 ripe avocados
- Lime juice to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
- 36 Tostitos Scoops tortilla chips
- Add shrimp to a medium bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add a teaspoon of chili powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt and stir to coat completely. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Make the quick guacamole: Remove the flesh from the avocado and transfer to a small bowl. Sprinkle salt and lime juice over the avocado and mash together with a fork. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, for several minutes or until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and add shrimp to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
- Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
- Set out the tortilla chip scoops on a platter and add about a teaspoon of the guacamole. Top with a teaspoonful of the vegetables from the skillet, and a shrimp. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.