Authentic Tequila Lime Shrimp

4.45 stars average

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A fast and easy weeknight dinner, serve this tequila lime shrimp with warm corn tortillas, over rice, or tossed with pasta.

Authentic tequila lime shrimp.

When I am wanting a true taste of Mexico, one of my favorite dishes is this simple yet flavorful Authentic Tequila Lime Shrimp. The star of the dish? Pureed ancho chile peppers. It’s so flavorful, and can be made in 20 minutes or less, making it a great choice for a quick and easy seafood dinner.


  • Shrimp: A relatively common and affordable seafood, shrimp are high in protein and healthy fats while low in calories.
  • Ancho chile peppers: Dried poblano peppers that are typically mild and naturally smoky in flavor.
  • Garlic: Nutty and earthy in flavor that caramelizes and sweetens as it cooks.
  • Tequila: While the brand can change the taste a bit, tequila is usually smooth, sweet, and slightly fruity.
  • Lime juice: Bright, fresh, and acidic that pairs wonderfully with tequila.
  • Butter: Evens out the texture of the sauce and enhances the natural flavors of the shrimp.

How to Make Authentic Tequila Lime Shrimp

Steeping ancho chilis

Start your Tequila Lime Shrimp by putting your ancho chiles in boiling water to steep and soften.

Pureed ancho chilis

Once chiles have softened, add them and a portion of the steeped water to a food processor and puree until smooth.

Grating garlic into pan

Then in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the grated or minced garlic.

Cooking shrimp

Once garlic is aromatic, add in the raw shrimp. As soon as the shrimp turn pink, it’s cooked, and you can remove from the pan and set aside.

Adding tequila to pan

Then slowly add the tequila to the pan and use it to deglaze all the browned bits from the bottom.


Be careful and prepared, as adding alcohol to hot pans and stoves can cause it to catch fire.

Adding lime juice to shrimp

Once your pan is deglazed, add the shrimp back in and add the lime juice.

Stirring in pureed chilis

Next you’ll add the pureed ancho chiles, stir it all together, and simmer for about 4-5 minutes.

Adding butter to shrimp

Finish your shrimp by adding the butter and stirring until melted.

Garnishing authentic tequila lime shrimp.

Serve garnished with additional fresh lime juice, and enjoy!

Ways to Serve Tequila Lime Shrimp

Liz heating up tortillas

My favorite way to serve Tequila Lime Shrimp is in warmed corn tortillas with cilantro and an extra squeeze of fresh lime juice; the best way to enjoy any shrimp tacos if you ask me. But you can also serve it with rice, which I also like to garnish with cilantro. Or you can mix it with pasta and use the ancho chilis as a sauce for the whole dish.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it necessary to devein shrimp?

I never skip deveining when cooking shrimp. While it’s not actually a vein, it’s part of the digestive tract, and while it won’t hurt you, it can affect the taste.

Can I use frozen shrimp?

Yes you can! But if you use frozen, make sure they’ve thawed completely before cooking.

How do I store leftover tequila lime shrimp?

Kept in an airtight container, leftover shrimp will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. You can reheat in the microwave, or throw it back into a pan and heat through.

Authentic tequila lime shrimp.

More Seafood Recipes

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Liz eating authentic tequila lime shrimp.

If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Mexico, you have got to try this Tequila Lime Shrimp recipe. It comes together in just 20 minutes and is a true testament to how delicious and easy healthy eating can be at home.

No fork required.

Authentic tequila lime shrimp

Authentic Tequila Lime Shrimp

4.45 stars average
A fast and easy weeknight dinner, serve this tequila lime shrimp with warm corn tortillas, over rice or tossed with pasta.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 20 minutes
TOTAL: 30 minutes


  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (raw)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 dried ancho chili peppers (stems and seeds removed)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • Sprinkle the shrimp evenly with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Place the dried chilis in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Steep chilis in the hot water until softened, about 20 minutes.
  • Puree softened chilis and 1/2 cup of the steeping liquid in a food processor or blender until smooth and set aside.
  • Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil to the pan. Stir in garlic and warm until fragrant, about 15 seconds, being careful not to burn.
  • Add shrimp to the pan, without over crowding, and heat for 90 seconds per side. The minute the shrimp turns pink, it is cooked so be careful not to over cook. It shouldn’t take more than 3-4 minutes total. Remove cooked shrimp from the pan and set aside.
  • Stir the tequila into the hot skillet and use a wooden spoon to deglaze any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Return the cooked shrimp along with the pureed chilis and lime juice to the pan. Bring to a simmer then reduce to low and heat for 4-5 minutes or until warmed through.
  • Right before serving, finish the shrimp with butter and stir until melted through. Check for seasoning and add more salt or pepper to taste.
  • Serve with warmed tortillas, rice, or tossed into pasta if you wish.

Last Step:

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Calories: 305kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 24.6gFat: 15.6gSaturated Fat: 3.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11.7gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 799mgFiber: 2.8gSugar: 0.1g
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46 responses to “Authentic Tequila Lime Shrimp”

  1. Katie Avatar

    I tried this dish last night and followed all steps – it is OK, but not great. The ancho chillies have a very earthy taste to them and overall the dish lacks flavor.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I’m sorry you didn’t love this Katie! Did you properly season with salt?

  2. Yoli Uriarte Avatar
    Yoli Uriarte

    I cooked onion, tomatoes, and garlic. I added redchili flakes then added tequila cooked alcohol out. Added lemon zest and juice of same lemon. Added shrimp to cook with salt n pepper and added garlic butter at the very end to thicken to a creamy sauce.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      That sounds amazing!