This recipe for Cast Iron Skillet Shrimp Fajitas is a blend of juicy shrimp, colorful bell peppers, and aromatic spices. It’s all ready in one pan. These fajitas are ideal for a quick yet impressive weeknight dinner. They’re definitely a crowd-pleaser.
Easy to prepare and packed with flavor, they bring the essence of Mexican cuisine right to your table. We use a cast iron skillet, but any heavy-bottomed skillet will do.
They’ll serve four adults and a few more if kids are in the mix. 😉
Skillet Shrimp Fajitas
- Large skillet
For the Shrimp and Veggies
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ pounds shrimp size 21-25 per pound, peeled and deveined
- 1 red pepper cut into thin strips
- 1 orange pepper cut into thin strips
- 1 yellow pepper cut into thin strips
- ½ purple onion sliced thin and slices cut in half
- 1 lime plus additional for serving if desired
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- tortillas warmed
- pico de gallo
- chipotle crema recipe below
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup Mexican table crema or sour cream
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ lime squeezed
- 2 teaspoons minced chipotle with sauce
- Make the chipotle crema. If using the table crema, in a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, crema/sour cream, garlic, lime, and chipotle. If using sour cream, thin the sauce with a little water until desired consistency is reached. Milk could also be used.
- Combine seasonings. In a small bowl, combine chili pepper, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Preheat pan. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. You want everything to sizzle when it hits the pan, so it should be hot
- Season shrimp and vegetables. Dry shrimp with a paper towel and place in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix sliced peppers and onion. Add ½ of seasoning mixture (about 1 ½ tablespoons) to shrimp and mix together. Add sugar to the remaining seasoning mixture and mix in the bowl with the peppers and onion.
- Cook shrimp and veggies separately. Cook shrimp in heated oil for 1-2 minutes on each side in a single layer. Repeat with any additional shrimp if needed. Place shrimp on a plate and set aside. Add sliced peppers and onion to the skillet and cook until softened, 7-10 minutes.
- Assemble. Turn off heat and return shrimp to the pan. Stir together shrimp and pepper mixture. Squeeze lime juice over the shrimp and peppers mixture and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and optional additional toppings. Top fajitas with crema if desired.
I hope these shrimp fajitas get added to your dinner rotation. They’re quick, easy, and truly delicious.
🥣 important tools and ingredients
Nothing too crazy, and plenty of substitution choices.
- Mexican Table Crema. Mexican table crema is thinner than sour cream, it’s thin enough to pour. It is slightly sweeter than sour cream and is lovely to use here. It adds a unique, creamy texture to the chipotle crema. It’s available in many grocery stores. Especially those with a good selection of Hispanic foods.
- Chipotle in Adobo Sauce. This ingredient brings a smoky, spicy depth to the crema. If it’s hard to find, you can use a mix of smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper as an alternative. However, the unique chipotle flavor is unmatched.
- Shrimp (Size 21-25). The specific size of the shrimp ensures they cook evenly and quickly. This makes them perfect for a fast, skillet-based recipe. I prefer using frozen shrimp, the shrimp is frozen at it’s peak quality. Thaw in the refrigerator the night before and if the shrimp is still slightly frozen at dinner time, cut two small holes in the bottom of the shrimp bag and rinse shrimp with cold water so the water escapes out the bottom of the bag. Continue to rinse for a few minutes until shrimp is no longer frozen.
- Smoked Paprika. This gives fajitas a distinct smoky flavor. It sets them apart from dishes using regular paprika. It’s widely available. But if you can’t find it, a combination of sweet paprika and a touch of liquid smoke can approximate the flavor.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a cast iron skillet. It’s no big deal.
- Heavy-Bottomed Skillet or Cast Iron Pan. A skillet with a heavy bottom or a cast iron pan is crucial for even heat distribution. This ensures the shrimp and vegetables cook without burning.
- Tongs. Tongs are essential for turning the shrimp and vegetables in the hot skillet. They provide better control than a spatula.
- Sharp Knife and Cutting Board. A sharp knife is necessary for slicing the peppers and onions. A sturdy cutting board provides a safe and stable surface for chopping.
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With these essential tools at hand, you’re all set to prepare the fajitas. Now, let’s move on to some handy tips. They will ensure your cooking experience is as enjoyable and successful as the dish itself.
✨ Tips for the best fajitas
Fajitas are quick and easy and feel like sort of an exciting dinner. Getting them right is well worth your time.
- Spice Customization: Adjust the spice blend to your taste. If you enjoy more heat, consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or diced jalapeños to the vegetable mix.
- Vegetable Consistency: Cut the peppers and onions into uniform sizes. This ensures even cooking and a consistent texture in every bite.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Cook the shrimp in batches if necessary. Overcrowding the skillet can cause the shrimp to steam rather than sear. This affects their texture.
- Heat Management: If you’re using a cast iron skillet, remember it retains heat longer. Reduce the flame slightly earlier than you would with a regular pan. This prevents overcooking.
- Resting the Shrimp: After cooking, let the shrimp rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, making the shrimp even more succulent.
🥫 Storage and make ahead instructions
The shrimp and vegetables will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. Shrimp should be stored in the coldest part of your fridge, which is generally the bottom part of the fridge.The crema can last up to a week.
- Cool Down: Allow the shrimp and vegetable mixture to cool to room temperature before storing. Storing warm food can lead to condensation and sogginess.
- Separate Containers: Store the shrimp and vegetables in separate airtight containers. This helps maintain the texture of both components, as vegetables can release moisture.
- Tortillas: Store any leftover tortillas separately, preferably in their original packaging or a zip-top bag.
- Chipotle Crema: Store the crema in a separate airtight container. If it thickens in the fridge, you can thin it with a little water or lime juice before serving.
Unfortunately, this recipe does not freeze well.
What to serve with fajitas
These can be a meal all by themselves, but these side dishes go perfectly with fajitas.
- Refried beans or black beans
- Tortilla chips and salsa
- Salad with cilantro ranch dressing
- Corn salad or avocado salad.
❤️ More easy shrimp dinners you’ll love
Shrimp is easy to defrost quickly and you don’t have to chop it. Perfect for busy weeknights.
For a delightful twist, try the Beer Battered Shrimp. In this dish, each shrimp is coated in a crispy, golden batter, creating a perfect blend of flavors. It’s sure to be a hit at any gathering.
Experience the bold flavors of the Wild West Shrimp. This dish brings a taste of adventure to your table with its unique blend of peppers and shrimp.
Indulge in the creamy and spicy Shrimp and Sausage Cajun Alfredo. This dish combines the best of Cajun spices with the heartiness of sausage and the delicacy of shrimp. It’s a truly satisfying meal.
Add a seafood twist to a classic with the Shrimp and Old Bay Macaroni Salad. It infuses the beloved flavors of Old Bay seasoning into a refreshing and scrumptious shrimp-laden salad.
Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner, a casual get-together, or just treating yourself, these fajitas are sure to impress.