Spicy Tequila Shrimp

Spicy Tequila Shrimp Recipe

What a splash of color this spicy tequila shrimp dish will add to your table. You can adjust the heat by adding or subtracting the jalapeño peppers. In this recipe, Mexican vanilla extract complements the flavors of cinnamon, spicy chile peppers, thyme, and oregano. Add a margarita and some warm tortillas for a quick and tasty dinner.–Nielsen-Massey Vanillas

LC Very Vanilla Note

Maybe you didn’t expect to find vanilla in a Mexican-minded shrimp recipe. Neither did we. But certainly you’re familiar with savory applications for vanilla extract. And so here you go. It actually doesn’t taste very vanilla-y.

Spicy Tequila Shrimp Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 4 to 6


  • For the tequila marinade
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 small stick cinnamon, preferably Mexican
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves
  • For the shrimp
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
  • One 6-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Hot cooked rice


  • Make the marinade
  • 1. Combine the tequila, vanilla extract, cinnamon stick, olive oil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, if using, garlic, thyme and oregano in a sealable plastic bag.
  • Make the shrimp
  • 2. Add the shrimp to the tequila marinade and seal the bag, turning to coat the shrimp. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally.
  • 3. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and marinade. Saute until the shrimp begin to change color. Add the onions, bell peppers, the jalapeño chiles, and tomatoes. Cook until the vegetables are almost tender yet still sorta crisp and the shrimp turn pink.
  • 4. Combine the water and cornstarch in a small cup and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved. Cook the shrimp mixture for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the cornstarch mixture and cook until the mixture begins to thicken. Serve over hot cooked rice.
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