Cilantro Lime Shrimp

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This Cilantro Lime Shrimp is a family favorite! Seasoned, succulent shrimp atop cilantro-lime rice with savory black beans, creamy avocados, and a show-stopping cilantro-lime sauce. This high-protein meal is nourishing, filling, and best of all, packed with flavor.

Love bowl-style meals with loads of protein and good-for-you ingredients? Give our Banh Mi Bowls, Chicken Burrito Bowls, or vegetarian Black Bean Bowls a try next!

Overhead image of the Cilantro Lime Shrimp bowl

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

For almost two full years, these Shrimp Tacos have made the top 10 most popular recipes on this website — out of over a thousand recipes! They’re a family favorite and so many of you have shared rave reviews for the tacos — from the charred corn tortillas to the saucy slaw to unbeatable cilantro-lime sauce — these are the best tacos!

So today we’re pulling similar concepts from those cilantro-lime Shrimp Tacos and making a bowl version. Seasoned shrimp atop rice with black beans, rice, avocado, and of course: the famous cilantro-lime sauce. That’s right — the same cilantro-lime sauce from the Shrimp Tacos graces these bowls! So if you love those tacos I think you’re going to be obsessed with this bowl version!

QUICK TIP

 Shrimp are categorized with numbers, such as 21/25 or U/15. When you see a “U” in the count, it means that there are “under” that number of shrimp in a pound. So, for example, U/12  means there are less than 12 shrimp per pound. 21/25’s have 21 to 25 shrimp per pound. The smaller the number, the bigger the individual shrimp.

Process shots-- Add all the ingredients to a blender to make the sauce

How To Make Cilantro Lime Shrimp

The full recipe is below, but here are our top shrimp cooking tips!

  • Pick the right shrimp. Save yourself some work (and hassle) by picking shelled, peeled, and deveined shrimp. If using frozen shrimp, be sure it has fully thawed before cooking it. (Rinse under cold, not warm water, to keep the firm texture.) 
  • Pat it dry. Whatever shrimp you’re using (fresh or frozen), be sure to thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. The cilantro-lime marinade spices won’t adhere to wet shrimp and the shrimp won’t cook properly.
  • Shrimp cooks really fast, so we recommend cooking the shrimp quickly at higher temps and using tongs instead of a spoon to place, flip, and remove the shrimp. This allows the shrimp to get a nice char (char=flavor). It’s easy to overcook shrimp, so watch them closely and remove from the skillet promptly. (Even off heat, the skillet is still retaining heat.)

Process shots of the Cilantro Lime Shrimp-- Prep the shrimp and season; toss to coat; heat butter and oil in a skillet

What To Serve With Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Once you’ve got the shrimp cooked and ready, it’s all about bowl assembly. Here are our favorite additions:

  • Black beans: If you have these saucy Black Beans made up and in your fridge, you are going to love them in these bowls! Warm on the stovetop and throw them in the bowl. Otherwise, a can of black beans works fine. We typically use a can and mix it through with the warmed rice to quickly heat it up.
  • Avocado: The riper, the better. A ripe avocado adds a nice creaminess and fresh flavors to the Cilantro Lime Shrimp. To tell if an avocado is ripe, gently press it near the stem. If the avocado yields to that gentle pressure, it’s ripe and ready to go!
  • Cilantro-lime rice: To keep things quick and easy, we use a box mix, but if you’d like to make your own rice it’s very easy to do. Prepare 1 cup of rice as you normally would and then mix through 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, and salt as needed (until flavors are vibrant!).
  • Other toppers: Obviously the sauce adds a lot, but if you’re looking for some more oomf, you’ll be amazed at what some fresh lime and fresh cilantro add to the bowls! If you’d like some more spice, thinly slice or dice a jalapeño and mix it through the rice.

Process shots-- images of the shrimp being cooked and then removed from heat

Variations

  • Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp grilled (on skewers): Use the seasoning blend in my recipe below and use this detailed breakdown on how to perfectly grill it
  • Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad: Add a base of finely chopped romaine lettuce to the bowl. You can still prepare the rice and add it on top of the lettuce (We love a good grain salad recipe!) or replace the rice with the lettuce.
  • Air Fryer Cilantro Lime Shrimp: Follow the directions to marinate the shrimp in seasonings and then cook in the air fryer according to your fryer’s directions. (Each air fryer typically comes with a manual breaking down cooking times for proteins in their specific model.)

Up-close overhead image of the Cilantro Lime Shrimp ready to be served

Shortcut Ideas

Bowl recipes can be overwhelming — preparing all the components for the bowl and then a sauce to top it all off. It’s a lot.

So here are my top shortcut suggestions. Yes, homemade is always best, but use convenient store shortcuts when needed right!?

  •  Prepared Cilantro Lime Shrimp. I honestly have not tried already-prepared shrimp, but have heard great reviews on it. Costco and many other stores sell it, and it’s already seasoned and cooked so you can just throw it on your bowl.
  • Use a cilantro-lime rice mix. Nothing beats the ease of already cooked, packaged rice or a seasoning mix!
  • Make the cilantro-lime sauce ahead of time. Not really a shortcut per se, but it sure makes dinner assembly a breeze when the sauce is already made. Plus, the sauce only gets more flavorful as it sits in the fridge.

More Delicious Shrimp Recipes

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Cilantro Lime Shrimp

5 from 6 votes
This Cilantro Lime Shrimp is a family favorite! Seasoned, succulent shrimp atop cilantro-lime rice with savory black beans, creamy avocados, and a show-stopping cilantro-lime sauce. This high-protein meal is nourishing, filling, and best of all, packed with flavor.
Print Recipe

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

5 from 6 votes
This Cilantro Lime Shrimp is a family favorite! Seasoned, succulent shrimp atop cilantro-lime rice with savory black beans, creamy avocados, and a show-stopping cilantro-lime sauce. This high-protein meal is nourishing, filling, and best of all, packed with flavor.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Cilantro Lime Shrimp
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 397kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $13.42

Ingredients

Cilantro-Lime Shrimp

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 1 lb (16 oz.) extra-large shrimp (Note 1)
  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, garlic powder, and Creole seasoning
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

For the Bowls

  • 1 pkg (8-10 oz.) Cilantro-lime ricemix (Note 2)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 large ripe avocado, chopped
  • Optional, for serving: lime wedges, additional cilantro

Cilantro Lime Sauce -- Note 3

  • 2 limes (4 tbsp juice + 1/2 tsp zest)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeño (seeds/ribs removed)
  • 1/2 cup (115g) regular (full-fat) mayo
  • 1/2 cup (129g) sour cream (lite/fat-free works great)

Instructions

  • BOWLS -- RICE AND BEANS: Prepare the rice according to package directions. As soon as the rice is done cooking, fluff and then stir in the drained and rinsed black beans. OR warm beans separately if you want to serve as a side in the bowl (as pictured).
  • MARINATE SHRIMP: Pat both sides of the shrimp completely dry and then gently toss in a large bowl with the cumin, garlic powder, Creole seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Hold off on salt/pepper for now. Cover and place in the fridge while preparing the rest of this dish.
  • SAUCE: Zest and juice 1-2 limes to get 4 tablespoons juice and 1/2 teaspoon zest. Add the juice and zest to the blender or food processor along with the minced garlic, cilantro, jalapeño (add more for a spicier sauce or add slowly if you're worried about the heat), and mayo. Add salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper). Blend or pulse until smooth. Add in the sour cream and pulse once more to combine. Taste and adjust the sauce to personal preference (more lime, more garlic, salt/pepper). Refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • COOK SHRIMP: Remove shrimp from fridge and add salt and pepper (Creole seasoning does have salt so don't add too much extra -- I add 1/4 teaspoon of each). In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over high heat. As soon as the butter is melted, using tongs, add 1/2 of the shrimp in one even layer so the shrimp is not overlapping. (It will steam if the pan is too crowded.) Cook for 1 minute, then use tongs to flip each shrimp over and cook on the other side for 1 more minute or until cooked through (shrimp cooks quickly -Note 4!). Transfer cooked shrimp to a clean plate.
  • FINISH COOKING SHRIMP: In the same pan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 more tablespoon butter. Add in the remaining shrimp, cooking for 1 minute per side (or until cooked through). Use tongs (never a spoon) to place shrimp in the pan and flip. Transfer all the cooked shrimp to a plate.
  • ASSEMBLY: Layer the ingredients into the bowl, beginning with the prepared rice mixture first. Then add the shrimp, desired bowl toppings (avocado, additional cilantro, black beans), and finally a good drizzle of the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed and enjoy promptly! Drizzle some extra lime over bowls if desired.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Shrimp: We choose extra-large shrimp, sized at 26/30 (26-30 shrimp in a pound). Pick shelled, peeled, and deveined shrimp. If using frozen, thaw according to package directions (overnight in the fridge or in a colander in the sink with cold water running over) and thoroughly dry before using.
Note 2: Rice: To keep things quick and easy, we use a packaged mix, but if you'd like to make your own cilantro lime rice, it's very easy to do. Prepare 1 cup of rice as you normally would and then mix through 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, and salt as needed (until flavors are vibrant!).
Note 3: Sauce: We make a lot of sauce because we love tons of it, and enjoy having leftovers! If you aren't a big sauce fan, halve these quantities. This sauce will store well for 5-7 days in the fridge (give it a good stir before using). This sauce is great to make ahead -- it gets more flavorful as it sits!
Note 4: How to know when shrimp is done: The crevice in the back of the shrimp where the vein is removed is the thickest part of the shrimp (directly opposite from the end of the tail). As soon as the flesh at that base turns from translucent to opaque, the shrimp is done cooking. Another sign to look for: shrimp will turn pink with bright red tails.
Note 5: Calories include the shrimp and sauce but do not take into account any of the bowl toppings.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.4g | Protein: 25.2g | Fat: 32.2g | Cholesterol: 204.1mg | Sodium: 331.5mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.3g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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Delicious and simple cilantro lime shrimp bowls with the BEST sauce! via chelseasmessyapron.com #easy #30minute #meal #kidfriendly #cilantro #lime #shrimp #seafood #avocado #southwest #fast #quick #dinner #healthy #rice
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15 Comments

  1. Hi CHELSEA
    I love your apron though its messy…:-):-) I mean I am a regular reader of your blog -chelseasmessyapron. My hubby loves my cooking and admires it quite often. Little he knows that most of the items on the menu are from your blog:-):-) So, today I thought of thanking you for all those recipes.
    Thanks a lot, dear.

  2. 5 stars
    another great recipe, love all of these ingredients although I’m not eating much rice these days, a few bites will be fine, thank you for this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of the top 5 recipes I’ve tried of yours. SO good and SO easy. Perfect amount of spice and flavor.

  4. 5 stars
    This was my first recipe from your site and what a delicious way to start I made the rice with lime juice ,rind and chopped cilantro. Made the shrimp as written. Served as shown in the recipe. That sauce is delicious, I used yogurt instead of sour cream and mayo with a pinch of salt since no mayo. My husband said it’s a keeper!

  5. My family loved this! I didn’t make the sauce to go with and I added mango to the bowl. They asked if I could make it every night. They want me to make the sauce with it next time just to see.

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