~ These delicious Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas are on the table in just over 20 minutes! Super easy (with minimal cleanup). They’re so simple and so perfectly cooked … you’ll never bother with restaurant shrimp fajitas again! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Includes Make-Ahead Steps • Gluten Free (with corn tortilla or gluten free tortilla brand) • Paleo (with paleo tortilla brand) •
A restaurant-quality Mexican meal you can absolutely make happen any night of the week … in way less time than it takes to get carryout!
This is not a drill.
Nope! This is the real deal, and it’s awesome and delicious and a total crowd pleaser every time I make it.
In fact, it’s been a smash hit since the very first time I threw it together!
By now, you know that I test, test and re-test all our recipes exhaustively before I share them with you. But honestly, this one just didn’t need tweaking. It was fantastic from the very first time! (Although that didn’t keep me from making it again and again anyway, just because we love it so much.)
I mean, what’s not to love here?
Why You’ll Love This Fajitas Recipe!
These shrimp fajitas are wonderful for a whole lotta reasons. They’ve got …
- Deliciously crisp-tender peppers and onions
- Tender, succulent, perfectly cooked shrimp (My family is always surprised how gorgeously cooked the shrimp is, and they swear it’s better than what we usually get at restaurants – no kidding!)
- All accented with a quick homemade spice blend that’s got big, bold flavors without being spicy (And since you made it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it … no msg or chemical fillers lurking here!)
Even better? As the cook, you’ll love how crazy-easy these fajitas are!
- Ready in about 23 minutes. Yes, I’ve timed it! You can’t even get DoorDash that fast.
- Everything cooks together in the oven. Hurray for sheet pan meals that keep dirty dishes to an absolute minimum! (Pssst … check out our Sheet Pan Chicken and Potatoes recipe, too!)
- You can almost completely prep this recipe ahead of time. Which means you can cook it in a flash on a busy weeknight – or for a fun, stress-free casual dinner party.
I’ve promised quick and easy, so let’s not waste any more time … let’s make these babies!
How to Make These Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
Mix together your spices.
Pro Tip: When you have a spare moment, mix up an extra-large batch of this spice blend to keep on hand for making these fajitas – or for seasoning other Mexican recipes like chicken or beef fajitas, tacos, even Mexican burgers.
Toss your onion and pepper strips with a little oil, making sure that all of your veggies are lightly but evenly coated. Then, sprinkle part of your spice mixture (4 teaspoons, to be exact) over the vegetables and toss them again, until the spices are evenly distributed.
Spread your veggies out on two large, parchment-lined baking sheets.
As I’ve mentioned in lots of other recipes (like in our Easy Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and our Roasted Root Vegetables with Honey-Dijon Drizzle), a huge key to wonderfully roasted vegetables is spreading them out.
They like their real estate!
If you pile them on top of each other, they’ll actually steam more than they’ll roast, which isn’t what we’re shooting for here.
Then, get those oh-so-spacious peppers and onions in the oven (so they have a head start on cooking, before you add the shrimp).
While your vegetables start roasting, toss your shrimp with a little oil, and then with the remaining spice mixture (about 1 tablespoon), just like you did with the veggies.
You want the shrimp to have a thin, even coating of oil, and for the spices to be distributed amongst all the shrimp.
Pro Tip: Want to save on dirty dishes? (Ummmm … yesssss!) Then use the same bowl for the shrimp that you just used for the veggies. (Although, ok … you got me on this one … I did use two different bowls for prettier photographs in this post, but I wouldn’t actually do that in “real life!”)
After the vegetables have been getting all roasty-toasty in the oven for about 7 or 8 minutes, give them a quick stir and then push them toward the outer edges of the sheet pans.
The goal is still to give them as much space as possible, so they’re not piled on top of each other … but also to make enough space in the center of each sheet pan to add your shrimp, too.
Place half of the shrimp in the center of each baking sheet, making sure they’re spread out a bit, and pop everything back in the oven.
About 5 minutes more, and you’re done! Dinner is served!
A few important notes about the shrimp, though, that you might be wondering about …
Can You Use Frozen Shrimp for Fajitas?
While you can definitely purchase fresh shrimp for this recipe, I almost always use (thawed) frozen shrimp, just for convenience. (Psssst … and remember you’re looking for peeled, deveined, tail-less shrimp, so you don’t have to do all the peeling and prepping yourself).
I like to snag a bag of frozen shrimp whenever I see a great sale (since shrimp can be expensive), and keep it on hand in the freezer to make these Shrimp Fajitas at a moment’s notice.
How to Thaw Shrimp (Quickly!)
There are basically three different methods for thawing shrimp.
No matter which method you use, the key is always to thaw them gently.
As Bon Appetit points out in their article on thawing shrimp, a gentle transition in temperature helps to maintain shrimps’ lovely, delicate texture.
Method #1 (Not Quick)
In an ideal world, I’d grab my frozen shrimp out of the freezer and put them into the fridge the night before, to slowly, gently thaw overnight.
My family’s dinner plans often don’t go … ahem … quite as planned. (And I’m pretty sure yours don’t either.) Not to worry!
You’ve got a couple faster options here, depending on how fast you’re hurrying.
Method #2 (Faster – About 45 Minutes)
Submerge the entire (unopened) bag of shrimp in a bowl of cold water. You can weight it down with a plate or lid to keep it submerged.
Method #3 (Fastest – About 10-15 Minutes)
To speed the thawing process up considerably (without damaging the texture of the shrimp), open the bag and dump the individual shrimp directly into the bowl of cold water. (I like to occasionally swish them around a bit to break up any frozen clumps and allow the water to circulate around each shrimp.)
Just be sure the shrimp are completely submerged and the water is actually cold (again, so you don’t change the texture of the delicate shrimp or even slightly begin to cook them by exposing them to warm or hot water).
Pro Tip: If you do choose the super-fast method and dump the shrimp out into a bowl, it’s a good idea to pat them dry before you proceed with this recipe (before coating them in oil and spices).
Oh – and if you’ve read our post “Is It Safe to Use Frozen Meat in Your Crock-Pot?” then you know we’re pretty obsessive about food safety. You’ll be glad to hear that even the FDA is ok with the “submerge in cold water” method for thawing seafood.
Which brings us to …
How NOT to Thaw Your Shrimp
√ As with any other meat, it is definitely not considered safe to just leave your shrimp on the counter and allow it to thaw at room temperature.
√ And, although there isn’t a safety issue with thawing it in the microwave, I beg you not to go that route, since it will result in some areas of the shrimp beginning to precook and toughen … and will just generally ruin the succulent, tender texture of those gorgeous, expensive shrimp.
How Long to Roast the Shrimp (Hint: It Depends on the Size)
One of the most fabulous things about this recipe (which is oh-so-fabulous in lots of ways) is how beautifully, perfectly cooked the shrimp are.
Not hard and chewy and overcooked the way they often are when you order them in restaurants. (Honestly … even in when you order them in some “seafood” restaurants, which I’ve just never been able to figure out.)
The key is to cook the shrimp until they’re just opaque throughout. It takes very little time at all. Overcooking them even a little will turn them tough and chewy.
I wrote this recipe for shrimp that are in the medium-large size range. I usually grab ones that are labeled as either 21-25 or 26-30. (The number refers to how many shrimp there are per pound, which gives you a rough idea of how big they’ll be, based on how many it takes to equal a pound. So, 21-25 indicates that I’ll have about 21-25 shrimp in a pound.)
It’s certainly fine to use larger or smaller shrimp in this recipe. But, you’ll need to adjust the roasting time slightly.
If your shrimp happen to be fairly small, for example, I’d recommend that you increase the initial roasting time for the veggies by a couple of minutes. Then decrease the second roasting time once you’ve added the shrimp, since smaller shrimp won’t need to cook as long.
Similarly, if you have truly massive, jumbo shrimp, you may want to decrease the initial roasting time for the vegetables by a minute or two, so you can roast everything just a tad longer after the shrimp have been added to the sheet pans.
Just be sure to watch the shrimp carefully and check on them early (and often!). You don’t want them to over-roast and get tough. Very sad. Remember: they’re done as soon as they have just turned opaque throughout.
As if these Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas weren’t lickety-split fast enough … you can do a lot of prepping ahead of time, too!
• You can measure and combine the spices in advance. (Or, like I mentioned above, just mix up a big batch of this spice blend to keep on hand at all times. Trust me – you’ll be glad you did!)
• You can also slice your vegetables and store them in the fridge a day or two ahead of time.
We prefer the vibrant colors and flavors of these fajitas using the peppers and onions specifically called for on the recipe card. But, in a pinch, I sometimes make quick substitutions that work beautifully, too. You can:
- Use two green peppers instead of a red one and green one. (Or, any bell pepper colors you like!)
- Use a standard yellow onion instead of a red onion.
How to Serve Your Shrimp Fajitas
Serve these up as soon as you pull them out of the oven. Sizzling hot … just like the fajitas at your favorite Mexican restaurant!
For quick dinners, you can simply pile all the peppers, onions and shrimp onto one sheet pan and take that right to the table. Mmmmmm … still piping hot on the baking pan!
But what if everyone isn’t ready to sit down and eat straightaway? You might want to transfer the shrimp and veggies from the baking sheets onto a large serving platter. That helps to keep the shrimp from continuing to cook on the hot baking sheets.
Or favorite toppings for these fajitas are very simple. Usually just:
- cotija cheese
These Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas are so delicious, so bursting with flavors, that you just don’t need anything else!
But no doubt, you can also try some of the other usual suspects – maybe even set out a fajita toppings bar if you’re feeling ambitious. You might try:
- shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend (preferably reduced-fat)
- reduced-fat sour cream
- shredded lettuce
- avocado slices
- diced tomato
- hot sauce for a little kick
As far as tortillas go, use whatever you prefer — white or yellow corn tortillas, or whole-wheat.
We sometimes warm them very briefly in the microwave – but sometimes not. And, of course, if you’re in a schnazzy mood with extra time on your hands, you could even try roasting them over a gas stovetop (like we did for our Quick Rotisserie Chicken Tacos).
It’s all good, whatever you decide!
Side Dish Ideas for Your Fajitas
This recipe truly is a meal in itself. And, with so many veggies already tucked inside, there’s really no need for a side dish. (Another reason this sheet pan dinner is so great on busy nights!)
But, if you’re a side dish person (I’ll admit – I definitely am), then we’ve got some quick, easy ideas for ya! These Shrimp Fajitas would be terrific with:
Honestly, though, no matter how you serve these super-fast, super-easy, ridiculously delicious Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas, I 100% think they’ll become a regular at your dinner table – just like they did at mine!
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/2" - 3/4" wide strips (to equal 4 cups)
- 1 large green pepper, sliced into 1/2" - 3/4" wide strips (to equal 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 large red pepper, sliced into 1/2" - 3/4" wide strips (to equal 2 1/2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp with tails removed (we usually use 21-30 size, see note)
- 8-10 (5" - 6") corn or whole-wheat tortillas
- optional toppings such as guacamole or reduced-fat sour cream, and cotija cheese or reduced-fat, shredded Mexican blend cheese
Preheat oven to 475º F.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the spice blend.
In a large bowl, toss the strips of onion and peppers with 1 tablespoon oil, making sure the vegetables are all evenly coated with oil. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons of the spice blend over the vegetables (reserving about 2 3/4 teaspoons of the spice blend for the shrimp). Toss to coat until the spices are evenly distributed.
Divide the vegetables onto two large, parchment-lined baking sheets, spreading the veggies out so they're not piled on top of each other. Roast vegetables for 7-8 minutes.
While the vegetables start roasting, in the large bowl you used for the vegetables, toss the shrimp with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Sprinkle the shrimp with the remaining spice blend, and toss again to evenly distribute the spices.
After the vegetables have roasted for 7-8 minutes, remove baking sheets from the oven. Stir the vegetables and push them toward the edges of the sheet pans, to make space in the center of each sheet pan to add shrimp. (Make sure the vegetables still have a little room to spread out instead of being piled up). Add a few shrimp to the center of each baking sheet, spreading them out a little.
Return baking sheets to the oven and continue roasting for about 5 minutes more, until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked through (the exact amount of time can vary slightly depending on the size of your shrimp – see note). Check carefully to be sure the shrimp don't overcook.
Serve immediately with tortillas and desired toppings. (You may want to transfer the shrimp and veggies from the baking sheets to a large serving platter, so the shrimp don't continue to cook on the hot baking sheets.)
Peppers and onions: If you can't find really large peppers, you can use two smaller red and two smaller green ones. The goal is to end up with approximately 2 1/2 cups of each type of sliced pepper, and 4 cups of sliced onion. Also, I've made this recipe with only green pepper when that's all I had – feel free to mix up pepper colors based on what's available. In addition, I've tested these fajitas with a yellow Spanish onion instead of the red onion, and that's a great substitution, although not quite as colorful.
Shrimp sizes: You'll often find shrimp sized by numbers, such as "21-25." Those numbers give you a rough idea of how large the shrimp are, by indicating approximately how many shrimp are in a pound. I like to use medium-large shrimp that are in the 21-25 or 26-30 size range (meaning I'll have about 21-30 shrimp in a pound). If you are using larger or smaller shrimp, you'll need to adjust the roasting time slightly. If your shrimp are fairly small, for example, you may want to increase the initial roasting time for the veggies, and then decrease the second roasting time once you've added the shrimp, since smaller shrimp won't need to cook as long. Just be sure to watch the shrimp carefully and check on them early – so they don't over-roast and become tough. The shrimp are done when they have just turned opaque, but are still tender.
Make-ahead steps: To make this meal even faster on busy nights, you can measure and combine the spices in advance. You can also slice your vegetables and store them in the refrigerator a day or two ahead.