Baked Shrimp with Tomatillos

Mexican and Tex MexGluten-FreeLow CarbShrimp

Shrimp baked in a sauce of chopped tomatillos, Cotija cheese, jalapeños, onions and garlic, tossed with cilantro and lime juice.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Some things taste so much better than they look.

This is an odd looking dish with the orangey pink shrimp and the light yellow-y green tomatillos, speckled here and there with white Cotija cheese and green cilantro. And you might be thinking, what kind of combination is that?

But hear me out.

This odd assortment of ingredients is just a Southwestern riff off a shrimp saganaki, which is typically made with feta and tomato sauce. One of the best received recipes on this site is for baked shrimp in tomato feta sauce. It just works.

Baked Shrimp Tomatillos

The onions and the shrimp provide the sweetness, the tomatillos or tomatoes the acidity, the Cotija queso seco or feta the saltiness, and the cilantro or parsley the bitter.

Wrap some in a flour tortilla and you practically have a shrimp quesadilla with salsa verde.

From the recipe archive, first published Sept 2010.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatillos Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Shrimp can be cooked either shell on or shell off. Cooking with the shell on will result in better flavor, but can be fussy to eat, as you have to pick off the shells as you eat them.

Shelling and deveining the shrimp before cooking can add a good 10 minutes to prep time, but the resulting dish is easier to eat.

This is a one pan dish, going from stove-top to oven, so use an oven-proof pan.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 1-2 jalapeno chiles, seeded, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb tomatillos, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup clam juice OR 1/4 cup water*
  • 1 pound shrimp, cleaned, deveined
  • 1 cup Cotija queso seco cheese (can substitute feta)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Black pepper
  • Flour tortillas, to serve
  • An oven-proof sauté pan or cast iron pan

*One time we made this we used tequila instead of clam juice, it was good too!


1 Sauté the onions and jalapeños: Heat oil in the pan you will use for baking. Add the onions and jalapeños, cook for 5 minutes on medium high until the onions begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

2 Add tomatillos: Add the tomatillos, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatillos are cooked through, but still hold their shape. Sprinkle salt over the tomatillos as they are cooking.

3 Add clam juice: If using clam juice, add to pan, turn up the heat and reduce by half. If using water, just add the 1/4 cup of water without reducing.

4 Add cheese and shrimp, bake in oven: Add the cheese and shrimp. Cook in a preheated 425°F oven for 10 minutes.

5 Serve with cilantro, lime juice, black pepper: Remove pan from the oven. If using a pan with a handle, such as a cast iron frying pan, I recommend cooling the handle with ice for safety; it's so easy to forget that pan has just come out of the oven, and you grab the hot handle by mistake.

Right before serving, mix in the cilantro and sprinkle with lime juice and freshly ground black pepper.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatillos

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

73 Comments / Reviews

No ImageBaked Shrimp with Tomatillos

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Maria

    Great recipe! Loved the combinations!


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Laura

    Deliciously spicy! Used feta cheese. Was delicious


  3. WRC

    I lightly blend the tomatillo/onion/jalapeno mixture in a food processor after it has cooked for several minutes. And if pressed for time, I shred up one of those cooked rotisserie chickens from the supermarket and throw in the meat (omitting the shrimp). Then there’s no need to bake. I’ve used canned tomatillos on occasion as well and haven’t noticed a marked difference vs fresh.

  4. elio

    It’s very tasty. A dish with enough vegetables. The feta makes it so good. Thank you for posting this page!
    Here are the changes of mine-
    shrimp- imitation crab torn in halves
    oil- no oil, earlier introduction of tomatillos
    jalepeno chilis- habanero peppers not cut fried with onions onwards
    black pepper- chili powder
    cilantro- 1/3 the amount in dried cilantro

  5. Vanessa

    Hi Elise. Fantastic recipe! I’d just bought a batch of tomatillos, not sure what to do with them but loved the colors. I also write a blog about food and wanted to feature them somehow, and was able to do so using this recipe as a basis. It came out wonderfully. I tweaked it a bit, as all of us cooks do, but your recipe was credited on my blog at so thanks for the inspiration!


View More
Baked Shrimp with TomatillosBaked Shrimp with Tomatillos