If you love fish tacos, you will love these Popcorn Shrimp Tacos! While you can buy frozen popcorn shrimp, I’ll show you how to make popcorn shrimp from fresh shrimp in this post. Don’t worry – It’s pretty easy! These tacos are a light taco that doesn’t feel too heavy. My family loves them and I feel like I could eat about a dozen of them!

We will get to how to make the popcorn shrimp in a minute, but let’s talk about what else goes on these tacos: A quick sour cream sauce and a spicy slaw! Both would actually be awesome on any fish taco so feel free to use them liberally.

If you really want to shortcut this recipe, you can buy a batch of frozen popcorn shrimp and just reheat them, but fresh popcorn shrimp are particularly delicious and the recipe still clocks in at under 30 minutes for me because the shrimp fry so quickly. They are very tiny after all!

Read on to learn how to make popcorn shrimp and these tacos!

Popcorn Shrimp Tacos

5 from 2 votes
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Popcorn Shrimp Tacos! Made with fresh shrimp, lightly battered and quickly fried! Served with a spicy slaw and tangy sour cream sauce. One of my favorite seafood tacos!


  • 1 pound small or medium shrimp, halved
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 12 Taco sized flour tortillas, for serving

Spicy Slaw:

  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped pickled jalapenos
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Sour Cream Sauce:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • Salt


  • For sauce, stir together ingredients and taste. Adjust with lime and salt to your liking.
  • For slaw, shred carrots and cabbage and stir together with tomatoes, scallion, and pickled jalapeno. It’s best if it can sit for a few hours in the fridge and is easy to make in advance. It’s okay to make it right before serving though.
  • For popcorn shrimp, peel shrimp and chop them in half to get small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle shrimp with salt. Toss shrimp with flour to coat lightly. Shake off any extra flour and transfer to beaten eggs. Coat lightly with egg and then transfer to breadcrumbs. Coat shrimp in breadcrumbs and then spread them out on a plate to make sure they stay separate.
  • Preheat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. You don’t need a lot of oil to make these. It should go about an inch up the side of the pot. Test oil by dropping in some breadcrumbs, which should sizzle immediately.
  • Fry popcorn shrimp in batches for about 4 minutes per batch, stirring gently while they fry. Test one to make sure they are cooked through. Drain shrimp when they come out of fryer on a few paper towels.
  • Make tacos by spreading some sour cream sauce on a warmed tortilla. Top with a handful of slaw and a few popcorn shrimp. Repeat!
  • Popcorn shrimp keep okay in the fridge for a few days. Reheat in a 300 degree oven for 5-6 minutes.


Serving: 3tacos | Calories: 999kcal | Carbohydrates: 131g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 299mg | Sodium: 1467mg | Potassium: 827mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 3215IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 395mg | Iron: 10mg
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Tex-Mex

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Tag @crunchtimekitchen

How to Cook Popcorn Shrimp

You will be hard pressed to find fresh shrimp small enough to do whole shrimp. What I do is buy medium-sized shrimp which are very available. I shoot for the size that is 41-50 shrimp per pound. Then, I peel them and cut them in half which makes them perfect popcorn shrimp size!

Before you bread the shrimp, season them with some salt.

Making Popcorn Shrimp

I kept the breading on my popcorn shrimp very simple. Toss the shrimp in some flour and shake off any extra flour, then in some eggs, and finally in some Italian breadcrumbs. Each shrimp should be separate and not stuck together and have a light breadcrumb coating.

Popcorn Shrimp Battered
Light batter

Frying the popcorn shrimp is easy! You don’t need a ton of oil to fry these. At most maybe you need two cups. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a pinch of breadcrumbs sizzles immediately.

Then fry the shrimp in batches until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per batch. They cook quickly!

Frying Popcorn Shrimp
Quick fry!

Shrimp are done!

Popcorn Shrimp Tacos

Any good taco needs some creamy element in my opinion so I mixed up this quick sour cream sauce with lime and cilantro.

Popcorn Shrimp Taco sauce
The sauce!

And this slaw is the slaw of my dreams. Cabbage, carrot, tomato, scallion, and pickled jalapeno. Stir it together with a pinch of salt. It’ll be better if you can let it sit for a few hours before serving.

Popcorn Shrimp Taco slaw
Crunchy slaw

You know what to do next. Make some popcorn shrimp tacos! Sauce – Slaw – Shrimp!

Popcorn Shrimp Tacos

Here are a few other Fish Taco Ideas: