Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw and Pico de Gallo

Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw & Pico de Gallo is packed with flavor and textures. A dish you will make again and again.Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw & Pico de Gallo. When I first saw this recipe in my new favorite cookbook (of the month), St Louis Chef’s Recipes, Volume 2, I flipped right past it. I have just begun my journey eating things that swim, so maybe that is why I gave it no thought. The second time through, I stopped to take a closer look.

I wasn’t convinced popcorn shrimp, coleslaw and pico de gallo flavors would be tasty piled together in a flour tortilla. Would each of these flavors commingling in every bite play nice with each other or would a “Get out of here, I’m the flavor of this dish” fight break out? I wasn’t sure, but was willing to give it a try. I also wasn’t sure I would love a shrimp taco, but I thought it would be delicious made with chicken.

Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw & Pico de Gallo is packed with flavor and textures.  A dish you will make again and again.  Wow!! This dish is fantastic and I’m so happy I gave it a chance.  I made it with chicken and with shrimp and both are delicious.  I love the crispy texture of the shrimp and chicken, the lime, the cumin, the crunch, the heat and the sweet. It is like all these flavors and textures came together and shook hands on a great deal.

I had to convince my husband he would like Popcorn Shrimp Soft Tacos w/Coleslaw and Pico de Gallo (goodness, that is a mouthful). He has never liked coleslaw, but he is a trooper and gave it a try. Since he is a history professor I asked him to give the dish a grade. He gave it a “B”.  I thought it deserved better so asked for an explanation.  He explained it in this way: “I gave it a “B” because I really, really liked it, but it isn’t on my list of all-time favorites like Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Butter, Pot Roast (coming soon), Chicken Fajitas and so many others.”   I cried, told him I would lose my scholarship and talked him into a “B+”.

Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw & Pico de Gallo is packed with flavor and textures.  A dish you will make again and again.  Except for a few minor changes, I followed the recipe exactly. I’m always cautious when it comes to hot peppers, so I cut back on the jalapenos a bit. The dish, as adjusted, was perfect for me but some might want to add the entire tablespoon of jalapenos (or more). Also, the slaw seemed a little soupy, so I made a minor change there. The recipe that follows reflects my changes.

Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw & Pico de Gallo is packed with flavor and textures.  A dish you will make again and again.  I know it looks complicated and time-consuming, but it isn’t. I promise you love-at-first-bite.  I also pretty sure you give Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw & Pico de Gallo an “A”.


Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw & Pico de Gallo is packed with flavor and textures. A dish you will make again and again.
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Popcorn Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw and Pico de Gallo

This recipe looks complicated, but please, DO NOT let that keep you from trying this delicious dish. In reality, it is simple. There is some prep work, but most of that is done at least an hour in advance. Popcorn Shrimp (or Chicken) Tacos are interesting and full of flavor – spicy, crunchy and sweet with a splash of lime. Recipe found in St Louis Chef’s Recipes Volume 2, pg. 112 Helen Fletcher, The Ardent Cook & Tony’s.
Course Entree, Main dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4
Author Susie Gall


  • 8 small flour tortillas
  • ----------
  • For Popcorn Shrimp or Chicken:
  • 32 small-medium raw shrimp peeled, deveined and tails removed or
  • 2 chicken breasts – cut into 1” bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 egg whites – beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • canola or peanut oil
  • ----------
  • For Coleslaw:
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1-2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest approx. 2 limes
  • tablespoons honey
  • tablespoons fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • tablespoons fresh cilantro – finely chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoons jarred Jalepenos – diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons Jalepeno liquid from the jar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ - 1 pound bag shredded coleslaw mix – depending how moist you want coleslaw
  • -----------
  • For Pico de Gallo:
  • cups tomatoes – seeded peeled & rough chopped
  • 1/3 cup sweet yellow onion or red onion – finely diced
  • 1-3 teaspoons jarred jalapeno finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro – rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1-2 limes


  1. Please read all directions before beginning. Pico de Gallo and Coleslaw need to be
  2. made 1-4 hours early so flavors can meld in the fridge.
  3. ------------
  4. For the Coleslaw:
  5. -5 hours beforehand, combine all ingredients except the shredded coleslaw mixture in a large bowl and stir until all ingredients are well mixed.
  6. Refrigerate the mayonnaise mixture in covered container until ready to serve.
  7. When ready to serve, add the shredded coleslaw mix and blend well.
  8. ------------
  9. For the Pico de Gallo:
  10. -5 hours beforehand, stir together all ingredients in a medium and refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
  11. ------------
  12. For the Shrimp or Chicken:
  13. Preheat oven to 200F
  14. Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet
  15. Heat oil in a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) over med-high heat – approximately 1/2” deep.
  16. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper to have ready once the shrimp/chicken is cooked.
  17. Place flour, Panko crumbs, salt & pepper in a shallow dish and mix well. Set the dish close to the oil-filled skillet.
  18. Pace egg white & water in a different shallow dish – beat with a fork until egg whites are foamy. Set this dish next to the right of the dish with the flour mixture.
  19. Oil is ready when very hot (but not smoking) and around 350F.
  20. Place shrimp/chicken in the beaten egg whites – be sure to coat evenly.
  21. Shake off excess egg white mixture, then place in the flour mixture – both sides and press down gently.
  22. Carefully place shrimp/chicken in the oil – make sure the shrimp/chicken can move freely around – do not overcrowd.
  23. Once the shrimp/chicken is nicely browned on the bottom, turn it over and cook until golden brown on the other side. For shrimp it should be 2-3 minutes per side. For chicken 3-4 minutes per side.
  24. Remove the shrimp/chicken with tongs or slotted spoon and place on the lined baking sheet.
  25. Place in the oven to keep it warm.
  26. -------------
  27. When ready to serve:
  28. Remove pre-made mayonnaise mixture from the fridge then add the bagged shredded coleslaw and mix well.
  29. Remove Pico de Gallo from fridge.
  30. Place 3-4 shrimp/chicken pieces in the middle of each tortilla.
  31. Place a spoonful of coleslaw then Pico de Gallo on top.
  32. Serve with a side of Mexican rice and/or beans, chips & salsa.
  33. Enjoy!

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    WOW...I know fish tacos are so in but popcorn shrimp with coleslaw...oh my goodness! YUM!!
      Susie Gall
      Thanks, LInda. These turned out so good - even for someone who isn't crazy about shrimp. The popcorn shrimp adds a nice crunch and with the coleslaw and pico de gallo - there is a ton of flavor. Thanks for commenting:-)
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    Yum Susie. These sound fantastic!
    Creamy Chicken Soup. Tender chicken, aromatic vegetables and herbs, cream, a splash of wine topped with a touch of nutty Gruyere. The ultimate comfort food. Simply Sated

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