These easy Fried Shrimp Tacos are crispy and coated in a sweet and tangy sauce served on a corn tortilla and topped with cilantro lime slaw.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy to make. There’s nothing complicated about this fried shrimp recipe. The shrimp are simply dipped, coated, and then fried for a perfectly crispy shrimp.
- Naturally gluten-free. These tacos are also naturally gluten-free if served in a corn tortilla and they can be made dairy-free as well. This makes a delicious weeknight meal the entire family will love and if you have allergies or are cutting gluten or dairy this is a great dinner to make.
- Drenched in a zesty sauce. You also don’t need to serve these as tacos. The crispy shrimp are coated in the tangy bang bang sauce and excellent appetizer or topping for salads.
- Mayonnaise: traditionally the bang bang sauce is made with a mayonnaise base, but you could use a vegan version or even swap it out for Greek yogurt for a healthier option. I like to use plain mayonnaise without many additives in it.
- Sriracha Sauce: mixing this sauce into the overall sauce gives it a little bit of a spicy kick and you can add as much or as little as you like. You can swap it for hot sauce, but if you do you’ll want to omit the rice vinegar because hot sauce already has vinegar in it.
- Shrimp: fresh or frozen shrimp will work. My preference is to use small or medium-sized shrimp that is already peeled and deveined with the tails off.
- Buttermilk: coating the shrimp in buttermilk first helps to create that overall crispy coating after it’s fried. If you don’t have buttermilk you can use 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice whisked together with ½ cup of milk.
- Peanut Oil: you will need an oil with a high smoke point and one that has a similar flavor such as peanut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil.
- White Corn Tortillas: traditionally these tacos are made using white corn tortillas, but you can use your favorite tortilla whether it’s flour or a plain corn tortilla. I like to use small-sized tortillas or the street-sized version.
How to Make Fried Shrimp Tacos
- Make the sauce. Whisk the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha sauce together until fully mixed. Taste test it to see if you’d like more sriracha and then set it aside.
- Prep the shrimp. Thaw the shrimp first if using frozen and peel and devein if not already. Using paper towels pat the shrimp dry and place them in a large bowl.
- Coat shrimp. Pour the buttermilk on top and toss to coat. Drain the excess buttermilk from the bowl.
- Cover shrimp in the batter. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and dredge each piece of shrimp individually making sure to coat all sides.
- Heat the oil. Add about 2 inches of oil to a large Dutch oven or skillet with high sides and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Heat the oil to 375º F over medium-high heat.
- Fry the shrimp. Using a slotted spoon, tongs, or a spider strainer place about 6 to 7 pieces of shrimp in the heated oil and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the shrimp and transfer it to a paper-towel-lined plate.
- Toss with the sauce. Once all the shrimp have cooked pour half of the sauce into a medium-sized bowl and toss with the cooked shrimp.
- Warm the tortillas. Toast the edges of your tortillas or heat them in a cast-iron skillet.
- Layer on the ingredients. Place the cabbage in the middle of each tortilla and top each with 2 to 3 pieces of shrimp. Drizzle sauce on each of the tacos and sprinkle with the cilantro.
There are many ways to enjoy bang bang shrimp outside of tacos and some of my favorite options are listed below.
- Appetizer: this shrimp is so addicting they have it listed as an appetizer as well at Bonefish Grill, which is why you can make a large batch of the shrimp and serve it as an appetizer too.
- Noodles: try this shrimp with some stir-fried noodles or glass noodles topped with some cilantro and extra sauce for a truly unique meal.
- Salad: make a taco salad using these shrimp for a tasty but slightly healthier option. Toss in some of your favorite veggies.
- Rice Bowl: instead of tacos try these in a rice bowl served over cooked white rice and topped with some green onions and cabbage. Drizzle on some extra sauce.
Recipe Notes and Expert Tips
- Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot you’re frying the shrimp in to keep the oil at 375º F. Allow the oil to return to 375º after you remove the cooked shrimp before adding the next batch.
- Don’t overcrowd the pot when frying the shrimp. Depending on the size of your pot work in batches of about 6 to 7 pieces of shrimp at a time. Overcrowding will drop the temperature of the oil and result in soggier shrimp that have too much oil on them.
- To make that perfect sauce drizzle on top of the tacos place the sauce in a sealable plastic bag and cut a small portion of one of the bottom corners off. Squeeze the sauce out onto the tacos.
- The sauce can be made a couple of days in advance and stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.
There are two ways I like to toast my tortillas. The easiest way is to hold the tortilla using tongs and carefully place it above a gas flame on your stove. Toast it around the edge. The other way is to use a cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Place it in the skillet for about 15 to 30 seconds per side.
Anytime we eat tacos at home, which is often, we always serve them with some chips and queso dip, but some other options include Spanish rice and beans, a Mexican corn salad, or even some slaw on the side.
Fried Shrimp Tacos Recipe
- ½ cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
- 1 lb Fresh or Frozen Shrimp peeled, deveined, and tails off
- ½ cup Buttermilk
- 1 cup Cornstarch
- 6 cups Peanut Oil or other oil with a high smoke point
- 8 small White Corn Tortillas
- 1 cup Red Cabbage sliced
- 1 cup Green Cabbage sliced
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Cilantro chopped
- In a small bowl whisk the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha sauce together until well combined. Taste and add more sriracha if you'd like it to be spicer. Set aside.
- If using frozen shrimp thaw the shrimp first. Using paper towels pat the shrimp dry and place it in a large bowl.
- Pour the buttermilk on top and toss to coat. Drain the excess buttermilk from the bowl.
- You can either add the cornstarch to the bowl with the shrimp and toss it to coat or use my preferred method, which is to place the cornstarch in a small bowl and dredge each piece of shrimp individually making sure to coat all sides.
- Add about 2 inches of oil to a large Dutch oven or skillet with high sides and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Heat the oil to 375º F over medium-high heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, tongs, or a spider strainer place about 6 to 7 pieces of shrimp in the heated oil and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. You can use tongs to flip the shrimp over in the oil.
- Remove the shrimp and transfer it to a paper-towel-lined plate.
- Once all the shrimp have cooked pour half of the sauce into a medium-sized bowl and toss with the cooked shrimp.
- Toast the edges of your tortillas or heat them in a cast-iron skillet.
- Place the cabbage in the middle of each tortilla and top each with 2 to 3 pieces of shrimp. Drizzle sauce on each of the tacos and sprinkle with the cilantro.