Golden fried Coconut Shrimp are irresistibly crispy outside and beautifully tender inside. They're a tasty and easy-to-make appetizer that everyone will love!
Coconut Shrimp are a classic appetizer that is always a surefire hit. And who could possibly resist them?!
Succulent jumbo shrimp are coated in batter and a crunchy panko breadcrumb and shredded coconut coating, then fried to crispy perfection!
There's something irresistible about the combination of tender shrimp and crispy, coconut-infused coating.
Whether you're hosting a party, preparing a special dinner, or simply craving a taste of the tropics, coconut shrimp is the answer.
One of the reasons I love making coconut shrimp is its versatility. It can be served as an appetizer alongside a tangy dipping sauce or as a main course with a side of steamed rice and fresh vegetables.
I remember the first time I tried coconut shrimp at a beachside restaurant during a vacation. The aroma of the crispy coating and the sweet coconut immediately caught my attention and after I took a bite, I was instantly hooked.
Sure, I could get some at Costco or find a restaurant serving coconut shrimp near me, but I much prefer making them from scratch right at home!
They are sooo much better freshly made, plus they're super easy!
Jumbo shrimp, as the name suggests, are large-sized shrimp that offer a meatier and more substantial bite compared to smaller varieties. These shrimp are typically about 16-20 count per pound, meaning you get approximately 16 to 20 shrimp per pound. They are often preferred for dishes where their size and texture take center stage, such as coconut shrimp.
When it comes to prepping jumbo shrimp, the first step is to peel them. To do this, hold the shrimp firmly and gently pull off the shell. You can leave the tails intact for a more elegant presentation or remove them if desired. Once peeled, make a shallow incision along the back of the shrimp and remove the dark vein running through it. This vein, known as the digestive tract, can be gritty and slightly bitter, so removing it enhances the overall taste and texture of the shrimp. After deveining, rinse the shrimp under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel before proceeding with your chosen recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
You only need simple pantry ingredients for this recipe!
- Jumbo Shrimp: Choose large, peeled, and deveined shrimp with the tails left intact for an elegant presentation. If jumbo shrimp is not available, you can use smaller shrimp, but adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: These Japanese breadcrumbs create a light and crispy texture that perfectly coats the shrimp.
- Sweetened Shredded Coconut: Provides the tropical flavor and adds a touch of sweetness to the dish. If you prefer a less sweet version, you can use unsweetened shredded coconut.
- All-Purpose Flour: Used to create the initial flour coating for the shrimp. It helps the other layers adhere to the shrimp.
- Milk: The liquid component of the egg mixture, which adds moisture and richness to the coating.
- Egg: Binds the ingredients together and provides structure to the coating.
- Smoked Paprika: Adds a subtle smoky flavor that complements the sweetness of the coconut. Or try unsmoked.
- Salt and Black Pepper: Enhance the overall flavor of the dish.
- Oil: Choose a neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or vegetable oil, for frying the shrimp.
See the recipe card for quantities and method.
How to make coconut shrimp
Follow these step-by-step instructions, then scroll down for the full ingredients list and method.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Set aside.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together ½ cup of the flour with the milk, egg, paprika, salt and pepper. It should be a pancake batter consistency - add more milk or flour if necessary.
In another shallow bowl, add the remaining ½ cup of flour.
In a third shallow bowl, mix the panko breadcrumbs and coconut.
Coat each shrimp in the flour mixture, leaving the tails clean, then the egg mixture, and then the coconut mixture.
Place each coated shrimp onto the prepared baking sheet. Place it into the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes (this ensures that the shrimp doesn’t overcook by the time the coating is golden).
Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep fryer, Dutch oven, deep pot or deep skillet, over a medium heat, to 350°F.
Fry the shrimp in batches for approximately 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
Remove with metal tongs or slotted spoon and drain the coconut shrimp on paper towels and serve immediately.
Scroll down for the full ingredients list and method.
Coconut shrimp is delicious on its own, but you can take it to the next level by serving it with a variety of accompaniments:
- Dipping Sauces: Serve with classic options like sweet chili sauce, cocktail sauce, or a tangy pineapple salsa for a burst of tropical flavors.
- Fresh Salad: Pair coconut shrimp with a refreshing salad of mixed greens, sliced mango, avocado, and a citrus vinaigrette for a light and balanced meal.
- Rice and Vegetables: Create a complete meal by serving coconut shrimp with rice and steamed vegetables like broccoli or snap peas.
Dipping Sauces for Coconut Shrimp
Coconut shrimp is surprisingly versatile! Serve it up with one or two of these tasty dipping sauces:
- Arby's Sauce (Copycat)
- Chipotle Southwest Sauce (Subway Copycat)
- Homemade Donair Sauce
- Dill Dip
- Cocktail Sauce
- Horseradish Aioli
- Bacon Aioli
- Lime Crema
- Honey Sriracha Sauce
Coconut shrimp is best enjoyed fresh and crispy. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To reheat, place the shrimp on a baking sheet and warm them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 5-7 minutes or until heated through. Note that reheating may slightly compromise the crispiness of the coating.
More Seafood Recipes
- Freezing the Shrimp: Placing the coated shrimp in the freezer for 30 minutes before frying helps the coating set and prevents the shrimp from overcooking while achieving a beautifully golden exterior.
- Maintaining the Oil Temperature: To ensure crispy and evenly cooked coconut shrimp, use a kitchen thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. Maintain it at 350°F (175°C) throughout the frying process.
- Cooking in Batches: Avoid overcrowding the frying pan or deep fryer. Cook the shrimp in batches to maintain the oil temperature and prevent the shrimp from sticking together.
- Draining the Shrimp: Once the shrimp are cooked, drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil. This step helps preserve the crispy texture and prevents them from becoming greasy.
While baking can be a healthier alternative, it may not achieve the same level of crispiness as frying. If you prefer to bake, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and place the coated shrimp on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until the shrimp are cooked through and the coating is golden brown.
If you prefer a less sweet version of coconut shrimp, you can use unsweetened shredded coconut instead of sweetened. This will reduce the overall sweetness while still imparting the delicious tropical flavor.
- 3 bowls
- Baking Sheet
- Large pot or deep skillet
- Metal tongs
- food thermometer
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined with tails on
- 1 cup all purpose flour divided
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- Oil for frying (canola or vegetable)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together ½ cup of the flour with the milk, egg, paprika, salt and pepper. It should be a pancake batter consistency - add more milk or flour if necessary.
- In another shallow bowl, add the remaining ½ cup of flour.
- In a third shallow bowl, mix the panko breadcrumbs and coconut.
- Coat each shrimp in the flour mixture, leaving the tails clean, then the egg mixture, and then the coconut mixture.
- Place each coated shrimp onto the prepared baking sheet. Place it into the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes (this ensures that the shrimp doesn’t overcook by the time the coating is golden).
- Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep fryer, Dutch oven, deep pot or deep skillet, over a medium heat, to 350°F.
- Fry the shrimp in batches for approximately 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove with metal tongs or slotted spoon and drain the coconut shrimp on paper towels and serve immediately.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.