Coconut fried shrimp are crispy, quick, and tender. This easy recipe makes for a simple weeknight meal, but is also a crowd pleasing finger food making it a great appetizer.
Making crispy, flavorful fried shrimp requires only a handful of ingredients, and they are so simple to make. The best part is that you can bread now and freeze later, making the prep work almost effortless.
This coconut shrimp recipe is great as a main course with Chinese buffet green beans or bang bang Brussels sprouts. They’re also great on an appetizer table with crockpot meatballs with grape jelly and pigs in a blanket. Our whole family loves a good app spread, and these are always a hit.
- flour – we used all purpose.
- garlic powder, coarse black pepper, and sea salt or kosher salt.
- egg whites – using just the whites makes the finished shrimp light and super crispy. It also acts as a glue to hold coating onto the shrimp
- Panko bread crumbs – regular, not seasoned.
- shredded coconut – we found no difference in the taste and texture when using sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes.
- Raw shrimp – devein shrimp before starting or grab deveined shrimp from the grocery store to save time.
- oil for frying – we recommend vegetable oil, shortening, or coconut oil since they have a high smoke point.
- Thai chili sauce and orange marmalade for dipping
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Serve crispy coconut shrimp with your favorite dipping sauce. We love thai sweet chili sauce mixed with orange marmalade. For a creamier sauce try sriracha mayo or a southwest sauce. They are also great with mango avocado salsa and pineapple salsa.
Substitutions and Variations
- Air Fryer – follow the instruction for the coconut coating. Place the breaded shrimp in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Spritz generously with oil. Air fryer for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees. Flip halfway through.
- Oven Baked – Bake the breaded shrimp at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until they done and golden brown.
- Whole eggs – we like using just the egg whites, but the whole eggs work well too.
- Frozen shrimp – be sure they are thawed completely and dried as much as possible before starting.
- Gluten free – use a gluten free all purpose flour.
- Spicier – add a dash of cayenne pepper or chili flakes to the flour mixture.
PREP: Rinse the shrimp in cold water in a sieve and drain completely.
Step 1: Set up the dredging station. Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl and set aside. In a shallow, small bowl, froth the egg whites until foamy (an electric milk frother works GREAT for this.) Toss the panko breadcrumbs with the coconut in a third bowl.
Step 2: Dip each shrimp into the flour mixture, then into the egg whites, then into the coconut mixture. Place the battered shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Pro Tip: Use an electric frother to get the egg whites frothy, fast! Frothy egg whites cling better to the shrimp and also help the egg whites to go further. If they are not frothed, the egg whites tend to stick together in a big clump.
Step 3: Fill a large pot or dutch oven with 3-4 inches of oil. Heat to 375 degrees F. This will take about 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Drop each shrimp into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.
Step 4: Use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp from the oil. Place them on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the excess oil. Repeat until all of the remaining shrimp have been fried.
SERVE: Transfer to a serving platter alongside your favorite dipping sauce.
Recipe Tips for Perfect Coconut Shrimp
- Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil. It will drop once the shrimp are added, so adjust the burner accordingly.
- If you have a deep fryer use that. Deep frying is all about keeping the temperature consistent, and deep friers work well. Plus, you can save the oil after using.
- Large shrimp and jumbo shrimp work the best in this recipe. We also recommend leaving the tails on. They are easier to dip while breading, and when serving.
- Work in small batches and avoid over crowding the pot so the shrimp cook evenly.
- Don’t skip setting up all of the separate bowls for your dredging station. Each step helps to keep the coating on while frying.
- For the most tender shrimp, avoid over cooking. It doesn’t take a long time for them to cook through, no matter which cooking method you are using.
- Use enough oil so that the shrimp can be completely submerged when frying.
Did you know that certain shrimp species can catch and eat small fish? – The Original Oyster House
Homemade coconut shrimp are best served straight out of the fryer. You can keep leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Once reheated they will not be as crispy. When reheating, use the oven or air fryer instead of the microwave.
To freeze, once you have the fresh shrimp breaded, transfer them to a container or freezer bag and freeze for 1 month. When ready, drop them directly from the freezer into the oil.
We recommend coconut, vegetable, or avocado oil due to the higher smoke point and neutral flavors.
Coconut shrimp are fairly healthy because shrimp contain many vitamins and nutrients, while remaining low in calories. However, if you want a healthier version we recommend baking or air fryer versus deep frying.
If you tried this Coconut Fried Shrimp Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Coconut Fried Shrimp
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 egg whites
- ¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened
- 1 pound shrimp raw, deveined, and peeled
- vegetable oil shortening, or coconut oil for frying (at least 2 cups)
- Thai chili sauce and orange marmalade for dipping
- Be sure that shrimp are thawed completely. Rinse in a sieve and allow to drain.
- In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- In a second shallow bowl, whisk or froth egg whites until foamy.
- In a third bowl, toss together the Panko bread crumbs and coconut.
- Dip each shrimp into the flour mixture to coat, then dip into the frothy egg whites, then coat with the Panko/coconut mixture. Place dredged shrimp in a single layer on a sheet pan.
- Meanwhile, fill a dutch oven or heavy stock pot with 3-4 inches of oil. Heat until the oil reaches 375°F (this will take 10-15 minutes).
- Carefully drop several coated shrimp at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy (about 1-2 minutes). Turn the shrimp over in the oil a couple times to ensure even cooking.
- Place cooked shrimp on a few layers of paper towel to soak up excess oil.