Made with just a few ingredients, this Coconut Shrimp recipe makes crispy, crunchy shrimp in under 30 minutes. Serve with my simple coconut shrimp sauce for a quick, easy appetizer or entrée.
Easy Coconut Shrimp Recipe
This coconut shrimp recipe is super easy to make and makes the perfect appetizer for any dinner, gathering, or party. It has an irresistible flavor with a slight tropical twist, thanks to the shredded coconut.
The best part is that though the end result definitely rivals anything you’d find in a restaurant, this recipe is made with simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand.
Plus, it’s versatile – while I love it as an appetizer, it can be served as the main course too. And I’ve also included a few different ways to cook it, so you can choose if you want it fried, air fried, or baked. All options taste great!
Why You’ll Love These Crispy Shrimp
Here are a few reasons to love this coconut shrimp recipe.
- Quick and easy. From start to finish, you’re looking at just 30 minutes before you can dive in to these crunchy shrimp.
- Appetizer or entrée. One of the things I love about this recipe is that depending on my mood, it can be an appetizer or the main course.
- Crispy, crunchy texture. Thanks to the coconut and panko breadcrumbs, this outside of this shrimp is light and crunchy, just like you’d get in a restaurant.
What You’ll Need
This easy shrimp recipe just requires the shrimp, a few ingredients, and a couple of spices. See the recipe card below for measurements.
- Shrimp – For this recipe, I recommend using large or extra-large shrimp that have been peeled and deveined.
- Salt – Add to taste. For this recipe, I used Kosher salt but you can use whatever type of salt you have around.
- Garlic powder & onion powder – These are my go-to spices. They add a hint of garlic and onions to the shrimp.
- Paprika – This gives the shrimp a spicy kick. You can use cumin, chili powder, a little old bay spice, red pepper flakes, cajun seasoning, or creole seasoning instead.
- Water – You can use club soda or beer instead. This will give the shrimp a lighter, airier texture.
- Shredded coconut – I used sweetened shredded coconut to coat the shrimp and give it that crunchy sweet flavor but you can use unsweetened shredded coconut instead.
- Panko – Plain panko is what I used. Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb that’s perfect for coating fried foods.
- Lime – This is used as a garnish and lime juice also to add a citrusy flavor to the shrimp. You can sprinkle lemon juice over your juicy shrimp as well.
- Pancake mix – The pancake mix is used to bind the shrimp to the coconut flakes. I just used a store brand mix.
- Oil – I used vegetable oil for this recipe, but you can use canola oil, olive oil, or coconut oil.
Can I Use Frozen Shrimp For This Recipe?
Yes, you can use frozen shrimp, but just make sure to thaw them completely before using them.
I like to thaw my frozen shrimp by putting them in a ziplock bag, sealing it, and putting it in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to an hour.
How to Make Coconut Shrimp
Making fried coconut shrimp is quick, easy, and takes just a few minutes.
- Prepare the breading. In one bowl, combine the pancake mix, seasonings, and water. In another, combine the coconut and panko.
- Dip the shrimp. Dry the shrimp with paper towels. Dip in the pancake batter then coat with the coconut mixture, pressing gently so that the coconut adheres to the shrimp.
- Fry. Fry the shrimp in batches until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Enjoy. Serve with lime wedges and your favorite coconut shrimp sauce.
Can I Make Coconut Shrimp in the Air Fryer or Oven?
Yes, you can make this crispy coconut shrimp in both the air fryer and oven, if you prefer not to fry it.
- Air fryer. To make coconut shrimp in the air fryer, place the breaded shrimp in a single layer in the air fryer basket for 8-10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
- Oven. For baked coconut shrimp, place the breaded shrimp on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400F for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
Tips & Variations
Here are a few tips for making crispy coconut shrimp, as well as a few variations.
- Keep the oil at medium heat. To prevent the shrimp from burning, be sure to cook it over medium heat – not high heat.
- Can I use a different type of seafood for this recipe? Yes, you can use scallops, fish filets, pork chops, or even chicken tenders instead of shrimp.
- How can I tell when the shrimp is cooked? The best way to tell if the shrimp is cooked is if it each reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Be sure to measure the temperature at the thickest part of the shrimp.
Here are a few common questions about making this fried shrimp recipe.
Panko breadcrumbs, crushed cornflakes, cereal, crushed almonds, pecans, cashews, all purpose flour, or almond flour can be used instead.
Yes, you can absolutely marinate your shrimp in coconut water or coconut milk before dipping them in the pancake batter.
Typically, 6-8 shrimp per person is a good serving size for an appetizer or side dish.
What to Serve with Crispy Coconut Shrimp
These coconut shrimp make a great appetizer but you can also turn them into an easy meal, by serving them with French fries or even zucchini fries.
- Fridge. Store leftover coconut shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer. You can also freeze the cooked shrimp for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Reheat. Reheating in the oven or air fryer is best to maintain the crisp-ness of the breading. Reheating in the microwave is fine too but the shrimp won’t be as crispy.
More Shrimp Recipes
- In a medium bowl, mix together the pancake mix, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and water.
- In a second bowl, mix together the sweetened shredded coconut and panko.
- Heat your oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Pat the fresh shrimp dry using paper towels, dip the shrimp in the pancake batter, and
- then coat each of them with the coconut mixture, pressing them gently so the coconut sticks to the shrimp.
- Deep fry or shallow fry the breaded shrimp in batches until each turns golden brown. This will take about 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Use tongs to transfer the shrimp to a wire rack or paper towel-lined sheet pan which will help with draining excess oil.
- Serve your crispy coconut shrimp with lime wedges, a sprinkle of lime juice, and your favorite dipping sauce.