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Coconut shrimp are crispy, golden, and slightly sweet. This easy finger food is perfect for any party and completely irresistible when served with my sweet and spicy homemade dipping sauce.
If you need an appetizer that is as tasty as it is impressive while still being easy to make, this easy coconut shrimp recipe is all three!Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
Why I Love This Coconut Shrimp Recipe
- Homemade from Scratch – Forget frozen; making coconut shrimp from scratch is so easy. Just dredge, fry, and serve! You can even make them in the air fryer or bake them in the oven.
- Complimentary Flavors – The sweet coconut and slightly salty shrimp and quite a flavor pair.
- Simple Process – Don’t be intimidated by the frying! it’s really quite simple and the shrimp cook fast. Just dip in flour, dunk in egg, press in coconut then fry them up!
- Crunchy and Golden – Frying coconut shrimp gives the best texture and color.
How To Make Coconut Shrimp
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
This super simple recipe has less than 30 minutes of total prep and cook time!
- Prep – Pat shrimp dry to prepare for dredging. In needed, first remove the peel and the black vein along the back, keeping the tail in tact.
- Dredging station – Make the dredging stations with flour in one small bowl, whisk eggs in a second bowl, and in the third combine a mixture of coconut, flour, and cornstarch in a third.
- Dredge Shrimp – Coat the shrimp in the plain flour, then the egg. Make sure to let the excess flour and egg drip off. Finally dip in the coconut mixture and press firmly to make it stick.
- Fry – Use a large pot or dutch oven and add 3-4 inches of oil. Heat the oil to 350°F, then gently drop in some of the shrimp and fry them for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. It’s easiest to fry the shrimp in batches to avoid overcrowding. Remove the shrimp from the oil and drain on paper towels or a baking rack.
- Shrimp Dipping Sauce – My simple dipping sauce is a must to serve with your fried shrimp! Simply combine equal parts pineapple preserves and sweet chili sauce in a small bowl, and stir in a little horseradish to elevate the heat. I’d recommend making this ahead of time so the flavors have a chance to meld together.
You want to get jumbo raw peeled shrimp with tails attached. The larger size makes this a 2-bite appetizer, and they will stay a nice size even after the inevitable shrinking during frying! I highly recommend leaving the tails on because you have a handle to hang on to for dipping, dredging and eating.
Yes, you can use frozen shrimp but they’ll need to be thawed first. To quickly thaw frozen shrimp, you can place them under running cold water. Then make sure to pat them really dry with paper towels to help the coating stick to them really well.
These are a great make ahead appetizer! Once you’ve coated the shrimp with the coconut, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, then freeze for 2-3 hours. Once they are solid, you can transfer to a freezer bag and keep frozen for up to 2 months.
On the day you’re ready to serve, take them out of the freezer and fry as directed. You’ll want to make sure no ice crystals have formed on the shrimp as this could cause the hot oil to splatter.
These are best served warm soon after frying. I highly recommend serving them with the sweet and spicy dipping sauce. It’s only 3 ingredients and compliments the the sweetness of the coconut so well.
A pound of jumbo shrimp will yield approximately 20-25 shrimp. As an appetizer, you should plan on 2-3 shrimp per person. As a meal, plan on 6-8 per person.
Variations – Oven and Air Fryer
While frying the shrimp gives you the crunchiest and crispiest results, you can make them in the oven or air fryer as a lighter option.
- Baked – Instead of frying, the coated shrimp can be baked on a parchment lined baking sheet at 425°F for 10-12 minutes until the shrimp are cooked and the coconut is golden brown. Keep in mind this method won’t get quite as crispy as frying but it will still be delicious.
- Air Fried – You can air fry the shrimp, in batches, at 375°F for 7-9 minutes until cooked and golden. I recommend spraying one side with cooking spray first, and flipping over about halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Storage and Reheating
- Storage – Leftover fried shrimp can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezing – They can be frozen for up to 2 months. I like to flash freeze the cooked shrimp on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer container.
- Reheating – To reheat, bake them in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes until warmed. To reheat frozen shrimp you can also bake them but they will take longer to thaw and warm – about 10 minutes. They can also be reheated in an air fryer.
- Leave Tails On – Leaving the tails on not only makes them easier to dredge but it is also a prettier presentation. Guests can hold on to the tails to dunk in the dipping sauce.
- Make Ahead – To save time, you can dredge the shrimp earlier in the day, place on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to fry (no more than 8 hours in advance)
- Seasoning – I kept the seasoning very simple, but you could add some black pepper, garlic powder, or paprika to the flour for a more savory flavor.
- Extra Crispy – For an extra crispy texture, add a ¼ cup of Panko bread crumbs to the coconut mixture.
More Shrimp Recipes
- 1 pound raw extra large/jumbo shrimp thawed, peeled and deveined, tail-on
- 1 ½ cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour divided
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup pineapple preserves
- 1/2 cup chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon jarred horseradish
- Lay shrimp out on a flat surface and pat dry with paper towels.
- Add the ½ cup of flour to a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add eggs to another bowl and lightly whisk.
- Add coconut, 1 cup flour, cornstarch, and salt to a third bowl and mix until combined.
- Dredge shrimp through the coating station, one at a time: First in the plain flour, shaking lightly to remove excess. Dredge through the egg and let excess drip off. Finally coat in the coconut mixture, pressing firmly and coating thoroughly.
- Heat 3-4 inches of oil to 350 degrees in a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Gently drop shrimp into preheated oil one at a time, careful not to over-crowd. Fry until golden; about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining shrimp in batches.
- Once golden, place shrimp on a paper towel covered surface, or use a rack placed over a baking sheet.
- Add dipping sauce ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.
- Serve shrimp with dipping sauce, if desired.