Fried Coconut Shrimp is one of my favorite appetizers ever! It comes out so crispy, golden brown, and full of toasty coconut flavors.
The coconut shrimp is breaded and shallow-fried on the stovetop until beautifully golden brown and crispy on the outside, and perfectly tender inside.
I also included 2 dipping sauce options. The first one is a sweet chili orange sauce, and the second one (my fave!) is a creamy sweet chili sauce.
I present to you one of my favorite appetizers EVER: Fried Coconut Shrimp!
We’re huge fans of shrimp over here, and there’s nothing I love more than serving this coconut shrimp at gatherings and parties. It’s always a hit…gone within minutes!
Here’s why I absolutely love this recipe:
- Golden brown and beautifully crispy!
- It doesn’t get messy! We use the shallow-frying method, which involves less oil.
- They freeze and reheat really well. They reheat in just 10 minutes!
Oh and did I tell you about the dipping sauces? The first one is a sweet chili orange sauce, and the second one is a creamy sweet chili sauce. It’s very similar to my bang bang shrimp sauce.
The complete ingredient list can be found in the recipe card below, but I wanted to includes a few notes here:
For the shrimp:
- Large shrimp: Make sure it’s peeled and deveined, with the tail-on.
- Eggs: Acts as the binder or “glue” to hold the breading together.
- All-purpose flour: To give the coating structure and help the shrimp crisp up better.
- Panko breadcrumbs: For a golden brown, crispy, and crunchy texture.
- Coconut flakes: I’d recommend unsweetened.
- Vegetable oil: For frying, enough to cover a quarter inch of pan. Don’t use olive oil.
- Garlic powder, salt and pepper
For the 2 dipping sauces:
- Sweet chili orange sauce: orange marmalade and Thai sweet chili sauce.
- Creamy sweet chili sauce: mayo, Thai sweet chili sauce, and sriracha sauce.
1. Set up your breading station & bread the shrimp
- Set up your breading station using 3 shallow bowls. In the first bowl, whisk the flour with garlic powder, salt and pepper. In the second bowl, beat the eggs. In the third bowl, mix the panko and coconut flakes.
- Bread the shrimp (on both sides) in this order: flour mixture, then eggs, then panko and coconut. Press the panko and coconut mixture firmly onto the shrimp so it sticks.
- Arrange the breaded shrimp on a wire rack or sheet pan.
2. Fry the breaded shrimp
- Heat vegetable oil on a large skillet. To check if the oil is hot enough, drop a little bit of the breading onto the hot pan. If it sizzles immediately, it’s ready.
- Fry the shrimp on both sides. For about 2-3 minutes per side, in batches.
- Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
Tip: As you fry, adjust the heat as needed – when you add cold food, the temperature will drop slightly.
3. Make the dipping sauce
This part is really easy! Just combine the sauce ingredients in small serving ramekins.
To make the sweet chili orange sauce, combine orange marmalade and Thai sweet chili sauce. To make the creamy sweet chili sauce, combine mayo, Thai sweet chili sauce, and sriracha.
Prefer to Bake or Air Fry?
With baking, the coconut shrimp may not come out as crispy or golden brown, but it’s definitely much easier and healthier. Alternatively, you can air fry them.
To oven-bake: Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Arrange the breaded shrimp on the sheet pan and spray with cooking oil. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
To air fry: Generously coat the breaded shrimp with oil spray. Cook in the air fryer at 400 degrees F for about 8-9 minutes.
Make Ahead Tips
The two dipping sauces can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.
The coconut shrimp can be cooked from start to finish and then frozen. It reheats really well, although not as good as freshly made, of course! See instructions in the recipe card notes.
Do not pre-bread the shrimp in advance, as the breading will get soggy. After breading the shrimp, make sure you fry within 15 minutes to maintain crispiness.
Freezing and Reheating
Fried coconut shrimp freezes really well. After the fried shrimp has completely cooled down, transfer the shrimp to a large freezer-friendly resealable bag in one single layer. Freeze for up to 2 months.
To reheat, bake the frozen shrimp at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes until crispy and thoroughly warmed up.
Serving and Pairing Ideas
My favorite way to serve this as is, with the dipping sauces of course! We also love pairing it with a beautiful Grilled Peach Salad.
If you want to turn it into a full meal, here are a few serving ideas:
- Make tacos and add a quick slaw on top!
- Build a bowl. Try quinoa or rice, plus some edamame, veggies, or slaw.
- Over a simple salad. Check out my Thai Chicken Salad, and use the shrimp instead.
If you love shrimp, check out these recipes:
Yes. Spray the shrimp with cooking spray arranged on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Yes! Coat the shrimp on both sides with cooking oil spray and cook in the air fryer for about 8 minutes.
I wouldn’t recommend that because the shrimp will turn very tough and dry.
No, the breading will get soggy. Once you bread the shrimp, fry it within 15 minutes or so.
Yes! It freezes really well. Freeze in a resealable bag for up to 2 months in a single layer. To reheat, bake at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Tips for Success
- Use large shrimp because shrimp shrinks when cooked.
- To help the breading adhere to the shrimp, pat-dry the shrimp really well before you start, press the panko firmly onto the shrimp. If it’s not sticking, dip in the egg mixture again.
- Use vegetable oil for frying, it has a high smoke point. Don’t use olive oil.
- To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a little bit of breadcrumbs into the oil and if it sizzles immediately, it’s ready.
Fried Coconut Shrimp (with 2 Dipping Sauces)
- Large non-stick skillet
- 1 pound large shrimp, defrosted - (peeled, deveined, with tail-on)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- Vegetable oil for frying - (enough to cover 1/4 inch of the pan)
Sweet chili orange sauce
- ⅓ cup orange marmalade
- 4 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
Creamy sweet chili sauce
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha, or to taste
- Pat dry the defrosted shrimp with paper towel. Note: pat-drying thoroughly ensures that the breading sticks and prevents oil splashes.
- Set up your breading station in this order: First, in a shallow bowl, whisk the flour, salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder. In a second shallow bowl, beat the eggs. In a third shallow bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs with coconut flakes.
- Bread the shrimp in this order: First dredge with the flour mixture, then the beaten eggs, and lastly with the panko and coconut mixture, pressing it firmly onto the shrimp. Transfer the breaded shrimp to a large wire rack or sheet pan, and continue breading the remaining shrimp. Tip: Press the panko firmly onto the shrimp so that it sticks. If it’s not sticking, dip in egg again.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, enough to cover ¼ inch of the pan. To test if the oil is hot enough for frying, drop a little bit of breadcrumb into the oil and if it sizzles immediately, it’s good to go. Cook the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden grown. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding.
- As the shrimp cooks and is ready, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- Make the dipping sauces: To make the sweet orange chili sauce, combine the orange marmalade and sweet chili sauce. To make the creamy sweet chili sauce, combine the mayo, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha. You can adjust to taste.
- Serve the coconut shrimp with the dipping sauces. Enjoy!
- Use large shrimp since shrimp shrinks when it cooks. I use a 1-pound 21-25 count shrimp package. Make sure it’s peeled, deveined, and with the tail on.
- To get golden brown color: Make sure the oil is hot enough by doing the sizzle test – drop a little bit of breadcrumb into the oil and if it sizzles immediately, it’s good to go. Cook in batches.
- Oven-baking option: Spray the shrimp with cooking spray arranged on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Air fryer option: Coat the shrimp on both sides with cooking oil spray and cook in the air fryer for about 8 minutes.
- Freezing: Freeze cooked coconut shrimp in a resealable bag for up to 2 months in a single layer. To reheat, bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Make-ahead: I would not recommend pre-breading the shrimp in advance since it will get soggy. Once breaded, fry within 15 minutes or so. However, you can freeze the fried shrimp and reheat later (see above).
- Prep ahead: The sauces can be prepared in 3 days in advance and refrigerated.
- Unsweetened coconut flakes: Sweetened coconut flakes to make it sweet.
- Panko breadcrumbs: Pre-seasoned panko works too.
- Vegetable oil: Canola oil or peanut oil.
- Orange marmalade: Apricot or pineapple marmalade.