Coconut Shrimp

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This restaurant-style Coconut Shrimp recipe is a cinch to make at home with freezer and pantry staples. My shatteringly crispy Coconut Shrimp appetizer is good on its own, and even better once dunked into the zippy Sriracha-chile sauce.

Coconut shrimp being dipped in an orange sauce.

Why save Coconut Shrimp for restaurant meals alone? Inspired by one of my favorite menu items, I’ve leveled-up this Red Lobster copycat recipe with a spicy aioli that elevates each bite to new flavor heights.

Using all freezer and pantry staples, including frozen shrimp, Panko breadcrumbs, and Sriracha sauce, this easy appetizer recipe will talk you through how to recreate the restaurant classic right in your own kitchen.

Recipe ingredients

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Mayonnaise: I adore the rich, umami flavor of Kewpie mayo alongside the sweet chili sauce and spicy Sriracha, but Hellman’s, Duke’s, Kraft, Best Foods, or any brand you prefer is perfect. Just be sure to steer clear of Miracle Whip; its too sweet for this purpose.
  • Thai sweet chili sauce: More sweet than spicy, this glaze-like condiment is spiked with crushed red pepper flakes. Order a bottle online or look for it in your supermarket near the Sriracha.
  • Panko bread crumbs: In most cases, I say you can use regular bread crumbs. Here, however, I think flaky panko is essential. This light Japanese-style breadcrumb is commonly used as to coat for deep-fried foods, including these Coconut Shrimp, for the crispiest results. Buy them at the store or make your own panko crumbs.
  • Sweetened shredded coconut: For extra crunch, toast the coconut.
  • Jumbo raw shrimp: Thawed frozen shrimp works beautifully for Coconut Shrimp. To thaw the shrimp, place the bag of seafood in a bowl and transfer it to the refrigerator the night before you plan to make this appetizer recipe. If the shrimp isn’t already peeled and deveined, follow these steps for how to clean shrimp. If you like, start with fresh shrimp; peeled and deveined. Jumbos come about 16 to 20 per pound (sometimes labeled U16 to U20).

Step by step instructions

  1. To make the dipping sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, and Thai sweet chili sauce. Chill until serving time.
Dipping sauce for coconut shrimp.
  1. In a shallow dish, add flour and salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon and ¼ teaspoon pepper). In a second shallow dish, add eggs and beat lightly. In a third shallow dish, combine panko and coconut. Stir to combine.
Breading station for coconut shrimp.
  1. Working with one shrimp at a time, dredge in flour and shake off excess. Dip in eggs and tap gently on side of dish to remove excess. Add to panko-coconut mixture and press gently until crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining shrimp (shrimp can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours).
Coconut shrimp being breaded.
  1. Line rimmed baking sheet or large plate with 3 layers of paper towels. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat canola oil until shimmering. Add shrimp in batches and fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side (the shrimp should reach 120 degrees on an internal thermometer).
Coconut shrimp frying in oil.
  1. Drain shrimp well on paper towels.
Coconut shrimp on a paper towel after being fried.
  1. Repeat with remaining shrimp and serve with sauce.
Coconut shrimp in a bowl.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Coconut Shrimp recipe makes six appetizer-sized servings; about 3 large shrimp each.
  • Storage: Transfer leftover coconut shrimp to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or an air fryer to 145 degrees.
  • Freezer: Place cooked and cooled Coconut Shrimp to a freezer-safe zip-top bag, label, date, and seal. Freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat in the oven or an air fryer to 145 degrees.
  • Tropical Party: When I decided to create a Tropical Party menu, Coconut Shrimp was an obvious choice. Serve with Hawaiian Macaroni Salad on the side (an official component of “plate lunch” in Hawaii), and Pineapple Salsa with tortilla chips. For dessert, classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake was the obvious choice. Sip on a tropical Blue Hawaiian cocktail to complete the menu (although a Mai Tai or Piña Colada would be great to!).
A table setting for a tropical party.

Recipe FAQs

What other sauces could I serve with Coconut Shrimp?

I think this 3-ingredient dipping sauce is tough to beat, but why not offer a buffet of dunking options? Consider Thai Peanut DressingRed Pepper Jelly, or your favorite aioli, too.

How can I make Coconut Shrimp a meal?

This same Coconut Shrimp recipe can feed 3 or 4 adults as an entree, depending on how hungry you feel. Pair it with restaurant-inspired sides like a Wedge Salad, Homemade French Fries, and/or Baked Rice to round out the feast.

More shrimp recipes

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Someone dipping coconut shrimp in sauce.

Coconut Shrimp

This restaurant-style Coconut Shrimp recipe is a cinch to make at home with freezer and pantry staples. My shatteringly crispy Coconut Shrimp appetizer is good on its own, and even better once dunked into the zippy Sriracha-chile sauce.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 25 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Calories 275

Ingredients 

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce

For the coconut shrimp:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 pound jumbo raw shrimp thawed, peeled, and deveined
  • 2 cups canola oil for frying

Instructions 

  • To make the dipping sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, and Thai sweet chili sauce. Chill until serving time.
  • In a shallow dish, add flour and salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon and ¼ teaspoon pepper). In a second shallow dish, add eggs and beat lightly. In a third shallow dish, combine panko and coconut. Stir to combine.
  • Working with one shrimp at a time, dredge in flour and shake off excess. Dip in eggs and tap gently on side of dish to remove excess. Add to panko-coconut mixture and press gently until crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining shrimp (shrimp can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours).
  • Line rimmed baking sheet or large plate with 3 layers of paper towels. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat canola oil until shimmering. Add shrimp in batches and fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side (the shrimp should reach 120 degrees on an internal thermometer).
  • Drain shrimp well on paper towels. Repeat with remaining shrimp and serve with sauce.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Mayonnaise: I adore the rich, umami flavor of Kewpie mayo alongside the sweet chili sauce and spicy Sriracha, but Hellman’s, Duke’s, Kraft, Best Foods, or any brand you prefer is perfect. Just be sure to steer clear of Miracle Whip; its too sweet for this purpose.
  2. Thai sweet chili sauce: More sweet than spicy, this glaze-like condiment is spiked with crushed red pepper flakes. Order a bottle online or look for it in your supermarket near the Sriracha.
  3. Panko bread crumbs: In most cases, I say you can use regular bread crumbs. Here, however, I think flaky panko is essential. This light Japanese-style breadcrumb is commonly used as to coat for deep-fried foods, including these Coconut Shrimp, for the crispiest results. Buy them at the store or make your own panko crumbs.
  4. Sweetened shredded coconut: For extra crunch, toast the coconut.
  5. Jumbo raw shrimp: Thawed frozen shrimp works beautifully for Coconut Shrimp. To thaw the shrimp, place the bag of seafood in a bowl and transfer it to the refrigerator the night before you plan to make this appetizer recipe. If the shrimp isn’t already peeled and deveined, follow these steps for how to clean shrimp. If you like, start with fresh shrimp; peeled and deveined. Jumbos come about 16 to 20 per pound (sometimes labeled U16 to U20).
  6. Yield: This Coconut Shrimp recipe makes six appetizer-sized servings; about 3 large shrimp each.
  7. Storage: Transfer leftover coconut shrimp to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or an air fryer to 145 degrees.
  8. Freezer: Place cooked and cooled Coconut Shrimp to a freezer-safe zip-top bag, label, date, and seal. Freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat from from in the oven or an air fryer to 145 degrees.

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 20gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 245mgSodium: 905mgPotassium: 173mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 133IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 140mgIron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Great coconut shrimp – Iโ€™ve never made this style of shrimp but itโ€™s really easy and YUMMMMMMMMMY5 stars

  2. I’m so in love with this recipe! All the flavors are perfect here. And Marina del Rey shrimp are amazing. They’re our family’s go to shrimp!5 stars

  3. This is just wonderful! Coconut shrimp is one of those dishes that I relegate to “order” versus “make at home” because it intimidates me. But armed with your helpful tips, I feel like I might be able to do it!ย 5 stars

  4. LOVE coconut shrimp, and yours look so perfectly crunchy! That sauce — love the idea of using apricot.5 stars

  5. Incredible! I love the shrimp and the tasty dipping sauce. I also buy raw frozen shrimp. Marina Del Ray is my favorite. :-) Thanks, Meggan!5 stars

  6. I had questions about the oil used to fry the shrimp…

    What kind did you use? I was going to try canola. How deep should the oil be in the pan? Just enough to coat the bottom or deeper? Thanks!

  7. Such a delicious recipe, Meggan, and your pictures are mouthwateringly beautiful! Shrimp is my very favorite food on the planet and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy it. I just love Marina Del Rey seafood products!5 stars

  8. I’m in love with Marina Del Rey shrimp — it’s the only one shrimp that I buy now. I’m definitely making this very soon — that sauce sounds amazing!5 stars

  9. I’m CRAZY for this dish, and that Marina del Rey shrimp takes it over the top! I I love the little kick of heat in the sweet sauce, too.5 stars

  10. Oooh – my son’s favorite shrimp dish! You really make these sound easy and look restaurant quality delicious! Great post made with our favorite Marina del Rey shrimp :)5 stars

    1. MDR has the best shrimp! I want something peeled but still raw, and obviously GIANT. Especially for coconut shrimp where you want to bite in and actually find gorgeous shrimp on the inside. :)

  11. This looks sooo yummy!! I love a good fried shrimp dish and that chili apricot sauce sounds divine!! Can’t wait to try it!5 stars

    1. Thank you Mahy! Yes, I actually tried a baked version first but my heart wasn’t in it. They just need to be fried – period. I literally could not stop eating them!

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer! I made this recipe a few times now and it’s always such a hit. :D