Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp are one of those appetizers or snacks that keeps you coming back for more. You can make this recipe on your stovetop or for a lighter version, in your air fryer.

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No matter which method you choose to use when making these coconut shrimp – pan-frying on the stovetop or air-frying on your counter – you’ll love the results. I have to admit, however, that my preference is for the air-fried version. It’s light, crispy and doesn’t leave you missing any flavor. Instead, the flavor of the shrimp and the coconut is really able to shine through. If you don’t have an air fryer, however, it’s great to know that you can make these shrimp the stovetop with just about 1/2-inch of oil in the pan, rather than deep-frying.

A baking sheet of Coconut shrimp breaded and ready to fry.

Start with large shrimp. I like to peel and devein my own shrimp because you generally get better quality shrimp that way – they haven’t been handled as much as peeled and deveined shrimp. It also allows me to leave the tail of the shrimp intact which serves as a sort of handle for your guests to use to pick the shrimp up. It does take a little time, but the rest of the recipe is so quick that you do have some extra minutes. 

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Three coconut shrimp on a white plate with duck sauce.

You can do the work of peeling and deveining the shrimp AND coating them ahead of time if you are planning on serving these at a party and have other tasks to do. Leave them on a baking sheet in your refrigerator and then air-fry or pan-fry just before serving. 

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Coconut shrimp on black marble with duck sauce, scallions and lime wedges.

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Coconut Shrimp - Air Fryer Version

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 8 m
  • Total Time: 23 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp about 16 to 20, peeled and de-veined
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup fine breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 lime zested
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil in a spritzing bottle
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce or duck sauce for serving

Instructions

  1. Set up a dredging station with three shallow dishes. Place the flour in the first shallow dish and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Whisk the eggs in the second shallow dish.
  3. In the third shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, coconut, lime zest, salt and cayenne pepper.
  4. Pre-heat the air fryer to 400ºF.
  5. Dredge each shrimp first in the flour, then dip it in the egg mixture, and finally press it into the breadcrumb-coconut mixture to coat all sides.
  6. Place the breaded shrimp on a plate and spray on all sides with vegetable oil.
  7. Air-fry the shrimp in two batches, being sure not to over-crowd the basket.
  8. Air-fry at 400ºF for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the shrimp is firm when you squeeze it gently. Repeat with the second batch of shrimp.
  9. Lower the temperature of the air fryer to 340ºF. Place the first batch of shrimp into the basket with the second batch already in the basket and air fry for an additional 2 minutes.
  10. Serve with sweet chili sauce, duck sauce or just eat them plain!

Coconut Shrimp - Pan-Fried Version

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 5 m
  • Total Time: 20 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp about 16 to 20, peeled and de-veined
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup fine breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 lime zested
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce or duck sauce for serving

Instructions

  1. Set up a dredging station with three shallow dishes. Place the flour in the first shallow dish and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Whisk the eggs in the second shallow dish.
  3. In the third shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, coconut, lime zest, salt and cayenne pepper.
  4. Dredge each shrimp first in the flour, then dip it in the egg mixture, and finally press it into the breadcrumb-coconut mixture to coat all sides.
  5. Heat about half an inch of oil in a straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add half of the shrimp, being sure not to over-crowd the pan. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown and shrimp is firm when you squeeze it gently. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the second batch of shrimp.
  6. Serve with sweet chili sauce, duck sauce or just eat them plain!
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Comments (5)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    I made the coconut shrimp today. It was so easy I don’t know why I’ve been paying so much money for it at restaurants.

    Your instructions are so easy to follow and use ingredients I have at home.

    For the sauce I improvised. I had orange marmalade and a pineapple/habanero salsa that I mixed together. It was yummy.

  2. This is a silly question: Is the 1lb of peeled & deveined shrimp raw or the already cooked that you use for shrimp cocktail?? Just want to make sure before I go shopping!!
    Thanks

  3. Coconut shrimp makes a fabulous finger food for a party, but can be prepared as a quick dinner too. We had it with a simple green salad topped with sesame ginger dressing, a few crushed peanuts, and edamame. And wine. Always wine. ENJOY! ??

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