Golden, sweet, and crisp coconut shrimp is a crowd-favorite finger food and it always flies off the serving platter especially if you serve it with spicy sweet dipping sauce. The recipe and process are both EASY. Serve this favorite dish as a meal alongside a fresh salad (try this berry quinoa salad) or set out as an appetizer or snack. All will be devoured in no time!
One reader, Paul, commented: “I made these tonight for an appetizer for us and they turned out PERFECTLY! Thank you so much for such a great recipe. I cannot wait until we have guests to make these for them. ★★★★★”
If you’ve never prepared homemade coconut shrimp, let me teach you how. This is shrimp coated in a coconut breadcrumb topping and quickly fried to perfection.
Tell Me About Easy Coconut Shrimp
- Flavor: This coconut shrimp recipe is unlike many others I’ve tried in the past. I use extra coconut because its sweet flavor perfectly balances the slightly salty shrimp. What a combo! Cool and refreshing sweet chili sauce is a dipping favorite.
- Texture: You’ll love the varying textures here. The shrimp are juicy and plump, and thanks to the breadcrumbs, the coconut crust stays crispy without tasting greasy—a big plus!
- Ease: Prep is a quick 3-step process: dunk the shrimp into the flour mixture, then into a bowl of beaten egg, and then give it a super generous coating of coconut and Panko breadcrumbs before frying. If you’ve never fried shrimp before, don’t get nervous—they cook very fast. You need enough oil to cover the bottom of your skillet and tongs are helpful for flipping.
This shrimp recipe makes the perfect midweek meal or quick appetizer because the ingredients are simple and there’s minimal cook time.
What Kind of Shrimp is Best?
Make sure you purchase large + raw peeled shrimp with tails attached for this recipe. I recommend tails attached because the coconut shrimp are easy to prep, coat, and handle as an appetizer that way. Feel free to remove the tails before starting, if desired.
I like using large shrimp for this recipe since they shrink during the cooking process. If you have medium shrimp, they will work here but they’ll be tiny. Or you can use medium shrimp in this honey garlic shrimp recipe.
Can I Use Frozen Cooked Shrimp?
Yes, you can use frozen cooked shrimp in this recipe. Thaw, then use in this recipe as directed. The shrimp will taste slightly over-cooked, though, since you’re buying it already cooked and cooking it again. For best results, start with raw shrimp.
And if you don’t like seafood, try my coconut chicken recipe instead.
How to Coat Shrimp in Coconut Mixture
To coat the shrimp and ensure the coating actually STICKS, you need to coat them in 3 separate and quick steps just as we do when coating baked chicken fingers. Coat the shrimp in a flour mixture, then beaten eggs, then the coconut breadcrumbs. Each coating serves an important purpose: flour allows the egg to stick, egg allows the coconut to stick, and coconut is our main flavor. Make sure you mix the coconut with Panko breadcrumbs because without the breadcrumbs, the coconut is more likely to fall off.
Coconut Shrimp FAQs
- Can’t I just coat shrimp in coconut? Coating wet shrimp in coconut may sound like it could work, but the coconut falls off. That’s why you need the flour and egg, too.
- Should I use sweetened shredded coconut? Yes, definitely. The sugar on the coconut shreds melts and the coating becomes crisp and slightly caramelized. It’s incredible. If you prefer unsweetened shredded coconut, you can absolutely use that but you’ll lose the sweetness and some crisp.
- Do I have to use Panko breadcrumbs? For this recipe, Panko is better than regular breadcrumbs because it ensures a crunchy texture. Made from crustless bread, it is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes. For that reason, Panko breadcrumbs stay crispier than regular breadcrumbs because they do not absorb as much grease and liquid during the frying process. You can find this type of breadcrumb in the regular breadcrumb aisle of most grocery stores.
We like to use a little more coconut and a little less Panko for the final coating because the more sweet coconut crust, the better! See full written recipe below.
Can I Bake or Air-Fry This Coconut Shrimp?
Many readers have skipped the traditional stove-top frying method for baking or air-frying instead. I have not personally tried them in an air-fryer. You’ll lose a lot of crispiness baking them in the oven, but feel free to try it in a 400°F (204°C) oven. Spread out onto a lined baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes, then flip each and bake for another 7-8 minutes.
Coconut Shrimp Dipping Sauce
You can serve coconut shrimp plain, but it tastes even better with a dipping sauce. (It’s just like serving zucchini fritters with the accompanying Greek yogurt dip.) I’m particular to an orange chili sauce, which is made with store-bought Thai chili sauce and orange preserves. It’s sweet with a little spicy kick.
But pictured here with the coconut shrimp is a store-bought spicy peach chili sauce that I found in the Asian food section of my regular grocery store. My family and I have also tried and loved this dipping sauce.
More Crowd-Favorite Recipes
- Crab Cakes
- Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Stuffed Jalapeños
- Soft Pretzel Bites
- Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
Golden, sweet, and crisp, coconut shrimp is a crowd-favorite finger food and it always flies off the serving platter especially if you serve it with spicy sweet dipping sauce. Coat raw shrimp in a flour mixture, then dunk into beaten eggs, then cover in your coconut breadcrumbs topping before frying.
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails attached
- 3–4 Tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil (or olive oil)*
- optional for topping: 1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
Serving Sauce (Optional)
- 3 Tablespoons Thai chili sauce
- 6 Tablespoons orange, peach, or apricot jam or preserves
- Start with 3 medium bowls. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in one. Beat the eggs in the second bowl. Combine Panko and coconut in the third bowl.
- Dip the shrimp into the flour, then the eggs, and then dredge the shrimp into the coconut mixture, pressing gently to adhere. You want a lot of coconut on each shrimp. Set the coated shrimp aside on a plate as you coat the remaining shrimp.
- Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the coconut shrimp in batches such as 7-8 shrimp at a time—do not crowd them in the pan. Flip after 2 minutes and fry the other side for 2 minutes or until golden brown. We prefer ours a little darker, so I fry each side for about 2:30-3 minutes.
- Place the finished coconut shrimp on a plate lined with a paper towel as you fry the rest. Sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro. Mix dipping sauce ingredients together and serve with shrimp.
- Cover and store leftover shrimp in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Fried coconut shrimp freezes well, up to 2 months. Reheat for 10 minutes in a 350°F (177°C) oven or until thawed and warm.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Glass Mixing Bowls | Large Skillet | Tongs
- Shrimp: Large + raw shrimp with tails attached are best for this coconut shrimp recipe. If frozen, thaw before starting. I recommend getting them peeled and deveined because that will save you time at home. I recommend tails attached because the coconut shrimp are easy to prep, coat, and handle as an appetizer that way. Feel free to remove the tails before starting if desired. Can I use frozen cooked shrimp? Yes, you can use frozen cooked shrimp in this recipe but starting with raw shrimp is best. Thaw, then use in this recipe as directed.
- Oil: I prefer frying the coconut shrimp in coconut oil for the best taste. You need enough to coat the bottom of your skillet, usually about 3 Tablespoons or close to 4.
- Serving Sauce: We’ve also tried and loved this dipping sauce too.
Keywords: coconut shrimp