Easy Coconut Shrimp

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. 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. 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, says: 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.”

coconut shrimp on a white serving plate

Tell Me About Easy Coconut Shrimp

  • Flavor: This coconut shrimp recipe is unlike many others I’ve tried in the past. We 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 panko, 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 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.

coconut shrimp on a white serving plate

What Kind of Shrimp is Best?

Make sure you purchase large + raw shrimp with tails attached for this coconut shrimp recipe. 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.

I like using large shrimp for this recipe since they shrink during the cooking process. We usually use medium shrimp for the honey garlic shrimp recipe.

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.


Homemade Coconut Shrimp Coating

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.

Here are some common questions and answers about the coating:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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– the more sweet coconut crust, the better! See full written recipe below.

coconut shrimp on a blue plate

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 in a white bowl of dipping sauce

Coconut Shrimp Dipping Sauce

You can serve coconut shrimp plain, but it tastes even better with a dipping sauce. I’m particular to an orange chili sauce, which is made with store-bought Thai chili sauce and orange (or use peach or apricot) 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. We’ve also tried and loved this dipping sauce, too.


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coconut shrimp on a white plate

Easy Coconut Shrimp

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour (spoon & 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
  • 34 Tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cover and store leftover shrimp in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Oil: We 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.
  4. Serving Sauce: We’ve also tried and loved this dipping sauce too.

Keywords: coconut shrimp

157 Comments

  1. This recipe was absolutely fabulous. I never comment on these things but I had to on this one. It was not that hard and it had fabulous results! I served it with a coconut sauce made of coconut, lemon curd, and heavy whipping cream. To die for!

  2. I made it and it was tasty . But it took me a lot longer than the time listed on the recipe. If I was actually able to make it in the 30 minutes listed as the total time, I’d probably make it again. But based on my personal experience, probably not.

  3. Anita Mendoza says:

    I measured everything out ahead of time, followed your recipe, but when we bit into the shrimp, the batter just came off. What did I do wrong? The taste was good, the presentation sucked for me.

    1. Laurie Hall says:

      When I make this dish I coat the shrimp and put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, then make sure the skillet is nice and hot before adding the shrimp. That method makes the coating stick better.

  4. Kate Crawford says:

    Best Coconut Shrimp EVER!!
    Is there a good way to reheat the next day?

  5. I love coconut shrimp and have tried many recipes, but this one is the best by far! I served it with Franks red hot stinging honey garlic sauce, so delicious!

  6. Everyone raved about these! I made two batches and had to change the coconut oil out about half way through because it got burnt. Not sure coconut oil is the best frying oil, but it adds great taste. Served with a red lobster copy cat piña colada sauce made with sour cream, cream of coconut, and pineapple. So easy and to dye for!

  7. Can you prep the shrimp ahead of time and refrigerate until ready?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! Make sure the shrimp are covered when in the refrigerator. Enjoy, Denise!

  8. Cynthia Henrickson says:

    I’ve made this recipe several times, but I skip the frying step and instead spray both sides of each shrimp with coconut oil and then air fry for a couple minutes each side. We like the sauce a little sweeter, so I use one part sweet Thai chili sauce to 3 parts orange marmalade. My husband says it’s better than any restaurant coconut shrimp he’s ever had. It’s definitely a favorite!

    1. I’m going to try that! At 400 degrees. What temperature did you use?

  9. One of the worst recipes I’ve tried. The coating blackened and the shrimp was raw.

    1. Emily Bailey says:

      The first few of mine were too! I turned down the heat and the rest were great!

  10. This recipe is so delicious! My husband has been asking for shrimp tacos, so I made this coconut shrimp and paired it with a mango salsa and the combination was great in the tacos. Thanks for another winning recipe!

    1. That’s what I’m going to do! Yumm!

  11. Can I use an air fryer instead?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, definitely! I’m unsure of the exact time, but keep an eye on them and remove when they are golden brown and crispy.

  12. any ideas for different side options besides salad?? i’m blanking!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah! Rolls, rice, homemade bread and roasted vegetables would all make great sides!

  13. Made it last night and it was perfect. I used an electric skillet at 375 and the shrimp were golden, crispy and delicious. I’m going to try this coating on chicken planks next!

  14. Made this recipe as directed. Not only was it super easy but it was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing! Served along side roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts. Divine! Big hit in my household.

  15. Great recipe. Have made this several times now.

    1. Easy to follow first time I tried a recipe like this it came out perfect made 2 pounds of shrimp and beef and chicken

  16. My family LOVED this. I used GF rice flour and GF Panko. My husband asked me to make it once a week. I used extra Large shrimp and made Jasmin Rice and Broccoli on the side with salad as an additional option. My husband, 3 adult sons and daughter in-law devoured it. Thank you! I’m vegetarian so didn’t try it. I wish i had this recipe 7 years ago. lol

  17. Can this be baked instead of fried?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sharon! We’ve never baked the coconut shrimp before, but some readers have left positive reviews after doing so.

      1. Hi. The recipe looks great and I’m definitely adding to my weekly meal planning. Question-are you able to quickly post/modify with the baking instructions as an option.

        Thanks

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Lisa, We’ve never baked the coconut shrimp before, but some readers have left positive reviews after doing so.

  18. Would this recipe work if I left the skin on the shrimp? I tend to like the texture/flavour of the skin, but not sure if it would work with the added coated layers.. Hopefully get a response as I plan to make it tomorrow!!

  19. Michelle Gleaso says:

    sorry, i forgot to ask in my last question – if this recipe could be made with unsweetened shredded coconut? or will it be bland/have no flavour?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, you can, just expect a less sweet coating. Many readers have reported using unsweetened coconut with no issues. Let us know if you give it a try!

      1. I tried with both unsweetened and sweetened – both were good, but I preferred the sweetened. I also tried it leaving the skin on and that was god also. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Definitely a keeper.

  20. I made these last night and they turned out perfect.

  21. Can you use frozen shrimp? (You can delete my other comment)

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cassie! Yes, you can use frozen shrimp. Defrost by the package’s directions before following this recipe. Enjoy!

  22. Mimi salmon says:

    We gobbled these up. I added extra sambal to the sauce to kick the heat up a bit and served it with fried rice. Delicious!

  23. Lynn DeRamus says:

    So quick easy and delicious. Will make again and again.

  24. 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. I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes (coconut macaroons are next!). The variety on your website is fantastic. It could be my go-to.

  25. Teresa Davenport says:

    Can frozen pre cooked shrimp be used?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Teresa, Yes, you can use frozen shrimp. Defrost by the package’s directions before following this recipe. Enjoy!

  26. Arnie Oseland says:

    Excellent recipe. I have used it 3 times and my guests loved the coconut shrimp.

  27. Very easy and tasty. I served it with chick filet sauce from the grocery store.

  28. Paige Thomas says:

    So so simple. I worked in a bar which required frying foods, so this was simple and took me less than the estimated 30 min. Absolutely delicious. So easy. I added creole to the flour. Thank you for this recipe!

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