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Fried Coconut Shrimp

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
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Fried Coconut Shrimp

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Crispy fried coconut shrimp is one of my all time favorite appetizer recipes! Who can resist tender shrimp in a crispy panko-coconut coating? It’s an easy appetizer to throw together for any gathering, any time of year.

I love making fried coconut shrimp because it’s easy to prep ahead of time for a party and easy to make a large batch. I always serve coconut shrimp with tons of lime and fresh herbs and this incredible sweet and spicy cocktail sauce. Making homemade sauce just takes this recipe to the next level!

Fried Coconut Shrimp Recipe

Whether you serve coconut shrimp as an appetizer or a main course, there’s no doubt everyone will love these salty, sweet and crunchy shrimp. It’s the perfect appetizer for a party or gathering because they come together in about 30 minutes.

If you want to serve fried coconut shrimp as a main course, try serving them alongside my spam fried rice or pork and cabbage dumplings!

If you need to make them ahead of time, you can bread the shrimp and let them sit in your refrigerator until you’re ready to fry. You can even flash freeze them and fry them from frozen!

Read on for my instructions on how to make fried coconut shrimp (air fryer instructions too!).

fried coconut shrimp

How to make Fried Coconut Shrimp

You’re going to love this easy appetizer or main course recipe! You can easily prep the shrimp ahead of time and fry right before serving.

Tools Needed

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Shrimp
  • Coconut Milk
  • Red Curry Paste
  • Lime Zest
  • Flour
  • Egg
  • Baking Powder
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Canola oil

The Process

  • Step one: If they’re not already, peel and devein your shrimp. Lay them out on a paper towel lined tray and pat them very dry. This is an important step that helps the batter stick to the shrimp.
  • Step two: Whisk together the coconut milk, red curry paste, lime zest, fish sauce, salt, flour, egg, and baking powder until the batter is very smooth. Place the shrimp in a baking dish and pour the batter over the shrimp. Toss well to coat and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Step three: In a shallow dish, combine the panko, coconut, and sesame seeds and stir to combine. Remove the shrimp from the batter, shaking off any excess, and coat them in the panko-coconut mix. Set them on a tray and repeat with all the shrimp.
  • Step four: Heat 3 inches of oil in a 4 qt dutch oven or pot to 360 F. Fry the shrimp in batches for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining shrimp, giving the oil time to come back to temperature between batches.
  • Step five: If you’re making the cocktail sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until thickened, and then cool to room temperature.

fried coconut shrimp

Using the Right Sized Shrimp

I’m sure you’ve gone to the grocery store plenty of times looking for shrimp and were bombarded with a million different types! Whenever you shop for shrimp, there are usually numbers attached like 21-25, 16-20, 10-12, etc. These numbers refer to the size of the shrimp and how many you can expect per pound. The larger the number, the smaller the shrimp.

So what is the best sized shrimp to use for fried coconut shrimp? My favorite sizes for coconut shrimp are the 10-15 size and the 16-20. The shrimp are large enough to feel filling and won’t overcook when you fry them. In my opinion, these are the perfect sizes for using coconut shrimp as an appetizer.

If you want to go main course, you can opt for a larger shrimp like 10-12!

Making Fried Coconut Shrimp ahead of time

You can easily make fried coconut shrimp ahead of time for any party! There are two options:

Making 1 hour ahead: You can bread the shrimp about an hour ahead of time and let them hang out in the fridge on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Any longer than this and the breading starts to get soggy. You can then fry them right before you plan to eat.

Making longer than 1 hour ahead: Instead of letting the shrimp hang out in the fridge, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them for at least 1 hour. From there, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe ziplock bag. You can fry them directly from frozen and they’ll last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

If you’re frying from frozen: Heat the oil to 375 F. and fry for 3-4 minutes per side. Make sure to let the oil heat back up between batches.

fried coconut shrimp

Using an Air Fryer for Coconut Shrimp

If deep frying isn’t your thing, you can use an air fryer to make fried coconut shrimp!

To air fry fresh coconut shrimp: Preheat your air fryer to 375 F. Spray the fryer basked with nonstick spray and lay the shrimp in a single layer. Spray the shrimp with spray and fry them for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Repeat with remaining shrimp.

To air fry frozen coconut shrimp: Preheat your air fryer to 360 F. Spray your fryer basket with nonstick spray. Add the frozen shrimp in a single layer in the fryer basket and cook for 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Storing Fried Coconut Shrimp

Unfortunately, this isn’t a recipe that you can store for a while so my recommendation is to fry only as much as you’ll eat and freeze the rest to fry at a later date.

You can also cut the recipe down for a smaller batch.

fried coconut shrimp

More Shrimp Recipes to Try

Chile-Lime Shrimp Tacos
Spicy Shrimp Ceviche
Tom Kha Soup

This post contains affiliate links from which I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links allow me to keep providing great recipes for free and I never recommend products that I don’t love and personally own.

fried coconut shrimp
Appetizers, Main Course

Fried Coconut Shrimp

Fried coconut shrimp is the perfect party appetizer or main course! It's an easy recipe to throw together that's always impressive. Serve with the sweet and spicy cocktail sauce!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Makes: 4 – 6 servings


Fried Coconut Shrimp

  • 1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined raw shrimp, 16-20 count
  • 1 – 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespons flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 6-8 cups canola oil

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Sauce

  • 1 cup good-quality ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 thai chilies, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice


Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Sauce

  • Combine all the cocktail sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until thickened. Cool to room temperature. Can be stored in the fridge for 1 week.

Fried Coconut Shrimp

  • Start by patting your peeled and deveined shrimp very dry with paper towels (especially if you're using previously frozen shrimp).
  • Whisk together the coconut milk, red curry paste, lime zest, fish sauce, salt, flour, egg, and baking powder until smooth. Transfer the shrimp to a baking dish and pour the batter over the shrimp. Toss well to coat and let the shrimp sit in the batter for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Combine the panko, coconut, and sesame seeds in a shallow dish or plate and toss to combine.
  • Fill a 4 qt dutch oven or pot with about 3 inches of canola oil and heat the oil over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 360 F.
  • Remove the shrimp from the batter, shaking off an excess, and coat the shrimp in the panko coconut mixture. Lay the shrimp on a plate or baking sheet and continue coating the remaining shrimp.
  • In batches, fry the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp from the oil to a paper towel-lined tray to drain the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining shrimp, giving the oil time to heat back up between batches.
  • Serve the shrimp with sweet chili sauce, sweet and spicy cocktail sauce, limes and fresh herbs.

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