There’s no better appetizer to serve at a summertime party than Coconut Shrimp! Jumbo shrimp are coated in sweetened batter with delicious flaky coconut, fried golden brown perfection and served with a sweet and spicy marmalade for dipping. These shrimp are seriously addictive and you can’t have just one… but I dare you to try!
Making your own coconut shrimp from scratch is way easier than you may think. Shrimp are coated in a simple batter that has just the right amount of sweetness, coated in coconut and panko, then fried to that signature golden brown color we all know and love. It’s perfect for making a big batch of right before the party starts since it’s so low stress!
Speaking of parties, this recipe is a real favorite at just about every party I’ve served them. With summer just around the corner, it’s time to stock up on all of the best finger food recipes! Pool parties, beach house weekends and everything in between is made more delicious with the addition of freshly fried coconut shrimp. And yes, they pair perfectly with a wide variety of cold beers and cocktails.
What I really love about this easy recipe is how the sweetened batter and crispy coconut exterior perfectly compliment the tender shrimp! If you follow my super simple instructions for oil temperature and cook time, your shrimp will never be rubbery and your coating will never be greasy or burned. This is just a foolproof summertime classic that I can’t wait to make over and over again!
How to Make Coconut Shrimp
- Soak the shrimp. Soak the shrimp in cream of coconut in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Overnight is preferred.
- Make the dipping sauce. Combine the orange marmalade and horseradish in a bowl and set aside for later.
- Coat the shrimp in flour. Remove the shrimp from the bowl, shake off excess coconut cream, and dip them in flour. Reserve 1/2 cup of the coconut cream for the batter.
- Coat the shrimp. Mix together all of the batter ingredients in a bowl. Combine the panko/coconut ingredients in a separate bowl. Hold the tail of the shrimp and dip each one first into the batter, then into the breading. Place the coated shrimp on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Cook the shrimp. Fry the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes per side in oil that’s 350-375°F until golden brown on both sides.
- Let them cool and drain. Place the cooked shrimp on paper towels to allow them to cool off and drain of excess oil before serving.
Tips for the Best Coconut Shrimp
- Keep an eye on the temperature of the oil. Start heating the oil over medium-high heat and reduce to medium to maintain the temperature. A digital thermometer is a helpful tool in checking the temp, as it changes during the cooking process. Also, if the oil is too hot, the coconut breading will toast and cook much quicker. Check the shrimp around 2 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain 350-375°F.
- Use a larger bowl for the coconut breading. It helps to use a large/deep bowl which will allow you to toss the shrimp in batches into the sweetened coconut breading.
- Make sure you have enough oil. You should have about 8 –9 cups minimum, plus a bit more as the oil will reduce while cooking.
Variations to Try
- You don’t have to use Coco Lopez. Cream of coconut comes in a squeeze bottle, found in the alcohol aisle at the grocery store, where you’d find drink mixers. Just measure out 15 ounces used in this recipe (which is the amount in the Coco Lopez can) and save the rest in the refrigerator to make cocktails!
- You can use coconut flakes. Just keep in mind that the breading might not show the coconut as much as shreds do.
Once cooled to room temperature, you can store coconut shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2 days. The orange marmalade can be kept in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to an additional 2 weeks.
To reheat the coconut shrimp, I recommend using your air fryer so they return to their original crispiness! Preheat your air fryer to 375°F, spray the basket or basket tray with nonstick cooking spray. Gently lay down your shrimp in a single layer and cook for 5-7 minutes, open the basket/tray to turn over the shrimp and cook for another 5-7 minutes until cooked.
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Get the Recipe: Coconut Shrimp Recipe
- 1 pound 21/25 shrimp, peeled and deveined (I prefer the tails removed)
- 15 ounce can of cream of coconut , (brand used in this recipe Coco Lopez) (found commonly in the alcohol/beverage aisle of the grocery store as this is a thick condensed coconut milk used in pina coladas)
- 1 cup AP flour
For the Batter
- ½ cup AP flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup drained cream of coconut from soaked shrimp
For the Breading
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the dipping sauce:
- ½ cup orange marmalade
- ½ tbsp horseradish
- 1 deep skillet
- Pour the cream of coconut into a bowl and add the shrimp to soak, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- In a shallow bowl, place 1 cup of flour and set aside.
For the Dipping Sauce:
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the orange marmalade and horseradish. Cover and refrigerate while you bread and fry the shrimp.
- Using a pair of tongs, remove the soaking shrimp and shake off any excess coconut cream and place the soaked shrimp into the cup of flour, while reserving ½ cup of the coco Lopez for the batter.
- Coat the soaked shrimp in the flour and move the shrimp to a small baking sheet. Prepare a second small baking sheet lined with parchment paper to hold the breaded but not cooked yet shrimp.
- While you prepare the shrimp, start heating the oil on medium heat to 350-375 degrees. (Pro tip: Start heating the oil at medium heat and reduce to medium to maintain the temperature. A digital thermometer is a helpful tool in checking the temp, as it changes during the cooking process.) You should have at least 1 ½-2 inches of oil, testing this recipe we used about 9 cups.
For the batter:
- In a bowl mix all the batter ingredients together well and set aside.
- In a second large / deep mixing bowl, mix the breading ingredients. (Pro tip: It helps to use a large/deep bowl which will allow you to toss the shrimp in batches into the sweetened coconut breading.)
- Working in small batches of, holding the tail of the shrimp, dip the shrimp into the batter, making sure it’s well coated. Use the sides of the batter bowl to remove any excess. Then, place the shrimp in the breading to coat well on all sides and set aside on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Working in batches, fry the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. (If the oil is too hot, the coconut breading will toast and cook much quicker; check the shrimp around 2 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain 350-375 degrees.)
- Move cooked shrimp to a paper towel lined plate or tray.
- Serve immediately with the spicy marmalade.
The orange marmalade can be kept in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to an additional 2 weeks.