If you've never made crispy Chinese Coconut Fried Shrimp before, let me tell you...it's actually quick and easy and tastes better than what you'd get at your favorite Chinese restaurant or Red Lobster!
This is a great fried shrimp recipe that doesn't use an egg wash and works best with larger shrimp.
Once the raw shrimp are prepped, it comes together in less than 8-minutes and you'll love this sassy yogurt-based dipping sauce!
Why this recipe works
First and foremost, this is an easy recipe anyone can make. You don't need an air fryer or food processor. Just one big frying pan (preferably a cast iron skillet) for the fried shrimp.
- Restaurant quality - flavorful fried coconut shrimp with a dipping sauce that's got a touch of "sweet heat" and it's better than the Red Lobster's coconut shrimp
- Foolproof recipe - this works every time! Set up a dredging station with the wet batter in a big mixing bowl and the coconut mixture in a flat bowl
- Simple ingredients - use fresh or frozen shrimp
- No-cook dipping sauce - just combine a few ingredients and you're good to go!
This Chinese fried coconut shrimp recipe makes about 18 large shrimp. I serve 6 per person as an entree. If you're serving this as an appetizer, allow 3 per person.
A few simple ingredients for the batter and frying the shrimp; beer, all-purpose flour, baking powder, oil (vegetable oil or canola), baking powder, egg, sweetened coconut flakes. (Make sure you get "sweetened shredded coconut" - not unsweetened.
The type of beer doesn't really matter - I use a regular beer like Miller Lite or Heineken...it's the carbonation of the beer that makes a fluffy fried shrimp batter. If you don't want to use beer, substitute with sparkling water or club soda.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp Dipping Sauce ingredients
This easy dip is so much better than Red Lobster's Chinese coconut fried shrimp sauce! Made with a few simple ingredients, it comes together with minimal prep time.
A simple combination of plain Greek yogurt, canned crushed pineapple, and Chinese Chili Sauce makes a perfectly sweet and sassy dipping sauce for your fried coconut shrimp. Just mix it together in a mixing bowl and season with salt if you like.
How to make coconut fried shrimp
This is one of my favorite easy shrimp recipes! It's quick, easy and great for entertaining!
First, devein and butterfly the shrimp. Slide a sharp knife along the top of the shrimp, making sure not to cut all the way through; remove any debris; rinse; pat dry on paper towel.
Then set up a dredging station.
In a large mixing bowl combine the frying batter: beer, flour, baking powder, salt and egg.
Place the coconut flakes in a separate, flat bowl (I use a pie plate)
Next, dip the shrimp in the batter mixture and then into the coconut
Place fried coconut shrimp on wire rack or parchment sheet-lined baking dish; repeat until they're all coated; place the coconut battered shrimp in the freezer for a few minutes while you heat the frying oil and make the dipping sauce.
Heat oil in heavy bottom skillet or cast iron skillet; add battered shrimps in a single layer; fry for 1-minute on each side until they're golden brown
Dipping Sauce for fried coconut shrimp
This is hardly a recipe, but this creamy sauce combination goes great with these sweet coconut shrimp! If you are allergic to, or don't like pineapple, substitute with orange marmalade.
Sweet Chili Sauce is usually found in the international or Asian aisle of your grocer.
There's 2 tablespoons of this in the recipe. This gives just a "little" heat...if you want a spicier sauce, then add more! This has a really great flavor that is the perfect combination with sweet Chinese coconut fried shrimp.
In a small mixing bowl, combine drained Greek yogurt, a few tablespoons of drained crushed pineapple and a few tablespoons of the Chinese chili sauce. This combination pairs really well with the great coconut flavor of the shrimp.
Recipe Tips-be sure to read these
This recipe makes enough batter for 24 large shrimp, however, you may need to make a little more of the coconut mixture...Why?
I found the coconut/flour mixture got clumpy after coating about 12 shrimp. If this happens to you, dump out the clumpy coconut mixture and make a second batch to dip the rest.
The recipe calls for 4 cups of sweetened coconut...divide it in half; use 2 cups with a ¼ cup flour first; then, dump it and use the other 2 cups of coconut and the other ¼ cup flour
Beer: use any kind; light, dark, ale...it's really all about the carbonation. Don't want beer? No problem! Substitute with sparkling water OR 2 teaspoons of baking soda.
Use fresh or frozen; thaw frozen under water first; I like large or jumbo shrimp for best results
Pat dry - if the shrimp is wet, the batter won't stick
Leave the tail on- this serves as a "handle" when dipping the shrimp in the batter
Butterfly - use a sharp knife and slice along the backside. This gives more surface volume to coat with coconut and it allows them to cook faster! This is not required, but it does make a difference:)
Do not eliminate the freezing step; otherwise, the coconut falls off in the hot oil and makes a mess
Use long handled tongs - the first shrimp will POP and splatter; stand back!
Use a high-heat frying oil - canola, vegetable, grapeseed or walnut; not olive oil because it doesn't like high temperatures or deep frying
Use a heavy bottom skillet and add enough oil to cover the shrimp
Get your oil hot: about 325-350ºF; use a thermometer for accuracy
Add the hand dipped coated shrimp to the hot oil - work in batches - about 5 shrimp per batch; they cook quickly (about 1-2 minutes) so don't walk away from the stove!
The 2nd and 3rd batches of coconut shrimp will be darker than the first, due to the hot oil being re-used. If this bothers you, change the oil between batches; if it doesn't, turn the heat down just a little on the 2nd and 3rd batches so the coconut flakes won't burn.
If you're missing a few ingredients for this crunchy shrimp recipe, use the ideas below:
- No beer? No problem! Beer provides carbonation to the batter so if you don't have beer, use club soda or sparkling water.
- No sparkling water? No problem. Add 2-teaspoons of baking soda to the batter. This gives the same carbonation effect of beer or sparkling water.
- Use sweetened coconut - I've made this before with unsweetened and it wasn't as flavorful
Storage and reheating
If you are lucky enough to have any leftover fried coconut shrimp, heat the oven to 325º, place shrimp on a parchment lined (or aluminum foil) baking sheet uncovered, and heat 15-20 minutes. If you reheat them in foil, they get soggy.
You'll love this quick and easy Chinese fried coconut shrimp! Serve as a main dish with some creamy pasta or as an appetizer.
- Chinese Sticky Ribs
- Orange Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche
- Grilled Sesame Chicken Kabobs
- Smoked Paprika Chicken with Basmati Rice
- Creamy Coconut Shrimp
If you make this recipe, please leave a rating and comment below! I love to hear from you!
Chinese Fried Coconut Shrimp with Dipping Sauce
- Long-handled tongs
Shrimp & Batter Ingredients
- 1½ pounds shrimp large (about 18 shrimp)
- 1 whole egg lightly beaten
- ½ cup all-purposeflour
- ⅔ cup beer (any kind)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt, divided ¼ teaspoon for wet batter; ¼ teaspoon for coconut flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 cups oil (SEE RECIPE NOTES) high heat (for frying; not for the batter)
- 4 cups coconut sweetened, divided (SEE RECIPE NOTES)
Dipping Sauce Ingredients
- ⅔ cup Greek yogurt , plain
- 2 tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce
- 2 teaspoons pineapple , crushed
- salt to taste
- Peel, devein and butterfly shrimp; leave tails on; pat dry1½ pounds shrimp
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together: ½ cup flour, beer, egg, baking powder and salt and (include cayenne if using)1 whole egg, ½ cup all-purposeflour, ⅔ cup beer, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, divided, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a flat plate or bowl, combine coconut, salt and ¼ cup flour (SEE RECIPE NOTES); set aside½ cup all-purposeflour, 4 cups coconut, salt to taste
- Dip shrimp in the flour/beer mixture then in the coconut mixture; place on parchment lined baking sheet; freeze for 15-20 minutes; (make the sauce now)
- Heat oil to 350º; place 5 shrimp in hot oil; fry for about 1-minute; flip and fry another minute; repeat until they're golden brown2 cups oil (SEE RECIPE NOTES)
- Place on paper towel and drain
- Repeat process until all shrimp are fried
- Garnish with parsley and serve with dipping sauce
Dipping Sauce Instructions
- Drain yogurt and place in large bowl⅔ cup Greek yogurt
- Add remaining ingredients; combine well; add salt to taste2 tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce, 2 teaspoons pineapple, ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
- Start with 2 cups coconut and ¼ cup of flour
- The coconut/flour mixture gets clumpy after you've coated about 12 shrimp; when this happens, throw out the clumpy and mix together a second batch using the remainder of coconut and flour
- The exact amount of oil will depend upon the size of your skillet and the number of shrimp
- Use enough oil to almost cover the shrimp
- (I used a 10" inch skillet for 18 shrimp and 2 cups of oil was enough)