These easy Coconut Shrimp are crisp and crunchy on the outside with a juicy shrimp center. Don’t forget the simple (2-ingredient) coconut shrimp sauce and a fresh squeeze of lime juice to serve.
This homemade appetizer is easier than you think and is endlessly better than store-bought. P.S. It’s make-ahead friendly!
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The Best Coconut Shrimp!
Homemade coconut shrimp has just the right balance of crunchy coating to shrimp – the crispy coconut flakes produce an amazing crunch as you sink your teeth into succulent shrimp – wow!
This coconut shrimp recipe reminds me of the gorgeous restaurant shrimp appetizer we ordered in Maui and I’m telling you this recipe rivals those but it’s way less expensive to make a batch of homemade shrimp. They taste like you’re on vacation, especially when paired with that amazing apricot sweet chili dipping sauce.
I can’t say enough about the dipping sauce – it’s ridiculously good. Similar to our Shrimp Cocktail sauce, you can’t enjoy this shrimp fully without the sauce! Also, check out the make-ahead options below to turn these into your new favorite party appetizer.
Ingredients for Coconut Shrimp
This recipe has a short list of ingredients but the right ingredients make a difference. Here’s what you will need to make coconut prawns.
- Shrimp – Use large, peeled, and deveined shrimp with the tail left on which serves as a handle for dipping the shrimp. See below for more tips on sourcing shrimp.
- Flour, garlic powder, and salt – used to dredge the shrimp. Dredging helps the egg adhere better.
- Eggs – beaten for dipping the shrimp. Adds a liquid coating for the coconut flakes to cling to.
- Coconut Flakes – We use Baker’s brand “Angel flake” sweetened coconut flakes. Using a sweetened coconut gives the shrimp a more pronounced tropical flavor. You can find sweetened coconut flakes in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
- Panko Crumbs – mixed in with the coconut flakes to create a crunchier and more uniform breading.
- Oil – for frying the shrimp – use a high smoke point oil such as extra light olive oil, peanut oil, or vegetable oil.
- Lime Juice – optional but nice to squeeze over the fried shrimp for serving.
When buying shrimp, look for raw wild-caught shrimp if you can find it. If you are using frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw according to the package instructions and pat dry before using. Avoid using pre-cooked shrimp. Pre-cooked shrimp will get tough if you cook it again.
What Size Shrimp for Coconut Shrimp?
We used 1 pound of large 21-25 count shrimp. We found this to be the ideal size for breaded shrimp to get them perfectly cooked in the center and golden on the outside. Smaller shrimp overcook quickly and larger shrimp tend to burn before the center cooks through.
Ingredients for Shrimp Dipping Sauce:
All you need to make an amazing coconut shrimp sauce is equal parts of sweet chili sauce and apricot preserves or apricot fruit spread. Simply stir to combine.
The sweet chili sauce can be found in the Asian food section of the grocery store. If your apricot preserves have large pieces of fruit, you will want to blend the sauce in a food processor or blender for easier dipping. In case you’re wondering, this sauce is NOT spicy.
How to Make Coconut Shrimp:
Making these is easier than you think. It’s a quick assembly line process, in which my 9-year old son is now a pro because we love coconut shrimp around here!
- Set up 3 shallow bowls. In the first, stir together flour, garlic powder and salt. In the second, thoroughly beat together 2 eggs with a fork. In the third, combine coconut flakes and bread crumbs.
- Dredge shrimp in flour, dusting off the excess
- Dip in beaten eggs, letting excess drip back into the bowl.
- Roll in coconut mixture, pressing it onto the shrimp to adhere well.
- Sautee – Once shrimp are all breaded, sautee or air fry right away, or refrigerate to sautee later.
Use tongs to transfer fried shrimp to a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess oil and serve right away with the 2-ingredient dipping sauce.
Can I Make Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp?
Yes! If you prefer not to fry the shrimp, the air fryer is the next best option – it quickly crisps up the exterior, keeping the center plump and juicy. Generously spray both sides of the breaded shrimp with cooking spray then cook air fryer shrimp at 400˚F for 8 minutes total, flipping the shrimp halfway through.
How to Bake Coconut Shrimp in the Oven
In all of our tests, deep frying and air frying produced the best results. Baking coconut shrimp in a conventional oven was our least favorite cooking method because it takes longer and the breading doesn’t crisp up quite as well. To bake in a regular oven, generously spray both sides of the shrimp with cooking spray and bake at 400˚F for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping shrimp halfway through.
Serve the shrimp right away – warm and crisp. I love to squeeze fresh lime juice over the top just before serving or serve with lime wedges and of course that amazing sauce.
Make-Ahead Coconut Shrimp
- Prep Ahead: Place raw battered shrimp on a platter, cover, and refrigerate for up to 4 hours then sauté or air fry.
- Storing and Reheating Cooked Shrimp: Refrigerate cooked shrimp for up to 2 days. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake in a standard oven at 400˚F for 8-10 minutes or until hot and crisp.
Have I convinced you to make that dipping sauce? I mean it’s just 2 ingredients after all! Make this coconut shrimp recipe once and you’ll make it over and over. It’s easy and so satisfying.
More Party-Favorite Appetizers
Coconut Shrimp with the Best Dipping Sauce
The Best Coconut shrimp coated in plenty of coconut flakes for superior crunch and subtle tropical flavor. Do not skip the the super simple (2 ingredient!) coconut shrimp sauce!
Servings: 6 as an appetizer
Ingredients for Coconut Shrimp:
Ingredients for Shrimp Dipping Sauce:
Rinse shrimp in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Set up 3 shallow bowls. In the first, stir together 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp salt. In the second, beat 2 eggs with a fork. In the third, combine 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes and 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs.
Dredge shrimp in flour, then dip in beaten egg and finally dip in crumb mixture using your hands to press the coconut crumb mixture onto your shrimp. Transfer to a platter and repeat with remaining shrimp. Once all shrimp are breaded, either sauté right away or refrigerate for later.
To sautee: place a large pan over medium heat and add enough oil to generously cover the bottom (1/4″ deep). Once oil is hot (350˚F), add shrimp and sauté 2 minutes per side until golden brown and shrimp is pink and cooked through. Cook in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan. Use tongs to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Stir together 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce with 1/4 cup apricot preserves. Serve shrimp with dipping sauce and squeeze fresh lime juice over finished shrimp before serving if desired.
* I used Baker’s brand “angel flake coconut sweetened” located in the baking section
316kcal Calories25g Carbs19g Protein15g Fat