Perfectly battered and fried to a golden crisp, these succulent shrimp make for a mouth-watering appetizer or main dish. Deep-fried shrimp are crispy and delicious, and pair perfectly with homemade tartar sauce.

Crispy Fried Shrimp are one of my husband’s favorite foods, and while I make pan-fried shrimp from time to time, he loves it when I break out the deep fryer and make real, crispy, deep-fried shrimp.

This crispy fried shrimp recipe takes us back to feasting on fried seafood baskets loaded with fried catfish fillets, tartar sauce, a squeeze of lemon, and some greasy fries while on a beach vacation. The crispy coating is the best part of this recipe – it complements the perfectly cooked, tender shrimp so well.

Contrary to what people think, you don’t need bread crumbs to get a perfectly crispy breading on fried shrimp. The breading on this shrimp is light and crispy and is so delicious with just a little cornmeal!

A small bowl of crispy fried shrimp with shredded lettuce, tartar sauce, and crystal hot sauce.

It’s a surprisingly easy dinner to make, once you get past the mental hurdle of taking out the deep fryer – that’s honestly the hardest part for me. I have to remind myself that deep frying actually doesn’t take that long, and shrimp cook so quickly.

🥘 Ingredients Needed

A collage of images showing the ingredients in deep fried shrimp, laid out in bowls and labeled.
  • Fresh Shrimp, peeled and deveined, leaving the tails on if desired. I like to use large shrimp or jumbo shrimp.
    • If you get a bag of shrimp from the grocery store or a seafood store, they have a number that tells you how many shrimp are in a pound if you buy that size. The smaller the number, the bigger the shrimp will be. I like to use the sizes 10-15, 16-20, or 21-25 for fried shrimp at home. (It all depends on what the store has!)
Fresh shrimp for sale on ice in a seafood store.
  • Crystal Hot Sauce – Or use your favorite kind. We also really like Tabasco sauce.
  • Self-Rising Flour – I use White Lily Self-Rising Flour. It makes the breading light and crispy.
  • Yellow Cornmeal
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning – You can also use your favorite Cajun seasoning, but I would not recommend using Old Bay unless you are expecting the flavor – it is a completely different seasoning blend, and the flavor profile is totally different.
  • Peanut Oil – I like to use Peanut Oil because it has such a mild flavor, but you can use vegetable oil or canola oil as well. You want to fry in oil with a high smoke point that will not burn, but you also want to make sure that it has a mild taste that won’t make your food taste like oil.

For Serving

🍽 Equipment Needed

  • A Deep Fryer (You can also use a dutch oven or a cast iron pan with deep sides and a candy thermometer with a slotted spoon)
  • Two Shallow Bowls
  • Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
  • A Baking Sheet
  • Paper Towels
  • A Paring Knife, or I actually like to use a Peeling Knife – I find it easier to use on the shrimp.

🥣 How to Make Them

Peel and devein the raw shrimp, leaving the tails on if desired.

How to Peel and Devein Shrimp

To peel the shrimp, use your fingers to pull and twist to remove the heads. Then, from the underside of the shrimp, peel each side of the shell, starting from the front and going all the way back to the tail. Leave the last section of the shell and the tail.

Devein the shrimp by cutting a straight line along the outside, following the dark line down the middle. Use a sharp paring knife. Using the tip of the knife, scoop out the black vein or the “poop chute,” then rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Repeat for all shrimp. You can also do the same on the inside of the shrimp if desired.

Cook the Shrimp

Preheat your deep fryer to 350-375°F and get the oil warming. (If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use a dutch oven with a few inches of oil for frying, just use a thermometer to be sure that you can monitor the temperature of the oil.) I usually heat mine to 375°F as the oil temperature will drop as the shrimp cook.

Toss the shrimp in the hot sauce in one of the shallow bowls and let them sit for a few minutes.

A bowl of crystal hot sauce, a bowl of raw shrimp, and a bowl of shrimp breading.

In the second bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning to make the seasoned flour.

A collage of images for making the breading for fried shrimp.

Toss the marinated shrimp in the flour mixture until fully coated, then grab them by the tail to shake off any excess breading.

A collage of images showing how to coat fried shrimp in breading.

Lay the shrimp out on a baking sheet and repeat until they are all coated.

A baking sheet with breaded shrimp on it before they are fried.

When all of the shrimp are coated, drop them in the hot oil, a few at a time. Be sure to avoid crowding the oil, as it can cause the temperature to drop, and the shrimp will cook too slowly and get soggy instead of getting crispy and frying.

Cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the shrimp are golden brown. Shake the basket as the shrimp cook to be sure that they do not stick together.

A collage of images showing how to deep fry shrimp, steps 1-5.

Remove the shrimp from the fryer and shake off any excess oil (I hang the basket on the side of the deep fryer for a minute or two) before dumping the shrimp out onto paper towels to cool. Sprinkle a pinch of Creole or Cajun seasoning over the cooked shrimp.

*To use a pot on the stove, heat a few inches of oil in a dutch oven to 375°F. Fry the shrimp a few at a time, then remove with a slotted spoon to cool on paper towels.

Deep fried shrimp draining on a paper towel.

Serve the crispy shrimp with tartar sauce, french fries, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the top.

A crispy fried shrimp sitting on top of a small bowl of tartar sauce.

Bake or Air Fry Them

Baked Fried Shrimp: You can bake these southern fried shrimp instead of deep frying them by coating them with an oil-based cooking spray and baking them on a sheet pan at 425° F until golden brown and crispy. You can flip them halfway through if desired. It should take about 15 minutes.

Air Fried Shrimp: You can air fry these shrimp as well! Preheat your air fryer to 400°F and spray the breaded shrimp with an oil-based cooking spray. Air fry for 4 minutes, then flip the shrimp, spray again, and cook for 2-3 more minutes until the shrimp are brown and crispy.

Can You Make them Gluten-Free?

Yes! But you will need to replace the White Lily Self-Rising Flour with a 1-1 Replacement Gluten-Free Flour combined with baking powder and salt. That is what makes the breading so crispy.

Also, make sure to use gluten-free yellow cornmeal and clean oil.

What is a Substitute for Self-Rising Flour?

You can substitute all-purpose flour. For each cup of all-purpose flour, mix together 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

An up close image of crispy fried shrimp with the tails on and a small bowl of tartar sauce.

🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep batter from falling off shrimp?

The batter will stay on the shrimp if you don’t put too much. Shake off any excess, and the remainder will stick to the shrimp.

What is the best oil to fry shrimp in?

I like to use peanut oil as it is least likely to impart any oily flavor on the shrimp.

Can you deep fry shrimp from frozen?

Shrimp usually stick together when frozen, so it will be much easier to cook the shrimp if you defrost them first, then pat them dry before breading and frying.

Can you deep fry precooked shrimp?

You can, but I would not recommend this, as the shrimp will get very rubbery and overcooked.

A blue basket of crispy fried shimp with a small bowl of tartar sauce.
Button linking to the Pinterest page for Southern Bytes.

How to Store Leftovers

Once cooled, store leftover shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat within 2-3 days.

How to Reheat Leftovers

Reheat fried shrimp in an air fryer – this will get the breading really crispy again, just like when they were first cooked.

A pile of southern fried shrimp on top oof brown parchment paper.

✏️ Helpful Tips

  • When you dip the shrimp in the coating, hold them by the tail and shake off any excess as you dip them.
  • Be sure to avoid crowding the oil, as it can cause the temperature to drop, and the shrimp will get soggy. Fry around 5-7 shrimp per batch.
  • As the shrimp cook, use a slotted spoon to move them around or toss your fryer basket so that they do not stick together.

Share on Facebook

What to Serve on the Side

A pink bowl with french fries, fried shrimp, tartar sauce, and remoulade sauce.

Deep-fried shrimp recipe is a seafood lovers’ treat, but what goes with fried shrimp? It needs to be paired with a delicious, creamy sauce and a side dish. Here are some of our favorites:

Side Dishes

A blue bowl of southern fried shrimp with tartar sauce and shredded lettuce.

Have You Tried This Recipe?

Please rate it and leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
A blue basket of crispy fried shimp with a small bowl of tartar sauce.

Deep Fried Shrimp

5 from 1 vote
Perfectly battered and fried to a golden crisp, these succulent shrimp make for a mouth-watering appetizer or main dish. Deep-fried shrimp are crispy and delicious, and pair perfectly with homemade tartar sauce.
Author: Kari
Servings: 4 people
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Preheat your deep fryer to 350-375°F and get the oil warming. I usually heat mine to 375°F as the oil temperature will drop as the shrimp cook. (See below for stovetop instructions.)
    3 cups peanut oil
  • Toss the shrimp in the hot sauce in one of the shallow bowls and let them sit for a few minutes.
    1 ½ pounds large or jumbo shrimp, 3-4 tablespoons Crystal Hot Sauce
  • In the second bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning to make the seasoned flour.
    1 ¾ cups White Lily self-rising flour⁠⁠⁠⁠, ¼ cup yellow cornmeal, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
  • Toss the marinated shrimp in the flour mixture until fully coated, then grab them by the tail to shake off any excess breading.
  • Lay the shrimp out on a baking sheet and repeat until they are all coated.
  • Carefully drop the shrimp in the hot oil, a few at a time.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the shrimp are golden brown.
  • Remove the shrimp from the fryer and shake off any excess oil (I hang the basket on the side of the deep fryer for a minute or two) before dumping the shrimp out onto paper towels to cool. Sprinkle a pinch of Creole or Cajun seasoning over the cooked shrimp.
  • Serve the crispy shrimp with tartar sauce, french fries, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the top.
  • *To use a pot on the stove, heat a few inches of oil in a dutch oven to 375°F. Fry the shrimp a few at a time, then remove with a slotted spoon to cool on paper towels.

Notes

How to Store Leftover Fried Shrimp

Once cooled, store leftover shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat within 2-3 days.

How to Reheat Fried Shrimp

Reheat fried shrimp in an air fryer – this will get the breading really crispy again, just like when they were first cooked.

Can You Bake or Air Fry Breaded Shrimp?

Baked Fried Shrimp: You can bake these southern fried shrimp instead of deep frying them by coating them with an oil-based cooking spray and baking them on a sheet pan at 425° F until golden brown and crispy. You can flip them halfway through if desired. It should take about 15 minutes.
Air Fried Shrimp: You can air fry these shrimp as well! Preheat your air fryer to 400°F and spray the breaded shrimp with an oil-based cooking spray. Air fry for 4 minutes, then flip the shrimp, spray again, and cook for 2-3 more minutes until the shrimp are brown and crispy.

What is a Substitute for Self-Rising Flour?

Use all-purpose flour. 1 cup Self-Rising Flour = 1 cup of all-purpose flour mixed together with 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
Note: Most of the oil will not be absorbed by the shrimp, but it is needed by the fryer. Nutrition facts are calculated assuming about ½ cup of oil is used.

Nutrition

Calories: 441kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 27gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 214mgSodium: 2966mgPotassium: 292mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 844IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 101mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Cajun, Southern
Keyword: crispy fried shrimp, deep froed shrimp
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

Filed Under: , , , , , , , ,

Hi, I'm Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating