These crispy Coconut Shrimp with a tangy lime sweet chili sauce are better than anything you can order at a restaurant. Everyone devours these tender shrimp coated in a crunchy panko-coconut breading.
These light, crispy Coconut Shrimp are one of my go-to for family game night, movie night or just to enjoy anytime. The shrimp are tender and juicy, and the crunchy breading is packed with flavor!
I used a seasoning combination of garlic, onion powder and paprika that adds layers of flavor to the shrimp, and then paired it with a tangy lime chili sauce.
The shrimp dipped in the lime chili sauce is an absolutely addictive combo! If you’re one of those people who love to dip things into sauce, I highly recommend doubling the sauce recipe. It’s perfect for dipping fries too.
Instructions for cooking these in an air fryer is also included below.
What You’ll Need
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the length of this list – most of the ingredients are just the pantry spices I use to create the savory flavor!
For the Shrimp:
- Large shrimp – You’ll want to buy them peeled with the tail on or peel them before starting the recipe.
- Coconut shavings – Unsweetened works best for the more savory flavor of this recipe.
- Panko breadcrumbs – Panko breadcrumbs are lighter and absorb less grease than traditional breadcrumbs.
- Flour – The spices get added to the flour for step 1 of the dredge process.
- Spices – Onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and salt create a savory flavor to the shrimp.
- Egg – Helps the coconut shavings and breadcrumbs stick.
- Milk – A splash gets whisked in with the egg.
- Vegetable oil – For frying. You can also use coconut oil for more coconut flavor.
For the Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce:
- Garlic paste – Finely minced garlic also works.
- Freshly chopped cilantro – Adds flavor to the sweet chili sauce.
- Sweet chili sauce – You can make this homemade or use any store-bought sauce.
- Lime – The juice gets added to the sauce to make a tangy lime chili sauce.
How to Make Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce
Making coconut shrimp is surprisingly simple. This entire process takes just 10 to 15 minutes!
- Preheat the oil. It’s important that the oil is already hot before you begin adding the shrimp.
- Create the 3 mixtures for dipping the shrimp. Combine the coconut shavings and breadcrumbs in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt. In a third bowl, whisk together egg and milk.
- Coat the shrimp and fry. Dip each shrimp into the flour mixture, followed by the egg mixture, and lastly the coconut and breadcrumbs. Fry on each side for 1 minute or until golden.
- Drain excess oil from each shrimp. After frying, allow the shrimp to drain on a paper towel or cookie rack.
- Make the lime sweet chili sauce. Mix the garlic and sweet chili sauce together and microwave for 2 minutes. Allow to cool then add in lime juice and cilantro.
- Serve immediately.
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp: You can also fry these coconut shrimp in the air fryer. Heat air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the basket with cooking spray. Place the shrimp into the air fryer so that they are not touching. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping once halfway.
Tips for Success
I’ve learned a trick or two after serving these for many parties! Here are my top tips for the best coconut shrimp.
- Always use panko crumbs. Regular breadcrumbs will result in a different, heavier texture and will absorb much more grease.
- For extra crunch, butterfly the shrimp. If you LOVE the breading and want more of it, you can butterfly the shrimp before dredging them. It opens up more space for the crunchy layer.
- Take care to not overcook the shrimp. Shrimp cooks quickly and for juicy, tender shrimp you want to remove them from the heat as soon as they turn a light golden brown.
- Prep in advance for parties. You can dredge the shrimp and leave them on a tray in the fridge until you’re ready to fry them. This is a great technique for parties when you want to cook a bunch and not clean up in front of guests.
- If you have time, freeze before frying. Popping these in the freezer for 30 minutes before cooking is another easy way to get the best crunch. It makes it less likely for any of the breading to come off during the frying process.
I love to serve these easy coconut shrimp as an appetizer. I present them on a tray with a few different bowls of dipping sauce and allow guests to serve themselves.
Coconut shrimp can also be served as the main course. I like to pair with this Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry or this Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple. Add some fluffy rice on the side and you’re all set! If you want to double down on the shrimp, this Shrimp Lo Mein is also a delightful pairing.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Fried shrimp will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. For best results when reheating, I recommend using the oven or an air fryer. Microwaving shrimp will change the texture slightly.
Can I Freeze Coconut Fried Shrimp?
Yes! Coconut shrimp will last in the freezer for up to 2 months. I like to flash freeze them in a single layer on a baking tray and then transfer to an airtight container.
For best results, reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed through.
Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce
- 24 ounces large shrimp, peeled with tail on, (about 40 shrimp)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut shavings
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- vegetable oil, for frying (canola, coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste or finely minced garlic
- Handful of freshly chopped cilantro, minced
- 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- Heat the vegetable oil to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a deep-frying pan or Dutch oven. Add enough oil to the pot so that the oil is about 1/4" to 1/2" inches deep. (Alternatively, you can fry these in an air fryer, see instructions below.)
- Whisk the coconut and breadcrumbs together in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt together.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.
- Once the oil is hot, dip one shrimp at a time into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then press on the coconut, then fry. Add no more than 8 shrimp at a time to the pan to keep it hot. Fry on each side for about 1 minute, or until they turn a light golden color.
- Remove and drain the excess oil over a plate fitted with a paper towel, or over a cookie drying rack.
- To make the sauce, mix the garlic and chili sauce together. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring half-way through. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before stirring in the lime juice and cilantro.
- Serve immediately.