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Frying shrimp at home is so much easier than one would think. You don’t need a lot of oil (just an inch in the pan), and you’ll end up with hot, crispy, crunchy shrimp that you can dip into anything from Tartar Sauce to Dill Sauce to Remoulade Sauce, or maybe pile them high in a shrimp po’boy. Shrimp take only 3 minutes to fry, so they are FAST.

Easy Fried Shrimp Recipe

Whenever I think about the best parts of our semi-annual Cape Cod vacations, I think of fried seafood. Yes, I also think of the mini golf with the family, the dunks in the pond, the cute little galleries downtown, and the nice walks near the bay. But I know for a fact that I look forward to eating more fried shrimp, oysters, and clams in one week than I will for the rest of the year combined. #fact.

Breaded shrimp frying in bubbling oil in a cast iron pan.

How to Fry Shrimp: Perfect crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside shrimp with a small amount of oil in a skillet!

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Ingredients

The seasoning for this fried shrimp recipe is very simple and not overly spicy. You can bump up the amounts of paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne if you want more robustly flavored shrimp.

  • Shrimp – Use raw, peeled, and deveined 25/30 shrimp (meaning 25/30 shrimp per pound – that’s how most shrimp are sized, by the amount per pound, which is more specific than terms like “jumbo”).
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal – Adds great crunch to the coating.
  • Paprika – Adds a bit of flavor and color to the crust.
  • Garlic powder – Just a hint of garlicky flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper – Adds just a hint of heat.
  • Egg – Creates a nice crust when fried.
  • Milk
  • Vegetable oil – You can also use peanut or canola oil if you wish.
Fresh shrimp, oil, and seasonings on marble table.

Variations

  • You can use 1 teaspoon Old Bay, Cajun, or Creole seasoning in place of the paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne.
  • You can also try other spice blends, like curry powder, for a change of pace.

Tips for Frying Shrimp

  • Use raw, peeled, deveined shrimp for this recipe.
  • When you coat the shrimp in the milk-egg mixture and then the flour mixture, use one hand for the wet ingredients and another for the dry ones to keep everything from getting clumpy, sticky, and messy.
  • Make sure the oil is not too hot, but hot enough (see below).
  • Fry the shrimp in batches without crowding them in the pan.
  • When all the shrimp are breaded, place the baking sheet into the fridge and let the shrimp chill for 15 minutes. This will help the coating adhere to the shrimp when frying.
  • Don’t overcook the shrimp. As soon as they are golden brown, they will be cooked through.
  • Allow the shrimp to drain on paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Woman using tongs to place fried shrimp on paper towels.

Oil Temperature for Frying Shrimp

  • Oil Temperature: Ideally, the temperature of the oil should be 360 to 365 degrees to fry the shrimp so that they turn golden on the outside just as the inside is cooked but still tender. If you don’t have a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer, just wait until the oil is shimmering, then add one shrimp. If it starts to gently sizzle and turn golden brown after about 2 minutes, your oil is at the perfect temperature. But I think that every cook needs a good instant-read thermometer, so if you’re looking for a reason to buy one, this might be a good one!
Two shrimp frying in bubbling oil in a cast iron pan.
  • Let the oil come back to temperature: You may need to allow the oil to come back up to temperature in between batches of shrimp. Don’t add too many shrimp at once, or they will lower the oil temperature, and the shrimp won’t get nicely browned and crunchy. They cook very quickly, so fry them up in a few batches!

How to Fry Shrimp

  1. Prepare the shrimp dredging station: Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Mix the egg with the milk in another bowl and season with a bit more salt and pepper. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  2. Coat the shrimp and chill: Dunk the shrimp in the milk mixture, then dredge them in the flour mixture. Place the shrimp on the wire rack. When all of the shrimp are coated, place the baking sheet into the fridge and let the shrimp chill for 15 minutes.
Floured shrimp on a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  1. Heat the oil: Line a large plate with paper towels. Pour the oil to a depth of 1 inch into a large, heavy deep skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to 365 degrees.
  2. Fry the shrimp: Cook the shrimp in batches until browned and crispy.
Woman drops shrimp into pan filled with bubbling oil with other shrimp.
  1. Drain the shrimp: Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. 
Tongs placing fried shrimp on paper towels with other fried shrimp.

FAQs

How do you keep the batter from falling off shrimp?

One way to do this is by coating them in stages: first, the egg and milk mixture, then the flour mixture. Allowing them to chill briefly in the fridge before frying also helps the batter to stick to the shrimp.

What is the best oil for frying shrimp?

You can use any oil with a high smoke point. Many cooks like peanut oil for frying shrimp, but you can also use vegetable or canola oil.

How long does it take to fry shrimp?

It only takes about 2 to 3 minutes to fry shrimp! Turn them as they brown and get crispy on the bottom.

Leftovers and Storage

Leftover fried shrimp can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. They are best reheated in an oven or toaster oven preheated to 350 degrees for 5 minutes so they get hot and crispy. You can also reheat them in a microwave, but they will lose some of their crispiness.

How to Serve Fried Shrimp

Fried shrimp get even better when paired with a sauce, like Tartar Sauce, Dill Sauce, Remoulade Sauce, or Horseradish Sauce. You can also think about piling them into a Po’ Boy Sandwich! They would be great added to a big Caesar Salad as well.

What to Serve With Fried Shrimp

Sautéed Fava Beans

Dirty Rice

Southern Collard Greens with Bacon

Fried shrimp with sauteed greens, fava beans, and rice on a white plate.

More Shrimp Recipes

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How to Fry Shrimp

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 People
Perfect crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside breaded fried shrimp with a small amount of oil in a skillet!

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound large (25/30 per pound) shrimp
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)

Instructions 

  • Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Mix the egg with the milk in another bowl and season with a bit more salt and pepper. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  • A few at a time, dunk the shrimp in the milk mixture, turning them to coat. Using a slotted spoon or your hand, remove the shrimp, allow any excess liquid to drip back into the bowl, then dredge them in the flour mixture, making sure they are well coated. As the shrimp are breaded, place them, without touching, on the wire rack. When all of the shrimp are coated, place the baking sheet into the fridge and let the shrimp chill for 15 minutes, or up to a couple of hours.
  • Line a large plate with paper towels. Pour the oil to a depth of 1 inch into a large, heavy deep skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to 365 F. (see Note). In a few batches, add the shrimp, turning them with a slotted spoon as they cook. They should fry for about 2 to 3 minutes total, and become golden brown and crispy. Remove them with a slotted spoon to the paper towel-lined plate. See if they need another light sprinkle of kosher salt. Continue frying in batches until all of the shrimp are cooked and crispy.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer, just wait until the oil is shimmering, then add one shrimp. If it starts to gently sizzle and turn golden brown after about 2 minutes, your oil is at the perfect temperature.
  • Use raw, peeled, deveined shrimp for this recipe.
  • When you coat the shrimp in the milk-egg mixture and then the flour mixture, use one hand for the wet ingredients and another for the dry ones to keep everything from getting clumpy, sticky, and messy.  
  • When all the shrimp are breaded, place the baking sheet into the fridge and let the shrimp chill for 15 minutes. This will help the coating adhere to the shrimp when frying.
  • Make sure the oil is not too hot, but hot enough (see below).
  • Fry the shrimp in batches without crowding them in the pan.
  • Don’t overcook the shrimp. As soon as they are golden brown, they will be cooked through.
  • Allow the shrimp to drain on paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Nutrition

Calories: 201kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 227mg, Sodium: 1326mg, Potassium: 423mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 339IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 122mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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