Fried Shrimp are large shrimp coated in a seasoned flour and buttermilk mixture, then deep-fried to crispy, golden perfection. It can be served as the main dish with sides or as a delicious appetizer with dipping options. If you love shrimp, you will also want to check out my popular Bang Bang Shrimp recipe!

Plate of Fried Shrimp with sauce and lemons on a wooden table from overhead.
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Ingredients & Substitutions

Shrimp: For this recipe, I used thawed, uncooked shrimp that were already peeled and deveined. It is up to you if you leave the tails on or off. (I left them on for easy holding if dipping.) If buying fresh shrimp, it’s your choice whether to devein them. Deveining is mainly for appearance, not for any other reason. To peel the shrimp, start from underneath and remove the tail (if removing). If you choose to devein, make a shallow slit along the back of the shrimp and pull out the black vein with the tip of a knife. It’s not as daunting as it sounds. So, if you can’t find pre-prepped shrimp, don’t hesitate to use fresh ones. Just follow these simple steps! I do not recommend using pre-cooked shrimp for frying.

Buttermilk: Let the shrimp marinate in buttermilk for about 15 minutes before continuing with the recipe. The buttermilk helps tenderize the shrimp, adds a tangy flavor, and helps the flour coating stick to it for frying.

Flour: After testing this recipe with both all-purpose flour and self-rising flour, there was not enough of a difference to choose one over the other. So, I stuck with all-purpose flour, which is more readily available and on hand. The flour will be seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.

Vegetable Oil: Before each batch of frying shrimp, ensure the oil temperature is at 350°F. It can cool down after each batch has been fried.

Soaking shrimp and then dredging shrimp to make Fried Shrimp.

How To Serve Fried Shrimp

Fried shrimp can be served in a variety of ways! Here are some options on how to serve the shrimp:

  • Serve as an appetizer with a variety of dipping sauces like tartar sauce, bang bang sauce, or cocktail sauce. You can find the recipe for my Bang Bang sauce in my Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp recipe.
  • Make a classic po’ boy sandwich by placing fried shrimp in a crusty French baguette or hoagie roll along with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise. Yum!
  • Serve as the main dish with coleslaw and air fryer french fries.
  • Use it as a filling for shrimp tacos or wraps.
  • Top a mixed greens salad with fried shrimp.
  • Serve over a bed of cooked rice or pasta.
  • Thread the shrimp onto skewers for an appetizer or main dish.
Close up of a piece of Fried Shrimp.

How To Ensure My Fried Shrimp Is Crispy

The whole point of frying the shrimp is to get that nice, crispy golden brown coating over tender shrimp. To ensure crispiness, check that the oil temperature is 350°F with a deep-fry or candy thermometer before frying each batch. The oil may cool down after each batch has been fried. Another way to ensure crispiness is to avoid overcrowding the pot. And, when frying, don’t flip the shrimp too soon, which can cause the coating to break off.

Can I Make Fried Shrimp In An Air Fryer?

After testing this recipe in an air fryer, it worked, but we were not super happy about how it looked. If you do decide to try it, air fry the breaded shrimp for 8-10 minutes at 400°F, flipping halfway through cooking time. If you are looking for a tried and true air fryer recipe, check out my Air Fryer Shrimp! It is not breaded, but delicious!

Squeezing lemon over Fried Shrimp.

How To Store Fried Shrimp

To store fried shrimp, first, let them cool to room temperature. Next, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat in the oven or air fryer to restore their crispiness. Reheating the shrimp in the microwave may not give them their crispy texture.

Plate of Fried Shrimp with sauce from overhead.
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Fried Shrimp

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Marinating Time 15 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Fried Shrimp are large shrimp coated in a seasoned flour and buttermilk mixture, then deep-fried to crispy, golden perfection. It can be served as the main dish with sides or as a delicious appetizer with dipping options.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined
  • 1 cup (245 g) buttermilk
  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • lemon wedges, for garnish

Instructions

  • To a medium bowl, add shrimp. Pour the buttermilk over the shrimp, making sure to coat each one. Marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
  • To a separate medium bowl, add flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Mix to combine. Set aside.
  • Working one at a time, remove the shrimp from the marinade, allowing any excess liquid to drip off. Dredge the shrimp generously in the seasoned flour mixture, making sure to coat the entire surface of each shrimp. Place on a large baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining shrimp.
  • To a large pot over medium heat, add about 2 inches of vegetable oil. Bring it to a temperature of 350°F.
  • When ready, tap off any excess flour and carefully transfer coated shrimp into the hot oil, frying in batches to avoid overcrowding. Fry for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally, until the shrimp are golden brown and crispy. (Please note: You may have to let the oil heat up to 350°F again after each batch of fried shrimp.)
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried shrimp from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
  • Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon and tartar sauce for dipping.

Video

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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:

Autumn

Delicious! Perfectly crispy, and perfectly seasoned! Dip in your favorite sauces for an easy dinner option.

Elizabeth

Wow, this shrimp is not made in a restaurant and is actually crispy! I loved the texture and flavor, thinking I may have to try this recipe at home myself.

Annabelle

I really liked these! They're crispy, flavorful, and great for dipping. I will definitely be using this recipe at home!

Rachael

Amazing crunch and flavor! Easy to make fried shrimp at home and tastes amazing with bang bang sauce.

Selena

These are so good! Just the perfect crispiness and amount of flavor in the flour mixture.

Bella

This is amazing!! Extra crispy and such a tasty flavor. Some sauce on the side could level this shrimp up! I personally would squeeze a bunch of lemon juice on this!

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