The Extra Step That's Worth It To Ensure Batter Sticks To Fried Shrimp

Fried shrimp are crunchy and delicious in any form: Coconut shrimp with Thai chili sauce, battered in flour and served next to tartar, or drenched in sweet walnut sauce on a bed of rice. But let's face it, if you're frying up shrimp at home, it's quite a messy process unless you're using an air fryer. What makes the process messier (and the shrimp less crispy) is if the batter falls off during cooking. Luckily, there is an extra step you can take to ensure the batter sticks to your shrimp: Freeze them before cooking.

You're probably used to cooking frozen fried shrimp anyway, so why not take the extra time to freeze your shrimp until it's time to cook? Freezing the shrimp helps the batter adhere to the meat because the batter will solidify and stick as it gets colder. Freezing the shrimp will also make it harder to overcook during the frying process. And if you don't have time for freezing, place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to get a similar effect.

More tips for frying shrimp

The first step to perfectly fried shrimp is buying the right kind. Bigger is better when it comes to frying, so go for jumbo shrimp because it will give the shellfish plenty of time to crisp on the outside without overcooking. Buying peeled and deveined shrimp is also the way to go because it will reduce the amount of prep work. Fresh shrimp are always best, but you can go for frozen since it's usually cheaper and easier to find. Be sure to buy raw frozen shrimp, or you'll be left with cooked shrimp that's only good for a shrimp cocktail.

Are you ready to batter? There are many variations of fried shrimp so you have a few options. Many recipes will suggest dredging the shrimp in seasoned flour to help the egg and batter stick so this is a good first step. You can also use all-purpose flour after your shrimp is dipped in the eggs. To elevate your shrimp, use breadcrumbs, ideally panko breadcrumbs because they get crispier when fried. For coconut shrimp, use a similar method but mix the panko breadcrumbs with shredded coconut flakes. Once it's time to fry, make sure your oil is at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and drain them on paper towels or a wire rack after frying to get rid of any excess oil. And don't forget to compliment your fried shrimp with a dipping sauce whether it's classic tartar or a zesty chili sauce.