Deep Fried Shrimp (Simple + Cheap Batter Method)

When you want something tasty in a hurry, deep-fried shrimp to the rescue. Ready to dunk and fry so you can be eating in just a few minutes.

This recipe, like most deep-fried foods, uses simple ingredients that are transformed into something delicious.

close up view of deep fried shrimp.

Deep Fried Shrimp

Golden, crispy, and easy to make.
Serving Size 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound large fresh shrimp about 20-25 shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper can be substituted with black pepper
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying

Instructions 

  • Prep. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Set up a deep frying or Dutch oven with oil and begin heating to 350℉.
    raw shrimp on paper towel.
  • Make the batter. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and white pepper. Mix these dry ingredients until they're well integrated. Slowly pour in the cold water and the lightly beaten egg. Whisk the mixture until you have a smooth batter. The batter shouldn't be too thick; it should lightly coat the back of a spoon.
    mixing bowl of batter.
  • Assemble and fry. Holding the shrimp by the tail, first dip it into the batter ensuring it's fully coated. Let any excess drip off. Drop the dipped shrimp directly into the oil. You do not want to overcrowd or have the shrimp touch each other. They will also stick to a basket, so it's better to drop them in somewhere they can float freely. Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown and crispy.
    shrimp in fryer and draining on paper towels.
  • Draining: Remove the shrimp using a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Notes

For added flavor, consider marinating the shrimp in some garlic, chili flakes, and a splash of lemon juice for about 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Always monitor the temperature of the oil to ensure even cooking. If the oil is too hot, the shrimp will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. If the oil is not hot enough, the shrimp will be soggy and oily.
You can test the oil’s readiness by dropping a tiny amount of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and rises to the surface immediately, it’s ready.

About what you’ll need

  • Shrimp: Always opt for fresh shrimp, as it ensures a juicier and more flavorful result. The size does matter here; larger shrimps are easier to handle and provide a meatier bite.
  • Batter Components: Cornstarch, often overlooked in many frying batters, offers a lightness and crispiness that’s unparalleled, while baking powder ensures a slightly puffy texture. The choice between white and black pepper is more about aesthetics. I don’t like the specks of black pepper, but if it doesn’t boh you, it will work just fine.
ingredients on marble counter.
  • Candy Thermometer: Helps in maintaining the right oil temperature.
  • Dutch Oven or Deep Fryer: Provides enough depth and space for frying.
  • Slotted Spoon: Ideal for safely removing the shrimp from the hot oil and allowing excess oil to drain off.
  • Mixing Bowl: For achieving a smooth, lump-free batter.
  • Paper Towels: Handy for draining and absorbing excess oil from the fried shrimp.

Deep frying tips

  • Batter Consistency: Achieving the right batter consistency is crucial. It should be smooth and able to lightly coat the back of a spoon. If too thick, it can overwhelm the shrimp, and if too thin, it may not adhere properly.
  • Oil Temperature: Monitoring the oil temperature ensures the shrimp cooks evenly. An oil thermometer can be an invaluable tool here. A too-hot oil will brown the batter quickly, leaving the inside undercooked, while too cool oil will make the shrimp soggy and oily.
  • Safety First: When frying, always be careful. Drop the shrimp gently into the oil to avoid splashing. Never overcrowd the frying vessel; it drops the temperature of the oil and can cause the shrimp to stick together.

Serving ideas

  • Creamy Coleslaw: A classic side that offers a refreshing contrast to the deep-fried shrimp.
  • Homemade Tartar Sauce: For dipping, of course!
  • Lemon Rice: Adds a tangy complement to the shrimp.
  • Steamed Asparagus: A light green side that balances the meal.
  • Chilled White Wine or Light Beer

storing leftover fried shrimp

Fried food, especially battered food, is best when you eat it fresh. However, leftovers are a fact of life and they’re certainly worth saving.

Storing Leftovers:

  1. Cooling: Allow the fried shrimp to cool completely at room temperature. Placing them hot in the fridge can trap steam, making them soggy.
  2. Refrigeration: Once cooled, transfer the shrimp to an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Freezing:

  1. Cooling: Let the fried shrimp cool entirely before proceeding.
  2. Flash Freezing: Arrange the shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet, ensuring they aren’t touching. Place the sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours or until they’re solid.
  3. Packing: Once flash frozen, transfer the shrimp to airtight freezer bags or containers. This method prevents them from clumping together, allowing you to take out and reheat as many as you need later.
  4. Duration: Properly stored, deep fried shrimp can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Reheating: For best results, reheat fried shrimp in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375℉ (190℃). Place the shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through and crispy. Avoid using a microwave, as it can make them soggy.

close up view fried shrimp.

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