Fried shrimp with a perfectly crisp breading can be made in your own kitchen. This recipe gives it a grown up kick with sambal oelek chili paste.
For a non-traditional crunchy breading on fried shrimp, I use Rice Krispies cereal. I like the heat of sambal oelek chili paste, but you can tone it down with a sweet chili sauce instead.
Learning how to make fried shrimp is a great skill for every home chef. Get perfectly crispy fried shrimp every time with this process.
Why do you butterfly shrimp?
You can also butterfly shrimp when frying. Not only does it look nicer, but the shrimp will fry more evenly this way if they are jumbo in size. There will also be more surface area for the coating to stick to. If they are large, as seen here in the video, keep whole.
- If you purchased shell-on shrimp, you need to peel them first.
- Remove the “vein” in the back. This is the thin black line that runs down the inside of the shrimp.
- This is actually the digestive tract and needs to be discarded.
- Following the slit you made to remove the vein, make a deeper cut in the back of the shrimp if you want these “butterflied” or leave as is. Do not cut all the way through the body!
How to make fried shrimp
Shrimp fries quickly so you want to gather all your ingredients before you start cooking. Prepare two shallow bowls so it’s easy to move the shrimp back and forth between them. I use this method for making baked fish sticks as well.
In the first bowl, combine buttermilk, milk and chili paste.
In a bag or food processor, crush the Rice Krispies with flour, salt and pepper. Add this to the second bowl.
You also need to make sure the oil is prepared correctly. Using a large pan or Dutch oven, pour a layer of oil into the pan and allow it to heat. You can use peanut or canola oil. Test the temperature of the oil before you drop the shrimp in. It needs to be at 375°F. This results in fried shrimp that is crisp instead of a greasy mess that has soaked up the oil.
Now you are ready to cook!
- Dredge the shrimp in the Rice Krispy mixture. Shake off any excess.
- Dip the shrimp in the buttermilk.
- Return to the Rice Krispy mixture and make sure the shrimp is coated, pressing to adhere.
- Once you have a small batch of shrimp prepared, you can lower them into the oil. I make six at a time. Any more than that and they are too crowded and they lower the temperature of the oil.
- Fry for 30 seconds per side. These cook quickly!
- Let them drain on a paper towel lined tray while you prepare more.
Don’t forget to serve the crispy fried shrimp with slices of fresh lemon, more chili paste or with your homemade tartar sauce.
This recipe first appeared on Kevin Is Cooking January 2014 and has been updated with new photos and video.
Watch how to make this below!
Spicy Fried Shrimp
- 1 lb large shrimp
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup chili paste (Sambal Oelek sauce)
- 1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal crushed
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- oil for frying (See Note 1)
- Preheat oil to 375°F.
- Line a tray with paper towels and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk and hot sauce.
- In a sealable bag add the flour, Rice Krispies, kosher salt and black pepper and mix well. (See Note 2)
- Peel and devein shrimp leaving the tails on. Butterfly cut the shrimp or leave whole. Pat dry then dredge in the dry mixture first, then wet mixture and then the dry mixture again. Set aside.
- Heat oil in large skillet, cast iron pan or Dutch oven. Make sure the oil is at 375°F, you want to fry the shrimp (See Note 3). Deep-fry in batches, but do not overload the fryer, it will drop the temp of the oil. Fry 30 seconds per side and golden brown.
- Remove from oil and drain on the paper towel lined baking tray. Salt and serve warm with lemon slices.
- Oils for Frying I use peanut oil because it has a high smoke point (446°F), but in times like these any oil other than olive oil will be good. Others could be Peanut oil, Soybean oil, Vegetable oil, Safflower oil, Canola oil, Corn oil, Cottonseed oil, Sunflower oil.
- OR us a food processor to pulse the flour, Rice Krispies and pepper until slightly coarse.
- Make sure the oil is at 375°F, you want to fry the shrimp! Frying at the correct temperature seals the shrimp and makes for a crunchy exterior, not a soaked and greasy one.