Popcorn shrimp isn’t just a cheap appetizer at fast food chains. They can also be delicious when homemade and served as an appetizer, either for your family or as the perfect party snack!
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Popcorn shrimp is definitely not the kind of thing that most people would think to make at home.
However, so long as you don’t mind prepping some shrimp and frying at high heat, they are surprisingly easy to make and are one of the best appetizers for a big party.
Crunchy, savory, and even a little bit sweet, these are the perfect things to dip into your favorite sweet or spicy sauce and devour.
What Other Flavors Work Well For These Popcorn Shrimp
This recipe uses a pretty standard flour, egg, and bread crumb batter with some pretty typical seasonings to make a slightly spiced, crunchy, and moreish popcorn shrimp.
However, you don’t need to feel constrained by these seasonings – if you want to change it up a bit, there’s nothing stopping you from using Mexican-themed spices like cumin and cayenne pepper instead of onion and garlic powder to create the tastes that you want.
You could also totally vary up the batter as well! Instead of a basic flour and breadcrumb coating, you could make tempura batter with flour and soda water to create a light, crisp, and airy coating.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t have the same crunch that a good flour and breadcrumb coating has, but it is always an option if you love those tempura shrimp you can get at takeout restaurants.
Can You Shell The Shrimps Yourself?
Most people buy shrimp that is always prepared, meaning that it has already been de-shelled and de-veined because the process does take a little bit of time.
However, sometimes you find yourself with a big handful of fresh shrimp, and you don’t know what to do with it.
If that happens, the best thing to do is to do it all yourself! You only really need a knife and a little bit of patience.
How To Prepare Your Shrimp
- Get rid of the shell.
To first prep your shrimp, you need to get their shells off of them.
Start by bending the shrimp backward over themselves to help break the connection between the shell and the sweet flesh.
From there, you just peel the shrimp back, starting from the belly, until eventually, you can easily lift the shell away.
Make sure you don’t throw this away, though! Save them all up, and then use them to make a killer shrimp stock with just a little bit of water!
2. Getting rid of the vein
While it is definitely the most bothersome part of working with shrimp, you need to remove the little vein that runs along the bellow of each individual shrimp.
This vein is the shrimp’s digestive tract, and if you don’t remove it, you risk getting whatever the shrimp’s last meal was into your popcorn shrimp, which would be pretty gross.
It’s easy to do, though – just run a sharp knife underneath the vein, cutting it away from the shrimp, but not severing it, until it detaches completely, and then you’re done!
Do You Have To Deep Fry In Vegetable Oil?
This recipe, like pretty much all recipes that involve frying little bits of food to make them crunchy, requires deep frying in vegetable oil.
However, there is nothing stopping you from varying up the oil if you are looking for a slightly different taste.
Canola oil, or even sunflower oil, has a lot more of a distinctive taste and will give everything you fry in it a very slight nuttiness.
You could also use peanut oil (assuming it isn’t wildly expensive where you live,) but this doesn’t really have a particular taste. Instead, peanut oil is great if you are looking to fry at a particularly high temperature, as peanut oil has a super high smoke point.
Try Shallow Frying
If you want to avoid deep frying at all, you could try shallow frying your popcorn shrimp instead.
For this, just fry them at high heat in a frying pan with enough oil in it to go up at least half of the height of your shrimp pieces. Make sure to flip them really carefully, though; otherwise, they might start to break apart!
Looking for more delicious Fish & Seafood recipes? Try these out:
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- Prep Time
- 10 minutes
- Cook Time
- 5 minutes
- 24 Shrimp
- Karlynn Johnston
- 4 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- 24 uncooked medium shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
- Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees °.
- In a large bowl add the flour. Pat the shrimp dry and add them to the bowl of flour. Toss them in the flour to coat them well.
- In a separate medium sized bowl whisk the egg and add the milk.
- In another medium sized bowl combine the bread crumbs, salt, basil, parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder and whisk to combine well.
- Take one shrimp from the flour mixture and dip it into egg mixture and then press it into the seasoned bread crumbs. Gently toss between your hands so any bread crumbs that don't stick can fall away. Place the breaded shrimp onto a plate while breading the rest; do not stack the shrimp.
- Fry the breaded shrimp in smaller batches until golden brown about 3-4 minutes. Remove them onto a paper towel lined plate and serve immediately.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.