Versatile, poppable, packed with protein, and above all, simple to prepare – shrimp is a seafood favorite for so many more reasons than its buttery-sweet, mild flavor. Fold it into your favorite salad recipe. Create a range of small-scale culinary masterpieces with a spread of shrimp tacos. Or simply saute your shrimp and serve it on its own for a sure-to-please, center-of-plate entree.
Of course, if you’re feeling decadent, there are few treats as satisfying as fried shrimp. Luckily, with little effort, you can perfectly crisp up these flavorful morsels and indulge with the unto-itself crunch and mouthwateringly savory taste of fried shrimp right in the comfort of your own home. Here’s how to deep fry shrimp at home.
Start with Premium Frozen Shrimp
Keeping quality frozen meat and seafood on hand is one of the secrets to maintaining a varied, exciting menu from week to week. And keeping a supply of frozen shrimp is a must. So what are the hallmarks of quality shrimp? For one, it’s still frozen. Try to avoid shrimp that has been “previously frozen.” Most supermarket seafood counters offer shrimp that was frozen at some point, then thawed for display.
Shrimp is highly perishable, so once its thawed, its shelf life is very short. There’s no guarantee as to the actual “freshness” of shrimp sitting exposed to open air at your local supermarket. Responsibly sourced, high-quality frozen shrimp removes any uncertainty. Frozen shrimp will remain day-of-catch fresh until your next shrimp craving strikes. Plus, thawing shrimp is as quick and easy as it gets.
Quick-Thaw Your Shrimp Like This
Thawing frozen seafood doesn’t get much easier than thawing frozen shrimp. All you need is shrimp, a colander, a large bowl, and some fresh, cool water. Pour your shrimp out of its bag into a your colander, then place the shrimp-filled colander into a large bowl full of cool water. Let the frozen shrimp sit in the cool water for about five minutes. Check on the shrimp after five minutes, if it hasn’t fully thawed, replace the water and let sit for another five minutes. Typically, shrimp fully defrosts in under ten minutes.
Thawing Note: You’ll know your shrimp has thawed when it is firm – not solid – and flexible. Check its progress with by gently wiggling the tail forward and back. The shrimp is ready to cook if it bends easily with little resistance.
Fry Your Shrimp Like This
Fried shrimp is a Southern staple and undeniably one of life’s great pleasures. If you’re chasing convenience, but set on a true-blue fried shrimp experience, consider your prepared options. Oven-ready battered shrimp like our Redhook® Amber Beer-Battered Shrimp deliver premium fried shrimp flavor without an ounce of work on your part. Plenty of other freezer-to-oven, par-fried shrimp options exist, so it’s easy enough to appease your fried shrimp fix without getting your hands dirty.
BUT what if you want to get your hands dirty? Create your batter first. Perfect fried shrimp is only as good as it’s batter. A simple, light beer batter is pretty standard and it doesn’t take much work to throw together.
- Combine approx. 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 cup beer, 1 egg in a large, and 1 tsp of vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl. Whisk these ingredients together until mixture is about the consistency of latex paint (smooth and somewhat thick).
- In a frying pan on your stovetop, add enough oil to completely cover your shrimp and heat to approx. 360° F (maybe higher, maybe lower – depends on the recipe). We recommend using an oil thermometer to get an accurate read on temperature. It’s a small investment, but entirely worth seeking out if you plan to experiment with deep frying at home.
- Fry your battered shrimp in small batches. Frying too many shrimp at once will lower the temperature of the oil and result in soggy shrimp. As a rule, only use half of the oil’s surface area. Fry your shrimp, depending on its size, for approx. 2-3 minutes. The shrimp is properly fried when the outside turns crispy golden brown and the meat is opaque in the center.
- Once fried, transfer your shrimp to a roasting or backing rack that you’ve place over a baking pan or cookie sheet. This will allow any excess oil to drain off and ensure your shrimp stay deliciously crispy. Keep this rack in your oven on its lowest setting so your fried shrimp stay warm while you finish cooking.
Frying Note: Make sure you’re using oil with a high smoke point; extra light olive oil will do.