These crispy homemade popcorn shrimp are better than bar food, but made in your own home in no time at all. Perfect for dinner or as an appetizer at your next dinner party!
What is Popcorn Shrimp?
Popcorn shrimp is such a yummy treat! They are so quick and easy to make and everyone ends up fighting over the last one. Sure, the frozen stuff can be quick and easy, too, but wouldn’t you prefer knowing exactly what’s in your popcorn shrimp? And, actually having great quality shrimp instead of a mystery protein covered in loads of breading?
You can make popcorn shrimp on a weeknight and serve as part of a complete meal or serve them as an appetizer with an exciting dipping sauce at your next dinner party.
Popcorn Shrimp Ingredients
There’s definitely no popcorn in this dish – but these popcorn shrimp are bite size, crispy, and crunchy!
Here’s what you’ll need for your homemade popcorn shrimp:
- small or medium shrimp
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the flour mixture: flour, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper
For the egg mixture: egg and milk
How to Make Popcorn Shrimp
Prep: Pour your oil in a deep saucepan or pot, and heat it to 350˚F. Your oil should come up about 3 to 4 inches from the bottom of the pot. For the absolute best results, use an instant read thermometer.
In a mixing bowl combine the flour, Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper.
In a separate bowl combine the egg and milk. Mix it to combine and set it aside.
Shake and Dredge: Take half of the prepared flour mixture and pour it into a resealable bag. Add the shrimp to the bag and shake it up until the shrimp are covered with flour mixture.
Remove the shrimp from the bag and dredge them in the egg mixture. Then coat the shrimp with the remaining fresh flour mixture that’s in the bowl.
Fry: Fry your shrimp, about 5 to 6 shrimp at a time, in the heated oil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the oil and set the shrimp on a paper towel lined plate.
Repeat: Continue the process with the rest of the shrimp.
Serve: Garnish them with parsley and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Tips for the Best Popcorn Shrimp
These tips will help you to make the best popcorn shrimp in your own home!
- I arrange my dredging station from left to right. Then, I use one hand for wet ingredients and one hand for dry ingredients.
- Keep away from the olive oil! For frying, you need an oil with a higher smoke point.
- Make sure your oil maintains a temp of 350˚F. If it gets too hot, it will smoke. If it gets too cool, your shrimp will be greasy. Yuck!
- If you don’t have Cajun seasoning, have no fear! Old Bay is a great substitute.
- Purchase your shrimp raw, peeled and deveined. Whenever possible, get yourself some fresh and local shrimp.
These popcorn shrimp are great on their own with your favorite dipping sauce. These are some of my favorite sauces to dip them in:
- Buffalo blue sauce
- Homemade cocktail sauce
- Sweet chili sauce
They are also so good on top of a salad or in a wrap. Think, a Cobb or Buffalo style salad or wrap with popcorn shrimp. Mmmmm, I’m drooling just thinking of it.
For a complete and easy meal, I really like popcorn shrimp served with some stir fried veggies, too.
How to Store Leftovers
I highly doubt you’ll have any leftovers, but if you do, you can store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can also pop them in the freezer in an airtight container for 3-5 months.
To reheat, simply bring them to room temp, put them on a baking sheet and warm them in the oven.
Can I Make this Recipe in Advance?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s one of my favorite things about these popcorn shrimp! You can bread these babies up and then spread them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for a half hour. Then, take them out, put them into a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This trick makes them the perfect appetizer to have on hand for any drop-by guests. There is almost always a bag of these guys in my freezer just waiting for their time to shine.
- 1 pound small or medium shrimp, deveined and peeled
- vegetable oil for frying, don’t use olive oil; for frying, you need an oil with a higher smoke point.
For the Flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the Egg Mixture
- 1 whole egg
- ¼ cup milk
- Pour oil in a deep saucepan or pot, and heat to 350˚F. For best results, use an instant read thermometer. (Oil should come up about 3 to 4 inches from the bottom of the pot.)
- In a mixing bowl combine flour, Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- In a separate bowl combine egg and milk; mix to combine and set aside.
- Take half of the prepared flour mixture and pour it into a resealable bag.
- Add shrimp to the bag and shake until shrimp are covered with flour mixture.
- Remove shrimp from bag and dredge in egg mixture. Then coat the shrimp with the remaining fresh flour mixture that’s in the bowl.
- Fry shrimp, about 5 to 6 shrimp at a time, in heated oil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides and cooked through.
- Remove from oil and set shrimp on a paper towel lined plate.
- Continue the process with the rest of the shrimp.
- Garnish with parsley and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.