Popcorn Shrimp

4.80 from 5 votes
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The best popcorn shrimp! These small shrimp are battered, seasoned with Old Bay, and deep-fried to golden perfection.

For more deep-fried goodness give these fried red tomatoes and fried pickle spears a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Pair with some cocktail sauce, and dive in!

Popcorn shrimp with cup of cocktail sauce on red plate with red cloth napkin in the background

If you are a fan of shrimp, you will love this restaurant-quality popcorn shrimp recipe.

Whip them as a tasty appetizer for a crowd or for a fun and easy dinner at home.

close up photo of fried popcorn shrimp

The small fried shrimp are super simple to make using a few basic ingredients.

Ingredients Needed

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this homemade popcorn shrimp recipe.

  • Shrimp – raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and with tales removed
  • Flour – If you need a gluten free option swap the classic flour with a gluten free flour blend.
  • Old Bay – I typically season seafood with Old Bay, but you can use a cajun or creole seasoning if you prefer.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Oil – Vegetable, canola, or even peanut oil are best when deep frying foods. They won’t smoke like an olive oil would.

How to make Popcorn Shrimp

Step 1: Start by adding your flour and spices into a shallow bowl. Make sure to mix it up until the flour mixture is evenly mixed up.

on left, flour and seasonings unmixed; on right a shallow bowl with stirred flour mixture

Step 2: Next, in another bowl work on your egg mixture. Mix the egg and milk together until all mixed up.

on left, bowl with egg and milk; on right, whisked milk and egg in bowl

Step 3: Now you will dip shrimp in the wet egg wash, then dredge in the flour. Place all the breaded shrimp on a plate.

on left, one shrimp on fork being removed from flour mixture; on right, plate of battered shrimp

Step 4: Fry the shrimp, a few at a time, in your heated oil. You want to cook the shrimp till it is golden brown on both sides. This should take around 2-3 minutes.

spider strainer removing shrimp from fry oil

Step 5: Once the shrimp is done, serve up with some cocktail sauce, fresh lemon wedges, or your favorite sauce. Then dive in and enjoy your delicious fried popcorn shrimp!

cup of cocktail sauce with fried shrimp hanging out of it

Recipe Tips & Variations

  • Tail on Shrimp is an option if you want to hold on the tails to bite away from the shrimp. It is all about personal preference on how you like to eat your shrimp.
  • Add more or less seasoning to control how mild or spicy you want your shrimp to be.
  • You can make as much or as little of the shrimp as you would like. I did a pound of shrimp, but feel free to adjust the recipe to fit your needs.

Storage

This popcorn shrimp is best served fresh and hot from being fried. The batter on the outside will become softer in texture as it is stored in the fridge.

That said, you can store leftovers for 1-2 days in the fridge in an airtight container. To make them as crispy as possible, reheat the shrimp in the oven on a baking sheet topped with a metal rack. About 10-15 minutes at 350° F should do it.

Popcorn shrimp with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges on red plate

Recipe FAQs

Why is it called popcorn shrimp?

Being that popcorn shrimp is made with very small shrimp people often eat a few at a time, as they would with a bag of popcorn.

What size of shrimp for popcorn shrimp?

Typically popcorn shrimp are made with very small shrimp. However, you are welcome to use any size of shrimp you would like. The biggest thing is to just adjust the cooking time to fit the size of shrimp you are using to ensure they are cooked through.

Do you need to rinse shrimp before cooking?

You should rinse shrimp in cold water in a strainer before prepping it. The reason being is sometimes you will find leftover debris on the shrimp. Running it under cold water right before cooking with it, helps to ensure your shrimp is clean.

Craving more seafood recipes?

Try these reader favorites:

Recipe
popcorn shrimp on red plate with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce
Recipe
4.80 from 5 votes

Popcorn Shrimp

Author: Jaclyn
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
The best popcorn shrimp! These small shrimp are battered, seasoned with Old Bay, and deep-fried to golden perfection.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound small shrimp peeled, deveined, tail-off
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • canola or vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • In a shallow bowl, stir to combine flour, old bay, salt, and pepper.
  • In a second bowl, whisk together the milk and egg.
  • Heat at least 3-4" inches of oil over medium heat to 350° F in a dutch oven or deep, heavy bottom pan. Lay a few layers of paper towels on a plate and set aside.
  • Dredge each piece of shrimp in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg mixture, then back in the flour mixture. Repeat with all shrimp.
  • Fry the shrimp about 6 at a time, until golden and cooked through–about 2-3 minutes. Remove fried shrimp to the paper towel-lined plate to soak up the excess oil. Repeat until all shrimp are fried.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy.

Notes

Any Cajun / Creole seasoning blend can be used in place of Old Bay, if desired. Additionally, the level of spice can be adjusted to taste by adding more or less seasoning.
Popcorn Shrimp don’t store well, so for best taste enjoy immediately. That said, you can store leftovers for 1-2 days in the fridge. To avoid them getting soggy, reheat in the oven on a baking sheet topped with a metal rack.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 519kcal
popcorn shrimp on red plate with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce

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How to Make Popcorn Shrimp; easy recipe!

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