Take a ride to the tropics with this easy and healthy baked Coconut Shrimp recipe. Paired with the perfect tangy dipping sauce, this classic dish makes a great appetizer or a tasty addition to any meal!
I’m not sure how many times I’ve previously mentioned this on the blog before but I’m a twin. That’s right. I have a twin sister who’s a bit taller than me and doesn’t look like me very much at all, depending on who you ask. We sound the same, have the same personality, think the same and were inseparable growing up. We like a lot of the same things and dislike a lot of the same things. And for pretty much all of our lives, coconut was just one of those things we both despised.
Oddly enough, our older sister has always loved anything coconut. Fast forward a few years down the line and I’ve *officially* been converted. And it’s recipes like this easy coconut shrimp that makes me wonder why I’ve spent most of my life missing out on the good stuff. The twin, on the other hand, not only still hates it but actually quite recently found out she’s allergic to it. Guess that just means more coconut shrimp for the older sis and I.
Coconut shrimp may seem like one of those dishes you would never dare to dream up of making yourself at home. It’s a fancy appetizer you only order on restaurant menus. Am I right? Wrong! Not only is it easy to make but it’s also fun and doesn’t take too much time to throw together. Coconut shrimp is delicious on their own or alongside the easiest 2 ingredient dipping sauce. But they can also be a reputable star of any dish from tacos and burritos to bowls, salads and sandwiches.
So, next time you’re feelin’ like your mind could use a trip to the tropics, bake yourself up a batch of these crispy coconut shrimp, close your eyes and imagine that your next piña colada is not far behind.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Simple ingredients come together to create a delicious and healthier version of coconut shrimp that’s baked to perfection. A balance of textures, flavours, and nutrients makes this dish a delightful treat that doesn’t compromise on taste. Let’s discuss the exact ingredients you’ll need to make it down below:
- Shrimp: Of course, the star of the show here! Therefore, you’re gonna wanna opt for large, peeled, and deveined shrimp for best results. I like them with the tails still on but you can do without, if you prefer. Shrimp provides a lean source of protein and is a great canvas for the flavourful coconut coating. Fresh or frozen (then thawed) shrimp work well in this recipe. However, be sure to start with raw shrimp as cooked shrimp will come out tough and rubbery if you cook it again.
- Coconut: Adds crunch and a sweet, tropical flavour to the shrimp. You can use sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut for this recipe. However, I prefer unsweetened as it adds a natural sweetness without the excessive sugar found in sweetened versions.
- Flour: Helps the coating adhere better to the shrimp, prevents sogginess and ensures an even and crispy coating on the shrimp after baking. I used whole wheat flour for this baked coconut shrimp recipe. However, most flours (such as all purpose or gluten free) should get the job done just fine.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Creates a crispy outer layer for the shrimp adding the perfect crunch and texture. Panko breadcrumbs are a type of breadcrumb that originated in Japan which you can easily find in the bakery section of most grocery stores. They have a distinctive light and airy texture, which sets them apart from traditional breadcrumbs. However, you can always use traditional breadcrumbs instead if you prefer or that’s all you have on hand.
- Eggs: Used for the egg wash that helps the coconut coating adhere to the shrimp. Eggs act as the binding agent, ensuring the crispy coating sticks well during baking. If you don’t have any eggs on hand, using coconut milk is a great alternative.
- Spices: A simple blend of garlic powder, onion powder and paprika infuse the shrimp with savoury flavors and a subtle kick of spice.
- Apricot Jam/Thai Sweet Chili: Come together to create the most perfect tangy, zesty and sweet dipping sauce for these healthy baked coconut shrimp.
- Salt/Pepper: Adds flavour and balance to this coconut shrimp recipe.
- Cooking Spray (not pictured): A light spray of cooking oil or a drizzle of olive oil on the coated shrimp before baking is crucial for achieving that golden-brown, crispy texture without deep-frying.
HOW TO MAKE COCONUT SHRIMP FROM SCRATCH (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make this healthy recipe for coconut shrimp in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- Use the proper shrimp. It can get a little overwhelming at the grocery store with all of the different types of shrimp you can buy. You’re looking for large peeled and deveined shrimp preferably with the tails still on. It is important to have a big enough surface area for the coconut coating to adhere to the shrimp. If buying frozen shrimp, be sure to properly thaw them before using them in this recipe. Whatever you do, make sure you start with raw shrimp. Cooked shrimp won’t give you the same tasty results as cooking them again results in dry and tough shrimp.
- Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Although it may seem a little pointless since you’re going to ‘wet’ them anyway, pat the shrimp dry with paper towels before dredging in flour or any other coating. Excess moisture can cause the coconut coating to become soggy.
- Prepare all of the ingredients and your “dredge station” before beginning. Your hands will get “dirty” so having everything ready to go will ensure that the coating process is as quick and efficient as possible. EXTRA TIP: Try to keep one hand dry and one hand wet so that the coating doesn’t constantly keep clumping and sticking to your fingers. Wash your hands in between if needed – say after every 5-10 shrimp depending on how caked on the coating gets on your fingers.
- Ensure the shrimp are evenly and nicely coated. For this easy baked coconut shrimp recipe, it’s all about that coating! Use your hands to really press the shrimp down into the coconut mixture. Make sure to cover each one evenly on both sides.
- Spray the shrimp with a little bit of cooking spray before baking. This will help with browning giving them that crispy golden colour and texture without having to deep fry.
- Bake the shrimp on a wire rack over top of a parchment lined baking sheet and don’t overcrowd. The wire rack helps elevate the shrimp and allows for better air circulation. This results in even and proper cooking without ever having to flip the shrimp during baking. RECIPE NOTE: If you don’t have a wire rack and you’re baking your shrimp directly on the parchment lined baking sheet, you will have to flip them halfway through to ensure even cooking.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Coconut shrimp is not a specific type of shrimp. Instead, it’s a style of preparing and serving shrimp. Coconut shrimp typically consists of shrimp that have been coated with a mixture of shredded coconut and other ingredients and then fried or baked until crispy. The name “coconut shrimp” comes from the fact that the shrimp are coated with coconut, which adds a sweet, tropical flavour and a crunchy texture to the dish.
Coconut shrimp, as a culinary creation, is not tied to a specific culture or region but is more of an international fusion dish. It takes inspiration from various culinary traditions and combines elements from different parts of the world. The use of coconut in savoUry dishes, including those featuring shrimp, is common in tropical and coastal regions around the world. Coconut is a staple ingredient in the cuisines of many countries, such as those in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa. Coconut shrimp, as it’s commonly prepared in Western countries, likely draws from these tropical and coastal influences. The use of various seasonings and dipping sauces can also vary, depending on regional preferences.
Alright, so you got the recipe and dipping sauce down and your coconut crusted shrimp are baked to crispy perfection. Now what?! What to serve with those delicious beauties?! Here are some of my favourite side dish options for coconut shrimp: Instant Pot Rice, Creamy Coleslaw or Tangy Coleslaw, Mango Habanero Salsa, Kale Caesar Salad, simple veggies such as Crispy Garlic Broccoli or Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts or Creamy Corn.
You can store any leftover coconut shrimp in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. Make sure to place it in an airtight container to help maintain its quality. Keep in mind that the crispy coating may lose some of its crunchiness over time.
When reheating coconut shrimp, it’s generally best to use an oven or toaster oven to help restore some of the crispy texture. Avoid microwaving, as it can make the coating become soft and less appetizing.
For the Coconut Shrimp
- 1 pound raw large Shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails attached
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Cooking Spray
For the Tangy Dipping Sauce
- 3 tbsp Apricot Jam
- 3 tbsp Thai Sweet Chili
- Preheat the oven to 400° and place the oven rack in the center position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then set a wire rack on top.
- Pat the shrimp dry and generously season with salt and pepper.
- Prepare 3 medium bowls. In the first one, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. In the second one, beat the eggs. In the third one, combine the shredded coconut and the panko breadcrumbs.
- Dip the shrimp in the flour, shaking off the excess, then into the egg, then in the coconut crumb mixture. Use your hands to press down on the shrimp, making sure the entire surface is evenly coated. Repeat until no shrimp remain, washing your hands a few times throughout the process, if needed.
- Arrange the shrimp on the wire rack in a single layer and lightly spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tails turn pink and the shrimp are cooked through, golden brown and crispy.
- Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by combining the apricot jam and sweet chili in a small bowl.
- Remove the shrimp from the oven and serve immediately, with the dipping sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 231mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 8g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
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