Fried Butterfly Shrimp are super crunchy and incredibly easy! Butterflying shrimp makes more surface area for the best part — the crispy coating.
I always have a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer for a quick and easy meal. This Crunchy Fried Butterfly Shrimp recipe is always on demand from my family!
While I love coconut shrimp too, these simple fried shrimp are juicy on the inside and crunchy on the outside wrapped in a seasoned breadcrumb crust.
If you love shrimp, you’ll devour these Beer Boiled Peel and Eat Shrimp.
I tend to use frozen shrimp for this recipe, but fresh shrimp are great too! When buying fresh from the seafood counter, always ask if they’ve been frozen. If so, it’s not worth the up-charge since you can thaw them yourself in minutes.
- Garlic powder
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Black pepper
My preferred oil for these is just plain vegetable oil. Peanut oil is another great choice, but I find it a little pricey. You can also use canola oil or sunflower oil, but save the good stuff like olive and avocado oil for sautéeing.
First things first — you will need to butterfly the shrimp.
How to Butterfly Shrimp
The easiest way to butterfly shrimp is to start with a thawed shrimp. The easy-peel shrimp should be deveined already, but always check!
Peel off the shell while pinching the tail — you want to keep the tail so that you have a handle for the breading process.
Take a sharp knife and run it along the opened area, cutting down towards the other side, but do not cut all the way through.
Gently pull the shrimp apart and finish cutting any part of the shrimp that might be preventing the shrimp from fully opening like a book.
If you are using shell-on shrimp it will need to be peeled and deveined. Always use thawed shrimp before attempting to peel or devein. You can quickly thaw frozen shrimp in cold water.
How to Devein Shrimp
You always want to check the outer curve of your shrimp to make sure the dark vein has been removed. If not, it’s simple to do yourself!
Deveining and peeling can be done all at once by using a shrimp deveiner or a sharp knife.
Slice alongside the vein just enough to reveal the vein and remove it. The vein, or shrimp digestive tract, is not harmful if eaten but most would say it’s unpleasant.
Crunchy Fried Butterfly Shrimp are super easy to make at home for a great seafood dinner or alongside a juicy steak for surf and turf. Skip the restaurant and make homemade friend shrimp in a flash.
How to Deep Fry Shrimp
- The key to great deep fried shrimp is the prep. Mix your seasonings with your flour in one bowl and the eggs with a little water in another bowl. You also need two plates of breadcrumbs, one for coating and one for your coated shrimp to sit on before frying.
- Once your ingredients are prepped, butterfly your shrimp.
- Time for your coating! First, dip the raw shrimp in the seasoned flour, then dip each shrimp into the egg wash. Shake off any excess egg before covering your shrimp in breadcrumbs.
- When all the shrimp are coated, let them chill in the fridge for at least half an hour or up to 5 hours.
- Ready for fry time! Heat your oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. You’ll know it’s hot enough if it sizzles when you drop a couple breadcrumbs in it.
- Gently place the shrimp into the hot oil until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
When cooking a large amount of fried shrimp, I keep the cooked shrimp in a 200 degree F oven. This keeps them warm and crispy until all the shrimp are finished frying.
I like to serve my fried butterfly shrimp with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges, but my kids have definitely preferred ketchup. To each her own!
You could probably get away with 2 or 3 small shrimp as an appetizer, but if you are going to go to all the trouble, do you really want to mess up the kitchen for a few shrimp?
Instead, coat all of the shrimp and freeze them for cooking later!
To freeze the shrimp, just place them in a single layer on a baking sheet that’s lightly coated with breadcrumbs and place in the freezer.
Allow shrimp to freeze completely, then remove from the baking sheet and place in a freezer bag.
This can be cooked from a frozen state, just like the ones from the grocery store!
To cook homemade frozen shrimp, just fry them the same way you would fry them on the day you made them.
It may take an extra 30 to 60 seconds to cook, but they will taste the same.
Does it Have to Be Butterflied?
No, you can make regular deep-fried shrimp with this recipe too! Use peeled and deveined shrimp, leaving the tail on.
Follow the recipe below and just skip the butterflying step.
I leave the tail so I have something to hold on to while I am breading the shrimp and for when placing them into the hot oil, but you can also remove it for popcorn shrimp.
How to Make Homemade Chips
Since you will already have hot oil, why not add some homemade potato chips to the mix!
First, scrub some potatoes, any kind will do, and slice them fairly thin.
Soak them in some cold water for at least an hour. I have soaked them for up to 6 hours without issue.
Right before frying, dry the slices on kitchen towels.
Do not overload the pan with potato slices, the oil will bubble like mad when you first add the potatoes.
Stir them around occasionally. fry until desired crispness. I keep mine warm in a 200 degrees F oven.
I also keep my fried butterfly shrimp in the same oven until serving time!
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Crunchy Fried Butterfly Shrimp
- In a shallow bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
- In another shallow bowl, whisk eggs with ⅓ cup of water. Set aside.
- Pile breadcrumbs onto a plate, set aside.
- On another plate, sprinkle a light coating of panko and set aside.
- Carefully cut shrimp along the back and lay it open. Be careful not to cut all the way through the shrimp.
- Coat shrimp in flour, shaking to remove excess flour. Then, dip shrimp into egg, allowing excess egg to drip back into egg bowl.
- Place egg-coated shrimp into panko bread crumbs, cover with panko and press lightly, making sure all shrimp is covered with panko and the shrimp has remained open. Place coated shrimp onto the plate that was sprinkled with panko.
- Continue coating shrimp, adding panko to the plate as needed. You may need to use all 4 cups of panko, depending on the size of shrimp and thickness of egg wash left on shrimp.
- Once all shrimp have been coated and placed on the plate, place plate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 5 hours.
- Heat oil in a medium-size pan over medium-high heat until oil sizzles when a few panko crumbs are tossed in the pan.
- Fry shrimp in hot oil until shrimp are golden brown. Be careful not to overcook.
- Serve immediately with cocktail sauce and lemons.