Coconut Fried Shrimp (Red Lobster Recipe) - Evolving Table (2024)

A healthier version ofRed Lobster’s Coconut Shrimp Recipethat is also easy to make at home will quickly become a family favorite. Shrimp is coated in unsweetened shredded coconut, Panko breadcrumbs, and then lightly pan-fried in coconut oil. Serve them with an easy pineapple and yogurt dipping sauce for dinner or in tacos for a quick lunch!

Coconut Fried Shrimp (Red Lobster Recipe) - Evolving Table (1)

Coconut Shrimp from Red Lobster

Growing up, my family and I frequented chain restaurants on the reg. One of our all-time favorite places to eat was Red Lobster.

We lived on the Gulf Coast, so to be honest… any and every restaurant in our area of Texas had ah-maaaazing seafood. But Red Lobster had something special…

My go-to item on the menu was theirfried coconut shrimp.

Every inch of shrimp was covered in the tastiestcoconut breading.

And that sauce!! In addition to the extremely delicious coconut coating, my favorite part about getting these coconut shrimp was actually thecreamy piña colada dipping saucethat accompanied it.

Oftentimes I would ask for a second bowl of it half-way through my meal because it was justthatgood!

The recipe you’ll find below has been made slightly healthier and can easily be prepared gluten-free, too.

Want a few othereasy shrimp recipes? You might also enjoy theseBlackenedShrimp Tacos,Teriyaki Shrimp Stir-Fry,or theseBaked Shrimp Scampi Packets.

Table of Contents

  • Coconut Shrimp from Red Lobster
  • Ingredients
  • How to Make Coconut Shrimp
  • FAQs
  • Recipe Tips
  • What to Serve with Coconut Shrimp
  • More Shrimp Recipes
  • Coconut Fried Shrimp (Red Lobster Recipe)
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Ingredients

  • Shrimp. You’ll need one pound of peeled and deveined shrimp. A20-24 count sizewas used when creating this recipe, which is large enough so it does not require too much time to coat, but small enough for the shrimp-to-coating ratio to be just perfect. Avoid jumbo shrimp.If you do get a size other than 20-24 count, make sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
  • Flour or Starch. A gluten-free 1-to-1 flour blend was used when creating this recipe.Tapioca starch or regular all-purpose flour may also be substituted.
  • Coconut. Unsweetened and shredded coconut or coconut flakes is the best type to use. Try to avoid sweetened coconut as it will have too much sugar.
  • Bread Crumbs.Aleia’s Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbsare my favorite to use. If you’re not avoiding gluten, a regular Panko bread crumb will work equally as well.
  • Oil. The secret to getting lightly fried shrimp that are LOADED with coconut flavor is to use coconut oil when cooking. Pay careful attention, however, since coconut oil has a pretty low smoke point of only 450ºF. Avocado oil may also be used. As a last resort, vegetable oil or peanut oil will work.
  • Dipping Sauce. Read more below about to make a super quick and easy 4-ingredient piña colada sauce for the shrimp.

How to Make Coconut Shrimp

Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

1. Dipping Sauce

The piña colada sauce only requires four simple ingredients.It can be served as a dipping sauce for these coconut shrimp, as a topping onSweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, or with someBlackened Fish Tacos.

Combine the dipping sauce ingredients (plain yogurt, crushed pineapple, unsweetened shredded coconut, sugar), and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until combined. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Greek yogurt can be used for a bit more tang, or a vegan yogurt can be substituted if you’re dairy-free.

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2. Prep the Shrimp

You can select shrimp with thetails on or the tails removed.

I have made them both ways and prefer shrimp with tails on when I’m serving them as a main dish and shrimp with the tails removed when adding them to tacos or sandwiches.

If they aren’t peeled and deveined, you will need to do that first.

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3. Coat the Shrimp

Much like achicken parmesan recipeor when makingavocado fries, it’s best to use 3 separate bowls with ingredients to get the coconut crust to stick.

Place raw shrimp into a large bowl and add flour, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss until completely coated. Whisk together egg and milk in a medium-sized shallow bowl. Combine shredded, unsweetened coconut and Panko breadcrumbs in a third bowl. Toss to combine.

Remove the shrimp from the flour mixture and dip them in the egg mixture bowl. Let excess egg run off and then cover completely in shredded coconut mixture. Place the coated shrimp on a cookie sheet or plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp.

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4. Pan Fry the Shrimp

Add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil to a large non-stick or stainless steel skillet over medium or medium-high heat.

Cook 5-6 shrimp in the hot oil for two minutes on each side, or until the shrimp are golden brown and done cooking. (You’ll know this when they start to curl up!) Remove cooked shrimp with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Repeat this step with the remaining shrimp.

Serve the crispy shrimp with the prepared sauce and enjoy.

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FAQs

Is coconut shrimp gluten-free?

Typically, coconut shrimp is not gluten-free.However, when you make it at home you can opt for gluten-free breadcrumbs and flour.

What sauce goes with coconut shrimp?

The absolute best sauce for coconut shrimp is a piña colada sauce. This tangy, sweet, and creamy sauce is the perfect pairing to the crunchy shrimp. A simple orange marmalade is also delicious. For a little more spice, go for a Thai sweet chili sauce.

How long to air fry coconut shrimp?

Depending on the size of the shrimp you choose, they will need to be air fried for 5 to 12 minutes.Be sure to check the temperature and doneness before enjoying.

Recipe Tips

  • Be picky. Find small to medium-sized shrimp that so they cook evenly without getting rubbery.
  • On or off.You can leave the tail on the shrimp or remove it, whatever you prefer.
  • Follow the steps.Make sure to use the 3-bowl method for the best results.
  • Don’t overdo it.If you overcook the shrimp, they will not be tender. Be sure to remove the shrimp from the oil as soon as they’re done.
  • Make it early.Save time by prepping the sauce a few hours before you need it.
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What to Serve with Coconut Shrimp

Coconut shrimp is a delicious main dish that pairs perfectly with a variety of sides. Try one of these easy recipes alongside it.

Of course, you have to make some Copycat Red Lobster Biscuits!

Instant Pot White RiceorCauliflower Riceare perfect alongside this coconut shrimp.

Get your greens withAir Fryer Broccoli,Sautéed Asparagus, orGreen Beans Almondine.

You can also opt forHomemade ColeslaworFish Taco Slaw.

More Shrimp Recipes

Shrimp is healthy, delicious, and incredibly versatile. These recipes are fantastic ways to enjoy some shrimp next time the craving starts.

  • Shrimp co*cktail
  • Shrimp Ceviche
  • Blackened Shrimp
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Cajun Shrimp and Grits
  • Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
  • Spicy Shrimp Tacos
  • Air Fryer Shrimp
  • Teriyaki Shrimp Stir-Fry

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Coconut Fried Shrimp (Red Lobster Recipe)

A healthier version ofRed Lobster's Coconut Shrimp Recipethat is also easy to make at home will quickly become a family favorite. Shrimp is coated in unsweetened shredded coconut, Panko breadcrumbs, and then lightly pan-fried in coconut oil.

Coconut Fried Shrimp (Red Lobster Recipe) - Evolving Table (8)

Yield 6 servings

Prep 30 minutes mins

Cook 15 minutes mins

Total 45 minutes mins

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. shrimp peeled and deveined, tails on or off
  • cup flour gluten free 1-to-1 blend
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¾ tsp. salt divided
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk almond or cashew
  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut finely shredded
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs gluten-free
  • ¼ – ½ cup coconut oil

Pineapple Dipping Sauce:

  • cup yogurt plain, Greek, or dairy-free
  • ¼ cup crushed pineapple canned, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut finely shredded
  • 2 tsp. sugar or coconut sugar
  • ⅛ – ¼ salt to taste
  • See this recipe in Healthy Meal Plan #2

Instructions

  • Coat the Shrimp: Place shrimp into a large bowl and add flour, paprika, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper. Toss until coated. Whisk together egg and milk in a medium-sized shallow bowl. Place shredded coconut, Panko breadcrumbs, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a second, medium-sized, shallow bowl. Toss to combine.

    Remove flour-coated shrimp from the bowl and dip in egg bowl. Let excess egg run off and then coat completely in shredded coconut/panko breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet or plate and repeat with remaining shrimp.

    1 lb. shrimp, ⅓ cup flour, ½ tsp. paprika, ¾ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, 1 large egg, 1 Tbsp. milk, ¾ cup unsweetened coconut, ½ cup Panko bread crumbs

  • Cook Shrimp on the Stove: Add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil to a large non-stick or stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Cook 5-6 shrimp for two minutes on each side, or until shrimp are done cooking. (You'll know this when they start to curl up!) Remove cooked shrimp and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Repeat this step with remaining shrimp.

    ¼ – ½ cup coconut oil

  • Make the Sauce: While shrimp are cooking, combine creamy pineapple dipping sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until combined.

  • Serve shrimp immediately with creamy pineapple dipping sauce and enjoy!See this recipe in Healthy Meal Plan #2.

    ⅓ cup yogurt, ¼ cup crushed pineapple, 2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut, 2 tsp. sugar, ⅛ – ¼ salt

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Video

Notes

  • Shrimp that are a 20-24 count size are recommended. You can use large or smaller, but make sure to adjust cooking time accordingly.
  • If you use smaller shrimp, you may run out of the coconut/breadcrumb mixture. If this happens, simply add additional coconut and breadcrumbs in a 3:2 ratio with a pinch of salt and continue breading your shrimp.
  • If oil looks brown after cooking a batch or two, drain coconut oil and add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Prep-Ahead Instructions:

Shrimp are best enjoyed fresh, but you can mix up the sauce ahead of time if you need.

Storage Directions:

Place any leftover shrimp in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days. It is best to freeze shrimp quickly after cooking for the best flavor. Line the leftovers on a tray in a single layer and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours. Then, transfer the shrimp to a freezer-safe bag and store for up to 12 months.You can bring them back to life and give them even more crunch by adding them to a large skillet with a bit of coconut oil. Cook over medium-low heat until heated through.

    Recipe Tips:

    • Be picky. Find small to medium-sized shrimp so they cook evenly without getting rubbery.
    • On or off.You can leave the tail on the shrimp or remove it, whatever you prefer.
    • Follow the steps.Make sure to use the 3-bowl method for the best results.
    • Don’t overdo it.If you overcook the shrimp, they will not be tender. Be sure to remove the shrimp from the oil as soon as they’re done.
    • Make it early.Save time by prepping the sauce a few hours before you need it.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 303kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 223mg, Sodium: 882mg, Potassium: 195mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 261IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 146mg, Iron: 3mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!

    Categorized as:
    Dairy-Free, Finger Foods, Fish and Seafood, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Low-Fat, Lunch, Main Dishes, Nut-Free, Paleo, Recipes, Soy-Free

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