Crunchy baked coconut shrimp recipe made with only five ingredients! A healthier twist on a tropical seafood appetizer served with an orange honey dipping sauce.
As summer is winding down let’s hold on to those warm sun rays a few moments longer. I thought I’d share a recipe that totally screams tropical vacation, crunchy coconut shrimp! I recently hit the beach with my family visiting from the San Francisco Bay Area. We decided to drink lava flows and enjoy the sunset at Duke’s Hawaiian-inspired restaurant.
I was craving some golden coconut shrimp, so we ordered a plate to share. The first sweet and savory bite sent me straight to the islands! My sister-in-law Svetlana and I brainstormed about creating a baked version. I decided to take the challenge and go for it! You are going to love this healthier baked coconut shrimp version of a fried classic. Get ready to devour a whole plate by yourself. Aloha!
I like to use medium-sized shrimp. They are just the right two bites portions. The biggest problem I see with baking coconut shrimp is you never get the deep golden brown color because it’s not completely submerged in oil. Plus the panko bread crumbs and the coconut are both white in color, so you’re already at a culinary disadvantage. It sure is a trade-off, but I’ve got a simple technique for you so you can add color and crunch without all of the fat. High five!
All you need to do is lightly toast the chopped coconut shreds in a large pan until they are dry to the touch with a just a little browning. Next is the Panko bread crumbs, using the same technique of toasting. You don’t want the coconut and Panko completely brown because it will continue to brown slightly when baking. You want to get them about 70% toasted.
Hey there! Crunchy coconut shrimp in all of its golden crispy glory. I love the simplicity of this recipe. It’s only five ingredients for the shrimp. I followed a traditional breading method. The shrimp gets lightly coated in cornstarch to create a little moisture barrier. Then the shrimp is dipped in egg, the coconut breadcrumb mixture. You can stop there, but I like extra crispy shrimp and do a second dip in egg and coconut coating again.
There this ONE critical thing you must remember to prevent a smokey disaster! Once you transfer the shrimp to the baking rack, if any breadcrumbs or pieces of coconut fall onto the sheet pan beneath, remove them! Just carefully lift up the rack, place it on the counter and then shake off the excess coating on the pan. Trust me, at 400 degrees those little bits are going to burn. I’m speaking from experience, so if you forget to do this let’s just say I told ya so, haha.
After about 15 minutes, you’ve got crispy golden shrimp made with no oil. That’s pretty impressive! But you can’t enjoy these without a little sweet and tangy dipping sauce, right?
I’ve love to make a quick sauce. Freshly squeezed orange juice, a touch of sauce and honey, red pepper flakes for heat, and cornstarch slurry to thicken it all up in under a minute on the stove.
We are ready to dig in! Make sure to get the entire shrimp covered because- no double-dipping. Unless if you don’t want to share, I don’t blame you. This recipe is the perfect appetizer to make for your lucky and hungry family or friends. If you are looking for a kid-friendly recipe, give my baked chicken tenders a try, my son loves them! I can’t wait to hear if you like the baked or fried recipe better. What other sauces do you like for dipping your coconut shrimp?
What is the Basic Breading Technique for Crunchy Coconut Shrimp?
- Cornstarch Dredge– It’s a lighter coating for seafood compared to flour. Helps the egg batter stick better and serves as a light moisture barrier.
- Egg Batter– Eggs plus a pinch of salt whisked together. The glue for the coating and helps it stay on after baking as the proteins gel and harden as it gets cooked, think scrambled eggs.
- Coating- Sweetened shredded coconut plus panko bread crumbs (or your choice). This gives the extra crispy texture and taste. I repeat the egg and coating step twice for a SUPER crunchy coating.
Baked Coconut Shrimp with Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup coconut flakes, sweetened
- 1 cup panko, bread crumbs
- 1 pound shrimp, medium-sized, 16-20 count, peeled, deveined, tails intact
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- ½ cup orange juice, plus zest (if using fresh oranges)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce , low sodium
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch, for orange sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and lightly coat with baking spray or oil. Set aside.
- Chop coconut flakes into smaller pieces. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add chopped coconut flakes.
- Toast until lightly golden brown and crisp, not all of the flakes will get toasted completely. You just want to add a little bit of color. Shake the pan every 30 seconds, toast about 4 to 5 minutes, or until light golden in color. Transfer to a shallow baking dish.
- In the same pan heated over medium heat, add panko bread crumbs. Toast until light golden brown, shaking the pan every minute, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add to the baking dish with toasted coconut. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- Wash peeled and deveined shrimp, then pat dry with a paper towel. Add cornstarch to a small bowl. Working one shrimp at a time, lightly dip each piece of raw shrimp into the cornstarch coating all sides. Shake off excess cornstarch. Dip shrimp in the whisked egg, then dip in coconut mixture, pressing in the coating on top the shrimp.
- Lightly dip the shrimp again in the egg, then in the coconut mixture and press, ensuring that the entire shrimp is coated. Transfer to the greased rack on the sheet pan. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
- Before baking, remove any bits of coating from the sheet try that may have fell. The high baking temperature will burn the panko coconut coating if left on the bottom of the pan.
- Bake shrimp in the center of the oven for 14 to 15 minutes, until crisp on the outside and the shrimp is fully cooked. It should look pink and tighten into a loose C shape. Meanwhile, make the orange sauce.
- In a small pot add orange juice, zest, soy sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- In a small bowl whisk together 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water. Add cornstarch mixture to the hot liquid and whisk continuously until the mixture slightly thickens, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small serving bowl.
- Serve baked coconut shrimp on and platter with orange dipping sauce.