Coconut and shrimp are the perfect pair! Did I also mention these were baked, not fried?! This baked coconut shrimp recipe is healthier, crispy, and makes a great dinner or appetizer.
Is it just a south Florida thing or are other people as obsessed with coconut shrimp as I am?
For this recipe I use already peeled and deveined shrimp. You can buy whole shrimp and clean them yourselves, but I appreciate the streamlined process. I also like to leave the tails on for easy handling when preparing/eating. I give the shrimp a rinse, the pat them dry with a paper towel.
Coating the shrimp
For this recipe I wanted to keep it light and gluten free. Instead of using all purpose flour, I used corn starch. I added a pinch of cayenne for some heat, kosher salt, and black pepper. You can substitute all purpose flour for the corn starch, but it will no longer be gluten free. Next is the egg, I used egg whites only instead of the whole egg to keep it light. You’ll beat the eggs for about 2 minutes until they are frothy. If you don’t beat them enough, they won’t properly coat the shrimp.
For the breading, I am solely using shredded coconut. You want a fine coconut shred consistency, you can always place larger coconut shreds in a food processor and pulse a few seconds if needed. Not sponsored, but Bob’s Red Mill has the perfect consistency of shredded coconut flakes. I found these at my local grocery store.
To stay organized and streamline the breading process, I like to create an assembly line/”breading station”. We are going to dip the shrimp in the cornstarch first, make sure to shake the excess off before proceeding or else it will be too thick of a coating. Next dip the shrimp in the egg whites, then into the coconut mixture and press the coconut onto each side of the coconut. Give it another little shake and repeat!
I use a baking sheet with a baking rack. This allows the shrimp to crisp up better while in the oven. Make sure to use cooking spray to grease the rack prior to adding the shrimp so they do not stick. After all the shrimp are on the rack and ready, I lightly spray the cooking spray over the top of them, then place in the oven.
Baking the shrimp
You’re going to cook the shrimp for 15 to 20 minutes, gently flipping them half way through. They should be bright pink on the outside, no longer translucent in the center, and the coconut has browned.
Once they are done, you can enjoy them with your favorite dipping sauce! Here I used a sweet & spicy chili dipping sauce I bought at the store.
You can enjoy these baked coconut shrimp as an appetizer or pair it with a side as a main dish! I hope you enjoy!
- 1 lb large raw peeled and deveined shrimp, tails still intact, rinsed and dried with a paper towel
- 1 ½ cups finely shredded coconut flakes
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 egg whites
- Cooking spray
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, for example a sweet and spicy chili sauce.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a baking sheet with a rack placed inside, spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper, stir to combine. In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites until they are frothy (about 2 minutes). In the last medium bowl, place the coconut flakes.
- One by one dip the shrimp first in the cornstarch and shake to remove excess, then into the beaten egg whites, then into the coconut flakes. Press the coconut flakes onto all sides of the shrimp, shake, then place on the baking rack. Repeat with all remaining shrimp.
- Cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the shrimp is no longer translucent in the middle and the coconut is golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, such as a sweet and spicy chili sauce
- If your coconut flakes are too large, you can pulse a few times in a food processor.
- You can substitute the corn starch for all purpose flour, but will no longer be gluten free.