Shrimp and Popcorn Recipe

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Every time I host a party, I offer a variety of hearty snacks that include corn cheese sauce, baked chicken wings, and these irresistible popcorn shrimp.

Popcorn shrimp is one of my all-time appetizers to order in restaurants, I can't resist those crunchy little snacks! It is actually quite simple to make your own fried shrimp at home. I have to say that I think my version is even better than what you would get in a restaurant.

Why is it called popcorn shrimp?

This dish is known as popcorn shrimp because they are small pieces of breaded shrimp. These shrimp are often eaten by a handful, similar to how you would eat popcorn.

How are shrimp made from popcorn?

Mix the flour and seasonings to create the coating for the shrimp. Mix shrimp with a small amount of seasoned flour, then dip each shrimp in a mixture of egg and milk. Cover each shrimp with another layer of flour, then place them in a pot of hot cooking oil. Drain, then serve immediately with the sauce of your choice.

What type of shrimp is best for popcorn?

You must make this dish with very small shrimp. You can use rock shrimp, or select a shrimp on count 61/70, 51/60, or 41/50. Just be aware that cooking times may vary slightly depending on the shrimp size you select. Carefully watch the shrimp as they cook, then remove them from the oil as soon as they brown.


To peel the shrimp, simply use your thumb to press the underside of the shrimp where the legs are. Peel each side of the peel backwards, from front to back. You can devein a shrimp by cutting along the top of the raw shrimp with a sharp paring knife. The cut should go from the front of the shrimp to the tail. Cut about 1/8 inch into the shrimp. Inside the cut you will see a dark vein. Remove the vein with the tip of your knife.

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Tips for the perfect shrimp

  • Be sure to use a frying thermometer to keep the oil at the proper temperature. If the oil is too hot, the shrimp may burn. If the oil is too cold, the shrimp can absorb excess oil and become greasy.
  • Fried shrimp is best when served immediately. You can reheat the popcorn shrimp in the oven, however there is a possibility that the shrimp will become rubbery due to the long cooking time.
  • I like to serve my fried shrimp with cocktail sauce. Other great options include marinara sauce or lemon aioli.

Flavor variations

  • Mexican: Add 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon of cumin to the flour mixture.
  • Italian: omit the paprika. Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder and 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning to the flour. Sprinkle the cooked shrimp with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Cajun: Add 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning to the flour. Serve with remoulade for dipping.
  • Asian: Skip the paprika. Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of five-spice powder to the flour. Top the cooked shrimp with sesame seeds and sliced ā€‹ā€‹green onions.

These shrimp are the ultimate party snack and always the first item to disappear at parties. Everyone will beg you for the recipe!

More fabulous snack options

  • Reuben Dip
  • Mushrooms stuffed with sausages
  • Homemade cheese ball
  • Fried green beans
  • Fried chicken wings

Shrimp and Popcorn Video

Shrimp with popcorn

This popcorn shrimp recipe consists of tender shrimp bites covered in seasonings and fried to perfection golden brown. An easy snack option that is sure to be a hit with family and friends.

Preparation time: 20 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 Calories: 314kcal


  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt and more to serve
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked or normal paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley


  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, paprika, pepper and garlic.
  • Dry the shrimp and place them in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and stir to combine until shrimp are covered.
  • Heat 3-4 inches of oil in a large deep pot at 375 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, mix the egg and milk.
  • Dip each shrimp in the milk mixture, then dredge the remaining seasoned flour.
  • Place 8-10 pieces of shrimp in the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove the shrimp from the oil and drain them on paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining shrimp.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.


Calories :: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 43 g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 271mg | Sodium: 677mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 260 IU | Vitamin C: 5 mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 3 mg


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