The Secret Ingredient (Coconut): Crispy Pina Colada Shrimp Recipe

The Secret Ingredient

Every month we highlight a different ingredient and share weekly recipes that showcase its uses.

The Secret Ingredient (Coconut): Crispy Pina Colada Shrimp Recipe

Coconut shrimp. Even if they're fried, the fact that they're coated in fruit means they're healthy, right?

Coconut has both a distinct flavor and texture. Mixed here with panko, the coconut toasts as it fries, and becomes part of the tooth-cracking crunch on the outside of these giant, juicy shrimp. I serve them with store-bought spicy pineapple salsa, hence the "Pina Colada" part.

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Total time:10 to 15 minutes


  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • 16 11-15 count shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails attached
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg whites, whisked with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup dried shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Store-bought pineapple salsa on the side


  1. 1.

    Fill a cast iron skillet halfway with oil, and heat over medium to medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.

  2. 2.

    While the oil is heating, set up a breading station. Place three bowls next to each other. In the first, put the flour. In the second, the egg white whisked with water. In the third, the coconut and panko. Add salt to the flour and coconut mixture, and combine thoroughly with a fork.

  3. 3.

    Dredge the shrimp first in flour, then in egg, and finally in panko-coconut, shaking off any excess between steps. Check that the oil has reached 350 degrees F. Add the shrimp in batches of 3 or 4 to the hot oil, and fry 30 to 45 seconds on each side, turning once. The shrimp will be crispy and golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

  4. 4.

    Season the hot shrimp with salt, and serve with lime wedges immediately.