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Kickin’ Fried Shrimp

The crunchy breading for this Kickin’ Fried Shrimp recipe features a perfectly seasoned flour and cornmeal mixture for extra crunch. In warm weather or cool, these fiery shrimp are sure to get the party started.

Easy Southern Kickin’ Fried Shrimp Recipe

These mouthwatering shrimp fall into the category of special treats for my family. Contrary to common thought about life in the South, deep fried dishes aren’t an everyday occurrence at our house so when we splurge, we do it right! Shrimp is definitely on our short list of favorite deep fried dishes following close behind Southern fried chicken.

How to Make the Best Southern Style Fried Shrimp

  • What’s the best breading for fried shrimp? There are many ways to make a breading for shrimp. This recipe features a perfectly seasoned flour-cornmeal breading that provides just the right balance between crispy and crunchy. Other common breadings used vary from panko breadcrumbs and dried seasoned breadcrumbs to grated Parmesan cheese, tempura batter or or light and crispy beer batter. See how to make beer battered fish here. 
  • What size shrimp will I need? I recommend using a medium-large size shrimp that have been peeled and with deveined tails removed.
  • This recipe uses a three part dredging system. First, you coat the shrimp with seasoned flour, then into a buttermilk egg mixture and into the flour cornmeal breading. Gently shake any excess breading from the shrimp before dropping into the hot oil to fry until golden.
  • Can I fry shrimp in a deep fryer? Sure, any deep pot, Dutch oven or fryer will do.
  • Can I make fried shrimp in advance and reheat? I don’t recommend making shrimp in advance and reheating it. When doing so, it becomes rubbery and not very appetizing. It’s best to fry the shrimp and serve it immediately.
  • Is there a delicious sauce that works great for dipping? I highly recommend making a batch of Comeback Sauce to serve on the side in addition to tarter sauce and classic cocktail sauce.

More Shrimp Recipes to Make

When you’re short on time, it’s always a plus that shrimp cooks quickly, too. Other shrimp recipes  you may like to try:


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Fried Shrimp on a plate with remoulade sauce
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5 from 4 votes

Kickin' Fried Shrimp

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time21 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, seafood
Cuisine: American
Keyword: kickin-fried-shrimp
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 472kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 2 lb medium raw shrimp peeled, deveined tails removed
  • 2 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup plain yellow cornmeal
  • 3 1/2 tsp seafood seasoning divided [i.e. Seafood Magic, Old Bay, Cajun-Creole]
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
  • 6-8 cups vegetable or peanut oil for frying


  • Season the shrimp with 1/2 tsp seafood seasoning and set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the self-rising flour, cornmeal, 3 tsp seafood seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground cumin.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk.
  • Toss the seasoned shrimp with 1/3 cup of the seasoned flour-cornmeal breading.
  • Spread out into a single layer so they won't clump.
  • Dip each piece in the buttermilk-egg wash.
  • Toss in the seasoned flour-cornmeal breading shaking off any excess.
  • Heat 4 inches of oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan to 350°F. Do not overfill the pot.
  • Fry the shrimp in batches for 2-3 minutes [depending on the size of the shrimp] until golden and crispy. Adjust the heat periodically to maintain the temperature of the oil while frying.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy golden shrimp to a paper towel lined pan to drain.
  • Repeat until all of the shrimp is fried. Sprinkle with additional seasoning after frying, if desired. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.


Self-rising flour has salt and baking powder already added. The baking powder adds a light and crispy texture to the breading that makes it so delicious! The salt in the flour and in the seafood seasoning makes it unnecessary to add additional salt to the breading. If needed, adjust to your taste.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 270mg | Sodium: 758mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


  1. 5 stars
    EXCELLENT! I typically read and recognize recipes as a guide except when baking. This one is PERFECT as written. This is my first ever review. Right amont of kick flavor and texture. I used Argentinian fresh caught large shrimp and it was phenomenal. You need to try and keep this recipe.

    1. To make your own, add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or white distilled vinegar to each cup of whole milk. Let stand for 5 minutes on the counter, then proceed with the recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Found this shrimp receipe a few weeks ago, it is outstanding, our guest said it was the best they had ever eaten, better than any restaurant

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but, if you’ve had success with a particular gluten free flour used for breading in the past, it should work.

  3. Do you have your own app?
    Had save some of your recipes and had a hell of a time finding them … forgetting your name
    Bought the shrimp but, needed to more ingredients.

    1. Hi Margo, I don’t but be sure to subscribe for email updates and bookmark my website in your browser.

  4. These shrimp are amazing! We live in Charleston, SC. They are better than any we’ve had in the many seafood restaurants here. Bravo!

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