The best Cajun fried shrimp recipe. That’s what this is. Go on. Try it for yourself and see. It’s easy, authentic, and Cajun through and through.
Bayou fried shrimp. Say the word “bayou,” and we conjure romantic notions of swampy marshlands and, natch, the best Cajun fried shrimp you’ve ever tasted. And it’s easy. This bayou fried shrimp recipe relies on a quick bath in egg and milk followed by a dusting of cornmeal or self-rising flour. No batter. No breading. Just authentic Cajun fried shrimp recipe. So sit back, relax, and have an Abita Amber along with your shrimp.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Bayou Fried Shrimp
- Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
- 3 pounds large raw shrimp peeled, tails intact
- 2 cups milk preferably whole
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard (optional)
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning such as Tony Chachere’s
- 1 (12-ounce) package fish-fry mix or 2 cups finely ground cornmeal or self-rising flour, seasoned with salt,black pepper and, if desired, cayenne or other spices to taste
- Peanut, canola, or other vegetable oil for frying
- Using a sharp paring knife, butterfly and devein the shrimp. (That means, quite simply, make a deep slit down the back of each shrimp, all the way from the big end of the shrimp to the skinny tail, cutting almost but not all the way through the inside curve of the shrimp. Use a paper towel or your fingertips to remove the dark line that runs along the length of the shrimp.) Toss the butterflied, deveined shrimp in a large bowl.
- In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, mustard if desired, and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning. Pour the mixture over the shrimp, cover, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- In a shallow dish, combine 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning and the fish-fry mix, cornmeal, or self-rising flour. Dredge the shrimp in the mixture and shake off any excess. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer on 2 baking sheets.
- Pour enough oil into a Dutch oven or other deep-sided pot to reach a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil to 325°F (163°C). Place wire cooling racks over paper towels or spread some brown paper grocery bags on your counter.
- Fry the shrimp in small batches, being careful not to crowd the pot, flipping once, until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.
- Transfer the shrimp to the wire racks or the brown paper bags to drain for a few moments. Serve hot.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a very simple, straightforward method for making fried shrimp. Cooking temperature and timing are perfect. The shrimp come out juicy with a crisp crust and perfect seasoning. What’s not to like?
I tested the cornmeal-coated version of this dish; I made my own mix, seasoning it with salt, pepper, cayenne, and a bit of garlic powder and onion powder. If you use the self-rising flour, be sure to season it, just as you would cornmeal. A homemade tartar sauce, or better yet, remoulade is the perfect accompaniment.
Yum! Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside. I’ve never used self-rising flour as a coating for fried shrimp before, but it worked really well. The light, crisp coating kind of shattered when you bit into the shrimp, and the cooking time was just about perfect. I served it with a sweet Asian chile sauce, but it really didn’t need it.
Normally I just dip shrimp in egg seasoned with Tony Chachere’s and then dip them in the well-known Zatarain’s Shrimp-Fri mix. I’d read that Trisha Yearwood uses the self-rising flour method for frying her catfish, and it sure looked crisp, so I tried that method for this fried shrimp recipe. It does result in a nice, crisp exterior that doesn’t get soggy even if you’re frying a larger amount.
I saved myself some prep time and bought peeled and deveined shrimp with the tails on at $12.99 a pound, and it was worth the time spared. 1 pound fed 3 of us. I thought this was pretty economical. We sure were happy, and the other 2 requested that I fry shrimp this way from now on.
This fried shrimp recipe is a very easy and tasty dish.
The recipe was easy to follow, and all of the times and temperatures worked as written.I used cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper for the breading. I made my own Cajun seasoning with a simple mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried oregano. I made a tartar sauce as an accompaniment. Cocktail sauce or remoulade would also be good.
Originally published June 21, 2020