Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)

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This Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy) is superb! The shrimp are lightly coated in panko breadcrumbs and seasoning blend, then pan-fried to a perfectly crunchy golden brown. Add a squeeze of lemon, or serve with your favorite cocktail sauce. This is the most delicious fried shrimp recipe you’ve ever tasted!

Fried shrimp on serving platter with lemon wedges, parsley, and tartar sauce. Blue napkin on the side.
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These easy-fried shrimp are juicy and crunchy on the outside, wrapped in seasoned panko bread crumbs. The batter doesn’t overcoat the shrimp, which gives it a light and crisp texture.  It’s delicious just like our Pan Fried Shrimp Recipe!

They are great for a party appetizer or a light main dish with a simple salad or homemade french fries. These shrimp will become a family favorite.

You will also love Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe, Easy Crab Cakes Recipe (no egg), Crispy Calamari Air Fryer Recipe, Shrimp Salad, and Baked Eggplant Slices.

Fried shrimp on serving platter with lemon wedges, parsley, and tartar sauce. and cocktail sauce.

Simple Ingredients

ingredient shot for recipe
  • Large Shrimp peeled, deveined, tails on
  • Panko breadcrumbs* 
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Eggs
  • Water
  • All-purpose flour (you can use cornstarch)
  • Vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil for frying**

For Serving

  • Lemon wedges
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Tartar Sauce 
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

*You could try using plain bread crumbs for the recipe. I find that panko works the best and creates a nice crunchy texture.

**You can use plain vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil. I prefer a nonflavored oil for frying the butterflied shrimp, so save your avocado oil and olive oil.

See the recipe card for quantities.

Fried shrimp on serving platter with lemon wedges, parsley, and tartar sauce. Glas of water with lemon in it.

How to Make Butterfly Shrimp

This is an easy recipe for crispy shrimp!

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- mixing the flour and herbs in a small bowl

In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Mix to combine.

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- mixing the eggs with a whisk in a small bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and water.

How to cut shrimp for butterfly shrimp

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- butterflying the shrimp with a sharp knife.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels and set aside to use for the cooked shrimp.

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- all shrimp butterflied on a wood cutting board.

Butterfly each shrimp by carefully slicing through the center of the shrimp, making a lengthwise incision. Our Exclusive Cutting Board is featured.

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- drenching the shrimp in flour and spice mixture.

Coat all sides of the shrimp in flour mixture, shaking to remove excess flour.

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- drenching the shrimp in the egg mixture.

Hold the shrimp by the tail then dip it into the egg mixture bowl, allowing the excess egg to drip back into the egg bowl.

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- drenching the shrimp in the panko bread crumbs.

Place panko bread crumbs in a medium bowl or shallow dish.

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- all shrimp coated and ready to fry in oil.

Place flour and egg-coated shrimp into panko bread crumbs, cover with panko, and press lightly, ensuring the shrimp is coated with panko on both sides and the butterflied shrimp stay open at the top. 

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- frying shrimp in oil in a shallow pot.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or deep fryer over medium until shimmering and hot, about 350 degrees F.

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- taking out the shrimp with a slotted spoon.

Place shrimp into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan and cook in batches of about 2-7, depending on the pot size. 

Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon.

process for how to make Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy)- laying fried shrimp on paper towel to absorb excess oil

Place the cooked shrimp on the baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. 

Fried shrimp on serving platter with lemon wedges, parsley, and tartar sauce.

Serve hot with fresh lemon wedges, your favorite tartar sauce, or cocktail sauce. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley, if desired. Enjoy.

Fried shrimp on serving platter with lemon wedges, parsley, and tartar sauce.
Hand dipping fried shrimp into tartar sauce.

Variations

hand holding fried shrimp with a bite taken out of it.

Storage

Store leftover butterfly shrimp in an airtight container kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days—Reheat in an air fryer or on a baking sheet in the oven set to 300F to crisp.

How to Freeze Breaded Butterly Shrimp

Freeze breaded butterfly shrimp before deep frying them for the best results. To freeze the shrimp, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lightly coated with panko breadcrumbs and place them in the freezer.
Allow shrimp to freeze completely, then remove from the baking sheet and place in a freezer bag.
You can cook the breaded shrimp from a frozen state, like the ones from the grocery store! To cook homemade frozen shrimp, fry them the same way you would on the day you made them.

Top tips

  • The shrimp will cook quickly. Do not overcook them, or they will become rubbery. 
  • When dipping the shrimp in the coating, hold them by the tail and shake off any excess as you dip them.
baket of fried shrimp with one shrimp in the tartar sauce. Two glasses of water with lemon surrounding it.

FAQs

What is butterfly shrimp?

Butterfly shrimp or butterflied shrimp refers to how you cut the shrimp before baking or frying them. To butterfly the shrimp, you’ll carefully slice down the center of the shrimp to ensure even and quick cooking. This process is usually done on large or jumbo shrimp but can also be done on regular-sized shrimp.

What is the difference between butterfly shrimp and regular shrimp?

The main difference between a butterfly shrimp and a regular shrimp is the way ot is prepared before cooking. The term butterfly shrimp in culinary terminology means splitting a shrimp lengthwise so a thin strip keeps it whole. When the shrimp is spread open, the two sides are symmetrical, resembling a butterfly.

Why do you butterfly shrimp?

The reason for butterfly shrimp is for better cooking and a pretty presentation. Butterflying shrimp before frying helps the shrimp cook evenly and gives a fancy presentation. Cut the flesh along the back to butterfly shrimp, ensuring not to cut through the shrimp.

Can I make Butterfly Shrimp ahead of time?

Yes, you can make fried butterflied shrimp ahead of time. Once all shrimp have been coated and placed on the plate, place the plate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 5 hours. When ready to fry, take out the fridge and heat the oil.

Can you air fry breaded butterflied shrimp?

Yes! You can make this recipe for breaded butterflied shrimp in an air fryer. After the shrimp is coated in the breadcrumb mixture, preheat an air fryer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray and cook for 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the shrimp over and spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. Cook for 4 minutes more or until desired crispness.

What are the best shrimp to use for fried butterflied shrimp?

Large shrimp work best for frying these fried butterfly shrimp. Buy the largest shrimp you can find. 15 count size whenever possible but 16/20 and 21/25 sizes both work well too.

Can I use Frozen Shrimp for frying?

You can use frozen shrimp if you allow them to thaw entirely beforehand. Rinse and pat them dry once thawed so the breading and seasonings can stick. I do not recommend pre-cooked frozen shrimp for this recipe, only raw frozen shrimp.

How do you de-vein a shrimp?

To devein the shrimp, slice alongside the vein just enough to reveal the vein and remove it. The vein, or shrimp digestive tract, is not harmful if eaten; it’s unpleasant.

Fried shrimp on serving platter with lemon wedges, parsley, and tartar sauce. and cocktail sauce.

What to Serve with this Recipe

Served butterfly shrimp with Italian Fennel, Citrus, Pomegranate and SaladShredded Zucchini and Cheese Pasta (easy)Easy Soft Italian No Knead Bread you have a meal that tastes like an Italian restaurant!

Also, try Sautéed Green Beans Recipe (Easy), or Crispy Brussels Sprouts Recipe.

Don’t forget dessert. Try Simple Italian Apple Cake (one bowl), or Classic Italian Tiramisu Recipe (Authentic).

More Easy Shrimp Recipes

Fried shrimp on serving platter with lemon wedges, parsley, and tartar sauce. Glas of water with lemon in it.

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Butterfly Shrimp Recipe

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5 from 1 review

This Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy) is superb! The shrimp are lightly coated in panko breadcrumbs and seasoning blend, then pan-fried to a perfectly crunchy golden brown. Add a squeeze of lemon, or serve with your favorite cocktail sauce.

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled, deveined, tails on
  • 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (you can also use cornstarch)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil for frying

For Serving

  • Lemon wedges
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Tartar Sauce
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels and set aside to use for the cooked shrimp.
  2. Butterfly each shrimp by carefully slicing through the center of the shrimp, making a lengthwise incision. Do not cut all the way through. Place butterflied shrimp on a large or medium serving platter coated with a bit of oil.
  3. Place panko bread crumbs in a medium bowl or shallow dish.
  4. In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Mix to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and water.
  6. Coat all sides of the shrimp in flour mixture, shaking to remove excess flour.
  7. Then, dip the shrimp into the egg mixture bowl, allowing the excess egg to drip back into the egg bowl.
  8. Place flour and egg-coated shrimp into panko bread crumbs, cover with panko, and press lightly, ensuring the shrimp is coated with panko on both sides and the butterflied shrimp stay open at the top. 
  9. Place breaded shrimp on the plate and continue this process until all shrimp are breaded.
  10. Optional: Once all shrimp have been coated and placed on the plate, place the plate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 5 hours. This helps the crunchy topping stick to the shrimp better, but you can still cook them right after coating them.
  11. Heat the oil in a large skillet or deep fryer over medium until shimmering and hot, about 350 degrees F.
  12. Place shrimp into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan and cook in batches of about 7. 
  13. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon. Place the cooked shrimp on the baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. 
  14. Serve hot with fresh lemon wedges, your favorite tartar sauce, or cocktail sauce. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

 

  • The shrimp will cook quickly. Do not overcook them, or they will become rubbery. 
  • When dipping the shrimp in the coating, hold them by the tail and shake off any excess as you dip them.

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: American
  • Cuisine: American

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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