Everyone will love these crunch fried morsels. Serve our popcorn shrimp, with spicy cocktail sauce and tartar sauce for dipping, as an appetizer for a summer soirée or enjoy as an entrée with a side of coleslaw. And be sure to use small shrimp for this recipe, 50 to 60 per pound, so they cook in a flash. This keeps them from getting tough and ensures that the batter turns ultra-crispy. Take no shortcuts with the dredging flour. The mix of six herbs and spices provides kick, and the cornmeal adds crunch.

Martha Stewart Living, June 2022


Credit: Chris Simpson

Recipe Summary

30 mins
Serves 4 to 6


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a small, heavy pot or large saucepan, heat 2 inches oil over medium until a deep-fat thermometer registers 365°F; adjust heat as necessary to maintain temperature.

  • Meanwhile, whisk together flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, and thyme; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In another bowl or a resealable plastic bag, toss shrimp with half of flour mixture to evenly coat. Whisk egg and milk into remaining flour mixture until smooth.

  • Working in four batches, dip coated shrimp in batter, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Fry, stirring a few times, until batter is crisp and golden brown and shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes a batch, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with a wire rack in a preheated 200° oven (to keep crisp and warm). Return oil to 365° between batches. Serve shrimp warm, with lemon wedges, parsley, and sauces.

Cook's Notes

If using larger shrimp, cut them in half.

While frying the remaining batches, keep the cooked shrimp crisp and warm on the wire rack in a preheated 200˚F oven.