Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Whole Food Eating

Categories: Appetizers  •  Main Dishes - Seafood    

Crunchie coconut crusted shrimp that makes a great appetizer or as the main dish for dinner. Serve with a delicious and easy honey mustard sauce that everyone will love.

Coconut shrimp on a platter with honey mustard sauce in a small bowl
Image by: Thora Toft

Prep time: Cook time: Makes: 4 to 8 appetizer servings Difficulty: Medium

Gluten free Dairy free Grain free option Soy free

This is a very flexible recipe, that is easy to adjust. Since shrimp come in such a wide variety of sizes, the amount of batter and coconut dredging mix needed can vary greatly. As well, different types of gluten free and grain free flours greatly affect how much batter it will make. Plan on having extra flour, an extra egg, and some extra shredded coconut close by, so you can make a bit more if needed.

You can make this with fresh coconut. Simply finely shred the fresh coconut meat, and let dry for a day in an airy spot, or dry out in a dehydrator. The flakes don't need to be bone dry, it's fine if they are even only 1/2 dry.

The shredded coconut works better if the shreds are shorter. It sticks to the shrimp better. If your coconut is too big, you can put it in a blender or food processor and make them smaller.

Use all organic ingredients. Ensure any spices are labeled certified gluten free, and any packaged items are labeled gluten free, including the shredded coconut.

1 pound Medium or jumbo shrimp, deveined, tails on (about 30 - 35 total shrimp)
3/4 cup Gluten free flour
1 cup Shredded dried coconut, unsweetened
2 large Eggs
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cumin or curry powder
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sea salt
Coconut oil or Homemade Lard, for deep frying
Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup Raw honey (see Notes below on honey free option)
1/4 cup Homemade Yellow Mustard or Dijon Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
3 thin slices Fresh pineapple, skin left on
Substitutions and Notes:
  • Eggs: This recipe requires a real egg, and is not suitable for egg replacers. The egg is needed to allow the batter to stick together once it's cooked.
  • Flour: This recipe can be made with any gluten free or grain free flour. The amount of browning on the shrimp will vary quite a bit depending on the flour used. For example, flour that contains almond flour or plantain flour will be much darker, simply because these flours brown when cooked at high temperatures. This is normal and perfectly fine.
  • The type of flour used will also affect the dredging process (flour and coconut mixture that the battered shrimp are dipped in). Some flours will quickly get sticky clumps in the dredging bowl. These sticky clumps won't stick to the shrimp. If this happens, just mix up a bit more coconut and flour mixture to continue dredging the shrimp. Discard the clumps.
  • Be prepared to make some more batter and dredging so keep the ingredients handy, and an extra egg, so you can quickly make some more if you're using more than the first batch made. The size of the shrimp and the type of flour will make the amount needed vary greatly.
  • Dipping Sauce: If you love to use a lot of sauce for dipping, then make a double amount of the dipping sauce.
  • Shrimp: The size of your shrimp will greatly affect how much batter and dredging will be needed. If using very large shrimp, you can either make more batter and dredging, or use less shrimp.
  • Coconut Oil: If possible, don't use raw coconut oil. It still contains coconut solids and will burn much quicker when used for deep frying. Try and find organic coconut oil that has been processed without chemicals. It should have the solids removed, and have less or no coconut smell, and is perfect for deep frying.
  • Honey Free: There are a couple alternatives to make this honey free. The first is that you can use your favorite low carb syrup in place of the honey. The second is to use mayonnaise instead of the honey, and add a teaspoon of fresh lime or lemon juice. This will make a creamy dip for your coconut shrimp that's nice and tangy.
  • Prepare shrimp. If deveining is needed, then do that. Remove the outer shells but leave the tail and the last joint of the shell on. Set aside in cool water until needed.
  • Prepare dipping sauce. Combine honey, mustard and black pepper and mix until blended. Set aside.
  • Prepare the dredging. Combine coconut and 1/4 cup flour and mix. Set in a shallow bowl or plate.
  • Using a deep fryer, heat the coconut oil or lard to the temperature recommended by the manufacturer for that particular oil. In general, coconut oil is heated to 325 to 375 degrees F, and lard is heated to 350 to 375 degrees F. Use a deep fryer or candy thermometer to ensure the temperature is correct. Using oil at the right temperature prevents food from being greasy. If you're using a flour that browns quickly, then fry it a bit lower temperature, around 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare batter. Whisk the eggs until frothy. Add paprika, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add baking soda and mix well. Add the flour (about 1/2 a cup). But don't add it all in, so it doesn't get too thick. Add about half of it, and slowly add it in to get it the right thickness. It should be a very thin batter. When dipping a shrimp in it, you only want a thin coating. It shouldn't be thick and gooey. 
  • Drain the shrimp, and lay on a paper towel. Use another paper towel to pat them dry.
  • Pick the shrimp up by the tails, and dip into the batter. Don't put batter on the tail. Batter can end right where the tail joins the shrimp. You can put batter on the final joint of the shell. Let the excess batter drip off. Then dip into the dredging, lightly pressing the coconut and flour mixture onto the shrimp.
  • Immediately place the single battered shrimp into the fryer, being careful to not burn yourself. Depending on the size of your fryer, you can fry 6 to 8 at a time. Cook for about 1 minute, then flip them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  • When done, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a drain rack or a plate with paper towels. Fry the rest of the shrimp.
  • For an extra tropical touch, cut thin slices from a pineapple, then cut in half and then cut into little wedges, that look pie shaped. You can leave the skin on. Then fry them in coconut oil until browned on both sides. Serve a few with each serving of coconut shrimp.
  • Serve the coconut shrimp with the honey mustard sauce and the pineapple wedges, if using.


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