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Fried Shrimp

Southern Fried Shrimp is crunchy and delicious and so easy to make! Try this recipe restaurant favorite that you can make at home in just minutes!

This crispy shrimp batter is made with a buttermilk and Old Bay seasoned flour for a flavorful and delicious coating. A favorite dinner or easy appetizer for any gathering.

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Platter of shrimp with cocktail sauce.

How to Make Southern Fried Shrimp

Collage battering shrimp and deep frying.
  1. Peel and devein shrimp.
  2. Pour buttermilk into a bowl.
  3. Mix flour and Old Bay Seasoning in a gallon zip top baggie or a bowl.
  4. Dip shrimp in buttermilk and shake off excess.
  5. Drop 4 or 5 shrimp into seasoned flour. Zip bag and shake to coat shrimp, or dredge through flour coating all sides.
  6. Shake off additional flour and place battered shrimp on a clean baking sheet.
  7. Heat oil into a dutch oven or heavy bottom pan over high heat until it reaches 350°.
  8. Fry shrimp, a few at a time for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and reaches at least 145° internal temperature.
  9. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to remove shrimp from hot oil.
Fried shrimp on a paper towel lined wire rack.
  1. Drain on paper towels lining a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.
Platter of fried shrimp with lemon wedges, parsley and cocktail sauce.

Serve crispy fried shrimp with delicious Cocktail Sauce, Tartar Sauce or White Barbecue Sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

Shrimp dipping into cocktail sauce.

Since we built our outdoor kitchen off of the pool area last summer, we have been doing most of our deep frying outside. Best idea ever! All of the mess and the smell of the grease from frying is outside instead of in my kitchen.

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What’s the Best Pan for Deep Frying?

  • We have a propane burner – like for a turkey fryer and use our Dutch Oven for deep frying. The cast iron is perfect for deep frying, maintaining the oil temperature perfectly.
  • A deep-fry thermometer is super handy to make sure your oil stays at the proper temperature. You can also use a deep fryer for this shrimp recipe.

Cooking Temperature and how Long to Fry Shrimp

Shrimp cook really quickly. The oil temperature should be 350-375° and the shrimp will cook in 1-2 minutes.

What Kind of Oil is Best for Fried Shrimp?

  • Peanut Oil is the best. It has a high smoke point and provides great flavor for deep frying.
  • Vegetable Oil or canola oil also works well. It is less expensive and also has a good smoke point for deep frying.

Best Side Dishes for Fried Shrimp

Platter of shrimp, hush puppies, bowl of slaw, cocktail sauce.

More Shrimp Recipes to Try

Why You Will Love this Fried Shrimp Recipe

  • The crispy coating takes the shrimp to the next level of delicious. 
  • A quick and easy recipe for any night of the week or a great addition to fish fries. 
  • Classic fried shrimp makes a great bite-sized appetizer and can be made with frozen or fresh shrimp.
Fried shrimp on a plate with hush puppies, lemon and cocktail sauce.

If you are looking for the best shrimp batter for crispy fried shrimp, give this recipe a try. It is a tried and true favorite.

If you love this recipe as much as we do, please leave a comment and a five star review. Help us share on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook!

Fried shrimp on a plate with lemon wedges, parsley and cocktail sauce.
Print Recipe
4.62 from 146 votes

Southern Fried Shrimp

Easy Southern Fried Shrimp is a delicious dinner or appetizer for any occasion.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crispy fried shrimp, fried shrimp batter, how to fry shrimp
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 525kcal
Author: Milisa



  • Pour buttermilk in a bowl.
  • Mix flour and Old Bay Seasoning together in a shallow dish.
  • Dip shrimp in buttermilk and dredge in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and place on a lined baking sheet.
  • Place oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pan and heat to 350°.
  • Fry shrimp a few at a time, 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Use a digital thermometer to test shrimp is at least 145° internal temperature.
  • Remove to a paper towel lined wire rack over a baking sheet to drain.
  • Serve with cocktail sauce or white barbecue sauce for dipping.



Store leftover shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.
To reheat shrimp, place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in a 375° oven for about 5- 8 minutes until heated through.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 242mg | Sodium: 1566mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g


    1. Southerners don’t use old bay seasoning, and there is no such thing as fresh frozen shrimp right off the boat. They don’t freeze them on the boat. There either fresh or frozen.

        1. Southern Living knows pretty much nothing about the South. He is right. We don’t use Old Bay in the South. So, you got this recipe from Southern Living. That’s called plagiarism, dear.

          1. Hi Zoey,
            I think you misunderstood. I am only quoting Southern Living talking about Old Bay Seasoning’s uses in southern cuisine. The recipe is my own, so no plagiarism here. If you read the comments, there are plenty of us southerners that do use Old Bay, so I don’t think you can speak for all of the south in this instance. You might try Old Bay, it’s pretty delicious even if its origins are not southern.

            ~ Milisa

        2. Actually, Trey Aubre is incorrect. They do freeze them on the boat. It’s called IQF and a lot, if not most of the shrimp boats use this method. The boats are even referred to as freezer boats. How do I know? Born and raised in Bayou La Batre and have worked and been around shrimp boats my entire life.

        3. Sorry to tell you but I am a southerner and I use old bay. All the fish I cook has old bay in the mix. Old bay is a southern go to when it comes to fish of any kind.

        1. Old Bay has no place in a southern recipe. That’s the point I immediately stopped reading.

      1. Yes, Trey. Some commercial fishing boats actually freeze their catch on board. And Yes – folks from the South also use Old Bay. Apparently you don’t, which is fine. And last but not least – it would be “They’re” NOT “There”.

      2. The south is considered anywhere below the Mason-Dixon Line. Old Bay is popular closer to the East Coast, while creole and Cajun seasonings are more popular closer to the Gulf of Mexico. You can use Tony Chachere’s or Tony’s Spice and Herb as well.

        1. Yes, Ole Bay has become very popular in the South. Many, many recipes I see even here in Louisiana use Ole Bay. I don’t understand this as there are so many good Canjun/Creole and seafood seasoning to choose from down here.

      3. My Mama was from Alabama and when I was a kid (in the 50s and 60s) She would ask her sister who was in Alabama, send her up some Old Bey because she couldn’t find it in Pittsburgh at that time. So I’m not sure where you got your information.

      4. Southerners need to check out Old bay or J.O. Spice . We are kicking it here in Maryland And stop boiling everything, STEAM it

        1. We wouldn’t dream of boiling or steaming or shrimp or oysters here in the South. We like seafood deep fried with hush puppies

      5. Wow! Trey, you literally have no clue what the hell you’re talking about. I’m as southern as they come, born & bred in south Alabama, and me, my family, and everyone I know has used Old Bay seasoning as far back as I can remember. And I’ve shrimped the gulf out of Bayou La Batre and Dauphin Island, and shrimped Mobile Bay for over 30 years, and we flash freeze about half the shrimp we catch, right at our boat when we dock. This helps us move a higher percentage to market. Don’t post a comment when you clearly don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

        1. Amen we’ll said I am 71yrs and far back as I can remember been seeing old bay in spice rack.keep telling Southern truth.

  1. Those shrimp look so crispy and fried to perfection I’m drooling over here! I love to cook outside and having an outdoor kitchen sounds like a dream. I’ll have to give these a try in the near future.

    1. Hi Jacqualine,
      You can use milk or you can stir about a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into the milk for a buttermilk substitute. I hope you try this shrimp.

    2. How to make buttermilk:

      1 cup milk
      1 teaspoon baking soda

      Combine the 2 ingredients in a bowl and stir. Let sit for about 5 minutes and the milk turns into buttermilk. Enjoy those fried shrimp!

      1. Lol I don’t know where you came up with this…..I’m pretty sure you just made a concoction people use to soften their feet. This comment was in 2019, I hope you have learn how to make buttermilk by now.

    3. How come you don’t have butter milk in Hawaii??? I’m on the Big Island in Kona and we have plenty of butter milk.

    4. I don’t like to drink buttermilk but love to cook with it. I get powdered buttermilk from the store or on line and keep it in the freezer.

  2. We tried both your miso honey garlic shrimp recipe and the southern fried shrimp recipe this week. Both were outstanding. The family loved them. Thank you!

    1. Misha,
      I am so glad y’all enjoyed them! Shrimp is my favorite for a quick dinner! Thanks for stopping by to let me know. You made my day!

  3. I fried some colossal shrimp. I did not have buttermilk so I put 1bsp of lemon juice in a cup of milk. I also added to the seasoning with some cayenne because I love some spice! I must say this was a delicious recipe! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. My husband loves shrimp so these were a big hit in our house! We will definitely be making these again!

  5. Absolutely delicious! I got the 16/20 shrimp and they cooked up beautifully! I have been craving fried shrimp all summer. I’ve tried three different restaurants in land locked Albuquerque, but none of them held a candle to your recipe. Thank you!!

  6. Just curious if there would be a way to do this in an air fryer? Maybe spritz it with oil??? The recipe sounds AMAZING!!

    1. Hi Janette,
      I haven’t tried it in the air fryer but I think it would work. Definitely with a spritz of oil. Let me know how it does if you try it.

      ~ Milisa

  7. I used canola oil at 350 for 1 minute 45 sec and a good portion of the breading fried off. These were 20 to 24 per pound shrimp. They were perfectly cooked with little breading. I will try it again with peanut oil next time and do two batches with one at 350 and the other at 375..

    BTW: I grew up 45 miles from the GA coast line and 45 miles from the FL state line. Old Bay is a seasoning staple in that area.For a Low Country Boil the liquid Old Bay Crab boil is the way to go.

    1. Make sure your shrimp is dry – easy to pat dry with paper towels before you bread them. That might help the breading stick. Peanut oil is the best if you have it. That’s what my folks always used in our catfish restaurant and it sure makes a difference.
      ~ Milisa

  8. If you don’t have buttermilk, 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp white vinegar and let sit in fridge for 10 minutes before using works well. I’m lactose intolerant and used almond milk instead and it worked great!

  9. The basic recipe above (buttermilk and flour seasoned with salt and a bit of cayenne) produced the best fried shrimp I have ever had. 2 minutes cooking time for jumbo shrimp was perfect. Brava!

  10. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Miss! I love fried shrimp but have never made it at home. I always treat myself at seafood restaurants, though. I am going to try this with your oven baked tater tots this weekend. 🙂

  11. Old Bay is made in Baltimore about 30 miles south of the Mason Dixon. Chesapeake Bay area for sure. Ya’ll are welcome south and north alike

    1. Eastern NC girl here( an hour from the coast) everyone uses Old Bay! I was looking for a recipe that didn’t use cornmeal I normally use 1/2 cornmeal 1/2 flour but just realized I am out of cornmeal. Thank you for your delicious recipe! Be kind!

  12. While on the hunt for a Southern fried shrimp recipe that included buttermilk, I stumbled upon this gem, and I must say, it was incredibly easy to follow and the result was absolutely delicious!

  13. I made this for supper and we are all in love! Even my 9yr old that swears off seafood all together said they were delicious. That’s a win!!

  14. Wow, this post has me craving fried shrimp now! Your vivid descriptions made my mouth water. I’d love to hear some recommendations!

  15. 5 stars
    I really appreciate the amazing recipes you share. I’ll definitely be revisiting them in the future. Many thanks! Warm regards from Switzerland.

4.62 from 146 votes (145 ratings without comment)

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