Firecracker Shrimp

Crispy Shrimp & Spicy-Sweet Sauce! (GF)

What makes the shrimp crispy?

A light dusting of cornstarch makes these popcorn shrimp turn nice and crisp when fried. Using cornstarch makes them gluten free, but also makes the shrimp lighter in texture, no heavy breading here.

What is firecracker sauce

I like to think of firecracker sauce as hot and sweet! Using sweet chili sauce as the base, it is mixed with mayonnaise and hot sauce to make a creamy, cool drizzle for the shrimp! You can buy sweet chili sauce in the grocery store, but I highly recommend you make your own. Homemade has no chemical additives, and making it from scratch is easy, I include the recipe below.

What type of shrimp to use?

I like using frozen shrimp. But fresh is fine too. Sometimes frozen shrimp are actually more fresh than shrimp at the seafood counter. This is because shrimp that you buy in the freezer are frozen immediately after they are caught. Think about all the time it takes for the shrimp to reach the grocery store after they are caught. With that being said, there is nothing wrong with fresh shrimp, just buy from a reputable seafood counter! The shrimp used for this recipe I would describe as “popcorn” size. They are 61/70, which simply means there are about 61-70 shrimp per pound. To illustrate this- if you have shrimp labeled as 16/20 count, they are larger than 51/60, and have about 16-20 shrimp in a pound. The smaller shrimp are better for this recipe because they fry up real quick and the cornstarch holds onto the small shrimp better, resulting in a nice crisp crust!

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 30 mins
Servings: 2
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


These shrimp get crispy with a dusting of cornstarch and a quick shallow fry. Toss them in homemade spicy sweet sauce!

You Need

For the Firecracker Sauce

For the Sweet Chili Sauce

For the Shrimp


Make the Sweet Chili Sauce

    • In a small saucepan combine all ingredients for the sweet chili sauce over medium low heat.

    • Bring to a simmer.

    • Whisk vigorously until combined and thick.
    Of course, you can use store bought, but it's almost always better to make it from scratch. The ingredients from a bottle of organic sweet chili sauce I saw recently included soybean oil & xanthan gum... Not clean!

Make the Firecracker Sauce

    • In a small bowl combine all ingredients for firecracker sauce.

    • Whisk to combine. Add more chili flakes/sriracha as needed to taste your heat preferences.

    • Set aside while you cook the shrimp.

Make the Shrimp

    • Rinse and dry the shrimp well. 

    • In a small heavy bottomed pot or deep fry pan, heat oil until hot. Test to see if your oil is ready by dropping a small piece of shrimp in the oil. Oil is ready for frying if the oil bubbles and pops when you add the shrimp.

    • ​​Fry the shrimp about 2 minutes per side. This time will vary depending on how big your shrimp are. Small shrimp wont take long!

    • Remove shrimp as they are done frying and lay them on a cooling rack, or paper towels to drain.

    • You may need to fry the shrimp in batches so you don't over crowd the pan.

    • Let cool just slightly before topping your crispy shrimp on a bed of lettuce, cabbage, or rice. Drizzle with the sauce.
    It is best to leave these shrimp to air dry for about 20 minutes after rinsing and patting them dry. The more water they hold, the more they will cause the oil to pop when fried. You don't want to be hit with popping oil!


Food grade squeeze bottles are a great way to get that 'restaurant quality look' to drizzle the sauce over the shrimp perfectly.
Keywords: shrimp, fried shrimp, firecracker shrimp, gluten free fried shrimp, seafood
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Eat Smart Be Well

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