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Firecracker Shrimp

This Firecracker Shrimp is a sensational combination of juicy, crispy, sticky, sweet and spicy.  Each bite explodes with texture and flavor - like a mini firecracker – you will be obsessed!  This shrimp recipe comes together quickly with zero chopping, and can even be breaded ahead of time. Best of all, you control the heat and cooking method depending on how naughty you want to be; cook the shrimp by baking, air frying, pan frying or deep frying – all options included.  Serve this Firecracker Shrimp as everyone’s favorite appetizer or as everyone’s new favorite entrée with rice and veggies.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 6 servings



  • 1 ½ pounds raw extra-large shrimp (16-20 ct), peeled and deveined, tails left intact
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, garlic powder, ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Canola oil or vegetable if pan frying or deep frying



If baking

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Add panko to a large baking sheet and toss with 1/4 cup canola oil until evenly moistened. Spread panko into an even layer. (You may also spray with cooking spray instead of oil, see notes). Bake at 425 degrees F for about 5-7 minutes, or until golden, stirring half way through cooking. Keep an eye on the panko the last few minutes so it doesn’t burn.

Bread Shrimp

  • Breading stations: In a shallow dish, whisk the flour, garlic powder, ground ginger, salt and pepper together. In a second shallow dish, whisk the eggs together. In a third shallow dish, add the panko. To receive the breaded shrimp: Line the counter next to the stove with parchment paper or if baking, top two baking sheets with wire racks and spray with cooking spray.
  • To bread the shrimp: Use one hand for dredging the shrimp in the flour and panko and one hand for the egg. Working with a few shrimp at a time, dredge them in flour mixture, followed by the eggs, letting excess drip off, followed by the panko. Press the panko firmly into the shrimp so it adheres. Transfer shrimp to the prepared parchment paper or wire racks.

Cook (Pick One)

  • To deep fry: Pour enough oil into a heavy large pot to reach depth of 1 1/4 inches; heat to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry shrimp until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Using a spider strainer, transfer shrimp to paper towels in a single layer. Bring oil back to 350 degrees F between batches.
  • To shallow pan fry: Heat 3-4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil in a large sauté nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer. Cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Using tongs, transfer shrimp to paper towels in a single layer. Wipe out pan as needed in between batches and repeat.
  • To air fry: Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F. Spray the shrimp with cooking oil and add to the air fryer in a single layer (you’ll need to work in batches). Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. For extra crispy shrimp, spray the shrimp again after flipping. Transfer shrimp to paper towels in a single layer.
  • To bake: Space the shrimp evenly apart on the racks so they aren't touching. Bake at 425 degrees F 7 to 9 minutes, or until cooked through.


  • The last few minutes the shrimp is cooking, whisk all of the Sauce ingredients together in a large saucepan. Adjust the heat as desired with more or less chili sauce. Bring to a simmer until warmed through.
  • When ready to serve, add the cooked shrimp and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions if desired and serve immediately.



expert tips

  • Shrimp:  Feel free to use frozen shrimp, thaw first. 
  • Panko breadcrumbs: Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb sold in every grocery store (including Walmart) usually next to the other breadcrumbs. It is the secret behind the CRUNCH in this recipe, so please don't skip!
  • Asian Sweet Chili Sauce:   This popular condiment should be easy to find in the Asian section of your grocery store.  It is sometimes labeled “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.” Please do not confuse it with Asian Chili sauce/paste without the “sweet” – or your mouth will be on fire! 
  • Asian Chili Sauce:  This is different from Asian Sweet Chili Sauce – there is no sweet about it! I use Sambal Oelek with the green lid but you can also use your favorite chili sauce such as Sriracha or even Buffalo Wings Hot Sauce.
  • Add vegetables:  Reduce the shrimp to 1 pound and include stir fry vegetables such as bite size broccoli florets, thinly sliced carrots or bell peppers chopped into 1-inch pieces.  Stir fry the vegetables over medium high heat until crisp tender, about 3 minutes, and then add the sauce.
  • Gluten free: Use your favorite gluten free flour, tamari instead of soy sauce, gluten free panko such as Aleia’s Gluten-Free Panko and double check that your Asian Sweet Chili Sauce is gluten free (Mae Ploy and Thai Kitchen brands are).
  • Egg-free: Cooks Illustrated recommends using heavy cream instead.
  • To bake without wire racks:  Line baking sheets with lightly greased foil and place in the oven to get nice and hot while you bread the shrimp.  Take care when adding panko shrimp because your pans will be HOT!
  • Meal Prep:  The panko can be toasted ahead of time and you can also completely bread the shrimp ahead of time. Spread breaded shrimp on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with foil and refrigerate.  Uncover and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before cooking. Note: this method will produce ever so slightly less crispy shrimp if baking. 

How to store and reheat

This Firecracker Shrimp is best enjoyed fresh once tossed with the sauce because the breading softens upon refrigeration. I suggest reheating the shrimp in the oven or air fryer to revive the crispy texture. The microwave will warm the shrimp but won’t improve the texture.
  • Storage: Store the shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For best results, let the shrimp cool completely before storing.
  • Air fryer:  Place shrimp in a single layer in the basket without touching, air fry for 3-4 minutes, until crispy and warmed through.
  • Oven:  Spread shrimp on a lightly greased baking rack set in a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes, or until heated through.
  • Microwave: Microwave for 30 seconds, then in additional increments of 10 seconds as needed.