Southern-Fried Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce

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Practically everyone loves fried shrimp, right? Well, boy, oh boy, if you love it as much as we do, are you in for a treat.

It just doesn’t get much tastier than this.  It’s really all about the fried shrimp batter, and we are crazy about this version.  Of course, there are many, many ways to prepare shrimp…but this, we think, tops ’em all.  And it’s so easy and comes together in about 30 minutes, or less!


How to Make Southern-Fried Shrimp

So crunchy, succulent,  and amazingly flavorful. We love all kinds of shrimp, we think extra large, or even jumbo shrimp, are awesome for our Southern Fried Shrimp!

Hey, watch us show you how easy it is to make this incredible Southern-Fried Shrimp recipe!

The buttermilk and whole-grain mustard work beautifully with the seasoned flour to make the most amazing batter for the shrimp.

Not a lot of ingredients, but HUGE on taste and texture!

We truly believe this is the secret to the best fried shrimp recipe.

Southern Fried Shrimp recipe

Each shrimpy gets a nice soaking in the buttermilk/grain mustard sauce and then a wonderful dredging through wonderfully seasoned flour.

This is going to make for some incredibly crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside fried shrimp.

Here we go! Let’s hear it for Buttermilk Fried Shrimp!

Southern Fried Shrimp recipe

Exceptional Flavor and Texture

Now, we did tell you these gems would fry up beautifully, didn’t we?  They only fry for a couple of minutes in hot oil, and they turn to golden perfection.

Just look how delicious these look!  And trust us, they’re just as yummy as they look!


Southern Fried Shrimp recipe

What to Serve it With

Southern-Fried Shrimp is one of the most popular recipes on the blog and for good reason. This fried shrimp is good!  One bite, and we’re pretty sure you’ll understand why.

We promise you, this recipe delivers the taste and that all-important crunch!

They are wonderful with a squirt of fresh lemon just as you bring them to the table.

Southern Fried Shrimp recipe

And to really make it extra special, whip up a batch of Homemade Cocktail Sauce, and you and your guests will flip over these incredible crustaceans!

A True Crowd-Pleaser!

This is the real deal!  One of our all-time favorite ways to cook shrimp. And with the best-ever homemade cocktail sauce. Doesn’t get much better than this!

And if you like this fried shrimp, you should check out our Southern Shrimp and Cheesy Grits!


Ready to make the best fried shrimp this side of New Orleans?  Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A hand squeezing lemons over Southern Fried Shrimp on a white plate with a bowl of cocktail sauce

Southern-Fried Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce

Southern-Fried Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce is about as delicious as they come. I love using large (or even extra large) shrimp here. The buttermilk and whole-grain batter make them extra crunchy and SO amazingly delicious!
4.91 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Seafood
Cuisine: Seafood
Keyword: Fried shrimp, Seafood
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 458kcal


  • 2 dozen shrimp large, or extra-large, peeled and deveined
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt plus another 1 & 1/2 tbsp
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper plus 1 tbsp
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Oil (for frying) I typically use vegetable, for frying
  • 1 cup buttermilk well-shaken
  • 2 tsp whole-grain mustard
  • Homemade cocktail sauce


  • Place the shrimp in a medium bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour with the remaining 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of pepper, and the cayenne.
  • Heat the oil, in a heavy-duty skillet (about 3 - 4 inches deep, or your deep-fryer to 350F) - if you don't have a thermometer, test by tossing a pinch of flour onto the hot oil...if it sinks and doesn't sizzle, it's not ready. If it browns too quickly, it's too hot. You can also try a small piece of bread, using the same guide).
  • Mix the buttermilk and mustard in a bowl, and then pour over the seasoned shrimp and combine.
  • Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp from the buttermilk and transfer to the seasoned flour.
  • Using a separate dry spoon (or your fingers), toss to evenly coat.
  • Carefully slip the battered shrimp into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes; drain on paper towels.
  • (Be sure not to overcrowd the fryer with too many shrimp, this lowers the temp of the oil, and the shrimp won't crisp up as nicely as they should).



Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 316IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!



  • This thank you is long overdue. This is my favorite recipe and we have eaten this at least every other Friday for the past two years. We use a 20 ounce bag of shrimp and there is enough breading for that. We serve it with cole slaw and a beer. Thank you so much! Can’t wait for Friday.

    • Hi Michelle! We can’t even begin to tell you how happy this makes us! We are thrilled you have been enjoying the Southern shrimp recipe every other Friday!!! That is AWESOME! Thank you so so much for sharing! Stay in touch! Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Delicious! I made these tonight on a whim. I didn’t expect much because all the other recipes I’ve tried have been “just ok”. This is the recipe I’ve been looking for! They were amazing! My new go too. I made two pounds and my family was searching the kitchen for more after dinner. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.

    • Hi Amy!! Woo hoo! We are so so thrilled you made the fried shrimp and you and the family loved it! That makes us so happy! Thank you so so much for sharing and for the GREAT review! That truly means so much to us! Stay in touch! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • Are you using cooked or raw shrimp I looked all over and I cant find where it says it

  • 5 stars
    My goodness. Soooo good. I am in prawn heaven. Thanks so much for the crispy,tasty recipe. A keeper for sure.

    • HI Sandra! Woo hoo!! So glad you loved the fried shrimp recipe! And love prawns!!! Thanks so much for letting us know and for the fantastic review! That means the world to us! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Made these once with many other items for a summer event and they were delicious. What would you recommend as side dishes if this was the main dish of the meal?

    • Hi Sue! As much as we love cooking with our air fryer, we have found that wet batter recipes don’t cook as well. They don’t get quite as crisp. But, honestly, I haven’t tried this recipe in our air fryer. We have to do some testing on this, and get back to you with our results. You’ve got our interest piqued!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Oh My!!!! This is the absolute best fried shrimp recipe ever!!! Only one problem…… will want to eat them all. Very easy to make.

  • Bex is Hoosier girl, wifey to Scott, aunt to 7 handsome guys and 2 gorgeous gals, popcorn eater, makeup lover, and target shopper by day. She has a passion for frugally creating pretty things from the inside out and sharing those with others. When she sees a recipe, she instantly wants to know how to make it healthier … unless it’s cake or popcorn then she just wants to eat it. And when she sees a neglected piece of furniture or décor she instantly wants to show it some love and make it as pretty as it used to be. Bex blogs over at Butcher’s Niche about all things cooking, crafting, fashion, beauty, and life.

    • Hi Filomena, so sorry for the delayed response. We have been in the midst of moving for the past couple weeks, so things have been crazy! Actually, you could just leave the mustard out completely and it will still be delicious. Hope this helps and let us know if you give it a try. This is one of our all-time favorite dishes! Best, Kris & Wesely

    • 5 stars
      I used Asiago and Cracked Peppercorn dressing (same amount as the mustard) and it was delicious, this recipe is amazing first time I have gotten a wonderful coating and crisp to my breading!

    • Hi there! Milk will give you a nice batter for the shrimp, for sure. But the buttermilk gives a thicker batter, which in the end gives more of that notorious crunch. Plus, we think the buttermilk really adds a wonderful taste to the overall dish. But, if you prefer milk, it will absolutely work! We’d suggest whole milk, if possible. Let us know if you make it and how it turns out and what you think. This is one of our all-time favorites! Best, Kris & Wesley

      • 5 stars
        I avoided buttermilk cause I couldn’t buy it in smaller amounts! Things don’t taste as good. Found out you can freeze it. I froze it in a silicone ice cube tray then put them in a baggie. It made about a 1/4 cup block. Defrost and whip it back together (cause it separates a little) and it works great! Love the taste difference!

    • You can “make” your own buttermilk by adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk. Google it for a wide range of recipes.

      • I bought from our local store dried buttermilk so whenever you need that 1/4 cup you just whip it up and there is no waste

  • 4 stars
    I used Small shrimp that were already thawed in the fridge and I didn’t want them to go to waste. My usual M/O is pancake batter , peeled and paper towel dried shrimp and deep frying, but wanted something a little different.

    • Awesome, Bobby! So glad to hear. And I agree, lemon brightens so many dishes, including this one. Thanks so much for letting us know how it turned out! Keep coming back and stay in touch!

  • made this tonight for my shrimp-loving husband and got a thumbs up! Served alongside your cocktail sauce it made his evening!

    • Lisa, that’s one of my favorite dishes. Wesley likes it a lot, but it’s one of my absolute favorites…I love the zing in the cocktail sauce, too. So glad you and your husband liked it! Many more recipes to come! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

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