Southern Fried Shrimp With Cornmeal Batter

Southern Fried Shrimp
Southern Fried Shrimp. Diana Rattray
Ratings (38)
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
289 Calories
13g Fat
30g Carbs
14g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In this shrimp recipe, large shrimp are battered with a mixture of egg, milk, cornmeal and flour then deep fried in oil. Enjoy this fried shrimp as a snack or serve with fries for a wonderful lunch or dinner. One of our Top 20 Great-Tasting Ways to Cook Shrimp.

I used large shrimp, but extra large and jumbo would be excellent choices as well. See the tips and variations for some ideas for alternative seasonings and more.


  • 3 cups large raw shrimp (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (or milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Steps to Make It

If the shrimp is frozen, thaw. I put them in a colander and run cold water over them.

Peel the shrimp, including the tails. To devein, run a small, sharp knive down the back of each shrimp. Pull the dark vein out. You might have to loosen it or scrape part of the vein out with the tip of the knife.

Season the shrimp with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper; let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a bowl whisk the egg with the cream or milk until smooth. Add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt; stir until the batter is well blended and smooth. Add more milk or cream if the batter is very thick.

Put about 1 quart of vegetable oil in deep fryer or a deep, heavy pan. Heat the oil to 350° F.

Add the prepared shrimp to the batter and stir to coat them thoroughly.

When the oil reaches 350° F, carefully drop several shrimp in deep, hot fat. Don't overcrowd. Adding too many shrimp will cause the temperature to drop significantly, resulting in an oilier coating.

Fry until light golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Tips and Variations

  • I had many comments on this recipe. Most were positive, but many thought the batter was too thick. If the consistency is too thick for the shrimp, add a bit more half-and-half or thin it with a little milk.

  • A restaurant owner suggested Old Bay seasoning as a replacement for the salt. He also recommended peanut oil for deep frying. 

You Might Also Like this tasty shrimp scampi, this Southern pickled shrimp, or these easy shrimp cakes. This slow cooker garlic shrimp is another surprisingly easy way to prepare shrimp.