Bang Bang Shrimp has managed to win the hearts (and taste buds) of thousands.
Easy to do, since it has a refreshingly crispy texture, flavorful meat, and exotic, spicy taste.
This family-favorite features juicy fried shrimp tossed in a creamy, sweet chili sauce that’s just the right blend of sweet and spicy.
If you decide to try Bang Bang Shrimp for yourself (and we highly recommend that you do), consider yourself warned!
It’s wholesome, it’s hearty, and it’s absolutely addictive.
Looking for more dinner ideas? Go here for more of our favorite shrimp recipes.
What is Bang Bang Shrimp?
If you haven’t had it, I’m sure you’re wondering, what is “Bang Bang Shrimp,” and why is the adjective repeated twice?
The “Bang Bang” actually refers to the sauce that the shrimp is dunked in. It’s a cream-based sauce that is sweet and spicy, giving the dish that unique kick that makes it so darn desirable.
Typically made of mayonnaise, Sriracha, and sweet chili sauce, Bang Bang sauce has such a unique, distinct flavor.
It actually works great with other kinds of meat too (specifically seafood) and even some veggies.
The shrimp itself is typically coated in buttermilk and cornstarch to make it nice, soft, and flavorful.
Other recipes recommend Panko breadcrumbs if you want your shrimp really crispy. But cornstarch is still the best option to get that light and airy coating.
Here are the things you’ll need:
- The sauce ingredients. The Bang Bang sauce is a mixture of mayo, Thai sweet chili sauce, and Sriracha. You’ll simply combine the three in a shallow bowl and whisk briskly.
- Cornstarch. The best choice for coating your shrimp. It gives them a nice crunch but keeps them light and airy.
- Shrimp. Medium-sized shrimp work best. Buy them pre-peeled and deveined for convenience.
- Oil. Select a neutral oil (vegetable, canola, etc.) for frying the shrimp.
- Lettuce leaves. These are optional, really, but they make a nice bed for presenting the shrimp.
- Green onions. Slice them thinly and garnish the shrimp for extra flavor.
How to Make Bang Bang Shrimp
For a dish that sounds—and tastes—so delightfully exotic, Bang Bang Shrimp is actually pretty simple to make.
1. Make the sauce. Whisk together the mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce, and Sriracha hot sauce.
You can also add some red pepper flakes and/or a dash of lemon juice to really bring out the flavor!
2. Coat and cook the shrimp. Remember to always peel and devein your shrimp, or buy them pre-peeled and ready to go.
Coat them in cornstarch and deep-fry them in oil heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook in batches for 3 to 5 minutes at a time.
Place cooked shrimp on paper towels to drain.
3. Toss the shrimp in the sauce. Once you’ve fried and drained all the shrimp, transfer them to a bowl. Cover them with the Bang Bang sauce and toss well to coat.
4. Plate and garnish. Serve the shrimp on a bed of lettuce leaves garnished with green onions.
Expert Tip: Use large/jumbo-sized shrimp or 31-count shrimp for large gatherings. That’ll give you about 30 to 33 shrimp per pound bag. Use more depending on your party size.
Tips & Tricks for the Best Bang Bang Shrimp
Want to milk the Bang Bang Shrimp flavor for all its worth? I’ve got some tips that can make all the difference.
They’re optional, of course, but totally recommended if you want to achieve the best results.
- Stick to cornstarch for the coating. As mentioned, cornstarch fries light and airy, and can cover the whole shrimp, giving you a thoroughly crisp coating. Regular bread crumbs are too fine and don’t crisp up as nicely, which could lead to inconsistent coating. And no one likes lumpy fried shrimp.
- Make a lighter version. If the mayo in the Bang Bang sauce doesn’t work for you, don’t worry! Greek yogurt is just as creamy and works just as well for a healthy alternative.
- Work in batches. If you try to cook the shrimp all at the same time, you run the risk of overcooking some. There won’t be an even distribution of heat, especially if they’re all piled on top of each other. I recommend frying 6 to 7 shrimp at a time to keep them all nice and even.
- Keep finished shrimp warm. To ensure uniform freshness—and crispiness—in the finished product, use a warming plate or pre-heated oven to keep the freshly fried shrimp hot while you work in batches.
- Frozen shrimp? Pat them dry after thawing. If you’re using frozen shrimp for this dish, make sure to pat them completely dry after thawing. If you don’t, it’ll greatly affect how the batter clings to the shrimp. Again, lumpy shrimp is no good.
- Soak the shrimp for 1 minute. For best results—and more flavor—soak the shrimp in buttermilk for one full minute before coating in cornstarch. No more, no less.
- Use a Ziploc bag for easier coating. Instead of dipping the shrimp in a bowl of cornstarch, use a Ziploc bag filled with cornstarch for thorough coating. Drop in four or five shrimp at a time and shake it up. Refill the Ziploc as necessary.
- Use salt and pepper to season before coating the shrimp. Want to make this dish even more worthy of that extra “bang”? Season the shrimp with a bit of salt and pepper after soaking it in buttermilk but before coating it in cornstarch.
- Mix up the garnishes. Finished frying, drying, and saucing the shrimp? Add a light sprinkle of chives, chopped onion, or fresh greens to complement the sweet-and-spicy sauce.
What to Serve with Bang Bang Shrimp
Since Bang Bang Shrimp is typically served as an appetizer, you can basically pair it with any main dish to create a full meal.
Here are the dishes I personally believe work best with sweet-and-spicy shrimp:
- Creamy mashed potatoes. Let the delicious, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of creamy mashed potatoes complement the crisp, juicy crunch of battered and fried shrimp.
- Grilled or air fryer salmon. For your health-conscious, white-meat-only friends, serve your shrimp with more seafood! You can’t go wrong with fresh salmon, especially if you’re at a garden or barbecue party. Squeeze lemon over it for a dash of fresh flavor.
- Garlic butter scallops. Want a really rich meal? Pair sweet-and-spicy shrimp with tangy and tart scallops for an incredibly tasty experience.
- Fresh garden salad. If the Bang Bang sauce has too much flavor for your taste, balance it out with something more subtle. Fresh garden salad works well as everyone’s favorite healthy staple.
- Coleslaw or veggie slaw. This works the same as the garden salad, but it adds a bit more flavor. Coleslaw works when you don’t want to pair your bangin’ shrimp with something too boring. Plus, it’s great served chilled, helping to counteract the spice in the steaming Bang Bang dish.
- Steamed or fried rice. Turn your Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer into a complete meal by serving it with a large helping of steamed or fried rice. Try drizzling some of that Bang Bang sauce on plain white rice and thank me later!
- Buttered veggies. Vegetables slathered in butter might not be the healthiest of dishes, but go easy on yourself. At least you’re still getting some vegetables in!
Serve these tasty little morsels alongside your Bang Bang Shrimp for a more subdued—but no less spicy—dining experience.
Storing Leftovers and Reheating Instructions
Like most seafood recipes, Bang Bang Shrimp tastes best when eaten fresh. However, that doesn’t mean you have to trash your leftovers.
Instead, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
To reheat, place a skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Add a little oil, then add the shrimp. Heat for about 2 to 3 minutes until they’re heated through.
You may want to toss the heated shrimp in fresh Bang Bang sauce before serving. (If you didn’t have leftover sauce, whisking up fresh sauce is simple enough.)
I don’t recommend freezing.
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