This Dynamite Shrimp appetizer is lightly battered, fried and coated in a creamy sriracha aioli. It's such a tasty appetizer that everyone goes crazy over!
I love shrimp. A lot.
Boiled, fried, sautéed, cold, hot, all of it. It's something I never really get sick of. And when it's slathered in an addicting sauce like this spicy aioli, it's hard to resist.
Both recipes remind me of dining at a fancy Japanese restaurant or eating that beloved bang bang shrimp at Bonefish Grill. BTW, if you've never tried their bang bang shrimp, get in the car NOW. It is amazing.
And if you love P.F. Chang's, then you know about their dynamite shrimp. This "copycat" version is a cheaper alternative that is just as tasty in my opinion. It's tough to beat that "restaurant taste" but when you can control the ingredients and know exactly what is going into a recipe, it always seems to tastes better.
So when I made dynamite shrimp for the first time at home, I was surprised at how easy it was. The toughest part is waiting for them to fry! But if you have a large wok or use two skillets, it makes the entire frying process super fast.
Make sure to have toothpick skewers on the side if serving as an appetizer! Using them always make eating more fun!
When making dynamite shrimp, there are just a few things you should keep in mind:
- Use a deep frying thermometer to make sure the oil stays at optimal frying temperature. (350-375 degrees F.)
- Don't overcrowd your pan. This drops the oil temperature down leading to soggy shrimp.
- Coat your shrimp in the dynamite sauce last minute to maintain the crispy texture.
- Drain your shrimp on paper towels or a wire rack to keep them as crispy as possible.
- Season your shrimp well before dredging them.
- Sweeten your sweet chili sauce using sugar or honey.
Shrimp- You don't want or need super large or jumbo shrimp for this recipe. Stick to medium-large shrimp. Too small and they will be tedious to fry.
Beer- Beer is NOT a necessity for this recipe but I do recommend something carbonated like club soda/sparkling water. I chose to use beer because I love how light and crispy it makes food while adding a touch of flavor. You cannot taste the beer after it's fried.
Baking Powder- Baking powder helps to make the tempura-like exterior lighter and crispier.
Cornstarch/Flour- I love how crispy cornstarch makes things and flour is a must so this combination works well. If you want GF, you can use GF flour or even corn flour.
The Tempura Batter
The best dynamite shrimp are coated in a tempura batter before being fried. Tempura batters do not need to be complicated. The trick is to make sure your batter is cold and carbonated. The combination makes for a crispy and light exterior.
Some recipes use an egg but I find the egg isn't necessary and prevents the exterior from getting super crispy.
TIP* If you want to save time with less mess, you can purchase the Kikkoman tempura batter mix (in a box) that just requires water. It is GREAT. I have used it for many recipes like these Shrimp Tempura Boats with Sweet Chili Sauce.
If you want to make these in advance, do it. Fry them and then reheat them in the oven or air fryer as guests arrive to re-crisp them. The most important thing is that you coat your shrimp in the spicy mayo sauce at the last minute! You want your shrimp to stay as crispy and crunchy as possible.
Dynamite shrimp is a heavier appetizer so I like to serve it on top of a bed of crisp romaine lettuce that is chopped. This way, people can take a shrimp with some lettuce.
Serve with toothpick skewers or chopsticks if you have multiple pairs!
Yes! Many dynamite shrimp recipes use honey. I like both so use what you have on hand. The ratio is about 1:1 but I encourage you taste test and add as much as you like.
For perfectly crisp shrimp, your oil needs to be between 350-375 degrees F. Most of the time, it drops after frying. Check it after you fry each batch and wait for the heat to reach temperature again before adding the next batch of shrimp.
If your shrimp are already hot from frying, no need to warm it up. If your shrimp have cooled off, warming up the sauce can be done in the microwave.
If you are not a fan of heat, then tone down the sauce by increasing the ratio of mayo and lemon juice.
Other shrimp appetizer you will like:
Dynamite Shrimp Tempura (w/ Sriracha Aioli)
- ½ lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined ((about 12 medium to large shrimp))
- ⅓ cup flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup cold beer or carbonated water
- Oil for frying (*Canola or vegetable)
- 2 scallions
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sriracha sauce
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (*or white sugar)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Heat your oil to 350-375°F.
- While waiting, whisk together mayo, sriracha, sugar and garlic powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Pat dry your shrimp well with paper towels and season both sides. Slice the shrimp in half then season with salt and pepper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together your flour, cornstarch, baking powder and beer (or carbonated water). You don't want any lumps.
- Add your shrimp to the tempura batter and toss to fully coat. Using two forks, drop one shrimp at a time into the hot oil. (The second fork can help release the shrimp.)Fry for 1-2 minutes until light brown or until the internal temperature reaches 120°F.Do not overcrowd your pan or the oil temperature will drop causing your shrimp to be greasy.Make sure shrimp do not touch when you put them in or they will stick together.
- Use a spider tool or slotted spoon to remove shrimp when ready. Let drain on paper towels or a wire rack to prevent soggy bottoms. Wait 30 seconds or so and repeat with the rest of your shrimp.
- Garnish with chopped scallions. Serve hot!
- This recipe is spicy but not too spicy. Tone down the spice by using more mayo.
- The beer batter gives the shrimp added flavor without being too overpowering.
- This recipe is best served hot. The shrimp will not stay crispy once they sit in the sauce but that's okay.
- Replace the sugar with honey if you prefer.
- Wait to coat your shrimp in the sauce if you are serving later on and simply reheat the sauce in the microwave.