This blue-ribbon recipe for Crispy Pan-Fried Buffalo Shrimp is a spicy twist on my classic Pan-Fried Shrimp. With its simple preparation and bold flavors, buffalo shrimp is the perfect marriage of sweet, briny, breaded shrimp and spices.
Your taste buds will be doing a happy dance after the first bite of jumbo shrimp, dredged in a seasoned flour coating, pan-fried in olive oil in a skillet on the stove, and then drenched in tangy, spicy buffalo sauce.
Serve it with blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping, and you will see why this dish has become such a popular favorite among seafood lovers everywhere.
Like my Fried Oysters, Chicken Egg Rolls, and Fried Crab Claws, crispy buffalo shrimp is a perfect crowd-pleasing game-day or party appetizer. This versatile recipe is also ideal for any gathering of friends and family and is one of my favorite “go-to” last-minute dinner entrées.
Quick to make like my Blackened Mahi-Mahi, it only takes 15 minutes from start to finish to get this delicious seafood dish on the table. And you won’t believe how easy it is to prepare. Unlike Hooter’s famous buffalo shrimp, these crustaceans are not deep-fried, so you don’t even need a deep fryer!
Check out the easy step-by-step instructions below and a short video to see how simple they are to make.
Recipe ingredient notes:
- Peeled and deveined shrimp – you can use defrosted frozen or fresh peeled. This recipe works best with jumbo or extra-large shrimp sized 21-25 per pound. The terms large, extra-large, and jumbo are not standardized. Counts are a much more accurate way of buying them. The fewer shrimp per pound, the larger and more expensive they are.
- All-purpose flour – makes a simple breading and cooks up into a crispy crust.
- Buffalo sauce – is an essential part of this dish. Originally made in Buffalo, New York, this sauce is made with butter mixed with hot sauce, which gives it its signature heat.
- Kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder – combine to perfectly season the crispy shrimp coating.
- Olive oil – is used to pan fry and is a healthier option. You can substitute butter if you prefer, but it has a lower smoke point.
(Specific measurements can be found in the recipe below.)
How to make buffalo shrimp:
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick (12-inch) skillet over medium heat.
- While the oil is heating, add the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to a gallon-size plastic storage bag.
- Add the shrimp to the flour mixture and toss to coat, making sure they are evenly coated.
- Shake off any excess flour, and add the coated shrimp to the pan in a single layer when the oil is hot. To test if the oil is hot enough, add a small pinch of the flour mixture; if it begins sizzling immediately, it’s hot.
- Cook on one side for about two minutes, or until golden brown. Turn them over and cook for another minute or two or until both sides are golden brown and the flesh is slightly opaque.
- When they are done, remove the pan from the heat. Add one to two tablespoons of buffalo or wing sauce to the pan. Stir and make sure all of the pieces are coated with the sauce.
- That’s it! It couldn’t get much easier. And you won’t find a better entrée or a more delicious appetizer!
What is buffalo shrimp?
Buffalo shrimp is a popular seafood dish believed to have originated in Buffalo, New York. It consists of tender shrimp that have been breaded, fried until crispy, and then tossed in a spicy and tangy buffalo sauce.
The buffalo sauce is typically made with hot sauce, butter, and other seasonings, giving the seafood a zesty and bold flavor.
You can also add them to tacos, dips, salads, wraps, quesadillas, egg rolls, and burritos. Buffalo Shrimp Po’Boys are a traditional New Orleans favorite and the ultimate comfort food.
What kind of shrimp to use in this recipe:
- I recommend using shrimp sized 21-25 per pound or larger for the best results. The terms large, extra-large, and jumbo are not standardized. Counts are a much more accurate way of buying them.
- The fewer per pound, the larger and more expensive they are. If you substitute a different size in this recipe, a smaller size will take less time to cook, and a larger size will take a little more time.
- Fresh or frozen both work. If using frozen, let them thaw under cold running water and pat dry before adding the breading.
- If you are unfamiliar with peeling and deveining shrimp, I recommend buying them peeled and deveined or asking your seafood house to do it for you. Or, if you prefer to do it yourself, here is a quick step-by-step how-to video.
- Because the black vein on the top of the shrimp is the digestive tract, although it is edible, it sometimes contains sand or grit, so I always devein mine.
- If I am serving the buffalo shrimp as an appetizer, I leave the tail on; if I am serving it for dinner, I remove it.
What to serve with buffalo shrimp:
I like to keep things casual and simple when serving this recipe as a main dish and usually serve them with a side of Southern Potato Salad, Cheese Grits, Cheese Grits Casserole, or Southern Broccoli Salad, and maybe some fresh tomato slices.
They also would pair well with:
- Black-Eyed Peas, Purple Hull Peas, Field Peas, or White Acre Peas
- Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Pineapple Cheese Casserole
- Cornbread Pudding
- Hush Puppies
- Southern Tomato Pie
- Southern Fried Cabbage
If I’m serving them as an appetizer, I serve them on a plate along with either a blue cheese dip or a ranch dip and cut-up carrots and celery. Then I add festive skewers to make it easy for my guests to help themselves.
Do not overcook your shrimp! Perfectly cooked shrimp are soft, tender, and juicy. But they can go from cooked to overcooked and tough in seconds.
While they are cooking, watch the crevice where the vein was removed in the back middle of the shrimp. When that flesh turns from translucent to opaque, they are done.
If you don’t have buffalo sauce, you can make your own by combining hot sauce with butter. The ratio is two parts hot sauce to one part butter. For example, one-fourth of a cup of hot sauce to one-eight of a cup of butter. Add a shake or two of garlic powder and, voila, you have buffalo sauce.
If you want it a little milder, add more butter and a teaspoon of brown sugar.
Buffalo shrimp is best if you cook and serve it immediately. However, you can prep everything beforehand, including coating them in flour, and then pan-fry them right before serving.
Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for three to four days. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 350 °F oven for just a minute or so or in a preheated air fryer at 350 °F for a minute. If you go much longer they will overcook and be tough.
While the terms shrimp and prawns are often used interchangeably, and you can substitute one for the other in this recipe, they are similar in many ways, but there are some differences between them.
One key difference is their physical appearance. Prawns tend to be larger than shrimp and have longer legs. Conversely, shrimp are typically smaller and have shorter legs.
Another difference is their habitat. Prawns are found in the Pacific, while shrimp are more commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic.
Frying and pan-frying are both cooking methods that involve cooking food in hot oil or fat, but there are some differences.
Frying typically involves completely submerging food in hot oil, such as deep-frying french fries or onion rings.
Conversely, pan-frying involves cooking food in a shallow pan with a small amount of oil or fat. The food is usually only partially submerged in the oil. It is cooked on one side until it develops a crispy crust, then flipped and cooked on the other.
More tips and tricks:
- I recommend using olive oil for pan-frying to keep this dish as low in calories and as healthy as possible. However, you can also substitute other vegetable oils or even butter.
- Your leftover seasoned flour mixture can be reused. After coating the shrimp, seal the bag with the leftover flour and store it in the freezer until the next time you make this dish.
- This recipe, as written, is very spicy. If you love a lot of heat, you can increase the amount of buffalo sauce. If you don’t like spicy food, reduce the amount of sauce you add.
More shrimp recipes:
If you love these crustaceans as much as I do, you might also want to try these quick and easy recipes:
- Quick and Easy Blackened Shrimp Recipe (10 minutes)
- Roasted Shrimp Pasta Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Best Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Recipe with Brown Sugar
- Crab Stuffed Shrimp (Easy & Elegant)
- Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Blue Cheese
- Hot and Cheesy Baked Shrimp Scampi Dip
- Creole Shrimp Toast – Easy & Cheesy
- Smoked Shrimp – A Quick and Easy Recipe
Need more menu ideas or recipes with seafood? Check out all of my seafood recipes here!
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Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones; I hope you come back soon!
Crispy Pan-Fried Buffalo Shrimp Recipe
- Large 12-inch non-stick skillet
- 1 pound shrimp, 21-25 per pound – peeled and deveined, with or without the tails removed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons purchased buffalo sauce, or, see tips to make your own.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick (12-inch) skillet over medium heat.
- While the oil is heating, add the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to a gallon-size plastic storage bag. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
- Shake off any excess flour, and add them to the pan in a single layer when the oil is hot. To test if the oil is hot enough, add a small pinch of the flour mixture; if it begins sizzling immediately, it's hot.
- Cook on one side for about two minutes or until the shrimp are light golden brown. Turn them over and cook for another minute or two or until both sides are light golden brown and the flesh is slightly opaque in the crevice where the vein was removed.
- When the shrimp are done, remove the skillet from the heat and add the buffalo sauce. Toss to coat and serve hot.
*This recipe was originally published on December 18, 2015.