How To Tell If Your Oil Is Hot Enough For Golden Brown Fried Shrimp

Fried shrimp are delicious, especially when made with our panko fried shrimp recipe and paired with homemade sweet and sour sauce. The key to perfectly fried shrimp, however, is to fry the shellfish with the right technique in the correct type of oil — and at the ideal temperature. To achieve the golden brown shrimp of your crustacean dreams, your oil needs to be around 350 degrees Fahrenheit before you drop the first batch into the sizzling pot.

The easiest way to check if the oil is hot enough to fry battered shrimp is to reach for your cooking thermometer and check on the oil continuously until it reaches that 350 degree mark. Don't have the right thermometer in your kitchen drawers? Dip a wooden spoon in the oil and if bubbles start to surround it, then it might be hot enough. To be sure, test the oil by dropping one shrimp into the pot when you see those small bubbles. If the shrimp sinks to the bottom, it's not ready yet. But if it immediately floats to the surface, then the oil is ready for frying and you can add more shrimp — just don't overcrowd the pot.

Soggy shrimp and other signs of deep-fried shellfish failures

If you're impatient and don't allow the oil to reach the proper temperature, you'll be in for a few unsavory results. Instead of the shrimp getting crispy, it might soak up the oil and turn out soggy instead. Some of the breading that you used on the shrimp might also fall off into the pot, which is an unfortunate waste of ingredients if you ask us. That means the shrimp and breading will also be rather greasy and, therefore, difficult to drain on even the thickest paper towels.

While we're at it with the deep-fried shrimp advice, let's go back to the importance of using the right type of oil. It might be an unlikely choice, but corn oil is a budget-friendly variety for deep frying, and another unexpected type is safflower oil with its high smoke point. Other neutral oils like avocado, canola, and peanut also work — as long as you allow them to get hot enough first. No matter which oil you choose, the fried shrimp should be ready when golden brown on all sides with an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.