Home » Recipes » Main Dishes » Calabash Shrimp

Calabash Shrimp

Calabash Shrimp- these fried shrimp have a light and crispy coating. Serve with cocktail sauce and a beer for an amazing seafood dinner.

Crispy Calabash Shrimp in a metal tin.


Calabash is a tiny little fishing town located in Brunswick County, NC. During my childhood, each summer we vacationed at Holden Beach, NC and we always made a trip to Calabash for fried seafood. I loved to order a seafood platter with a little bit of everything. The shrimp were always one of my favorites. I love the little itty, bitty popcorn shrimp, but when I make Calabash Shrimp at home, I typically use larger shrimp.

Calabash-style seafood has a light and crispy batter which really lets the flavor of the seafood shine. The key to getting a light, puffy crust on fried seafood is to use self-rising flour. The leavener in self-rising flour causes the batter to puff up and it makes a really light crust.

overhead shot of Calabash Shrimp with cocktail sauce


The batter is a simple mixture of self-rising flour, garlic salt, black pepper, and paprika. The amount of seasoning is perfect.

Calabash Shrimp Recipe Tips:

  • You can use whole milk instead of evaporated milk.
  • Peanut oil is best for frying seafood, but it is expensive and sometimes hard to find. Vegetable oil is a good substitute.
  • Shrimp cook very quickly. You only need to fry them for a few minutes.
  • Any size shrimp can be used for this recipe. You can also use this batter for fish, scallops, and oysters.


Serve these shrimp with cocktail sauce and you’ll have a meal that rivals the best fried seafood restaurant in Calabash.

Fried Calabash Shrimp with beer in background.

Try These Other Delicious Seafood recipes:

Freid Calabash Shrimp with cocktail sauce

Calabash Shrimp

Calabash Shrimp- these fried shrimp have a light and crispy coating. Serve with cocktail sauce and a beer for an amazing seafood dinner.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 6 minutes


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • vegetable oil


  • Whisk together eggs and evaporated milk in a shallow bowl.
  • In a second shallow bowl, whisk together flour, garlic salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Pour about 2 inches of oil into a Dutch oven. Heat to about 350 degrees.
  • Working in batches, dip shrimp in egg mixture and coat in flour mixture.
  • Fry until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Fry for less time if you are using smaller shrimp.
    Don't crowd the pan when frying. It will drop the temperature of the oil too much.
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: fried shrimp

Want to Save This Recipe?

Recipe adapted from Taste of the South

close-up of Calabash Shrimp

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

I accept the Privacy Policy

10 thoughts on “Calabash Shrimp”

  1. Recipe is easy to execute and shrimp were crispy and delicious! Our struggle was keeping all the shrimp warm until we finished all the batches. We also had to make a second batch of flour mixture. Next time we will double the flour mixture and try keeping the shrimp warm on a tray in the oven on warm.

  2. Absolutely the best fried shrimp recipe I have tried! I added some Cajun seasoning but that was it. Definitely a 5 star recipe!

  3. Loved it! Thanks so much. I did end up doubling the flour, but otherwise worked perfectly. The trick of using evaporated milk is a game-changer.

  4. Calabash? Using flour instead of cornmeal? I’m very new to this… but I thought cornmeal was essential. No?

    1. Am a North Carolina native. Calabash cookery uses flour, not cornmeal (although plenty of other dishes call for cornmeal, such as the hushpuppies served with Calabash food.

  5. I’ll come back to ths recipe! This is one of my husband’s favorite foods, and he thought it was just as good as the restaurant we visit in Calabash. Thank you!

Scroll to Top