This delicious vegan shrimp recipe is going to blow your mind! It looks so much like real shrimp and has a delicious seafood-y taste thanks to a secret ingredient. These coconut crusted vegan shrimps are also surprisingly easy to make and can be ready in less than 30 minutes!
Why this is the best vegan shrimp recipe
Vegan seafood alternatives are harder to find than vegan chicken or beef, but the good news is you can make it at home in no time!
Some vegan shrimp substitutes use mushrooms but to truly mimic shrimp, I knew I needed to get creative in the kitchen.
Much like my vegan steak recipe, this recipe uses vital wheat gluten to create a meaty texture. To make it more like the texture of real shrimp I added tofu. Lastly, my favorite type of shrimp was always coconut-crusted so I knew I had to make a delicious breading to finish it off!
You're going to love this vegetarian shrimp recipe! It's:
- deliciously addictive
- easy to make in a few short steps
- ready in 30 minutes
- makes an impressive appetizer or main dish
- looks so much like real shrimp!
The main ingredients for this vegan shrimp recipe are quite simple. If you've ever made a vegan meat substitute before, you most likely already have several of these items on hand! Reference the recipe card at the bottom for exact measurements.
Vital wheat gluten—Vital wheat gluten is a high protein flour which provides the meaty shrimp texture. Unfortunately this can't be substituted which means this recipe cannot be gluten-free. You can typically find it in the baking aisle near the specialty flours.
Old Bay seasoning—A staple in seafood products and dishes, this nostalgic seasoning helps create the seafood flavor.
Kelp granules—The secret ingredient that takes this vegan shrimp to the next level with a truly delicious, seafood-like flavor! Don't have kelp granules? No worries, this recipe is still delicious without them!
Beet juice—Adds the must-needed pink shrimp color. I used the juice from a can of beets to make it easy. Just make sure not to use juice from pickled beets.
Non-dairy milk—Feel free to use any milk of choice, just make sure it's unsweetened.
Whole wheat flour—I like using whole wheat flour to provide even more fiber and nutrients but all-purpose flour works too.
Unsweetened shredded coconut—A key ingredient for the perfect coconut shrimp flavor!
Panko breadcrumbs—These are best for an extra crunchy and crispy texture.
How to make vegan shrimp
This step by step walk-through shows the process of making vegan coconut shrimp. Exact times and temperatures are available in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Step 1: Start by adding the shrimp ingredients to a blender or food processor, except for the vital wheat gluten. Blend until smooth.
Step 2: In a large bowl, add the blended mixture along with the vital wheat gluten and mix until it just comes together. Transfer to a flat surface and knead for a few minutes.
Step 3: Flatten out the dough to ½ inch then divide into 10 even pieces. Roll each piece between your hands to form a log, then curl the log into a crescent shape to look like shrimp. Set aside.
Step 4: Combine the Panko breadcrumbs with the shredded coconut in a small bowl.
Step 5: Dip each vegan shrimp in the flour then dip into the milk. Finally dredge each piece in the Panko coconut mixture, covering thoroughly.
Step 6: If using an air fryer, place each vegan shrimp evenly spread out in the air fryer basket. Cook at 375F for 5-6 minutes, flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes until golden. If desired, spray with oil for a crispier, more golden result.
If regular frying, in large skillet over medium-high heat, cover bottom of pan with oil. Carefully add the shrimp in a single layer and fry until golden. Flip and fry on the other side until golden (about 2-4 minutes per side.
Remove from oil and transfer to a paper towel to remove excess oil.
By oven, bake on a lined baking sheet at 400F for 20 minutes until golden brown, flipping halfway.
- Make sure not to over knead the dough or it may become too tough to roll and shape. Don't knead for more than a few minutes.
- For an extra seafood flavor, add half a sheet of nori to the blender with the vegan shrimp ingredients. This is also great if you can't find kelp granules as nori, the seaweed used for sushi, can be found in the Asian aisle of most large chain grocery stores.
How to store
Keep leftover vegan shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
These are best reheated in the air fryer or oven to preserve crispiness. Otherwise they reheat easily in the microwave too.
What to serve with
Want to turn it into a meal? Make these vegan coconut shrimps in place of the tofu to make delicious vegan shrimp tacos. You can also omit the coconut breading and add a make a garlic butter sauce using vegan butter to make a vegan shrimp scampi.
The possibilities are endless! Faux shrimp makes an excellent simple snack, appetizer or main dish—whatever time of day you're serving it, you can't go wrong!
Is vegan shrimp real shrimp?
A lot of store-bought vegan shrimps can look very convincing, but there is no actual shrimp in vegan shrimp.
What is vegan shrimp made out of?
Many homemade vegan shrimp recipes use trumpet mushrooms (also known as king oyster mushrooms), dry soy curls, hearts of palm (another great seafood substitute) or vital wheat gluten to recreate the shrimp shapes. Along with seasonings and coatings, these all can transform to recreate the look and flavor of real shrimp.
More delicious vegan recipes
The Best Vegan Shrimp (Coconut Crusted + Easy)
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- Start by adding the shrimp ingredients to a blender or food processor except for the vital wheat gluten. Blend until smooth.¼ block firm tofu, 2 tablespoons beetroot juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white miso paste, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning, 1 teaspoon ground paprika, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons water, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon kelp granules
- In a large bowl, add the blended mixture along with the vital wheat gluten and mix until it just comes together. Transfer to a flat surface and knead for a few minutes.¾ cup vital wheat gluten
- Flatten out the dough to ½ inch then divide into 10 even pieces and roll each piece between your hands to form a log. Curl the log into a crescent shape to look like shrimp.
- Combine the Panko breadcrumbs with the shredded coconut in a small bowl. Place the flour and salt in a second bowl and the milk in a third bowl.½ cup whole wheat flour, ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs, ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, ½ teaspoon salt
- Dip each vegan shrimp in the flour first, then into the milk. Finally dredge each piece in the Panko-coconut mixture, covering thoroughly.
- If using an air fryer, place each vegan shrimp evenly spread out in the air fryer basket. Cook at 375°F for 5-6 minutes, flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes until golden. If desired, spray with oil for crispier, more golden result before cooking.
- If regular frying, cover bottom of pan with oil and heat on medium-high. Carefully add the shrimp in a single layer and fry until golden. Flip and fry on the other side until golden; about 2-4 minutes per side. Remove from oil and transfer to a paper towel to remove excess oil.
- For baking, spread out on a lined baking sheet at 400°F for 20 minutes until golden, flipping halfway.