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Popcorn Shrimp with Gochujang Mayo Dipping Sauce

Courtesy Will Coleman
Cook Time:
5 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins

Chef notes

I love when food brings your inner child out with every bite. These popcorn shrimp reminds me of the days when I would come home from school and the only thing I could pull together was a hefty serving of frozen popcorn shrimp. I've put my spin on this fun, crowd-pleasing dish, introducing some of my favorite Asian flavors to it.

Popcorn shrimp wouldn't be exciting without a sauce, so I've created one that packs in complex flavors. The gochujang in the sauce adds an intensely sweet and spicy taste, and the shrimp is slightly spicy and tangy from the buttermilk-chili marinate. This recipe remains a staple whenever I'm entertaining.


Gochujang Mayo Dipping Sauce
  • 1 cup Kewpie mayo
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried seaweed
  • 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
Popcorn Shrimp
  • 2 pounds small shrimp, deveined, shells and tails removed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 4 cups peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean chili pepper)
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic


For the dipping sauce:

Mix the mayo, seaweed, gochujang, sugar, vinegar and scallions in a medium mixing bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, set aside for serving.

For the popcorn shrimp:


In a large mixing bowl, combine shrimp, buttermilk and chili oil. Set aside and marinate for 10 to 30 minutes.


Heat peanut and sesame oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pan to 350 F to 375 F. Meanwhile, combine panko, flour, gochugaru, salt, sesame seeds and granulated garlic in a separate large mixing bowl.


Place a handful of the marinated shrimp into the panko mixture. Toss together the shrimp, being sure to coat each piece thoroughly. Shake each piece and transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining marinated shrimp.


Slowly lower 10 to 14 pieces of shrimp into the oil, keeping a 1/4-inch in between each piece. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are golden-brown and crispy. Transfer the fried shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate or sheet pan. Continue to fry the remaining shrimp and be sure to continue monitoring the oil temperature in between each batch.

To serve:

Once all the shrimp are cooked, keep them in a warm oven until ready to serve. Serve with the dipping sauce.