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Quick and Easy Creamy Chinese Coconut Shrimp Recipe

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This creamy coconut shrimp recipe is a quick and easy 30-minute main dish.


It is a delightful combination of tender shrimp sautéed in coconut oil and blended into a creamy sauce made with coconut milk that seafood lovers will find hard to resist!

If you love an easy recipe for a busy weeknight that’s quick and flavorful, this dish will soon become one of your favorite recipes! 

Coconut shrimp recipes usually have just a handful of basic ingredients, many of which can be found at your local grocery or specialty food store.

Quick and Easy Creamy Chinese Coconut Shrimp Ingredients

There are two large white bowls. One with raw shrimp in it and the other has a creamy white liquid in it. There is a small white bowl with a creamy white liquid in it. There are four smaller clear bowls. One has a white powder ingredient, one has shredded white coconut pieces in it, one has a clear liquid in it and the last one has white granulated sugar in it. There are four very small clear glass bowls. One has a dark brown liquid in it. One has ground pepper in it, one has salt in it and the last one has ground cayenne pepper in it. There is a whole lime, a piece of ginger root, a head of garlic, and two long stemmed green onions. All the items are on a white marbled surface.

The following ingredients are used to make this rich, creamy coconut shrimp recipe

  • Raw shrimp
  • Coconut oil
  • Green onions
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut cream
  • Corn starch
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Fresh lime zest
  • Fresh garlic
  • Ginger root
  • Shredded coconut or coconut flakes
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper – optional
  • Vanilla extract

Helpful Tools 

  • Large skillet
  • Small bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Slotted spoon
  • Hand juicer
  • Zester
  • Cutting board
  • Large kitchen knife
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

Let’s Dive Into The Ingredients 

There is a brown serving bowl with white rice and a white cream sauce with shrimp in it. There are thin slices of green onion on top of the shrimp. There is a gray cloth napkin with fringed edges laying next to the bowl. Items are on a white marbled surface.

Shrimp: Fresh or frozen shrimp can be used. For best results, use either large shrimp or jumbo shrimp.

Oil: Coconut oil really adds to the overall flavor of the dish however, olive oil or vegetable oil can be substituted.

Coconut milk: This is the base of the creamy coconut milk sauce.

I use full fat coconut milk however, if you’re looking to save some calories, you can use reduced-fat coconut milk.

Heavy cream can also be substituted in a pinch but you will be missing some of the wonderful coconut flavor.

Coconut cream: Coconut cream is what makes this a silky smooth sauce.

Fresh lime juice and zest: Adding fresh lime juice and lime zest gives a  wonderful light citrus flavor to seafood dishes.

Vanilla extract: This is the secret ingredient!

Vanilla extracts add to the rich sweet flavor of the creamy coconut sauce.

Fresh ginger: Ginger has a spicy kick to add. Adjust to your liking.

Fresh garlic: When cooked, garlic add a delicious soft buttery flavor.

Shredded coconut: Coconut flakes add to the overall flavor of this dish as well as a little crunchiness.

Cayenne Pepper: I like to add just a pinch. You can adjust the amount to your liking or omit all together.

If you want to really kick up the heat level, you can add about a tablespoon of sweet chili sauce! 

Sugar: Adding about 1 to 2  teaspoons of sugar really helps balance all the flavors in this shrimp recipe.

You can use coconut sugar if you happen to have any on hand. 

Corn starch: Corn starch is used as a thickener in the sauce. 

Salt and Black Pepper: Both are to your personal tasting.

How To Make Quick and Easy Creamy Chinese Coconut Shrimp

There is a wooden cutting board with ingredients resting on it. The ingredients consist of a small white bowl with a light yellow lime juice in it. A small clear glass bowl with lime zest in it. There is a small pile of minced garlic, a small pile of minced ginger root and a small pile of chopped green onions. The wooden cutting board is on a white marbled surface.
  • Gather all the ingredients.
  • Prep shrimp.
  • Chop and mince the herbs and onions.
There is a large gray skillet with cooked shrimp and green onions covering the bottom of the pan.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet. 
  • Sauté shrimp and green onions until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. 
  • Transfer the cooked shrimp and onions to a plate and set aside.
  • While the shrimp are cooking, pour the coconut milk into a large bowl. 
  • Whisk in all the other ingredients and blend throughly.
There is a large gray skillet with a light cream sauce in it. The skillet is on a white marbled surface.
  • Pour the sauce into the hot skillet. 
  • Bring the sauce to a boil.
  •  Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens.
There is a large gray skillet with a light cream sauce and cooked shrimp in it. The skillet is on a white marbled surface.
  • Mix the shrimp back into the sauce and simmer for a couple more minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Complete recipe details can be found in the recipe card below.

How To Serve Creamy Chinese Coconut Shrimp

Rice is my favorite pairing with this Chinese buffet style shrimp.

Spoon the creamy shrimp mixture over rice and top with slice green onions and a lime wedge.

You can serve this easy 30-minute dinner with white rice, brown rice, coconut rice, or cauliflower rice. 

Prepping The Shrimp

If you are using fresh shrimp, carefully remove the shells and use a sharp paring knife to devein the shrimp. 

When using frozen shrimp, completely thaw and carefully remove the shells. 

Rinse peeled shrimp under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

There is a brown serving bowl with white rice and a white cream sauce with shrimp in it. There are thin slices of green onion on top of the shrimp.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Know When Shrimp Is Fully Cooked?

You will know when shrimp is fully cooked by visual cues. Shrimp cook very quickly, about 1-2 minutes on each side depending on their size. 

Perfectly cooked shrimp will turn opaque with no gray showing. 

Cooked shrimp will have a color of light pink to orange depending on the variety.

Is There A Difference Between Coconut Cream And Cream Of Coconut?

Yes, there is a key difference between coconut cream and cream of coconut.

Coconut cream is made of just unsweetened coconut and is very thick.  Cream of coconut has added sugar which makes it very sweet with a syrupy texture.

How Do You Store Creamy Coconut Shrimp?

Allow the shrimp and sauce to cool to room temperature before storing. Store any creamy coconut shrimp in an airtight container. Store up to three days in the refrigerator.

Looking for a fried shrimp recipe?

Check out Crunchy Fried Shrimp from Allrecipes!

Love This Recipe?

Here are more great seafood recipes to try!

Yield: 4 servings

Quick and Easy Creamy Chinese Coconut Shrimp Recipe

There is a brown serving bowl with white rice and a white cream sauce with shrimp in it. There are thin slices of green onion on top of the shrimp.

Creamy Chinese Coconut Shrimp is an easy and delicious recipe that is ready in 30 minutes! Tender shrimp sautéed in coconut oil and mixed into a creamy sweet coconut sauce. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pound raw shrimp (large or jumbo - thawed, peeled, and deveined)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 green onions - the white part chopped and the green tops thinly sliced
  • 14 ounces coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh lime zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper - optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Peel, devein, and rinse the shrimp.
  2. Chop green onions.
  3. Mince garlic and ginger.
  4. Zest and juice lime.
  5. Heat a large skillet or frying pan. Add coconut oil and heat on medium-high.
  6. Add the shrimp in a single layer to the hot oil.
  7. Sauté shrimp and green onions for 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. 
  8. Use a slotted spoon to transfer cooked shrimp and onions to a plate and set aside.
  9. While the shrimp are cooking, pour the coconut milk into a large bowl. 
  10. Add the rest of the ingredients: cream of coconut, corn starch, finely minced garlic and ginger, lime juice and zest, sugar, coconut flakes, cayenne pepper, vanilla extract, salt, and pepper. 
  11. Whisk coconut mixture until completely blended.
  12. Carefully pour the coconut mixture into the hot skillet.
  13. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium high heat.
  14.  Reduce to low heat and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  15. Once the sauce has thickened, mix the shrimp into the coconut sauce and simmer for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, just to warm up the shrimp.
  16. Remove from heat and serve immediately over rice. Top with green onions and a wedge of lime.

Notes

Helpful Tools 

  • Large skillet
  • Small bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Slotted spoon
  • Hand juicer
  • Zester
  • Cutting board
  • Large kitchen knife
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

How To Serve Creamy Chinese Coconut Shrimp

Rice is my favorite pairing with this Chinese buffet style shrimp. Spoon the creamy shrimp mixture over rice and top with slice green onions and a lime wedge.

You can serve this easy 30-minute dinner with white rice, brown rice, coconut rice, or cauliflower rice. 

How To Store

Allow the shrimp and sauce to cool to room temperature before storing. Store any creamy coconut shrimp in an airtight container. Store up to three days in the refrigerator.

Did you make this recipe?

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