Trader Joe’s Coconut Shrimp Review

I like Coconut Shrimp. You like Coconut shrimp. Everyone likes Coconut shrimp! It’s like this universal thing. You go to a party and there is a big tray of coconut shrimp and it gets snarfed up in like five minutes. Or, if you go to a suburban mall restaurant for happy hour, almost certainly, someone will order a pile of coconut shrimp for appetizers. So, it made sense for Trader Joe’s to make their own so you could enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. But the proof is in the pudding the old saying goes and not everything that Trader Joe’s puts their touch on turns into gold. Let’s dive into this sea of shrimp!

Trader Joe's Coconut Shrimp
Trader Joe’s Coconut Shrimp

Let’s back up and talk about what exactly is coconut shrimp. Coconut shrimp is a dish featuring the sweet taste of coconut and the taste of shrimp in every bite. Since this dish is savory-sweet, almost like a dessert, this dish is ideal as both an appetizer and a principal course. The shrimp are usually coated in a combination of shredded coconut and breadcrumbs, making them a lovely golden color when tossed into the deep fryer. The shrimp are usually dipped first in a batter — a mixture of flour, eggs, and on occasion, a few spices or seasonings — that helps the mixture of coconut and breadcrumb adhere. Once they’re completely coated, the shrimp are then deep-fried to make sure they attain a crusty gold-brown exterior; within, the shrimp remain juicy and tender, generating an incredibly yummy contrast in textures. Dipping sauces of all types go well with coconut shrimp: Anything from sweet chili sauce to mango salsa to a mayonnaise infused with citrus, which helps enhance both the sweet and savory points of the dish.

Trader Joe's Coconut Shrimp in the box
Trader Joe’s Coconut Shrimp in the box

The box instructions only call for baking it in the oven but you know we all love our air fryers so I just did a little math and figured out that baking at 390 degrees for about 8-10 minutes was good so I fired up my air fryer and let it rip. It actually smelled pretty good baking it. Deep fried shrimp and coconut but that was not a precursor to things to come.

How Did Trader Joe’s Coconut Shrimp Taste?

After I took the coconut shrimp out of the air fryer, I put it on a plate to cool so I could eat it with torching my mouth.

While it was cooling I was looking at the breading compared to a real recipe of coconut shrimp. Here is a picture from Pioneer Woman and this is what coconut shrimp should look like in my humble opinion. You can see individual strands of coconut meat and it’s a nice golden color.

You should be able to smell the coconut and the shrimp all fried together. But what we got was a sad imitation of good coconut shrimp. The batter looks flat and lifeless. Even in an air fryer, it never got that golden fried color. You can’t see the coconut in the coating.

Eating it isn’t much better. The sad lumps of batter have a tiny shrimp embedded inside. The batter was flavorless and I could only detect hints of coconut in the batter. The batter was crispy on the outside, but was gummy on the inside and the shrimp was touch and chewy and small. The only way I could make this palatable was to drown it in Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili sauce or mayo to give it some flavor.

At the end of the day, I am only going to give Trader Joe’s Coconut Chicken 5 out of 10 stars! It’s a hard pass.

Trader Joe’s Coconut Shrimp

Trader Joe’s Coconut Shrimp cooked


Shrimp, Wheat Flour, Water, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Rice flour, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Coconut, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicar-bonate), Natural Flavor, Yeast, Onion Powder, Natural Beer Flavor (Maltodextrin, Beer), Dehydrated Pineapple Juice, Maltodextrin (Corn), Guar Gum.


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