By Cooking Type, By Ingredient, Entrees, Seafood

How to Make Deep Fried Baby Shrimp (Shrimp Scatter)

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How do you make Deep Fry Baby Shrimp? Well you’re in luck today – I’m going to show you how to make the best Shrimp Scatter you’re ever had. !I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where delicious, fresh seafood was readily available. There were many restaurants to choose from when you were craving fresh seafood, and not all of them were in San Francisco! There was a restaurant Berkeley seafood restaurant called Spenger’s Seafood Grotto, which was an icon in the Bay Area. One of their most well-known dishes was the deep fried baby shrimp also known as “Shrimp Scatter”. I was so in love with these that I just had to know how to make deep fried baby Shrimp…err Shrimp Scatter myself.

My parents often took us to Spenger’s in Berkeley, and it was my favorite place to eat. As you might have guessed, the bay shrimp that were deep fried and served with fresh cut lemon, and a side of tartar sauce is what I ordered almost every time. On occasion I ordered the deep fried scallops (another amazing seafood meal!).

Spenger’s restaurant is still there, however it has had different owners for years. It was a sad day when the old Spenger’s closed. After all, I still craved the tasty fried shrimp basket that I adored as a child. I decided to make my own Shrimp Scatter recipe, and since it turned out so well, I am happy to share it with you. This fried shrimp recipe will be a new family favorite in no time!

word ingredients

  • 1/2 – 1 lb.  bay shrimp – checked for small shells, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  • Fresh lemon wedges

Although I call this recipe “Shrimp Scatter”, it is very similar to Popcorn Shrimp (these are just tinier shrimp). If you’ve had Popcorn Shrimp before, then you will absolutely love these tender, crunchy shrimp.

How do you make Deep Fried Baby Shrimp (aka Popcorn Shrimp)?

Prepare your work area in advance, because you’ll be working quickly. Depending on how many shrimp you will be using, you may have to do several batches in the deep fryer. Set everything out in a row on the counter: Clean shrimp, a bowl with the beaten eggs and water mixture, and a shallow dish with the breadcrumb/flour mixture.

Deep fried shrimp in a bowl
Shrimp Scatter

You could also use this recipe to make fried prawns, which are of course much larger, but there is just something about the flavor of bay shrimp that I just adore. It is probably also why I love our Open Faced Hot Crab Melt Sandwich recipe, as I can substitute bay shrimp for the crabmeat. It is SO tasty and makes for a wonderful lunch OR dinner. 

When we went to the Oregon Coast last year, I was surprised to see “Pink Shrimp” on the menus everywhere. I’m from California originally, and they were just called “Bay Shrimp”.  Both places are also known to call them “baby shrimp”.  All three work for me – I don’t care what you call them! 

What is the difference between prawns and shrimp?

Lots of things! Prawns and shrimp are actually different species, noted by a variety of characteristics. Shrimp live in salty marine water only, and they traverse the water via swimming. Prawns, however, like to scoot around on the floor in fresh water. Prawns are typically sweeter than shrimp, since they live in fresh water. Shrimp can sometimes have a salty flavor. Prawns are larger than shrimp, however there are some large varieties of shrimp – including the Mantis Shrimp.  

Fun fact about shrimp with photo of shrimp

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe for Shrimp Scatter. If you love this seafood recipe, make sure you also check out our San Francisco style Crab Cioppino!

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