Shrimp Cracklins

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Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

60 minutes


6-8 Servings


2 pounds raw Louisiana shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined

2 pounds tapioca starch

1 heaping tablespoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

vegetable oil

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1In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the shrimp into a smooth paste.

2Add the tapioca starch, salt, and white pepper and process until well combined and a dough forms. (Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in 2 batches.)

3Knead the dough on a Silpat mat or lightly floured surface (use tapioca starch) until it is smooth and no longer sticky, about 2 to 3 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more tapioca starch. If it is too dry, add water by the 1/2 teaspoon.

4Prepare a steamer with water and bring the water to rolling boil over high heat.

5Roll the dough into two logs and place the logs on a lightly greased, heatproof dish (such as a glass pie plate). Place the dough in the hot steamer and steam until cooked through, 35 to 60 minutes depending on the thickness of the dough logs. (You may need to replenish water in the steamer periodically.)

6Reduce the heat under the steamer to maintain a steady, rolling simmer. The dough will expand slightly as it cooks. To test the doneness, cut a log in half crosswise – if the color is consistent throughout, the dough is cooked through. Transfer the dough to a fresh plate and place it in the refrigerator. When the dough is completely chilled, thinly slice the logs crosswise using a large, thin, sharp knife or a mandolin. (Note: If the shrimp chips too thick, they will not puff and crisp properly.

7Place the shrimp chips in a food dehydrator in a single layer. Dehydrate the shrimp chips until completely dried, about 24 hours. The chips will curl slightly.

8To cook, preheat the oven to 150°F. Place the chips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake them until the chips are heated through, approximately 10 minutes.

9Pour 2 inches of vegetable oil into a wok or large, heavy pot. Heat the oil to 350°F. Test the temperature of the oil by placing one shrimp chip into it. If the oil is hot enough, bubbles will immediately form around the chip. Within seconds, it should puff, enlarge, and float to the top. Do not allow the chips to "brown."

10When the color of the shrimp chip is consistent throughout, remove from the oil using a wire mesh strainer. Transfer the chips to a plate lined with paper towels or brown paper bag.