Fried and breaded shrimp with cocktail sauce
For The Absolute Crispiest Shrimp, Baking Soda Is Your Friend
By Nick Johnson
Attempting to create crispy breaded shrimp from home can be rewarding if you can get past the oil splashes and the messy kitchen, and there are plenty of hacks to make it better. The next time you're frying a pan of shrimp, include baking soda in your coating to achieve maximum crispiness.
When raw shrimp comes into contact with baking soda, its muscles begin to have an electrical spasm, which causes it to expand. Though you may think that a less constricted shrimp would be more porous, the looser structure of a shrimp that has been treated with baking soda will actually retain more moisture, ultimately resulting in juicy, perfectly textured shrimp.
In his recipe for garlic and lemon shrimp skewers, J. Kenji López-Alt explains that he performed experiments in his kitchen to determine the efficacy of the baking soda hack and found that the baking soda shrimp were much more firm. Additionally, he says baking soda causes the shrimp to brown faster, which means more flavor with less cooking time.