For a quick weeknight dinner that takes less than 30 minutes to make, try this recipe for Creamy Coconut Shrimp with a flavorful dairy-free sauce. This easy skillet recipe is a family favorite that is so versatile. Serve the creamy shrimp with cooked rice, cauliflower rice, or noodles.

creamy coconut shrimp with dairy-free coconut sauce tossed with pasta.

Easy Shrimp Skillet Recipe

This easy coconut shrimp dish is ready in 30 minutes!

You can steam a packet of rice to go with it or cook the rice before you start the shrimp. For a lower-carb but equally delicious meal, serve with zucchini noodles or roasted vegetables.

Either way, this is a high-protein, lactose-free recipe using coconut milk instead of cream for the shrimp.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe Benefits

  • This creamy coconut shrimp recipe is totally dairy-free and can also be made gluten-free too! Coconut milk replaces heavy cream in this dish but makes for a very creamy sauce.
  • When life gets busy, easy recipes are necessary. This one is super simple! See all of my 30 minute meals.
  • This creamy coconut shrimp recipe is so delicious and one serving contains almost 50% of the recommended daily value for protein.
ingredients for creamy coconut shrimp.
  • Large raw shrimp – Be sure to buy already peeled and deveined shrimp for this recipe. If you have extra time, you can peel and devein them yourself. Frozen shrimp can be more cost effective and tastes just as delicious as fresh. Be sure to defrost the shrimp in the refrigerator first before following the recipe.
  • Full-fat coconut milk gives the sauce its rich and creamy tropical flavor. Be sure to buy the canned version as it’s much thicker than coconut milk from the carton. See my related article on the Best Substitutes for Coconut Cream.
  • Limes add an acidic element to the rich sauce that brings out all the different flavors. Be sure to use fresh limes and not bottled lime juice for best results.
  • Coconut sugar adds a slight sweetness to the sauce. If you are on a very strict sugar-free or low-carb diet you can leave it out.
  • Cornstarch will thicken the sauce. Be sure to add it once the sauce is simmering so it can work it’s magic.
  • Spices including ground ginger, salt, and pepper will boost the flavor of the delicious sauce. I’ve also suggested using fish sauce in the ingredient checklist to help add even more umami flavor to the recipe.

Please see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Recipe Steps

photo collage with how to make coconut shrimp.

Step One

In a medium or large skillet, heat up the oil over medium heat or medium-high heat and cook the shrimp on both sides for 3 minutes. They will turn opaque and curl up when cooked.

Transfer shrimp to a clean plate.

Step Two

Pour the coconut milk and lime juice into the skillet. Turn the heat on high to bring to a gentle simmer.

Please see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Step Three

Whisk in the cornstarch, sugar, ginger, salt, and pepper.

Step Four

Once the mixture starts to simmer, reduce the heat to low. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.

Turn off the heat and add the shrimp back into the pan. Stir to coat the shrimp with the creamy coconut milk sauce and then serve over rice or noodles. Top with green onions and enjoy! You can also add black pepper, red pepper flakes, and fresh lime zest for even more flavor.

I hope you agree that this easy recipe is perfect for busy weeknights. When served with white rice, brown rice, pasta, or whatever you like, it’s a complete meal. The next time you are craving tender shrimp, try this easy meal.

Recipe Tips

  • You can buy fresh shrimp or frozen shrimp for this recipe. If using frozen, place the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight to thaw completely before using. Rinse and drain the defrosted shrimp before using (to get rid of any excess liquid). I prefer to buy frozen shrimp for the best price (as opposed to fresh). Look for bags of frozen shrimp that are already peeled and deveined. My personal preference is to use shrimp with the tails off.
  • You can use coconut cream, but you will need to thin out the sauce with about ¼ cup of water.
  • You can use olive oil or coconut oil to sauté the shrimp.
  • If you want to add more veggies to this dish, feel free to include some thinly-sliced bell peppers when you add the shrimp.
  • This recipe calls for large-sized shrimp. You can also use medium size, but you’ll need to reduce the overall cooking time so that the shrimp doesn’t get overcooked.
  • For sugar-free diets, feel free to leave out the sugar.

Recipe FAQs

What can I serve with creamy coconut shrimp?

This recipe tastes delicious with rice or noodles because it has such an incredible sauce but you can also serve it with cauliflower rice, roasted vegetables, or zucchini noodles for a low-carb option. You could also serve it with crusty bread to sop up all the sauce.

creamy shrimp texture with green onions on top.

More Shrimp Recipes You Might Like

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

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creamy coconut shrimp coconut sauce.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp (Dairy-Free Recipe)

For a quick weeknight dinner that takes less than 30 minutes to make, try this recipe for Creamy Coconut Shrimp with a flavorful dairy-free sauce. This easy skillet recipe is a family favorite that is so versatile. Serve the creamy shrimp with cooked rice, cauliflower rice, or noodles.

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (if using frozen, defrost completely before using)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (from a can)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Cooked rice, sauteed cauliflower rice, or cooked noodles (optional, for serving)
  • Green onions, sliced (for topping)

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the shrimp to the other side and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until the shrimp have curled up and are opaque in color.
  3. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a clean plate.
  4. Then, pour in the coconut milk and lime juice to the skillet. Turn the heat to high to bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  5. Whisk in the cornstarch, sugar, ginger, salt, and pepper.
  6. When the mixture start to simmer, reduce the heat to low. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.
  7. Turn off the heat and carefully add the cooked shrimp to the sauce. Stir to coat the shrimp and serve over your choice of cooked rice, sautéed cauliflower rice, or cooked noodles.
  8. Sprinkle the top with sliced green onions and serve hot.

Notes

  1. You can buy fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe. If using frozen, place the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight to thaw completely before using. Rinse and drain the defrosted shrimp before using (to get rid of any excess liquid). I prefer to buy frozen shrimp for the best price (as opposed to fresh). Look for bags of frozen shrimp that are already peeled and deveined. My personal preference is to use shrimp with the tails off.
  2. You can use lite coconut milk, but the dish will not be as flavorful.
  3. You can use coconut cream, but you will need to thin out the sauce with about ¼ cup of water.
  4. This recipe calls for large-sized shrimp. You can also use medium size, but you’ll need to reduce the overall cooking time so that the shrimp doesn’t get overcooked.
  5. For sugar-free diets, feel free to leave out the sugar.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 261
  • Sugar: 2.6 g
  • Sodium: 551.9 mg
  • Fat: 16.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.8 g
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 24.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 182.5 mg

Keywords: creamy coconut shrimp recipe, skillet shrimp recipe, 30 minute meal

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with nearly 10 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.