These vegan shrimp are tender yet they have a pop of chewiness and are coated in a crispy panko breadcrumb. They have a subtle seafood flavor, can be baked, deep-fried, or air fried, and work so well in a variety of dishes!
The same preparation method for this recipe can be used on any of the 10 storebought plant-based shrimp brands listed in the post below.
Looking for the best storebought vegan shrimp brands?
I first started testing this recipe over a year ago and have been on a mission to create an easy yet convincing vegan shrimp recipe since. The first test I created was seitan-based and used quite a bit of Old Bay Seasoning since it’s used in so many seafood recipes. And maybe it was personal taste, but I didn’t care for the flavor at all.
I did a few versions using King Oyster Mushrooms but wasn’t a fan of the texture or flavor. They just didn’t taste like seafood at all and the texture was… well, a mushroom.
Then, I dived into what storebought shrimp are made of. Most commercial vegan prawns are made from Konjac powder or root, which gives them that unique texture that pops in your mouth.
Originally I wanted to make a recipe using Konjac, but it can be hard to find and would take well over a few hours to prepare.
So I settled back on my tried and true for creating vegan seafood and meat substitutes: vital wheat gluten.
I also use vital wheat gluten in my Vegan Beef, Vegan Steak, and Vegan Buttermilk Chicken recipes. And I couldn’t be happier with the results! Okay, enough of the origins of this recipe …let’s get into the details!
why you’ll love this plant-based shrimp
- Crispy: they’re coated in crunchy panko bread crumbs for the perfect crust.
- Tender yet chewy: these vegan prawns have a bit of bite to them!
- Subtle Seafood Flavor: the perfect amount of seafood taste without being overpowering.
- Easy to Find Ingredients: no super unique or difficult ingredients here. You should be able to find them all at your local grocery.
- Under 30 Minutes: this recipe is super fast, with a 10 minute cook time.
what are vegan shrimp?
Vegan shrimp are a seafood alternative that mimics the texture and taste of the real thing. This recipe explores a homemade version but there are many storebought alternatives now available.
taste and texture
This recipe uses sea salt, nori (or you could use seaweed extract), and a few other key vegan seasonings to get a delicious subtle seafood flavor.
Vital wheat gluten creates a chewy texture in this recipe. And the panko coating gives these vegan and vegetarian shrimp a crunchy, crispy, pop as you bite into them.
what you’ll need
When creating this recipe, I wanted to make sure all of the ingredients were easily obtainable. You can find most of the key ingredients at your local grocery. If you can’t find something in the store, I’ve linked to where you can order it online.
- Vital Wheat Gluten: this is essential in this recipe. It creates a chewy texture and gives these faux shrimp protein.
- Hearts of Palm: these shrimp use hearts of palm that have been shredded to add tenderness, acidity, and a unique saltiness to them.
- Brine from the Heart of Palm Can: adds some much-needed flavor and saltiness to the recipe.
- Nori: shredded seaweed takes the flavor of this recipe up a notch. It’s briny and adds umami flavor to the shrimp.
- Soy Sauce: just a touch of soy sauce adds more umami flavor to the recipe.
- Paprika: a little bit adds color and a subtle smoky flavor.
- Everything Bagel Seasoning: okay, kind of a strange ingredient. But it’s the perfect blend of garlic, onion, and sesame seeds. If you don’t have this, I’ve listed substitutions in the recipe card below.
substitutions and add-ins
This recipe is great because you can think of it a bit like a blank canvas. You can add so many different flavors to the breading. Or you can use a variety of different sauces with them to change up the flavor.
To make vegan coconut shrimp, feel free to add some shredded coconut to the panko breading. You could add about a ¼-⅓ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut.
If you don’t have cornstarch, you can sub in potato starch instead.
If you don’t have vital wheat gluten you could try to use soy curls as the base of this recipe. However, I haven’t tried this and can’t guarantee results.
When testing this recipe, I tried a few oyster mushroom versions. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the outcome. The texture was way off and the flavor wasn’t quite there. However, you can definitely use King Oyster Mushroom stems, sliced into shrimp shapes, and bread them using the same method in this recipe. You’ll still get a crispy delicious simple snack and appetizer!
Storebought Vegan Prawns & The Best Plant-Based Brands
Before getting into how to make this recipe, I’d like to touch on 10 amazing vegan shrimp brands on the market! Many of these brands use konjac root powder or vegetable root starch to create a similar texture to real shrimp. All of the below are sustainable options to replace seafood with!
This recipe and the cooking methods in it can be used with any of the storebought brands below.
All Vegetarian’s Vegan Shrimp is made from pea extract, brown sugar, sunflower oil, and seaweed.
If you’re looking for an already breaded vegan shrimp, then this brand may be for you! Sophie’s Kitchen’s shrimp are breaded and already cooked. You can heat them up and quickly use them in dishes like vegan shrimp tacos or vegan shrimp scampi.
Lily’s Vegan Pantry is another brand that uses konjac powder as the base for the shrimp. They use paprika to get the realistic color on their prawns.
Clo Clo has some really tasty-looking premade vegan shrimp dishes. They have Hawaiian and Red Curry Shrimp. Their products use Raised by Plants Vegan Prawns.
This company makes pre-breaded or crusted vegan prawns. I’ve been able to find this brand at my local grocery store in the seafood section which is awesome! They have a coconut-crusted version and a lightly breaded version.
This is another brand that is unbreaded, leaving it up to you how you’d like to season these prawns! These would be fabulous with cocktail sauce or in stir-fries.
7. Loving Hut
Loving Hut is a restaurant chain that sells vegan shrimp! They have tons of locations across the US and in many different countries, so be sure to check their website to see if they have one near you.
This brand not only has vegan shrimp, but they also have tons of other vegan seafood alternatives from tuna to salmon to calamari.
These are made from konjac powder, soy protein, and kelp extract. This brand is available on Etsy, so be sure to select the breaded shrimp option from the drop-down menu.
10. New Wave Foods
New Wave Food’s products taste like the real deal. They can be grilled, pan-fried, baked, or deep-fried!
Their product is plant-based, sustainable, kosher, and vegetarian. It uses seaweed and plant protein (mung bean) as the main ingredients.
New Wave shrimp is only available at restaurants at this time and isn’t available for retail purchase but it could be in the near future!
where to buy storebought vegan shrimp
- GTFO It’s Vegan: this is an online store with such an incredible selection of vegan alternatives!
- Walmart: brands like Sophie’s Kitchen and Plant-Based Seafood Co. may be available at your local Walmart.
- Local Grocery Store: I’ve found Plant-based Seafood Co.’s products at my local grocery store in the seafood section next to real shrimp. Be sure to check the seafood section along with any dedicated plant-based sections that your store may have.
- Etsy: smaller brands are available to order online on Etsy.
- Local Asian Market: many Asian markets sell imitation konjac shrimp.
Okay, let’s get into the recipe! To make these shrimp you’ll want to gather the following helpful utensils or equipment:
- Air Fryer: if you’re air frying these shrimp
- Heavy Bottomed Pot: if you plan on deep frying
- Slotted Spoon: if you plan on deep frying
- Digital Scale: to help accurately measure all the ingredients
- Cooking Thermometer: if deep frying
how to make vegan shrimp
What’s great about this recipe is that it can be prepared in so many different ways. You can bake them in the oven, air fry them, pan-fry, or deep fry them. The prep work to make these shrimp is the same regardless of your cooking method.
step by step instructions:
Step 1: Measure the vital wheat gluten into a medium bowl. Add the seasonings.
Step 2: Add the liquid ingredients and mix to form a dough.
Step 3: Divide the dough into 14-18 equal-sized pieces. Shape them into a tapered ‘C’ shape or shrimp shape.
Step 4: Prep the breading ingredients. Coat the shrimp in cornstarch, then the vegan egg, and then roll them in the panko bread crumbs.
Step 5: Place shrimp in a single layer on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet, air fryer basket, or plate.
how to bake
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Measure out 1 tbsp of neutral oil and brush all the prawns generously with oil.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.
how to air fry
- Preheat the air fryer to 400F.
- Measure out 1 tbsp of neutral oil and brush all the prawns generously with oil.
- Air fry for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown.
how to deep fry or pan fry
- Heat 3-4 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until it reaches around 350 – 375F. If pan-frying, pour 2-3 tbsp of oil into a nonstick pan and heat.
- Small bubbles should form around a spoon or utensil that is dipped in the oil. Carefully insert 2-3 shrimp at a time into the oil.
- Cook for about 2 minutes per side or until golden in color. Remove from the oil and let them drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Preheat Your Oven or Air Fryer: a hot oven is key to a crispy exterior.
- Brush Generously with Oil: this will help tremendously with the texture and color of the breading.
- Make Sure the Oil is Hot: if frying, use a thermometer if possible.
- Space the Shrimp Out: this applies to all the cooking methods. Spacing out the shrimp allows them to cook evenly.
- Serve While Hot: like most breaded and fried foods, they’re best served hot!
What I love about this recipe is how versatile it is! You can use it in SO many different dishes. Cover it with your favorite sauce or serve it in pasta dishes with a squirt of lemon juice. Below are a few ways to serve up these plant-based shrimp.
Vegan Shrimp Cocktail
You could easily whip up a quick cocktail sauce with ketchup, lemon juice, vegan Worcestershire, and horseradish. Or you can order a premade vegan-friendly cocktail sauce to serve these with as a tasty appetizer.
These are so so delicious on top of creamy, flavorful grits and greens. You can find the recipe for my vegan shrimp and grits here!
Dipped in Spicy Vegan Mayo
Whip up some spicy vegan mayonnaise to dunk these crispy morsels in.
Vegan Shrimp Scampi
These would be fabulous in pasta dishes like shrimp scampi!
Over Rice & With Bok Choy
These are also really good served over rice with some sauteed boy choy.
storage and reheating
These shrimp are best right after cooking them, but they can be stored and reheated.
- Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Reheat the prawns by baking them at 450F for 3-5 minutes.
- Or air fry them at 400F for 5 minutes.
Commercial vegan shrimp are usually made from Konjac powder which has the texture of real shrimp. This vegan shrimp recipe uses vital wheat gluten and hearts of palm to create a tender yet chewy texture.
Shrimp are not vegan. They are living animals and are not vegan-friendly.
You can buy store-bought vegan shrimp online (Etsy or GTFO It’s Vegan) or at your local grocery store or local Asian market.
LOOKING FOR MORE meatless RECIPES?
- How to Make the Best Vegan Beef
- Vegan Garlic Butter Steak
- Air Fried Vegan Buttermilk Chicken
- Seitan Bourguignon
- Vegan Blackened Chicken
RECIPE & VIDEO
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