Copycat Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp

Copycat Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp

Bang bang shrimp is a crispy, creamy, lightly spicy shrimp appetizer served at Bonefish Grill. Hugely popular, bang bang shrimp has spawned dozens of copycat versions all trying to help you recreate the signature dish at home. So why trust this version? Read on to find out.

How To Make Bang Bang Shrimp

In theory, there’s nothing tricky about this dish. Shrimp is dredged in a light coating, then deep-fried and tossed while hot with a creamy mayonnaise and sweet chili sauce mixture. Easy peasy, right?

As simple as the dish is, recreating restaurant food at home can be tricky because you can’t be sure what specific ingredients are used, and sometimes even the brand of the ingredient matters. In the case of this recipe, there are a couple notable ingredients you want to be sure to use to get the flavor right.

How To Make Homemade Bang Bang Shrimp Taste Like the Real Deal

The flavor of bang bang shrimp starts with the liquid used when breading the shrimp. While you could use a variety of things—milk or beaten egg, for example—buttermilk has a thick texture that clings to the shrimp, helping the cornstarch and rice flour adhere. Buttermilk also provides a subtle tang that gives the finished dish an added layer of flavor.

In terms of the sauce used to coat the shrimp, you want a balance of sweet, creamy, and spicy. Too spicy and the other flavors fade into the background. This is why Thai sweet chili sauce (preferably Mae Ploy brand) and sriracha (preferably Huy Fong brand) are combined to create a light sweetness with a vinegar kick and just enough spice to keep you coming back for bite after bite.

How To Serve Bang Bang Shrimp

Bang bang shrimp are served as an appetizer at Bonefish Grill. They really need no accompaniment to be perfectly delicious. However, you can serve them with tender lettuce leaves for cradling the shrimp. The cool leaves provide a nice, fresh contrast to the creamy shrimp.

You can also heat up small corn or flour tortillas to serve with the shrimp. Or, for a twist on the recipe, fry the shrimp as directed and serve the sauce on the side for dipping. It won’t be quite the same as your favorite appetizer, but it can make serving them at a party a little easier, and the shrimp won’t get soggy as quickly.

What To Substitute for Sriracha

Huy Fong brand sriracha is a little hard to find right now, but there are plenty of alternatives:

  • Shark brand sriracha is widely available at Asian supermarkets and online, and I actually prefer it to Huy Fong brand.
  • Trader Joe’s sriracha is another great option for those with a store nearby.
  • Most grocery stores offer a house brand sriracha, so check your favorite local store for options.
  • Huy Fong’s chili garlic sauce is more widely available than their sriracha and while it’s not exactly the same (sriracha is a little sweeter, with a less pronounced garlic flavor), it can be substituted for the sriracha in this recipe.

Tips for Making Bang Bang Shrimp

  • What type of rice flour to use—Be sure to use regular rice flour, not glutinous rice flour.
  • Why fry in batches?—Working in batches is key here for a couple of reasons: First, adding too many at once decreases the temperature of the oil quickly, leading to a potentially less crispy, more oily fried shrimp. Second, adding them in batches to the sauce allows for a more gentle toss, which helps keep the fried exterior intact.
  • How to keep the shrimp warm—To serve all the shrimp hot at the same time, preheat the oven to 250 F. Keep the fried shrimp warm on the baking sheet lined with paper towels as you fry the remaining shrimp. Once all the shrimp have been fried and drained, toss them with all the sauce and serve at once.  
  • For less spice—If making this dish for the spice-sensitive, reduce the sriracha in the sauce to 2 tablespoons.

“This was SUCH a hit in the test kitchen and it’s really no surprise why – the shrimp are juicy and well cooked and shockingly crispy, while the sauce is creamy, spicy, tangy, and bright.” —The Spruce Eats Test Kitchen

Orange-red colored bang bang shrimp on an oval white platter garnished with sliced scallions and lime wedges A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • Canola oil, for frying

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sriracha, divided

  • 1 1/2 pounds large peeled, deveined raw shrimp, tails removed

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce (such as Mae Ploy)

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) white rice flour

  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) cornstarch

  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

  • Lime wedges, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

    Ingredients to make bang bang shrimp

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a large heavy-bottom saucepan or Dutch oven. Heat over medium to 380 F.

    A large pot with 2 inches of oil

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. While the oil preheats, stir together 1 cup buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the sriracha in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 pounds large peeled, deveined raw shrimp and stir to coat. Set aside.

    A large bowl of deveined shrimp in buttermilk and sriracha

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Whisk together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon fine salt, and remaining 1/4 cup sriracha in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    A bowl of mayonnaise, chili oil, soy sauce, salt, and sriracha

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Set the prepared baking sheet next to the stove. Whisk together 1/2 cup (80 grams) rice flour and 1/2 cup (65 grams) cornstarch in a large bowl.

    A bowl of rice flour and corn starch

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Once the oil reaches 380 F, transfer about one-third of the shrimp from the buttermilk mixture to the rice flour mixture and toss to coat (leave remaining shrimp in the buttermilk mixture while frying the first batch).

    A bowl of buttermilk-sriracha soaked shrimp coated in the rice flour-corn starch mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Place the breaded shrimp in a spider or large slotted spoon and shake to allow any excess flour to fall back into the bowl. Carefully lower the shrimp into the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes.

    A spider strainer adding the coated shrimp into a pot of hot oil

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Transfer the shrimp from the oil to the prepared baking sheet and let them drain.

    Fried shrimp on a paper towel-lined baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Transfer the drained fried shrimp to another clean bowl and spoon over one-third of the mayonnaise mixture. Gently toss to coat the shrimp in the mayonnaise mixture. Repeat the breading, frying, and tossing process with the remaining shrimp.

    A bowl of battered and fried shrimp being tossed in mayonnaise-sriracha mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Garnish with sliced scallions and serve immediately with lime wedges.

    A platter of bang bang shrimp served on lettuce, topped with sliced scallions

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

How To Store

We don’t recommend storing bang bang shrimp. It is best eaten right after it is made. However, if you love the sauce, feel free to make extra and keep it refrigerated for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Feeling Adventurous? Try This:

  • Bang bang shrimp tacos—Pile these in tortillas to make tacos and top with a bright limey slaw.
  • Bang bang shrimp bowls—Make bang bang shrimp bowls by serving over white rice and adding some extra sauce, sliced cucumber, and diced avocado.
  • Bang bang cauliflower—For a vegetarian version of this dish, substitute bite-sized cauliflower florets for the shrimp.

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