Recipe Review

I Tried This Popular Recipe for Crispy Chipotle Honey Shrimp and Now I See What All the Hype Was About

published Mar 7, 2022
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I Tried It Crispy Chipotle Honey Shrimp
Credit: Cheryl Fenton

Some of the best things can come out of nothing — a concept you don’t have to tell Lorenzo Espada twice. With humble beginnings of selling hot plates to fellow college students, this 22-year-old self-taught chef in North Carolina turned his talent in the kitchen into a thriving private chef business. He’s amassed 1.4 million Instagram followers on his eatwitzo account, his social platform for sharing recipes ranging from seafood to soul food

Espada’s mantra? “We gon make somethin’ outta nothin” — a motto his parents taught him — “whether it was making ends meet, making a good time out of a bad one, or simply just creating a good vibe out of thin air,” he explains on his private chef website. 

So that’s exactly what we’re going to do — make somethin’ outta nothin’ with his crispy chipotle honey shrimp recipe. It’s a delicious dish that proves what can be created when just shrimp, simple seasonings, and pantry staples come together for an incredible taste and ridiculous crunch. A dip in his Avocado Ranch and the spices are cooled, leaving your tastebuds happy. And that ain’t nothin’ I’d want to be without.

How to Make Crispy Chipotle Honey Shrimp

By making the avocado ranch dipping sauce first, it allows for the flavors to mingle. It’s an incredibly easy mix of sour cream, mayo, buttermilk, and mashed avocado (along with some fresh dill, parsley, lime juice, and garlic), and it’s a creamy accompaniment to sit sidecar to the crispy shrimp.

Consistency is key with this recipe (translation: The spices are used in two places to keep it all cohesive). In two separate bowls, sprinkle shelled and deveined shrimp with a blend of equal parts smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. The bowl of flour dredge also gets treated with the same powdered spices. The bowl of panko breadcrumbs? Well, they just get to ride this recipe out on their own. Simple is sometimes best when it comes to that extra crunch. 

Credit: Cheryl Fenton

If you don’t have an oil fryer (we don’t), heat 2 or 3 inches of oil in a high-edged pan until it reaches 375°F. Then follow a three-step process: Dredge the shrimp first in flour, then the egg wash, and finally the panko breadcrumbs. Fry them up in the oil for two minutes until golden-brown, lifting them out with a slotted spoon. 

The final step is a mixture of two-to-one honey and chipotle purée — the latter being made with a simple whirl of canned chipotle in adobo sauce in your food processor until smooth. We poured the sauce over half the batch of shrimp (our kid didn’t inherit our love of hot foods) and gave it a quick stir. The sauce coated everything well enough, but I caution you to bring some napkins to the feast.

My Honest Review of Crispy Chipotle Honey Shrimp

Like the 122,000 people who showed this shrimp post some love, I was a fan. When Espada asks for a “moment of silence for the crunch,” he wasn’t kidding. These were some of the crunchiest shrimp I’ve made — thanks to the thick three-step batter and the dip in the oil. To make this recipe a bit more healthful, I plan on giving the shrimp some time in the air fryer instead of the pan the next time I make them. 

Credit: Cheryl Fenton

5 Tips for Making Crispy Chipotle Honey Shrimp

  1. Don’t crowd the shrimp in the pan while frying. Working in batches allows them to cook evenly for an all-around crunch.
  2. Get rid of the excess. While dipping the shrimp into the flour and spice blend, tap off the excess before hitting the egg wash. This will prevent clumping.
  3. Substitute if needed. If you aren’t a fan of shellfish, you can also use this recipe with chicken tenders. The method and seasonings will stay the same — you’ll just have another option on hand.
  4. After taking them out of the oil, give the shrimp a few minutes before eating. Once your shrimp are done frying, drop them onto a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. 
  5. If you have any avocado ranch left over, keep it for future use. We put it on everything — tacos, salads, and even raw veggies. It’s the perfect way to keep making something out of nothing.