These crispy shrimp in hot honey lemon pepper sauce put the party in party food! The perfect appetizer for game day, or any day of the week.
If you've ever wrapped your hands around crispy chicken wings drenched in lemon pepper wing sauce, you already know where I'm going with this easy recipe. It's a super-quick pescatarian version of the hot honey lemon pepper wings that are so popular across the southeast US.
Making this sweet and spicy honey sauce and tossing it over crispy shrimp makes this recipe a quick and easy alternative to party wings, and the lemon pepper glaze is stunningly delicious on plump, juicy shrimp.
Serve it as your main dish with a couple of sides or make it as part of your game day appetizer spread and watch the platter disappear before your eyes.
Get ready to tingle your taste buds!
What You Need to Make Hot Honey Lemon Pepper Sauce (for shrimp or chicken):
Shrimp (or chicken wings): medium or large shrimp will work for this recipe, if the shrimp are too small they will cook faster than the coating can crisp up. Be sure the shrimp is cleaned and deveined, then dry well with a paper towel before coating. You can leave the tails on if you prefer, but I like to pull the tails before coating and frying.
Coating: cornstarch, lemon pepper seasoning and salt are all you need to season and coat your shrimp. Remember these crispy shrimp will be coated in that hot honey lemon pepper glaze, so we don't want to overwhelm them with spices at this stage! But I wouldn't be mad if you added a pinch of garlic powder, onion powder or paprika to the cornstarch dry rub.
Honey: as the recipe title suggests, honey is the bedrock of this hot honey sauce recipe. I use regular honey and then season it with hot sauce and chili flakes to add heat. But if you have a bottle of hot honey floating around your kitchen, skip the added spice and just use the hot honey! You can substitute maple syrup for honey, if you want a little more complex, caramel-like notes in your glaze.
Butter: salted butter is my usual variety, but use what you have and then taste and adjust seasoning in the black pepper and lemon honey glaze.
Hot sauce and chili flakes: I tested a variety of spicy add-ins for this sauce and preferred the combination of hot sauce and dried chili flakes. But feel free to use what you have to spice up your sticky sauce. Cayenne pepper, sriracha, chili crisp or peri-peri would all be great additions.
Fresh lemon juice and zest: lemon juice is added to the glaze ingredients and I like to garnish my pile of crispy shrimp with curls of lemon zest. A few lemon wedges or lemon slices as garnish would be a great addition, as well.
Lemon pepper seasoning: the classic spice combination that takes this party day glaze to the next level. We use it both in our seasoned cornstarch cry rub and in this hot honey lemon sauce glaze.
Fresh scallions: sliced green onions or snipped chives are the perfect fresh garnish for your pile-o-crispy-shrimp. Feel free to add diced cilantro leaves, or sesame seeds for even more crunch.
Neutral oil: I recommend shallow frying your shrimp in a skillet using a neutral oil (such as canola, sunflower or even vegetable oil). I don't recommend olive oil, as it is not the best option for frying and because it is a little too flavorful for our recipe. If you prefer deep frying, feel free to use that method, instead. I haven't tested this recipe using an air fryer, so let me know if you try it!
Full measurements and ingredients included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for making hot honey lemon pepper sauce:
To begin, make the hot honey lemon pepper sauce. Combine honey, butter, hot sauce, lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning and chili flakes in a saucepan over medium heat.
Cook the sauce for 3-4 minutes, until fully combined and thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning, then reduce heat to low and prepare the shrimp.
Next, dry cleaned shrimp well with paper towels. Combine cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of lemon pepper seasoning and ½ teaspoon fine kosher salt in a bag. Drop dried, cleaned shrimp into the bag and shake well, coating the shrimp in the dry batter.
Heat neutral oil in a large skillet - enough to cover the skillet with about 1 inch of oil. Once hot, fry shrimp in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 90 seconds, then turn the shrimp and cook for another minute, until golden brown and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs, remove shrimp to a wire rack to drain any excess oil while frying the next batch.
Toss the shrimp in the hot honey lemon pepper sauce.
Garnish with lemon zest and sliced scallions.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
This recipe as written is about a medium level of spiciness. But the level of spiciness in hot honey lemon pepper sauce depends on how much hot sauce and red chili flakes you add. So if you prefer a milder option, taste the glaze before adding any spicy elements. Then you can adjust the spiciness to fit your taste preferences by adding just a little hot sauce at a time.
Hot honey lemon pepper sauce is a versatile condiment that can be used in so many delicious ways:
- Drizzle it over crispy fish, grilled fish fillets, salmon bites or coated chicken wings for a spicy and tangy glaze.
- Mix it into marinades for an extra kick in your BBQ dishes.
- Use it as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, dumplings, or french fries.
- Add it to stir-fries or sautéed vegetables for a spicy-sweet flavor boost.
If these crispy shrimp are the centerpiece for your meal, serve it with Savory Slaw, Baked Fries or Pasta Salad. If you're including lemon pepper shrimp as part of your party spread, think about serving it with Spicy Hummus and pita chips, Smoky Tuna Dip, Eggplant Bruschetta or Gazpacho Salad.
If you store extra sauce separately from your fried shrimp, the hot honey lemon pepper sauce can last for up to 2 weeks.
To store leftover crispy shrimp, move to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator up to 2 days. To reheat, cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake shrimp in the oven at 375℉ for about 8 minutes, or until just heated through.Print