New Orleans-Style Shrimp Po-Boy

When visiting Louisiana you must try a Shrimp Po-Boy. It is one of our specialties. New Orleans is filled with small neighborhood restaurants and many offer po-boys. Here is a small store in a filling station in Mid City, New Orleans, close to where my son lives. It makes 32″ po-boys to order and the shrimp po-boy is delicious.

New Orleans Shrimp PoBoy - 2 - IMG_4927_1


Now as a tourist, I’d recommend going to an established restaurant in a safe area of town to get a shrimp po-boy. If you venture into neighborhoods in New Orleans — like any large city — you should go with a local who knows their way around.

We decided to experiment with making our own shrimp po-boys on Father’s Day in June. It was a fun adventure and the shrimp po-boys turned out like the “real things.”

What makes a New Orleans style po-boy taste so good?  I’ve thought about this for awhile and there are several keys ingredients–I’d say, French bread, shrimp, breading mix and oil.

The French bread is one of the secrets of a good New Orleans-style shrimp po-boy. New Orleans’ French bread is crusty and course. You can’t eat it without having crumbs all over the table. There are several bakeries in New Orleans that specialize in this type of bread: Reising’s, Alois J Binder and Leidenheimer Baking Co. come to mind.

French Bread - 1 - IMG_5397_1The French bread comes in long loaves with a small diameter and can be cut to order. It is very dense and porous.

French Bread - 2 - IMG_5427_1

Fresh Gulf shrimp and breading seasonings are other key ingredients. For shrimp, we went to a local seafood market in Baton Rouge and purchased fresh, peeled shrimp. It is a large seafood market and is reliable for quality fish and seafood.

Tony's Seafood Market - 1 - IMG_3542_1

This establishment is so busy at times that they have directional arrows in the parking lot.

Tony's Seafood Market - 2 IMG_3546_1

Shrimp is sold by size. For example, 32 ct shrimp means that there are 32 shrimp in a pound. Usually the package contains a range of sizes. A pound of 150 – 250 count shrimp are extremely small, perhaps good in a stuffing or fried as popcorn shrimp. I recommend using a small size shrimp (we used 51-60 ct) so that plenty will fit in the sandwich. The neighborhood restaurant used an even smaller size and really packed the shrimp in the po-boy. Frozen, peeled shrimp can be substituted for fresh shrimp. Defrost in a refrigerator first.

Fresh Shrimp - IMG_5403_1

Tony’s manufactures their own line of breading mixes and batters for shrimp, catfish and other seafood. The mixes are sold all over the South and Tony’s also ships nationwide, according to their sign. Some of the breading mixes are cornmeal based, some are made with wheat flour and some are made with corn flour which is finer than cornmeal. This brand is has plenty of spicy variations which are quite good, so I usually don’t make my own breading. The shrimp breading is made with wheat flour and has very fine yellow cornmeal added. I have included a recipe that works well.

Fish Fry Breading - IMG_3543_1

Surprisingly, the last key ingredient is the oil that the shrimp is fried in. I use peanut oil for frying. It can be heated to a high temperature without burning or breaking down. Oils that are more polyunsaturated cannot be heated to these high temperatures as easily. The oil should be heated to 350 degrees so the shrimp can be fried quickly.

Shrimp Fry Batter Mix and Peanut Oil - IMG_6377_1

Here are our steps for frying the shrimp:

  • Make a wash of water and some of the breading and douse a handful of shrimp in it. Drain.

Fresh shrimp in wash - IMG_5390_1
Place the shrimp in a ziplock bag along with dry breading and shake to coat.

Fresh shrimp in breading - IMG_5392_1

  • Shake off excess breading.

Fresh shrimp breaded ready for frying - IMG_5393_1

  •  Heat peanut oil to 350 degrees. Use a thermometer. Add small amount of shrimp at a time. Fry several minutes until golden brown.

Fresh shrimp in frying oil - IMG_5394_1

  •  Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Fried Shrimp - IMG_5418_1

  •  Cut the French bread to size, add dill pickles, sliced tomatoes, shredded Iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise or Remoulade sauce and pass the Tabasco sauce for everyone to add as desired. Enjoy. Here is our po-boy.

New Orleans Style Shrimp PoBoy - 3 - IMG_5443_1

Here’s the one from the New Orleans neighborhood grocery.

New Orleans Shrimp PoBoy - IMG_4929_1

I’m proud of our adventure and think we did well. Hope you enjoy a shrimp po-boy, too!


New Orleans-Style Shrimp Po-Boy

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 1 lb fresh Gulf shrimp, 50 – 60 count
  • 1-10 oz package Tony’s Louisiana Shrimp Fry Seafood Batter Mix*
  • peanut oil for frying
  • mayonnaise or Remoulade sauce
  • condiments: dill pickles, sliced tomatoes, shredded Iceberg lettuce (about 1 cup)
  • 1-32″ loaf of New Orleans French bread (makes five 5″ po-boys)

*Breading Ingredients for homemade breading:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup yellow corn flour or fine yellow corn meal
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup yellow corn flour or fine yellow corn meal
  • 2 tsp Tony’s Chachere’s Creole Seasoning or seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Instructions and Steps

  1. Rinse and drain shrimp,
  2. If using homemade breading, mix all breading ingredients except lemon juice in a medium bowl,
  3. Add about 2 Tbsp of the breading to 1 cup water to make a wash. If using homemade breading, add the 1 tsp lemon juice to the wash,
  4. Add a handful of shrimp to the wash, coat and then drain,
  5. Place about a cup of the dry breading mix in a small bowl or ziplock bag, add the drained shrimp and stir to coat; shake off excess breading. Add more breading as needed with successive batches of shrimp,
  6. Heat peanut oil in a heavy pot or deep fryer to 350 degrees (use a thermometer), add the shrimp and let return to temperature, fry about 3 minutes until golden brown,
  7. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels,
  8. Return the oil to 350 degrees, adding a little more oil if needed, and fry another batch of shrimp. Continue until all is fried.
  9. Cut the French bread into five 5″ pieces (or smaller or larger as desired). Dress the French bread with mayonnaise or Remoulade sauce and condiments. Divide shrimp among the po-boys.



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