Vietnamese Shrimp Toast (Banh Mi Chien Tom) is the ultimate party appetizer! A creamy and delicious spread of shrimp, mayonnaise, and cheese is spread onto a crusty baguette and baked to perfection. The result is a light yet savory bite-sized treat that's packed with flavor and texture!
🦐 What Is Banh Mi Chien Tom?
Funnily enough, bánh mì chiên tôm is a bit of a misnomer. In Vietnamese, bánh mì translates to bread, chiên means fried, and tôm is shrimp. Together, it means shrimp fried bread. However, the Vietnamese version of shrimp toast is usually baked instead of fried. So you can also call this dish bánh mì nướng tôm, where nướng simply means cooked, or bánh mì quét tôm, which translates to shrimp bread sticks.
Regardless of what you call it, just know that this baked shrimp toast is simply the best. It's a must-have at all of our holidays and family gatherings because kids and adults request it. And who could blame them - Vietnamese Prawn Toast is creamy, cheesy, and full of umami. It's satisfying yet feels light, and the handheld size makes them great for parties, picnics, and potlucks. Luckily, this recipe is super easy and great for doubling, tripling, or more. Because trust me, you'll need to! 😉
Why You'll Love It
- Authentic: This Viet Shrimp Toast recipe is a family treasure. My grandma passed this recipe to my aunt, who then taught me and my mom how to make it.
- Best party appetizer: You can easily double or triple this prawn recipe as needed. It's also portable, great warm or at room temperature, and truly the ultimate crowd-pleaser!
- Quick and easy: You only need 30 minutes and 7 ingredients for this cheesy shrimp toast!
- Baguette: I recommend using Vietnamese baguettes because they're lighter, fluffier, and more buttery. But for convenience, you can use any baguette you can find.
- Shrimp: Make sure to thaw (if frozen), peel, devein, and remove the tails first. Then dice the shrimp into little bits, but don't turn it into a paste or else you'll lose the texture.
- Oil: Avocado oil is my favorite oil to cook, fry, and sauté with because of its high smoke point (500°F).
- Shallot: Adds a mild caramelized onion flavor.
- Fish sauce: A must have! My favorite brand is Red Boat because of the clean ingredients and it's more concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
- Green onion: For a pop of color and freshness.
- Mayonnaise: For a super creamy toast.
- Shredded cheese: I recommend using a lighter, melty cheese for shrimp toast. I will usually do half cheddar, half mozzarella but feel free to use any blend you prefer. My mom even likes to use the Mexican 4-cheese blend.
Substitutions & Variations
- Baguettes are the authentic choice for this recipe, but feel free to switch it up. Use ciabatta, sandwich, hoagies, or even English muffins if you'd like. You can also butter the bread for more richness!
- You can substitute the shallots with a red, yellow, or white onion instead. Make sure to dice it finely and caramelize it well.
- Want more aromatics? Add a little grated garlic and/or ginger to the shallots and toast for 30 seconds. You can add more herbs as well like parsley or cilantro.
- Substitute half the mayonnaise with Kewpie mayonnaise for a deeper, richer flavor.
- You can add more seafood to these cheesy toasts! Crab is a very popular choice, even imitation crab. Canned crab can have a tinny, metallic taste that can overpower the shrimp though so I would stick with fresh when possible.
🔪 How To Make Vietnamese Shrimp Toast
⬇️ Please scroll down to the recipe card to see full ingredient amounts and instructions.
STEP ONE: First, preheat the oven. Then add the shrimp to a food processor and pulse a couple times until finely diced. Make sure you don't over-process it and turn it into a paste. Alternatively, you can finely chop the shrimp with a knife.
STEP TWO: Then heat a splash of oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the shallots until the edges are translucent.
STEP THREE: Add the shrimp with a little pinch of salt and pepper. Use your spoon to break up the shrimp to help it cook evenly.
STEP FOUR: When the shrimp is almost done cooking, turn off the heat and add the fish sauce and green onion. Stir to combine and let the residual heat finish cooking the shrimp.
STEP FIVE: Take the pan off the heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Then stir in the mayonnaise and shrimp and season to taste. Make sure you let the mixture cool a little first so the mayonnaise doesn't separate.
STEP SIX: Place a dollop of the shrimp and mayo mixture on top of each slice of bread. You'l need just enough to cover the surface of the bread. Then bake in the preheated oven for a few minutes, but keep an eye on them! It'll only need a few minutes to toast the bread and melt the cheese.
💭 Top Tips
- If you can, use a Vietnamese-style baguette (banh mi). I love Vietnamese baguettes because they don't have as hard of a crust (and won't scrape the roof of your mouth). They're also lighter, fluffier, and softer. Find them at a Vietnamese bakery or supermarket. Or pro tip: go to your favorite banh mi sandwich store and ask to purchase one loaf of plain bread.
- Buy the bread as fresh as possible. We don't want stale bread for this seafood toast because it'll be too crunchy and hard. Buy the baguette as close to the day of cooking as possible.
- Don't over-process the shrimp. We don't want it to become a paste. Instead, it should be finely diced and crumbly when cooked for better texture.
- Make sure to let the cooked shrimp mixture in the pan cool before adding the mayonnaise and cheese. If it's too hot, the mayonnaise can separate and become oily. The cheese will also melt too fast and pool together, instead of mixing evenly throughout the shrimp mixture.
- Use a milder cheese so it doesn't overpower the sweet shrimp flavor. You also want one that will melt well! I recommend mild cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, American, Fontina, or Provolone cheese. A Mexican or Italian cheese blend pack would also work.
- Keep an eye on the toasts while they're baking. Since the shrimp is already cooked, the oven should be at a low temperature. Bake them just enough so the baguette is a little crunchy and toasty and the cheese has completely melted.
- Cool the baked shrimp toasts on a wire rack. Placing them on a plate or flat surface can create steam on the bottom, which will soften the baguette.
🥡 Storing & Freezing
Storing: Let the Vietnamese Shrimp Toast cool completely, then store in an air-tight container or large zip-top bag in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing: I do not recommend freezing these due to the mayonnaise and cheese.
Reheating: Toast, bake, or air fry leftover the Vietnamese toasts at 275ºF for a few minutes until warm and toasted.
Make Ahead: Banh Mi Chien Tom is great to make in advance! Cook the shrimp mixture and assemble the toasts up to 2 days in advance. Place them on a single layer on top of a plate or baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge until ready to bake. Let them sit on the counter top while the oven is preheating to come to room temperature, then bake as directed. You may need an extra 1-2 minutes but keep an eye on them.
📖 Recipe FAQs
Absolutely! Each air fryer is different so I recommend cooking at a lower temperature like 250°F for 5 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Also, preheat the air fryer (just like an oven) for even cooking.
Shrimp toast is suspected to have originated in Guangzhou, China. It grew to become a popular dim sum dish in Cantonese culture and traditionally, is served on sandwich bread and dee-fried. Variations of it expanded to Japan ("hatoshi"), Korea ("menbosha"), Vietnam, and more.
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Vietnamese Shrimp Toast (Bánh Mì Chiên Tôm)
- 1 loaf baguette cut into ½" slices
- ½ lb raw shrimp peeled, deveined, and tails removed
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- ½ shallot finely diced; about 2 tbsp
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce I use Red Boat
- 2-3 green onion thinly sliced and chopped
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- ⅔ cup shredded cheese I use half cheddar, half mozzarella
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Use a food processor to pulse shrimp until finely chopped but be careful to not turn it into a paste. If you don't have a food processor, you can finely chop it with your knife into small bits. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper each. Use your wooden spoon to break the shrimp into little pieces and cook until opaque, about 2-3 minutes. When shrimp is 75% cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the fish sauce and green onion. Cook for 1 minute more.
- Take the pan off the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add in mayonnaise and cheese and stir to combine. Season to taste.
- Schmear each slice of bread with a thin coating of the shrimp mixture and top with a little more cheese, if desired. Continue until all the shrimp has been used. Place toast in a single layer on the baking sheet about ½ inch apart.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes or until baguette is lightly toasted and cheese has melted. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Serving size will be dependent on the size of your baguette and how much filling you place on top of each toast. Should make about one tray of 18-25 toasts.
- To Air Fry: Each air fryer is different so start at a lower temperature like 250°F and cook for 5 minutes. Keep an eye of it and adjust time and temperature as needed. I recommend pre-heating the air-fryer for even cooking.
👩🏻🍳 Products I Used
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