Perfectly golden, crispy Air Fryer Shrimp is an easy and healthy alternative to fried shrimp. All you’ll be missing is the oil, the fat, and the mess!
With the right ingredients and this tried-and-true cook time/temperature combo, your shrimp are guaranteed to be perfectly crunchy on the outside and deliciously plump and juicy on the inside. This recipe miraculously mimics the flavor and the texture of real-deal fried shrimp!
Below is a complete guide to perfectly cooked Air Fryer Shrimp, including:
- Easy-to-follow directions
- Why shrimp size is important.
- What type of shrimp to buy.
- Why air frying in batches matters.
- The best cooking sprays to use.
- And more!
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER SHRIMP
- Preheat the Air Fryer
- Toss Shrimp in Seasoned Flour
- Set Up the Dredging Station
- Coat Shrimp With Batter
- Spritz With Cooking Spray
- Air Fry In Batches
1. PREHEAT THE AIR FRYER
Preheating the air fryer is just as important as preheating an oven. To preheat your air fryer simply set the temperature to 400°F and the time somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes, or however long you think it will take you to get all your shrimp battered!
2. TOSS THE SHRIMP IN SEASONED FLOUR
Have ready a gallon-sized, zip-top bag. To the bag, you’ll add flour, Kosher salt, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder. Seal the bag shut and shake until the spices are evenly distributed throughout the flour.
Add the peeled and deveined shrimp (tails on or off is fine), seal the bag and shake until the shrimp are well-coated in the flour dredge.
3. SET UP THE DREDGING STATION
To set up a dredging station for your Air Fryer Shrimp, you’ll need two shallow trays or bowls (such as a pie plate). In the first tray, add two eggs along with a couple of tablespoons of water and mix with the tines of a fork until well-combined. The second tray consists of a simple mixture of panko breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
4. BATTER THE SHRIMP
In three separate rounds, remove your shrimp from the seasoned flour mix and shake off any excess flour before dropping it into the egg mix. Make sure each shrimp gets fully submerged in the egg tray, taking care to get the egg mixture up and around the sides of the shrimp as well.
Allow any excess egg to drip off and then it’s time to move on to the last tray! Add the shrimp to the panko breadcrumbs, turning as needed and pressing gently to make sure the panko coating adheres.
5. SPRITZ WITH COOKING SPRAY
Have a large rimmed baking sheet off to the side of your dredging station when assembling your Air Fryer Shrimp. This ensures you have plenty of space to spread out the shrimp without crowding them. It is important that every facet of the panko exterior gets a spritz of oil! The oil is what enables browning and results in a perfectly golden, crunchy crust.
Spread the shrimp out on the baking sheet and lightly coat the panko breading with the cooking spray. Then, turn each one and spritz again.
6. AIR FRY (IN BATCHES)
Before you start air frying, keep in mind, air frying in batches is crucial for perfect Air Fryer Shrimp! You want air to circulate around the entire shrimp in order to get that golden, crunchy crust.
Add the shrimp to the air fryer in a single layer and cook at 400°F for 6 to 8 minutes (or until the shrimp is fully cooked through). Remove the Air Fryer Shrimp from the basket using a pair of kitchen tongs, and repeat as many times as needed.
Then, allow the shrimp to cool slightly, and serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce.
HOW LONG TO COOK SHRIMP IN AIR FRYER
How long Air Fryer Shrimp takes to cook is highly dependent upon the size of the shrimp. This recipe calls for jumbo-sized shrimp that range from 16-25 shrimp per pound (more on that below).
As you could probably infer, larger shrimp take longer to cook and smaller shrimp take less time. If you are working with jumbo shrimp as directed, the shrimp will take 6 to 8 minutes to cook through at 400°F.
You need the full 6 minutes in order for your crust to get nice and golden, so be sure to buy jumbo shrimp so you don’t end up with an overcooked, rubbery shrimp dinner.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN AIR FRYER FRIED SHRIMP ARE DONE
You’ll know your Air Fryer Shrimp is close to done when the panko coating boasts an even, deep golden-brown hue all over.
By touch, the shrimp should somewhat firm and bounce back ever so slightly when you poke, it.
The interior of the shrimp should be completely opaque and not translucent at all.
- Jumbo Shrimp
- All-Purpose Flour
- Seasoning | Kosher salt, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Nonstick Cooking Spray
TYPE OF SHRIMP TO USE
This recipe calls for extra-large/jumbo shrimp. Sometimes, it is more effective when shopping for shrimp to go by the shrimp count rather than the descriptive name. The count you want is 16/25, which means there are 16 to 25 shrimp per pound.
As far as the tails go, you can leave them on or off. It’s totally up to you!
SHOULD I BUY FRESH OR FROZEN SHRIMP?
You can use fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe, but you’ll need to make sure the shrimp are completely thawed before cooking them.
To safely thaw frozen shrimp, place them in a large mixing bowl and top with cold water. Secure the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Thawing should take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or so; the time will vary depending on the size and how many there are.
ABOUT THE BREADING
The breading for these Air Fryer Shrimp consists of all-purpose flour and a Southern spice blend made up of Kosher salt, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder.
This flour mix serves two purposes:
- First, it adds a ton of flavor to the base of the shrimp.
- Secondly, it helps the egg wash to stay in place so the final panko coating can fully adhere!
That panko ending is especially important because it provides that extra crunchy exterior only panko breadcrumbs can, and ultimately enabling these shrimp to mimic both the flavor and texture of real-deal fried shrimp.
BEST COOKING SPRAYS FOR AIR FRYER FOODS
Make sure you are using vegetable, canola, or avocado oil cooking spray. This is because you’ll be air frying at a temperature of 400°F and you want an oil with a fairly high smoke point.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you need the spray to provide a nice even coverage all across the panko coating, which means spray in an aerosol can works best for air fryer recipes.
STORING AIR FRYER FRIED SHRIMP
Cooked shrimp has a two-day shelf life in your refrigerator.
Just like all breaded foods, the breading will quickly become soggy in the refrigerator. To avoid this, I highly recommend freezing any leftover shrimp!
To freeze leftover Air Fryer Shrimp, lay them on a flat surface lined with wax paper and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe, ziptop bag and freeze for up to two months.
Frozen Air Fryer Shrimp reheats in the air fryer beautifully! Just preheat your air fryer for about 10 minutes at 375°F. Then, add a batch of frozen nuggets to the air fryer, and cook for 9 to 11 minutes, or until warmed and heated through to your liking.
5 MORE SHRIMP RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
These perfectly golden, crispy Air Fryer Shrimp are perfectly crunchy on the outside and deliciously plump and juicy on the inside.
- 1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp, tails on (16-25 count)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, separated
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray (such as canola or avocado oil cooking spray)
Preheat your air fryer to 400°F.
Add the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder to a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Add the shrimp, seal the bag, and shake to coat. Set aside.
Have ready two rimmed, shallow bowls or trays. In the first tray, mix together 2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons of water. In the second tray, combine the panko breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
Remove the shrimp from the flour mix and shake off the excess. Working in 2-3 batches, coat the shrimp entirely in the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Then, coat thoroughly with the panko breading, pressing to adhere as necessary.
Transfer the shrimp to a breaded work surface and spray generously all over, on both sides, with nonstick cooking spray.
Add the shrimp to the air fryer in a single layer and cook for 6-8 minutes. Transfer cooked shrimp to a cooling rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining shrimp. Allow to cool slightly, serve, and enjoy.