This Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp is made in under 20 minutes with almost no oil. It's so easy, crunchy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside.
Shrimp is my go-to for easy weeknight dinners for their sweet flavor, plump texture, and the quick cooking time. It is great stir fried, tossed in pastas or made into tacos.
Deep frying can be a bit messy and intimidating, especially if you are new in the kitchen. That’s where the air fryer comes in! All the delicious crunch with a fraction of the oil like the air fryer chicken parmesan or my mega popular air fryer chicken nuggets.
I recommend buying them frozen, unless you have access for freshly harvested off a boat. They are usually individually quick frozen at sea, locking in freshness.
I love to buy the peeled and deveined frozen bag, for its time saving purposes and most importantly I don't have to deal with the nasty vein.
Why this recipe works?
When properly cooked, air fried breaded shrimp are just as crunchy and irresistible, as the deep fried ones. Sadly, most recipes produce a soft exterior or overcooked interior.
For perfectly light, airy yet crisp coating, I used the superior Japanese style panko breadcrumbs.
I also used my tried-and-true technique of breading, just like air fryer breaded mushrooms, of stirring the shrimp in a thin batter and then dredging with breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs adheres well and forms a beautiful golden crispy crust on the outside.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Shrimp - I like to use peeled and deveined shrimp. It's quick and easy.
- Panko breadcrumbs – Japanese style panko breadcrumbs adds a superior crunch to your air fryer breaded shrimp.
- Egg - Helps to bind everything.
- All purpose flour - I use just 2 tablespoons, which helps to thicken and ensures the breading stays in place.
- Seasoning - I used a simple salt and pepper. You can try tossing in your favorite spices like garlic powder, red pepper flakes, cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika, cayenne or chili powder into the batter.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1 & 2. Add egg, app purpose flour and seasonings into a shallow bowl and whisk together to make a smooth batter.
3 & 4. Toss shrimp and mix until coated thoroughly.
Tip: It's crucial to pat dry your shrimp using paper towels, until it's dry.
5. Place panko breadcrumbs in a shallow plate.
6 & 7. Working with one shrimp at a time, coat them with panko, on both side sides, pressing to adhere.
Tip: Make sure to press bread crumbs well on both sides of the shrimp, to help it adhere well and give a nice crunch.
8. Place them in a pre heated air fryer basket, cook at 400 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes, until deep golden brown.
Pro tip: Cooking time for different sizes-
- For 21 to 25 count shrimp – cook at 400°F for 7 to 8 mins
- For 31 to 40 count shrimp – cook at 400°F for 5 to 6 minutes
How to serve
- Make into a meal like shrimp sushi bowls or replace cauliflower with this shrimp in bang bang taco recipe.
- Serve for dinner with air fryer green beans and rice or pasta dishes like alfredo noodles.
- Serve as an appetizer with spicy sriracha mayo, tartar sauce, remoulade sauce (I love this recipe from simplyrecipes.com) or bang bang sauce.
As with anything breaded, these air fryer breaded shrimp tastes best when served hot. However, you can mix up the seasoned flour ahead of time. Just keep them sealed in an airtight container at room temperature.
Storage and Re heating
Leftover air fryer breaded shrimp can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- To reheat in microwave: Simply microwave them for couple of minutes, but the breading might not crisp up.
- To reheat in air fryer: To revive the crispy coating, re heat in the pre heated air fryer, for few minutes at 390 degrees. This works best for reheating!
- Shrimp size – I recommend using 21 to 25 count shrimp for this air fryer breaded shrimp recipe. If using 31 to 40 count then reduce cooking time accordingly.
- Don’t overcrowd – I used 6 quart instant vortex and 1 pound of shrimp was perfect cooked in two batches, without being overcrowded.
- Tails – Tails can be kept intact or removed. I like to leave the tails on for a prettier presentation.
- Dredge well – Using hands, make sure to press bread crumb mixture well on both sides of the shrimp to help it adhere well and give a thicker coating.
- Panko breadcrumbs – If you don’t have panko, then regular bread crumbs may be used. But, they won’t get as light and crispy.
- The breading mixture is beginning to clump and does not form an even coating – This happens towards the end of the breading process, when the wet batter begins to accumulate in the crumb mixture. To keep this to a minimal, use one dry hand for dredging and the other for wet, and also remove the bigger clumped chunks with a fork and discard them.
- Shrimp is not browned enough after 8 minutes – There could be two reasons for this – over crowding or not greased well.
- Over crowding – I was able to fit ½ pound shrimp in a single layer without over crowding in a 6-quart Instant vortex air fryer. If you are using a smaller air fryer then cook in two or three batches, but make sure to remove in 7 or 8 minutes.
- Not greased well– I recommend a double coating of cooking spray once in the beginning and again half way through cooking. This guarantees crispy crunchy coating.
Large shrimp (21 to 25 count) takes 7 to 8 minutes at 400 degrees, whereas medium ones (31 to 40 count) cooks in about 6 minutes.
For simple cooking, shrimp can be added to the air fryer basket directly from the frozen stage and cooked for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then used in your favorite recipes. However, when making an air fryer breaded shrimp, it needs to be completely thawed and patted dry to be breaded. Any moisture will not give you a crispy end result.
If using from frozen, then place shrimp in a large bowl, and fill the bowl with cold or room temperature water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until thawed (the time will depend on the quantity of shrimp). Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Add frozen breaded shrimp directly into the pre heated 400 degree air fryer (do not thaw) and cook for 5 minutes, if package is labelled cooked shrimp. Whereas if the package is labelled raw shrimp, then cook for 10 minutes, shaking the basket half way through cooking.
More air fryer dinner ideas
Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp
- 1 pound large raw shrimp (21 to 25 count) peeled, deveined
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
- Pat dry shrimp with paper towels before using.
- Add egg, flour, salt and pepper into a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Toss shrimp and stir until evenly combined.
- Place panko in a shallow dish. Working with one shrimp at a time, dredge into the bread crumbs, turning and pressing on all sides to coat evenly and place on a plate. Tip: Make sure to press bread crumbs well on both sides of the shrimp, to help it adhere well and give a nice crunch.
- Pre heat air fryer at 400°F for 8 minutes. Place half the shrimp into the air fryer basket, spacing evenly. Spray a generous coating of non-stick cooking spray. Cook until golden and cooked through for 7 to 8 minutes. You don't need to flip them over. Tip - I sprayed another coating of cooking spray after about 4 minutes, for a deep golden crunchy exterior.
- Transfer shrimp to a plate and repeat process with the remaining batch. Serve hot with spicy sriracha mayo, remoulade, tartar or bang bang sauce.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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